One evening when Tiffany Gaines was in graduate school in NYC, she went to a bodega to buy tampons. While at the register the clerk used an orange picking claw to grab them eight feet up on a shelf. In the process, the swinging claw knocked down a box of condoms and to Tiffany’s dismay, everyone in the line was standing there, captivated.
She was embarrassed. But later realized, why should she be?
A Design and Social Innovation student, she was aware of the way product design and experience could encourage or discourage certain behavior patterns. She didn’t want women buying condoms to be a taboo subject anymore. She dove into research, studying how the marketing, design, messaging and merchandising of condoms affected purchasing habits for both men and women.
“I learned that women often avoid purchasing condoms because of the dominant and masculine undertones associated with centuries of branding targeting men,” she explains. “I realized I had an opportunity to redesign the experience of purchasing and carrying condoms for women so that it felt empowering and delightful.”
Tiffany committed to this concept throughout the remainder of school, researching it thoroughly for her thesis and using scientific methods to test the hypothesis and business model. Her brand would be called Lovability and would teach women that taking power over their bodies and futures are an act of love and self-respect — a symbol of gender equality.
Within weeks of coming up with the concept for the condoms she was personally going to stores in NYC and pitching her idea. Now Lovability is sold in stores nationwide and online.
The brand’s condoms and other products are packaged in discreet tins or tubes and are marketed to be hip and fun with names like “Halle-lube-yah” and “Fuckboy Repellant.”
We caught up with the young #girlboss to get to know more about the saucy brand. Read the interview below:
Around since 2013, how has Lovability grown since the beginning?
Lovability has evolved along with my own process of confidence and sexual liberation. At first, the brand was more about offering women a way to carry their condoms discreetly. Now it’s about proudly standing up for gender equality, taking charge of your future, and being a proactive feminist. Our products are all about encouraging sexual health — not just physically — but also emotionally and mentally. The “Fuckboy Repellent” is about remembering your boundaries and not entertaining advances from people who are disrespectful. As the company grows it has begun to encompass a more holistic commitment to sexual health and wellness.
I love that Lovability is about gender equality, tell me about how sexuality can play into that?
If a woman relies on a man to be prepared with a condom, she is essentially relying on him to dictate her health and future. If both parties carry condoms, they are taking equal responsibility. This is an essential step for gender equality in the bedroom, the boardroom and beyond.
Tell me about your partnership with Planned Parenthood?
With every purchase, we donate condoms to Planned Parenthood. In today’s political climate, it is essential to do what we can to protect Planned Parenthood. We are so grateful for what they do and try to give back in any way we can. Condoms are our currency!
You employ mentally and physically disabled people from The Arc of San Diego to assemble the condom tins. This is great; why was that an important matter to you?
We try to make a positive impact in whatever way possible. The Arc of San Diego is an incredible organization that empowers people with disabilities with vocational skills. They do a fantastic job on our tin assembly and we are honored to have them on our team!
What do you hope the women who buy Lovability products learn about sexual health?
We hope to inspire people to take charge of their sexual health and sexual desires — and feel fabulous about it! Our products are natural and healthy for the female body, and they are also cheeky and fun. We hope to spread joy and positivity to all who discover our brand, and we ultimately hope they gain greater confidence asking for what they want and deserve!
What do you wish more young women knew about sex?
I wish more young women knew that they don’t have to settle! Never settle for someone who doesn’t respect you fully and make you feel like the true goddess you are!