In an interview with Biird – the female-led, sex-positive brand on a mission to dispel the taboo around pleasure – we caught up with Co-Founder Andrea Rey de Viñas to find out everything there is to know about designing one of the best sex toys on the market, aka the main character in the SheSpot X Zoella box.
We are of course talking about Evii, the one and only! The exquisite, whisper-quiet external vibrator for clitoral stimulation. It even comes complete with its own wireless charging tray, designed to house your jewellery and other precious trinkets whilst refuelling your vibe! What a time to be alive. As for the Evii toy itself, incognito mode is her middle name, with unsuspecting guests guaranteed to think she’s prime to blast out Harry’s House or blend out their blush… Joke’s on them.
After working with industry-leading pleasure brands for more than 20 years, Biird has come to know the restrictions and barriers placed on sex toys all too well, so designing a product range that is first and foremost about delivering pleasure while being beautiful, powerful, and challenging the status quo is at the forefront of everything they do as a brand.
From clit-led toys to breaking taboos, here’s a look at everything Biird bring to the bedside table…
Q: Why did you start the company and what’s the story behind the brand?
We started Biird now over 2 years ago as we felt there was room for products that were a bit more playful, colourful and most importantly, more relaxed about sexuality. When we looked at what was available, we often saw other products portraying sexuality and self-pleasure as this perfect thing, this darker and mysterious feel around self-pleasure with a lot of lace and lingerie. We believe in a broader approach to self-pleasure. Is it nice to sometimes really put in effort, wear lingerie, play music and light some candles? Absolutely! But there are times when you just want some alone time to relax and just simply have a quick fun moment! Biird is there for all these situations.
Q: What does the average day look like in the Biird office?
Haha. Working at Biird is indeed a bit different than working for a company in a more traditional industry. We get to bring pleasure to people and that really gives a special feeling. Everything we do is geared towards the users and every day we ask ourselves, what can we do that would truly make a difference? But it’s not like all kinds of wild things happen in the office. We still work with spreadsheets, have product development meetings and have to show up for a full day of work.
Q: What gets you out of bed every day?
We’re definitely an a-typical company. We make products people love and getting to work on those products and with our users, every day is just such an incredible feeling. We often hear heartwarming stories from our users and that’s not something you get at many other companies.
Q: Evii is the main character in our SheSpot X Zoella wellness box. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired this design and who you had in mind when creating this award-winning toy?
Evii came to be when we were looking to design an easy-to-approach vibrator. We went to the drawing board knowing we wanted to make something that would give off great vibrations. Not only from a literal vibration standpoint but also the whole experience connected to using Evii. We looked for shapes that would be comfortable to hold in hand, as well as feel great when using it on your body. That’s how our pear/avocado shape came to be. From there we added the ribs and the crease to create different zones on Evii that would invite the user to explore their body and find what works best for them. There’s no real “right” way of using Evii, we want users to use it however feels right for them. We’ve also added the wireless charging base that doubles as a jewellery tray so that Evii could sort of become part of your room decoration. Looking at Evii it doesn’t immediately become apparent it’s a pleasure toy so you can just place Evii on your nightstand and always have it ready to go. As a cherry on top, we’ve just won 2 of the biggest design awards this year, an iF Design Award and an A’ Design Award, which goes to show that our design philosophy is being appreciated.
Q: The jewellery tray design for Evii is *chef’s kiss* How much does your mission to dispel the taboos around pleasure and open up conversations play a part in the work you / inform the designs and the creative process?
The jewellery tray absolutely plays a big role in this. Every time we design a product we go back to the very basics of what brings pleasure and how. And a big part of our time designing is spent on how do we make this product truly accessible to a large audience. We’re often asked if Evii is a good toy for “beginners” or if it’s more for “experienced” users but we don’t really look at that in those terms. If as a user, you look at Evii and you think, “Hey, this looks cool. I think I could have some fun with this”, then Evii is a toy for you. No matter your “experience”. We’re also always looking to add a little bit of humour, a little bit of food for thought, and that’s why we create products which have this extra use case. In Evii’s case, that’s the jewellery base. This way you don’t have to hide your product in a dark drawer and can have it ready for action any time.
Q: What’s the designing and testing process like – How long does it take from concept to completion to create a toy?
Designing a new product takes quite some time! Evii took us nearly a year. We started with the basic idea of vibrations and then added layers of requirements around that cuteness, squishiness, versatility, ease of use,… We then experiment with shapes, modelling them through the use of 3D printing. This helps us to narrow down to a handful of design options as seeing something on a screen and being able to hold it in your hand are still two very different experiences. Once we have narrowed down the design options enough we start testing the different vibration feelings we can add as well as the silicone feel. We have a panel of testers who’ll give us feedback on every last little detail of the product. The process up to here takes about half a year. Then we start looking into what is needed to manufacture this at scale. The materials, the moulds for all the different parts. More finetuning of the product design as well as the features and then after nearly a year, Eviis start rolling out of our production facility. Looking back at this process is always mesmerising. Seeing the very first drawings and comparing those to the final product, seeing how far the design has come, never ceases to amaze.
Q: What materials do you use to create your sex toys?
We use medical-grade, body-safe silicone and specifically go looking for manufacturing processes which reduce the odour of the silicone to the minimum and we all love squishy silicone here so we usually add an extra thick layer of silicone to our products. It adds this nice texture that most other products don’t have.
Q: How do you compare to other sex toy brands on the market, what’s your USP?
Biird is really more like a passion project for us. So when we’re creating a product we look at it and constantly ask ourselves: can we make this material better? Can we add something that would benefit the user? And that’s the opposite philosophy that many other companies use. We really aim to create products we can be proud of ourselves.
Your favourite toy to design so far…
Haha. That’s like asking which of your children is your favourite. We love them all equally. And we mean that!
Q: We’ve just seen you’ve launched a brand new toy, the Namii. Tell us why we need this in our lives and the inspiration behind the newest addition to the Biird family!
Namii is a clitoral suction toy and a vibrator in one. You can expect the same Biird hallmarks as in our previous toys: Super quiet, squishy, great build quality, a wireless charging base that this time doubles as a mood light. And of course, Namii feels great. You can use it hand free thanks to its unique shape and you can even use the vibrations and the suction at the same time. That feeling… it gets intense.
Q: What’s the best thing about working in the sexual wellness space?
Hearing the feedback from customers. How using one of our products helped them to discover or rediscover self-pleasure, how it helped them to discover their body or become more self-confident. How they introduced a pleasure product in their relationship… Those stories and hearing from the people who use our products, that’s really something unique.
Q: And the worst….
There are no real downsides to working in our industry. Sure there can be stress like in any other job and some weeks feel longer than others but overall, working in our industry is great! Telling others what we do for a living can sometimes be a bit challenging. You never know how they’ll react but in general, the reactions are great!
Q: What changes would you like to see happen in the sexual wellness space to help combat the pleasure gap and de-stigmatise female pleasure more specifically?
We’ve come a long way already. Just a few years ago, there was a much bigger stigma around self-pleasure. Every year, we’re moving in the right direction. But there still is room for improvement. One of the main areas would be how the social media platforms police posts about sexuality. There is still a very big gap there. It’s clear that these rules were written through a male gaze on sexuality. Scantily clad women advertising a service is allowed but when talking about pleasure, be it sharing your experience with self-pleasure or even sexual educational content, then suddenly a line is crossed and you risk having your post taken down or worse, getting your account banned.
We’ve created a petition and a page with more information about this here, so those that are interested in learning more about the topic should definitely check it out.
Q: What does self-love mean to you?
Self-love is such a broad topic. For me it goes much further than sexual pleasure. It’s about being happy. About taking care of yourself in a way that brings you joy. Not thinking about what others will think of you, but doing things that make you happy or relaxed or feel pleasure. That’s eating that ice-cream you really want, that’s splurging on that dinner, that’s going to yoga, that’s masturbating when you feel like it without feeling guilty…
Q: Where do you think sex toys will go from here?
Having been in the sex toy industry for so many years, I start to see a shift of a sextoy world being dominated by men to one where more and more women are starting their own pleasure product companies. So we’re starting to see more and more products designed by women for women. There will definitely be new technologies coming up, new products, new materials and it’s a future I’m very much looking forward to!
Q: What’s next for Biird?!
We’ve got a few products in development so that’s exciting. I can’t share much yet so definitely keep an eye on our Instagram. And we’ll keep on working on demystifying and de-stigmatizing self-pleasure through our products and our campaigns.