If you’ve ever steeled yourself to walk into a sex shop and buy a vibrator only to leave confused, empty handed and, well, frustrated – you’re not alone. It’s tricky to navigate shelves of sex toys that look like they belong in sci-fi films.
Happy Collective – an Australian online shop specialising in products for women, including natural beauty treatments, homewares and vibrators – wants to make that particular shopping experience not only easy but fun.
“Women should feel empowered about their own sexuality and self-pleasure, and it shouldn’t be something kind of dirty or something that’s hidden away in sex shops,” says co-founder Julia Marget. “It should be readily available and something we should feel free talking about it.”
Marget, who lives in Melbourne, launched the business at the end of September with her friends and now business partners Emma Haworth and Anthea Hawkins (who together run skincare company, Osmosis). All three are mothers of twins, and Marget and Haworth met on a blind mate-date set up by their shared maternal and child health nurse.
Happy Collective is the result of a lively lunch chat during the brief gap between Melbourne’s two lockdowns. Haworth had been offered the chance to sell Smile Makers – a range of bright, friendly looking vibrators – but didn’t have the right platform to do it; Marget was keen to create one.
One of the brand’s key selling points (and the first thing you encounter on the Happy Collective website) is a quick quiz, which matches your sexual preferences to the Smile Maker for you. There are seven colourful results: the compact Surfer, the curvaceous Romantic, the multipurpose Millionaire, the clit-focused Fireman, the flexible Frenchman, the sunny Tennis Coach and the palm-fitting Ballerina.
Each is waterproof and has multiple speeds and pulse settings. All run for up to four hours on a single triple-A battery (aside from the Ballerina, which is rechargeable).
“The quiz has just gone off, excuse the pun,” says Marget. “[It’s] all about … making it really easy for a woman to make a choice about a vibrator that suits her and her desires. It’s not, ‘How quickly can I buy it because I’m embarrassed, or I’ve got no idea what I’m buying so I’ll try that one’.
“And I think with this brand what made us laugh is that you can talk to your mum about the Tennis Coach or the Ballerina – [although] I really thank Grace and Frankie for that.”
The rest of the website is split into the categories Home, Skin and Soul, each featuring a tight edit of products including vitamins and supplements, organic skincare and oral-care products, teas and more. There’s also a link to the first episode of the Happy Vibes podcast, which features a chat with relationship and sex counsellor Elisa Caro, all about destigmatising women’s sexuality.
If you’re still not sure which product might suit you – or you’re simply looking for a lockdown gift for a partner or friend – there’s also the Happy Soul Box. The pastel-pink, $90 box includes a Surfer, some Generous Gel lubricant, and Happy Collective’s “In the Mood” essential oil.
“It’s just creating a lot of joy in a time that’s been pretty grim and dark, so I think delivering a Happy Box that has little Surfer in it and can put a smile on [someone’s] dial is just a fun and different way to delight your girlfriends.”
Happy Collective ships Australia-wide. You can listen to Happy Vibes here.