Did someone say planet-friendly pleasure? We’re in there like swimwear!
The sex toy industry has been notoriously linked to plastic waste for countless years but now the tides are changing, with many sex toy brands starting to ‘green up’ their credentials and take sustainability seriously.
Enter: ohhcean by Sinful, the world’s first range of sex toys made fully from recycled ocean-bound plastic. That’s right, that plastic lid washed up on the beach has been collected by local fishermen and been put to, ahem, better use.
The ohhcean collection includes three rechargeable products including a Magic Wand, G-Spot Vibrator and Body Vibrator, all coated with a thin layer of silky soft silicone and available in pleasing aquatic shades and subtle designs. That’s a whole new level of feel-good!
To mark what is the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day – a day observed every April by millions of people around the world to show support for the environment – we spoke to Mathilde Mackowski, the mastermind behind the ohhcean brand and Co-Founder of Danish brand Sinful, Scandinavia’s largest online sex toy business.
At just 36 years of age, Mathilde is already regarded as a trailblazer in the industry. Her passion for helping people explore their playful side, coupled with her natural inclination towards innovation, was the catalyst needed to bring the ohhcean collection to life.
Reducing the impact of her products on the planet became an obsession, but it also proved to be a long and complex journey met with many challenges, but consideration for the environment was always at the forefront of her mission, informing every single step of the development of the ohhcean by Sinful products.
Being in a position to create change, she acknowledged her role in this problem and identified how she could become a part of the solution. The ocean plastics emergency has never been so widely reported, and rethinking plastic production within the sex toy industry had to happen sooner or later. At that moment, the idea of the world’s first sex toy made from recycled plastic was born.
Here we chat to Mathilde to find out all about why planet-approved pleasure is making waves and why there’s still so much further to go…
What inspired you to create the ohhcean range?
More than a “why”, the idea came from a “why not”? Being in an industry that has the potential to make changes seemed like the perfect way to combine my passion for the environment with our passion for inspiring a more playful sex life for everyone. The fact that we could actually play a small part in helping clean up the ocean was just amazing. ohhcean is a tribute to fun and playfulness and the possibility of making a change. It’s a small step but a great beginning.
What does ohhcean as a brand stand for? What are the core values?
ohhcean is made with the ocean in mind and everything it represents. Fluidity, transformation, the wild, the calm, the ever-changing shapes – the ocean holds it all. Our goal has always been for everyone to have a playful sex life. ohhcean is the representation of something we haven’t seen before, something new and embracing, bringing playfulness, pleasure, and intimacy to any kind of relation in a gorgeous wrapping.
You’ve become quite the trailblazer where planet-friendly pleasure is concerned (high five for that!). Why did you feel it was important to create an eco-friendly range and when did you identify a gap in the market?
There was this kind of magical moment where I realised that my passion for helping people add more playfulness to their sex lives could actually be combined with my love for the environment. ohhcean is the intersection between our mission of a playful sex life for everyone and the innate reflex to identify problems and use the power we have to help change them. It’s the desire to do things in a different way. This is just the beginning. A small step in the right direction. But we’ve begun.
How did you make it happen? Creating an environmentally friendly sex toy from scratch must have been quite the voyage!
It’s been a long journey! The process has been a lot more complicated compared to our normal. First, spending time to find the best collaborators possible, which fortunately we found in #tide. Then learning about the material. The ocean-bound plastic that is collected in and around the ocean reacts differently than virgin plastic when melted and put into moulds. It took a lot more testing and time to find the perfect fit and to learn how the material reacted. It wasn’t an easy process and we were tested on our patience. But that also makes it feel so good to finally have made it here.
Where does the plastic used to make the ohhcean range come from?
The ocean-bound plastic is collected from in and around the ocean in South East Asia.
How did you partner with #tide – one of the world’s leading organisations in the field of upcycling and recycling of ocean-bound plastics – to create the ohhcean line?
We had been researching for a long time. When we finally found #tide, it was just a perfect match. Being one of the world’s leading organisations in upcycling and recycling ocean-bound plastic, we quickly found out they could match our expectations and enthusiasm for the project. They’re an incredible partner in helping close the circle of plastic production. It’s quite amazing knowing that it’s a small contribution to cleaner oceans. #tide oversees the entire process of material gathering and processing.
What’s the process once the plastic has been collected from the ocean and nearby areas?
Once the material is collected by local fishermen, it is registered, washed and shredded in a social enterprise. From there, the plastic is upcycled into a versatile granular material all powered by renewable energy. This means #tide is recycling the ocean-bound plastic waste and transforming it into a premium raw material that we can use for our new products, giving plastic waste a wonderful new life. See more here.
How long approx. does it take to make one ohhcean sex toy?
The thing that has been time-consuming with ohhcean has been creating the brand, getting to know the material and how it reacts and making sure the design was of the best quality and as beautiful as it could possibly be. Then, of course, there’s the element of time spent collecting the material from in and around the ocean, cleaning it and turning it into the granulate that we use. There are several steps in this process that do take an extra amount of time.
“From Plastic Waste to Pleasure Waves”
What does it take to build a sustainable brand?
It depends on your goal. We didn’t start out with the idea of sustainability as an image. We started out because of this pressing feeling concerning the issue of plastic polluting the oceans. When we discovered that we could combine it with our mission of a playful sex life for everyone, it just made sense. It felt right. We did it the way we always do – based on a gut feeling.
What’s been your proudest moment so far whilst working on the ohhcean project?
The experience of seeing so many people react with a ‘wow’-feeling. The appreciation of this project makes my heart warm. The small victories throughout the entire project that has been going on for so many years really mean a lot. There’s a pride in cracking that code that feels amazing. Reaching a goal as a team after conquering so many challenges and being the first ones to do so fills me with joy and pride.
Can you tell us a bit about the range of sex toys, is there something for everyone?
The ohhcean products so far are a reinterpretation of the bestsellers from the past 15 years. The magic wand and the body vibrator can be used on any external spot on the body, which makes them pretty great to add to both your partnered and solo fun. They are great in terms of adding extra stimulation to both your penetrative activities and to the fun of discovering each other’s bodies. The G-spot vibrator is great, too, if you know and love stimulation for your G-spot. But it is also a nice option for the ones who are looking to discover their G-spot, so it’s not exclusive to the pros.
For anyone new to the world of sex toys, what would you recommend from the range?
If you are completely new to sex toys, the body vibrator is a really lovely choice to start exploring. Because it is petite in size, it is really easy to control and target a concentrated area. This can help you discover exactly where and what feels best for you.
What is the future of the sex toy industry when it comes to sustainability? What further changes would you like to see happen?
This goes beyond just our industry. I think it’s important to take into account the impact of everything that is produced, not just sex toys. Once you produce, you think about the impact. Or at least I do. But we see change starting to happen in so many industries, and it’s so exciting. I love that there’s a common consciousness arising around this. The steps might be small in the beginning, but we have started and it’s only going forward from here.
The theme for Earth Day 2022 is #InvestInOurPlanet – How much further would you like to take the ohhcean mission/vision? We have a feeling this is just the beginning!
We have just started out on our journey. We’re learning that there is an interest which is amazing. We will never produce just to produce – it’s incredibly important that what we make is something people enjoy. All of the products we work with are products people have for years on end. Sex toys don’t go out of style and transcend the changes in trends. We are assessing everything we’ve learned with ohhcean so far and moving forward from here.
What’s next on the horizon for ohhcean? What are your hopes and dreams for the brand?
We have launched the first collection with 3 products so we could learn about people’s interest in this genre. We already feel the enthusiasm from all over the world and we have embarked on the next level concerning new products.