Giant Interview: Stephanie Alys – Co-Founder – MysteryVibe
Giant Interview: Stephanie Alys – Co-Founder – MysteryVibe
[00:00:03] Hello and welcome back to Tech Innovations for Women’s Health. Twenty nineteen, a giant health event. And we’re here obviously in our beautiful city of London and we’ve had some very relevant and fantastic conversations so far today with some wonderful guests on our show. Now, I’d like to introduce our next guest. Stephanie Alys is the founder for MysteryVibe. Stephanie, thank you very much for joining myself. It’s a pleasure to be here. So, MysteryVibe, you just told me just before we came on camera right now, give us a little bit of an overview of of the company itself and what really you guys produce Yeah, sure,
[00:00:40] I started MysteryVibe five years ago with my co-founders.
[00:00:43] Mistery Vibe as a London based company, designs, develops and sells smart hardware products for sexual health. So smart vibrators.
[00:00:53] Let’s talk specifically here that it’s sex toys really to some degree, or is that not the case?
[00:00:59] Is it more vibrators? Vibrators? Yeah, sex toys, I think is a term that encompasses a lot more than just things that buzz.
[00:01:07] OK, so, you know, it’d be fascinating to find out a little bit more about that, but there’s a little bit more of an overview of your background really and how you came about finding this found in this company.
[00:01:17] Sure, sir. I started off my career as a management consultant at Deloitte, and I actually met my co-founder my first day. I spent some time and lots of different industries, from health to energy to media.
[00:01:31] And then ten years ago, we came up with this crazy idea to make some kind of sex and tech product that help people connect rather than distracted them from each other. So this was around the same time that Apple was bringing out its first iPhone. That was this huge growth in apps and in technology that you could really take home with you and into the bedroom with you. And so we wanted to create something that you could take into the bedroom that would help you connect with your partner rather than distract you from them and from your sexuality.
[00:02:00] So we started the company five years later in 2014 and started out of London, now shipped to almost 60 countries worldwide. I have taken the step back from that company at the beginning of this year. And yeah, it’s going amazingly fantastic.
[00:02:19] And really, I suppose what is the importance of a product like yours as well when we talking in a medtech environment as well? And I could you know, we could we can, you know, make jokes about everything I would seriously is the importance of regarding your product really and the relevance of a medtech or health tech environment?
[00:02:39] I think that our focus as a society is as moved a lot over the last few years. And we’ve seen this real rise in discussing things like mental health, like sleep, like stress and sexual health is becoming the next big topic that we’re talking about. I think one of the problems is that when we think about sexual health, we often think about it in terms of an absence of issue. So you don’t have an STD, therefore you have good sexual health, whereas actually we should be thinking about it in a more positive and more proactive way. Sexual health is being confident in your sexual self. It’s having a sex life that you want the sex life that you need, the relationships, the intimacy. It’s it’s a lot of different things all combined into one.
[00:03:20] And it has a huge, huge impact on every other element of your health, from your physical health to your mental health. So it’s just one of those topics that kind of underlies everything else as well to press it basically.
[00:03:31] Yeah, just and it’s one of those topics as well that still is so taboo across the entire planet, even from London to France to the US to China, it’s still very taboo. And so one of the things that we really tried to focus on was this idea of sexual health. With pleasure. Pleasure is a vital part of life. We seek it as human beings. Everything we do is for some kind of pleasure, whether that’s eating or Netflix and chill or whatever. And so pleasure is just such a vital part of who we are. And identity is as a human.
[00:04:05] So we’re exploring that through exploring sexual health through pleasure was very much our focus. And it’s just such a vital part of your health.
[00:04:14] So you talk about, you know, the fact that you’ve now in 60 countries around the world or you’ve been to six countries around the world, are you finding that there’s certain countries which, like you said, are very conservative and still struggle to identify really this as a way to be a stress reliever for one and to also help with physical and and mental health as well?
[00:04:38] Yeah, different cultures treat sex very differently. And there have definitely been cases where I’ve been very surprised at how I had some kind of perception of how they would think about sex. But then it would actually be very different when I went that I think that what we are seeing is this new wave of sex positivity coming from the younger generation. So the younger generation of growing up as tech natives that. Growing up with more access to the Internet, with information and, yes, pornography as well, but we are seeing much more sex positivity and much more openness to talk about these kinds of topics from a younger generation. So that’s a good thing.
[00:05:16] Yeah, I think well, you know, this is a conversation we could have probably a lively discussion with and to go into more depth, especially with, you know, this new potential bands coming out with, like you said, with pornography. And we can talk about that all day long.
[00:05:31] But in terms of being here for, you know, Technovation and for women’s health is one in particular.
[00:05:38] Yeah, one of the questions that is come up today really is talking about all these positives which have come out of it. But from your perspective, from not just a sex tape, but from medtech and from health tech as well, where would you say the real challenges lie with exclusivity with it, with women in the workplace?
[00:05:56] Good question.
[00:05:57] I’ve I’ve always thought that the technology that we create is very much a product of our social and cultural context. And we’re still living in a world that does not have we were talking about, for example, a diversity of data. We don’t have a diversity of data. We don’t talk about or we don’t embody diversity as a culture and as a society. And that means that a lot of the technology we’re producing is not as diverse as it could be. And so for me, one of the issues that I think we should be tackling is having more women, more women of colour, more trans people, and just generally much more diverse groups of people building these products and services that we’re then putting into the market.
[00:06:39] This is, again, something that we talk about time and time again, especially last year. Last chance. Now, is this your first chance event? And if so, how are you enjoying it so far? Well, obviously, we’ve still got a few hours left, but have you enjoyed it?
[00:06:54] Yeah, this is my first.
[00:06:57] I’m loving it. The energy in the room is amazing. Some of the stories that have been covered that people have told people have really bad some vulnerability. And I think that when you make yourself vulnerable, especially in a professional context, it’s such a powerful thing. And it you can really actually start to push ideas and and change people’s minds and maybe introduce them to new concepts in a new way. So, yeah, the energy has been amazing.
[00:07:22] Yeah. And just quickly as well, before we have to wrap things up, you know, you mentioned that and what you do is it can be considered quite taboo and some people are quite conservative about it. So, you know, that’s fair enough. Respect their opinion.
[00:07:34] And how have you found today at this event people embracing sex when you’ve had conversations with other more traditional medtech companies or charities? How what is their view on really what you’re producing? And do they find it still relevant?
[00:07:52] Yeah, I think a lot of the conversations I’ve had had today have been incredibly open minded. I think people have come today with their brains and their minds open and willing to have conversations, willing to talk about stuff that maybe makes them feel slightly uncomfortable potentially, or that they and I think people have recognised that this whole taboo concept is actually it’s a space where you can make real innovation, you can make change to people’s lives, and there’s so much opportunity and taboo space. So, yeah, I had a lot of great open minded conversation.
[00:08:25] Don’t ignorant. That’s what you’re saying. Just open your mind up just like listen without judgement and then think about it. Let it sit and go away and then come back. I stuff. Pleasure having you on. Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for having me.