by Valentina Mosè

Wear your sexuality

Designer, fondatrice e VP di Crave, azienda di San Francisco che crea sex toys di lusso, Ti Chang si impegna ogni giorno a trasformare il modo in cui le donne vivono la loro sessualità attraverso i “giocattoli sessuali”. In un’intervista ha dichiarato: «Quando le donne sono sessualmente soddisfatte hanno relazioni più felici, il che significa coppie più felici, matrimoni e figli, e infine… la pace nel mondo». Scherzava ovviamente, ma credo ci fosse anche del vero nelle sue parole. Così, per una causa giusta come la pace nel mondo, ho scambiato quattro chiacchiere con lei. Certo, se poi ci fosse scappato in regalo uno dei suoi prodotti gioiello, non avrei di certo rifiutato. Fosse mai si offende…

* Some people think sex toys mean you’re in the porn industry, but that’s not the case. How many prejudices or common misconceptions have you found in this respect since you launched ‘Crave’?
People still think sex toys need to look like traditional anatomical phallic products. Penises and silly rabbits and butterflies perched on them —  novelty items that are outdated. In reality, sex toys should be as well designed as any other modern products. Also, whatever stereotypes people have about sex toy designers? I’m not that.

* You received an industrial design degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a graduate degree in design from the Royal College of Art in London. In other words, you are a designer. When did you decide that you could bring your design background to something like sex toys?
It came from the realization that in order to get products I wanted, I had to make it myself. There was simply a lack of well-designed products that were created from a female perspective. This industry has been created by men to market towards women, not designed FOR women. I believe in sex toys that are both functional and desirable — and even luxurious. We do not need more products that perpetuate the stigma that sex is something women should feel ashamed or embarrassed about.

* How did you start Crave?
I joined Crave as a co-founder with the acquisition of my first company, Incoqnito, which was about bringing together the idea of sex toys and jewelry. When I met Michael, my co-founder at Crave, I realized that our values and our visions for what might be possible in the industry aligned perfectly, and that joining forces would allow us to leverage the strengths to become the company that it is today.

* What are the strengths of your products compared to common sex toys?
Overall as a brand, I feel our products are probably the most discreet and elevated in terms of our aesthetics and experience. When you pick up a Crave product, you feel the quality and when you see a Crave product you do not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Our products are smart and sophisticated. Our Vesper Vibrator necklace can make women feel empowered and sexy – so much so that many wear it out in public with pride. I don’t think there is any other experience like that with other brands.

* How did you have the idea of designing a “vibrator-necklace”?
The concept of female pleasure has been fraught with taboo and medical misinformation. I wanted to create a necklace that was both a statement piece as well as a no-compromise vibrator. The Vesper is about openly embracing pleasure as part of our identity without shame and stigma. We hear from our customers that it feels “naughty” and “empowering” yet at the same time it’s also a great conversation piece. That said, a woman doesn’t have to wear a vibrator out to feel empowered, so we’ve made the necklace removable so that the Vesper can be kept at home as a compact and powerful vibrator.

* Do you get any feedback from your clients like suggestions for improvements, ideas etc?
Definitely, I look at all the feedback and comments customer give us to find areas for improvement. During our new product development process, it’s imperative that we talk to users at many stages of development. We know that we don’t know everything, and the smartest thing we can do is to ask users for genuine feedback. Having a user centered approach is the ONLY way that we can get to better products and experiences.