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December 23, 2021
Words by Genevieve Phelan.
There are few people who’d hinge their livelihood, time and sanity on the future of masturbation. Would you? Unlikely. But for Alisha Williams, the state of the Australian sexual wellness industry was one a little too dire to neglect — especially after she came up with a concept to remedy its flaws. She’s been forging a new realm of pleasure-giving tools, dinner party convo-starters and a lubricating body oil, all intermingling under a community called Rosewell. More than just a brand, Rosewell has pledged to break down antiquated taboos, build up self-confidence in its networks and partner with aligned initiatives to unite under one common goal: enhanced intimacy for all, both in and out of the bedroom.
Alisha’s pledged to make Rosewell circular by early next year, marking a line in the sand for the future of sex toys (and the e-waste they generate). Accepting any old vibrators from any brand under the sun, Rosewell are repurposing preloved tools to keep them out of landfill. They’re even refilling bottles of oil. It’s safe to say, this is about more than just a ‘quickie’ behind closed doors; it’s a movement for the long-haul.
We could go on for a small eternity, but it’s probably best to pass the speaking baton over to the head honcho herself. Here, Alisha tells us how the story goes (in her own words), the euphoric moments along the way, and the responsibilities held by industry-leaders in the world of pleasure today. Oh, and period sex, naturally.
MOXIE: Where did the name Rosewell come from?
ALISHA: I wish there was this beautiful backstory, but it was just good timing! Brand names need to be memorable, balanced and neutral. I’ve always loved the fluidity of ‘rose’, from the flower to the experience of rising up. ‘Well’ made sense, because feeling connected with yourself and others, taking the time for your own needs, isn’t that a big part of wellness?
Explain your brand's ethos to an alien…
Intimacy, connection and sex are human experiences unique to each person. Rosewell enhances these moments through simple, safe and well-designed goods.
What's your favourite thing Rosewell has made so far and why?
I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve done, but the Intimacy Cues volumes feel really special. The stories we hear back after people play Dinner Parties or Love Deeply are pure gold. We heard of a couple who had played Love Deeply and a question about childhood made them realise they’d played together as kids while camping for years. Knowing we’re helping people discover things about themselves and each other is pretty amazing, right?
How about the BIGGEST milestone moment?
There are so many, but I’ll drill it down to two. One was getting our first wholesale enquiry from a huge, huge brand. Another would be an email from a girl who was finally comfortable sharing her sexuality with her friends over dinner parties. There have been many more - VOGUE and SMH features, making our first wonderful hire, but it’s those two moments that I’ll hold close.
What's your period like, and how does your distinct menstrual cycle impact pleasure?
I’ve not used hormone contraception for half a decade, and while I’m fortunate to be without severe issues (endo, ando etc.), I’m greatly impacted by the mood shifts. This, inevitably, impacts how I feel about productivity, physical and emotional intimacy and being alone. I lean into it and let myself feel whatever comes naturally.
What are some of Rosewell's greatest tips for period sex? That old chestnut.
There’s no right or wrong way to be intimate, period or not. If you are comfortable with any kind of intimacy in your relationship, that’s what you should embrace. Different positions are said to help with cervix positions, but each body is unique and your priority should be what works for you.
For fledgling startups out there doing great things in the sexual wellness space, what would some of your actionable advice be?
The industry has remained largely unchanged for decades, so now is the time. If you have a concept, go for it. Don’t look around at what others are doing, pursue your idea and put your heart into it. For first-time startups, check out ‘The Mom Test’ to learn about idea validation, and remember to ensure you’ve got access to customers before committing to a product.
How did you juggle the shift from past work to building Rosewell from the ground up? That's not leaving much time for you.
For the first 18 months of rosewell, I worked two part time roles while tackling 3-4 subjects of law, and freelance designing to fund rosewell. It was hard and I relied on my partner, friends and our tiny founding team. Luckily, things are a little more balanced and I’ve learnt the importance of taking care of yourself. Setting real time for things that bring joy, taking the time for genuine intimacy in all forms and allowing moments of rest is incredibly important.
Outside of everything work (even though it's hard to distinguish the difference sometimes), what do you do for play? What brings you joy?
Rosewell is going through our biggest growth, so I’m in it quite deep! I’m obsessed with what I’m doing, the brand we’re creating and it’s hard not to be consumed by how wonderful this time is. I really enjoy spending time with my animals, grabbing a great local coffee and having a quick, but intense workout. I experience real joy when I have a pause and soak in this time of my life - it’s an epic ride.
Where can we find you this summer — where will you be, what's ahead for Rosewell, and how many rounds of Dinner Parties will be going down?
This is the first summer with my brother living in the same state as me, so long-overdue family brunch. I try and take a few day trips to the Sunshine Coast for chips and the beach each year - Dinner Parties is a great way to pass lengthy drives. As for rosewell, look out for five new products and a new digital experience for everybody.
Speaking of, what are your non-negotiables for a banging at-home soirée?
I pride myself on being a dinner party host. Beautiful flatware, french linen tablecloths, fresh flowers, windows open and a great playlist. It’s also special to invite a bunch of people who don’t know each other, and find something very specific they have in common to encourage connection when first meeting.
Images reproduced with permission via @byrosewell @alishawco Instagram.
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