Three women launched India’s first doctor backed s*xual wellness & pleasure brand, served 7000 women and growing 25% month on month

In 2022, Three women – Aishwarya Dua, Karisma Chavan and Dr. Nikita Dound launched Sassiest, India’s first doctor backed sexual wellness & pleasure brand that offers sex aid (pleasure) products while providing a safe space for women to talk about their sexual health issues. 

The trio co-founders came forward to discuss their sexual healthcare brand journey with Startup Pedia

The beginning of Sassiest 

Aishwarya Dua, co-founder and CEO of Sassiest, started the R&D in 2021 while coming out of a physically and mentally abusive relationship. She shared with Startup Pedia, “I realised that it’s probably not only me who went through such abuse, there must be many like me.” 

Her first startup, Youthance, was an hourly job portal providing part-time jobs to youth, which failed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When Aishwarya started reaching out to her friends, she discovered they all had missing puzzles in their marriages – physical, mental and sexual health or all three. 

She reflected, “I started looking for more people and approaching them. I was also prescribed medications by my psychiatrist. The need of the hour was not medicines; I realised I needed a platform to discuss what I was going through.” 

The CEO of the sexual healthcare startup soon found a purpose and reason to go on with her R&D for Sassiest. She reached out to over 100 women, and by May 2021, she had answers from many. She found that 80% of women were comfortable taking their issues to a platform like Sassiest. 20% of women had no response as they were too shy to talk freely about their sexual health. 

A study by the National Library of Medicine shows that 64% of women can’t talk freely about their sexual health, even to their partners. This topic has been veiled in secrecy for generations and shrouded by stigma.

While Aishwarya was building the healthcare side of Sassiest and wanted it to be a holistic brand with sexual healthcare services, Karishma Chavan and Dr Nikita Dound joined the advisory board of Sassiest as co-founders. They came to know each other through mutual friends. 

Karishma Chavan, Co-Founder and CBO of Sassiest has previously worked as a director and choreographer for over 95 advertisements and 25 films.

The CBO of Sassiest was going through a divorce when the startup came into existence. She recalled, Problems regarding sexual and mental compatibility crept into our relationship and I decided to put an end to that after seven years. During this period, I was looking for non-judgmental spaces to express myself and my partner to get help. Sadly, there was no such space.” 

Karishma and her co-founders understood that there was a lack of space, especially for women. “It was easy to put a vibrator in someone’s hand and ask them to use it, but we wanted to impart the right education and spread awareness. We wanted to make sure that the people are mentally taken care of,” said the CBO of Sassiest. 

Sassiest, being a sexual health and wellness startup, felt the importance of being backed by non-judgmental doctors. This is where Dr. Nikita Dound comes into the picture. Nikita, an MBBS graduate, comes from a family of doctors. Her mother is a gynaecologist, and her father is a paediatrician. Before joining Sassiest, Nikita worked with her parents at their nursing home in Mumbai. She was a practising sexologist & general physician  

Aishwarya Dua, Karisma Chavan and Dr. Nikita Dound - Co-founders of Sassiest
Aishwarya Dua, Karisma Chavan and Dr. Nikita Dound – Co-founders of Sassiest

Nikita added, “Being a doctor, I was often approached by friends and acquaintances  who wanted to discuss their sexual health with me.” She is the co-founder and CHO at Sassiest. 

While growing up, she realised that queer inclusivity, even in healthcare in India was less. The CHO was trying to figure out her sexual orientation  and wanted to share what she was feeling. 

She further added, “When I spoke to my colleagues, they would ask me to ignore my thoughts because, in medical books, homosexuality is a perversion. We are not told how to express, feel safe, talk about our feelings,  and instead are judged.”

Three women from different walks of life decided to come together and establish Sassiest, a bootstrapped Mumbai-based startup, in 2022 with only five SKUs. Sassiest began with an investment of close to Rs. 45 lakh. 

Sassiest in detail

The sexual health and wellness startup has a wide range of products in categories like pleasure and hygiene. It also provides free online consultation by their team of qualified doctors with every purchase. Their products are US FDA-approved. 

Sassiest Ladylike Full Body Massager
Sassiest Ladylike Full Body Massager

Going in-depth about the products, CHO Dr. Nikita Dound said, “Our products are discreet in design, made by US FDA approved body-safe silicone, have multiple modes of vibration and are useful not only in enhancing pleasure but also in solving sexual dysfunctions.” 

The hygiene range includes intimate washes for both men and women. These are all-natural, scientifically proven products with no parabens or sulphates and are dermatologically tested. Sassiest’s lubricant and oil are also free from harmful chemicals or glycerin and are water-based (only lube is water based). The oil is made using aphrodisiac ingredients, so it works with aromatherapy and helps increase libido and enhance pleasure. 

The sexual healthcare brand has a team of doctors and experts consisting of gynaecologists, sexologists, mental health coaches, pelvic floor rehab specialists, and relationship and intimacy coaches. People can either opt for individual consultations or have curated care packages. Sassiest also offers packages and consultations for those who want to explore their sexuality and understand where they fit.

Sassiest operates online and can be reached from any part of India. They presently have 14 SKUs. The sexual issues they deal with are female sexual dysfunction like vaginismus, dryness or pain, not being able to achieve orgasms, low libido, etc. The sexual healthcare startup educates people about boundaries, pleasure focused sex-ed, and prioritising mental & sexual health. 

It has catered to around 7,000 customers. It has built a community with over 21,000 people. The company had provided 4,000 free consultations in its first one and a half years. 

Sassiest’s consultations start from Rs. 500 and go up to Rs. 1,500. The healthcare packages range from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 7,000. The massagers vary from Rs. 3,999 to Rs. 6,000, while the lubricant and oil are priced at Rs. 799. 

Sassiest Pleasure Lube
Sassiest Pleasure Lube

Started by 3 women, Sassiest is now a brand with five in-house members on the board and other teams like agency, website, marketing, design and content. The co-founders of a Mumbai-based sexual healthcare brand believe they have created a category in a market like India where issues related to sexual health are often swept under the carpet. 

We are becoming popular, and other business founders are talking about us. Our work is greatly appreciated,” claimed the CEO, Aishwarya Dua. 

She added that nobody expected a brand like Sassiest in India, where pleasure and health would co-exist. Many brands talk about men’s sexual health; Sassiest is the first to talk about women’s. Through its podcasts and social media campaigns, the Mumbai-based startup is spreading awareness to kill taboos related to sexual health. 

Sassiest’s customer base increased from 2,000 in the first year to over 5,000 next year. The Mumbai-based sexual healthcare startup has observed 25% month-on-month growth so far.

Future Plans for Sassiest 

As Sassiest charts its course forward, the startup plans to launch more products and aims to gain 20,000 customers in the coming year, spreading its wings in tier-II and tier-III cities.

The startup is in talks with investors to raise funds to achieve its goals.   

FAQs

What is Sassiest? 

Sassiest is a Mumbai-based sexual healthcare brand that sells sex aid (pleasure) products while providing a safe space for women finding it difficult to talk about their sexual health. 

What are the products Sassiest sells? 

Sassiest sells pleasure products (massagers), intimate washes, lubricants,intimate massage oil, etc. 

How to reach out to Sassiest for sexual healthcare consultation? 

People can reach out to Sassiest through its website and social media pages for sexual healthcare consultation. 

Where can I find sexual healthcare products? 

Mumbai-based sexual healthcare brand Sassiest sells sex aid products online. 

Women sexual healthcare startup in India?  

Sassiest is a Mumbai-based sexual healthcare brand catering to women.