VIP Interview With Isabelle Deslauriers President & Founder Of Désirables
[DISCLAIMER: This is an interview by the Australian company Adult Smart with our founder Isabelle Deslauriers, you can read the original interview here. Cette entrevue sera traduite sous peu.]
Désirables Expérience Design Inc is a design company founded by Isabelle Deslauriers in 2011 who create all their products with love, passion, inspiration and integrity. Désirables specialises in designing adult lifestyle products that are made from ceramic, which is an environmentally friendly material that is also body safe. The sex toys they design are made with the well-being of people in mind – each and every products is finely handcrafted with ergonomic designs that are incredibly functional. Their sex toys use the idea that you are able to control the precise amounts of pressure to stimulate your erogenous zones. This is a VIP Interview with Isabelle Deslauriers president and founder of Désirables Expérience Design Inc.
Tell me about yourself?
Hello, my name is Isabelle Deslauriers and I’m the president and founder of Désirables Expérience Design Inc, better known as “Désirables”. I’ve studied interior and industrial design and I have a certificate in business creation. I’m from Quebec City, a gorgeous French & historic city in Canada. Apart from Désirables, my passions revolves around lots of good food, yoga and gaming on my PS4 every now and then. My father founded his company at our house when I was very young so I’ve always been interested in starting my own company.
What did you learn about the adult lifestyle industry when you studied Industrial Design at the University of Montreal?
I must say, the adult lifestyle industry is NOT something that you usually learn in Industrial Design, though I think you have a special program in Australia focusing only on sex toys. I had to learn more about this industry because I chose this subject as my final year project: How to create a bridge between design, sexuality and intimacy.
The first thing I learned was that there is really a style, an aesthetic appeal for everything. The industry is so huge that you have products for everyone in terms of looks and feel. I had to dig a little deeper to find the problems that I try to resolve with Désirables. With such a diversity in terms of materials, I wanted to know which one is perfect for internal use. That’s when I discovered the issue around Phthalates and “toxic-toys”. I also discovered some possible issues with repeated usage of vibrations. If you study sexuality as a phenomenon larger than just the act itself, you understand pretty quickly that you could learn something new every day for the rest of your life, because sexuality includes notions of biology, sexology, intimacy, spirituality and even neurobiology.
Did you always know you were going to create sex toys?
Until my last year of University I never tough of creating a sex toys business. With that said, during all my years as an industrial design student, I always found myself criticizing sex toys that I saw in design newsletter. So in my third year, my friends dared me to create sex toys for my final year project, the project that would represent me in all the design community. I like to tackle challenges and I’ve always been very curious about everything surrounding sexuality, especially since we don’t have a lot of basic sexual education in Canada.
What inspired you to create your own business?
The health issues that I found convinced me that I should use this project to start my own business, my solutions needed to be out there in order to give a healthier, more ethically responsible solution to everyone who would like a sex toy, especially people who needed to reconnect and rediscover their sexuality.
What was it like applying for grants?
I actually applied for grants while I was studying business creation, first because my teachers said that I could actually win this thing. But also because I’ve learn that if you don’t try the only reply you will receive is NO, but if you give it a shot there is a tiny possibility that you might receive a YES. Luckily enough, that year I received 3 grants that gave me the money and confidence to start my first production.
What was it like starring in Dragon’s Den? Was it scary? Would you do it again?
It’s definitely an experience I would recommend to any entrepreneur. I must admit that I wasn’t scared at all, after applying for grants and some contest I was already comfortable to do a pitch in front of potential investors. I think that what scared me the most was the reaction of the general public. The reaction was amazing and 3 years later, I still meet some people who recognize me from this show. Sex Toys Company presented by a young mid-twenty woman is definitely unusual. I would do it again, though we are actually thinking about starting a Crowd founding campaign for our next project revolving around pelvic floor health.
What is your design process like? What is your favourite part of the design process?
I love books and I love research, so the biggest part of my design process is research. I like to have a little information from every part of the “big picture” when I design. I must admit that at the time, I didn’t do enough research with actual people, I just asked everyone in my program what were their issues and what prototype they liked best. If I had to redo it, I would definitely talk to more people.
The design process for me was this:
- State the issue that you want to tackle, do research to see if this is really the issue that people have (At the beginning I thought that the aesthetic of sex toys was the biggest issue).
- Redefine the problematic with the new information we gathered.
- Propose 3-4 different solutions for the problematic.
- Choose 1 that inspires you the most, today I would use the Value Proposition Canva to help me choose what solution is the best to solve my customer problem.
- A lot of sketches, then you select between 5 and 10 that you like the most.
- Clay prototypes, because ergonomics in small scales objects is really essential. We wanted to create product that could be used by everyone at every age so we had to think about arthritis.
- After that I would choose my final form and print it with a 3D printer to see the final details. You can also more easily validate the product once it is in this form.
- We’re always in the design process even after a product is produce, for example, the Dalia that we are selling now is the fourth version since our launch. We take into account all our clients reviews and new technologies available.
- In the end, I didn’t have to do a lot of back and forth with my initial designs because the research was so thorough that every seemingly aesthetic decision I made was based on research.
For all our projects, for example every time we have to create a new packaging for the product, we print them in order to compare them and make our final selection. Never stay with your first idea folks; this is not how you can create real change/value.
What quote/s inspire you?
For Desirables, a quotes from Charles & Ray Eames always comes to mind:
“Take your pleasure seriously.”
Personally… I love the sarcasm of Oscar Wild:
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
They inspire me because it is sometimes hard to stand by your ideas when these decisions are hard. We chose to make all our production here in Canada with local ceramist, most business adviser would tell us to go product in China in order to make more profit. In the entrepreneurial life, you definitely need some quotes to help you keep your authenticity because it’s easy to make a decision based on the money over the quality of life, ethics are hard to visualize in an excel sheet.
What materials are your products made from?
Our products are made in… PORCELAIN! This material is really underestimated in the sex toy industry. It has every feature you would like in a great toy: heat transfer capabilities (you can cool it or warm it), super easy to clean, non-porous (It’s been cooked twice between 1000 and 1400°C), hypoallergenic, body-compatible, it gives a gorgeous and luxurious look, and most of all…It can last a lifetime (and more).
Most people think that porcelain is very breakable, it’s only partly true. Porcelain is fragile to “shocks”, if you drop it on the ground it will shatter. But, in use it’s one of the strongest materials out there. That’s actually what dentist uses for replacing teeth, and now they even use it to replace bones because the body doesn’t reject is as much as the one made of medical stainless steel. Because we are such big believers in the power of porcelain and because we know that an accident can happen with your toys, we offer a 5 years warranty, no questions asked, on all our porcelain products.
Désirables Expérience Design Inc products are vibration free – Why is it important to use toys that do not have vibrations?
We discovered that excess vibrations can create problems for the user, gradual desensitization that create what it’s called a “Plateau” effect. This means that with time, if you use vibrations regularly, you need to increase the strength of the vibrations in order to experience de same amount of pleasure. This is cause by the over stimulation of the nerves ending at the end of the clitoris. Vibrations are not inherently bad, it’s just the lack of information surrounding the use of vibrators that can cause harm in the long term. The mission of Désirables is to create tools to help people discover their body and take more time to experience pleasure. For me, vibrations carries a “performance issue” that place the achievement of orgasm above the pleasure of sexual encounters.
There are multiple benefits:
- Firstly, for G-spot stimulation there is no nerve endings that could be stimulated by the vibrations. To orgasm from the G-spot, pressure is the key.
- The absence of vibrations means that you will actually take the time to discover what brings you pleasure. Your partner cannot satisfy you if you don’t even know what you like.
- You don’t have to upgrade to a new toy after a few months because the original one isn’t strong enough anymore.
What are your best sellers?
Our best seller is definitely the Dalia, our porcelain dildo. When I started, I was sure that our massage stones would be the biggest seller because it’s such an innovation. We discovered that it’s so far from what people are used to see that they don’t understand at first glance what their function is. In stores, our massage oil is definitely a big seller too, its fragrance is so complex and delicate that some people actually want to buy it as perfume! The texture is pretty amazing too. Like our porcelain product, our massage products are design to be hypoallergenic, without any additive.
Désirables Expérience Design Inc had founded the Design & Intimacy Project – What is this project? How would you recommend couples communicate and use tools to explore their bodies for a better sexual lifestyle and relationship?
Actually this project is my Final Year project in Industrial Design, the project that started Désirables. You can find most of our findings in our booklets which are in every porcelain product box. In those, we give information about intimacy, sharing fantasies, the importance of using your 5 senses and even some yoga poses to help you release tension in your pelvic area.
What is your favourite moment from running Désirables Expérience Design Inc?
My favorite moments are definitely when I meet a customer in an event and they tell me how much my products helped them with their problems. From new moms to recently divorcees, I even had an older lady who just recently lost her husband and wanted to rediscover her sexuality. When I started this project I could never have imagine how much good design and a caring attention to details could really make a person’s life better.
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