So in hopes of challenging that narrative, she launched Unbound, a sex-toy retailer that doubles as a destination for writing from sex workers, sex educators, and company staffers
The story: For a product often considered an integral part of sex, the user experience associated with lube is y Buckalter decided to give the experience a much-needed update after experiencing it firsthand.
„I had entered into menopause, was using a lot more lubricant, and I couldn’t believe [the more] I thought about it how archaic the entire user experience is for the 21st century on a variety of levels,” she says.
Suspecting she wasn’t alone in feeling this way, Buckalter turned to a wider audience for confirmation. More than 400 survey responses later, she knew she was onto something.
Enter: the Pulse Warming Dispenser, a small bedside machine that heats and dispenses lubricant into the palm of its owner’s hand. No rifling through bedside drawers, no bottles to open, just hold out your hand and get back to business.
The dispenser works with either of Pulse’s two lubricant offerings — one water-based, one aloe-based. And unlike lubricants that promise a warming sensation delivered via chemical, Pulse warms the old-fashioned way.
Buckalter has big plans for the technology behind her product – she’s says she’s hoping to expand her business to build warming technology for other types of lotions used in body care and baby care.
Exploring new things: Unbound
The products: Though Unbound’s shop has traditionally featured sex toys, fetish products, lubricants, and more from a range of outside brands, the company is shifting to selling only its own line of products. This includes three pink vibrators (priced from $17 to $99), three types of lube (priced from $15 to $35), personal wipes ($16) kinky toys (from $14 to $24), a dildo ($29) – plus jewelry, accessories and more.
The story: When Unbound CEO Polly Rodriguez was diagnosed with cancer in her early 20s, she tells Mashable that the experience „changed the way I saw the world,” specifically her views of women’s sexuality.
„When I was going through radiation treatment, my doctors told me that I would never have children, but they didn’t talk to me at all about how that would affect my sex life,” she says. „As I got older, I kind of realized how marginalized female and non-binary individuals are when it comes to their sexuality being a core health issue as opposed to just a nice-to-have.”
Topics covered in its in-house publication, Unbound Magazine range from erotic massage tips to an explainer on the SESTA and FOSTA bills opposed by many sex workers.
And while the shop initially launched with products from other companies, Rodriguez says the company’s own line is quickly becoming its core product.
She says: „Most recently our predominant focus is on making best-in-class products that are really affordable and accessible to the everyday consumer and also creating a lot of content that helps bridge that educational gap that we see the public schools kind of retreating back from teaching.”
But what sets Unbound apart is its subscription model – an offering Rodriguez says performs well with men and with older couples.
„We found that for couples, especially those that were married and in an older demographic, they were really curious about the category but suffered from decision and choice fatigue,” she says. The boxes — themed sets featuring full-size products and sent every three months — meaning her customers can test out products they might not have selected on their own.