Origami condoms, lambskin sheaths and vegan shields form part of the newer trends in this growing market. In this exclusive interview DRIVE® talks contraception.
A note from our founder Shainul Kassam: “Once upon a time I acted on an AIM flotation. There’s nothing remarkable about this because I cut my corporate teeth on AIM flotations having worked on over 20 IPOs and secondary raises. What is remarkable however is the sector this AIM company was in because this sector is the focus of our latest and exclusive DRIVE interview. Sexual healthcare.
The company I then helped to float was (and is still) called Futura Medical plc. Their key product was CS500 or what we in the boardroom loosely called “Viagra in a Condom” – link here if that has caught your eye.
Zion Market Research recently published a new report titled “Condom Market by Gender (Male and Female), Distribution Channel (Commercial Outlets, Non-commercial Outlets, and Non-traditional Outlets) – U.S. Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis, and Forecast, 2016 – 2022”.
According to the report, the U.S. condom market was valued at USD 1,366.86 million in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 1,680.22 million by 2022.
Prophylactics are big business. Some 15 years later after the Futura Medical Aim flotation, we have met a new premium contender in the 21st century contraception market. Enter HANX – the first luxury male condom designed for women by women”.
We talk to one of Hanx’s 2 female co-founders, gynaecologist Sarah Welsh, about the challenges of building a lifestyle brand encouraging positive sexual health and female empowerment.
Here’s a link to the HANX website.
DRIVE® – what makes an entrepreneur tick?
Tell us about your business in 25 words or less
HANX is the first luxury male condom designed for women. We are a lifestyle brand, changing behaviours by allowing women to take control of their sexual health.
Who was your first customer or client?
We only launched in September! Our first clients were our nearest and dearest friends. They were not shy to give us honest feedback either! We also launched exclusively with Coco De Mer and Wah.
If time and money were no object what would your company look like?
A platform that empowers women allowing them to take control of every aspect of their lives. An inspiration for future generation of women and a the go-to brand for sexual wellness.
What is the most important thing you are currently working on for your business?
As a very early stage start-up we are really making a name for ourselves, and establishing the brand. HANX is a lifestyle brand that is creating a movement and encouraging positive sexual health and female empowerment. We want women to feel proud and unashamed carrying and using protection.
There are lots of other exciting things in the pipeline, after our condoms.
What do you think the biggest change in your industry going to be in the next 10 years and how are you preparing for it?
Changing behaviour. We are disruptive, premium and empowering.
Technology is of course changing everything and I am sure there will be innovation in contraception. First and foremost we are building a brand empowering women and engaging a powerful tone that puts women first. We hope that by building that foundation, as we continually innovate, our supporters will follow us.
Have you had to raise finance for your company and if so, how did you do it?
We are currently raising our seed round through our private angel network. I was told this would be a full-time job, and it is! Having regular meetings with potential investors, and attending networking events is tiring but also exciting when you meet people who are passionate about HANX and our vision.
What is your “why”?
To change behaviours and allow women to take control.
How many hours do you sleep at night and does anything keep you awake?
I would love to have 8 hours every night and this is a real treat when I get it! I have to say it is normally more like 6 or 7, but this varies week to week, and I really do need my sleep. I get pretty grumpy when I’m tired. My dad knows this all too well… If I am in a bad mood he says “get an early night” “go for a run” “have a bath” or “have something to eat” … Farah is learning this is all too true too!
We know you love what you do but what have you had to give up for it?
Like everyone, I find that there are not enough hours in the day. I would love to spend more time with my boyfriend, but am so lucky he is incredibly supportive and believes in the HANX vision and what I am doing. He’s also super busy, so we have to be organised! I am lucky that I don’t yet have children, and I know so many founders manage to juggle this admirably.
I guess you could say I have also given up a career in medicine. I was offered a training job in Obstetrics & Gynaecology in London, an 86-month contract through to consultancy! Some people thought I was mad turning this down, but it just didn’t feel right, and HANX does… I admire the profession so much, but feel that I have made the right decision for me.
Working with my bestie, learning all of the time in so many areas, meeting fantastic people of all walks of life and in every industry, and most of all working towards a vision. Being motivated by changing behaviours, and making a huge positive impact is an extraordinary and exciting place to be.
Where’s the best place to find you if you aren’t at work?
Running by the river. Brunching with my friends. Exploring with Henry, we love travelling. With my family.
One for luck
What question do you wish we had asked you and what would your answer be?
Question: What other aspects of HANX do you envisage for the future?
Farah and I have always said we want to give back to the community in some way and make a real worthy contribution. Once established as a brand we plan to set up a HANX Foundation, whereby we will support sex education in schools in the UK to start with (as we feel there is still a way to go to improve this – I have done Sex-Ed in schools in London so have seen it first hand) and then roll out outreach programmes in third world countries including Africa (where HIV is so prevalent) and places such as Bangladesh (where Farah is from and there are many cultural barriers, for women in particular, when considering sexual health). This aspect to the company has always been important to us.
And now to complete a statement or 2
I wish I had…
Not taken life too seriously when I was younger. I have definitely relaxed as I’ve grown up, but I guess that’s the fun of life and experience. I don’t have any regrets though, and think everything happens for a reason.
I am going to…
Change the way we take control of our sexual health, empowering women along the way!