[03:20] HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS INDUSTRY?
Anna grew up in a very traditional Korean family where sex wasn’t discussed whatsoever; consequently she carried a discomfort around disucssing sex into her early twenties. While working as a mechanical engineer at Amazon, she met the founder of a (now defunct) sex toy company that opened her eyes to the bizarre and inaccurate “industry standards” set by the male-dominated leadership in the sex toy industry. This encouraged Anna to build a better vibrator, which led to her meeting her Lioness co-founders who were already working on an AI sex toy.
[09:20] WAS THERE A “SEX TECH” INDUSTRY OR DID YOU CREATE THAT SPACE?
Seven years ago, the term “sex tech” wasn’t commonplace. Lioness was categorized in the sex toy or pornogrpahic industries and received a hesitant response from the start-up world. Over time, Anna notes, the industry has become much more diverse and much less male-dominated.
[11:48] WHAT WAS IT LIKE BREAKING INTO THE SEX TECH SPACE?
Anna acknowledges that as first time entrepreneurs, her team had several factors working against them. However, she believes that because they were entering the industry as outsiders and were incredibly passionate about their mission, they were able to stay motivated and sustain their efforts with a great deal of humor and playfulness. Also, because there wasn’t an established business model for Lioness at the time, they were able to experiment and get creative with their marketing strategy.
[18:35] TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORGANIC MARKETING STRATEGY.
Due to Facebook and TikTok’s content policy, much of Lioness’s content has been banned or flagged as inappropriate. Anna explains that as a consequence her team has had to explore various approaches to their marketing and has found success in being very forward-facing as founders (via talks, panels, and most recently TikTok). She also notes that sex tech is a major press-magnet for curious journalists.
[26:50] HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON TIKTOK? DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY?
Anna considers herself a “short content consumer” which she attributes to her comfort on TikTok. She appreciates the platform’s ability to effortlessly deliver bite-sized information. She admits that she doesn’t have much of a content strategy, but does attribute her success with short-form video content to her off the cuff, genuine approach and desire to provide educational value to viewers.
[35:45] CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ORGASM DATA LIONESS VIBRATORS PROVIDE?
One of the best ways to indicate arousal and orgasm is involuntary pelvic floor movements, so Lioness vibrators have sensors that measure these movements when in use. Users can pair the vibrator to an app on their phone where the data collected is displayed to them in a chart. They’re then able to see distinct patterns that occur during orgasm or high arousal periods, as well as track various factors that might be impacting pleasure (e.g., sleep, medication, diet, etc.)
[45:07] WHAT SORT OF PUSHBACK HAVE YOU RECEIVED FOR BEING AN ADVOCATE FOR SEXUAL PLEASURE AND HEALTH?
Anna says that she’s found herself largely surrounded by supportive people, but does acknowledge there are some people who don’t understand the “point” of a smart vibrator. She also reflects on an unexpected and candid conversation she had with her mother about sexual wellness due to her work with Lioness.