THE DYNAMIC DUO BEHIND NAKEY WANT TO ENCOURAGE VULVA-GAZING

When was the last time you talked about your vagina with a friend? Or really spent time with your vulva? The founders of Nakey want you to feel comfortable doing both.

"You’re meant to have fun when using our products and get to know yourself just a little bit better each time," says Shawna Watterson, co-founder of the women-owned sexual wellness company.

In 2020, Watterson and her good friend Hannah Rose launched Nakey, which is the culmination of a lifelong obsession with sex positivity and sexual health. Its flagship offering is the playfully named Muff Masque, which is a fragrance-free sheet mask for your vulva. The Soother is designed to treat the skin after a wax or shave, the Rehabber helps with post-play or postpartum discomfort, and the Juicer hydrates your skin and pubic hair.

With its Muff Masques, Nakey acknowledges that there is no one right way to groom (or not groom) your pubic hair. The products are free of synthetic preservatives, parabens, sulfates, and dyes, which means they won't interfere with your PH levels or vaginal health.

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From Sex Talk to Sex Startup

Watterson and Rose met in college at the University of New Hampshire and came up with the idea for Nakey in 2018 while on vacation in Cuba, celebrating Rose's 30th birthday. "We were single and exploring late nights with strangers when we began talking about needing some relief for our vaginas," says Watterson. "From there, the idea spiraled."

"We discovered a real need for everyone to have a space to discuss sex openly and products that encourage you to discover yourself," she says.

Watterson says that sex has been a lifelong fascination for her and always a ready topic of conversation. "While other people found it hard to discuss, I went the opposite direction," she says. "I was loud about sex."

From the beginning, Rose says, Nakey wanted to be "bold and unapologetic with our products and voice." (Those values come through loudly and brightly on the company's website, which shows the sheet masks on women's naked bodies.) Another essential piece of Nakey's mission was creating truly innovative products that hadn't been done before.

Building a Women-Led Brand

One of Nakey's early challenges was finding manufacturers to make their unprecedented products. Neither woman had experience developing consumer goods: Rose had worked in retail, as a manager at Free People, and also ran her own business importing Moroccan textiles. Watterson took an even more circuitous path to Nakey, including agricultural development in Nigeria, medical sales in Boston, and event coordination in New York.

When starting Nakey, the duo set out to build a community of women "that brings people together and encourages self-expression and sex positivity," says Watterson. Historically, women have been very underrepresented in the sex industry, though that's slowly changing with the recent launch of several women-owned sex brands.

"We are very proud of being women led and owned," says Rose. "Almost all of our investors to date are female."

Adds Watterson: "Women being leaders in this space and continuing to tell their story is something that we will always fight for."

For Women's History Month, Nakey is partnering with House of Wise on a limited-edition Sex Bundle that includes three Nakey Soother Muff Masques and one box of House of Wise Sex Gummies. The goal of the collaboration is to encourage women to create more intention around their intimacy and spend more time caring for their sexual organs.

That combination of intention and care is a philosophy embraced by House of Wise's resident sex expert, Dr. Kate Balesterieri. "We use how many brushes to apply makeup — why do we neglect our genitals? They are really important," says the sex therapist and Modern Intimacy founder. “For people with vulvas, especially those who want to use them for some part of the reproductive process, it's imperative to take care of them inside and out.”

Nakey is encouraging people of all genders to get up close and personal with their most precious parts; its latest release is a handheld Genital Examination Mirror (aka G.E.M.), which makes it easy to view your vulva, penis, and anus without contorting your body into crazy positions. As for what's next, Nakey plans to expand its product line, including more nonbinary products. 

>> Want to try Nakey for yourself? Shop the limited-edition Nakey x House of Wise Sex bundle before it sells out.



The Dynamic Duo Behind Nakey Want to Encourage Vulva-Gazing

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