Barcelona-based Platanomelón is a sextech startup that seeks to end prejudices, ignorance, and taboos related to sex. Their sex toy e-commerce company is surrounded by a series of communication channels, user service dynamics, and community-building tools, creating a sexual revolution adapted to 4.0 company culture.
The startup’s work on sex education through tutorials and explanatory posts has led the company to build a community of more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube, and 660k followers on Instagram.
In this interview, Anna Boldú, CEO and co-founder, explains the startup’s journey and success recipe for strong community-building, as well as her vision on the future of the sextech sector.
Thanks for joining me today, Anna. First of all, what is your story? What motivated you to create Platanomelón?
Platanomelon.com was born with the aim to democratize the happiness and well-being of people by promoting self-esteem and improving complicity with your sexual partner.
Some years ago, in Spain, sex shops were dark, they were seen as something unhealthy and they were not characterized by responding to the needs of everyone. It is mainly for this reason that in 2014 Platanomelón.com was born and, in addition to being a sex toy store, is also a brand that breaks with this market trend by covering a wider audience (mainly people who have never experimented with toys) and shares the view that sex is as natural as going out to dinner, going to the cinema, or practicing sports.
In only six years and thanks to our business model, Platanomelón has shaken the existing stereotypes around sexuality, and broken taboos. All of this building a new status quo that has made us position ourselves as a leading company in the sector and it has allowed us to create a community with more than 2 million followers.
What differentiates Platanomelón from its competitors?
Platanomelón.com is more than a sex toy brand, thanks to the experience that is generated around it; the sale of our products accompanied by professional, up-close, and fun educational content as a source of learning and inspiration for many people.
In addition to offering quality products and an educational experience, Platanomelón offers direct and personalized attention through web chat, telephone, WhatsApp, and social networks, where we have experts who accompany the person through their process. We help you choose the toy you are looking for and answer all your questions.
Thanks to our experience and the feedback we receive from our users and clients, we can affirm that, with all this, we get people to have better self-esteem and therefore, to be happier.
We are trying to change the world as much as possible, through innovation and the development of quality products at an affordable price, but above all, through the creation of a new communication formula to promote new ways of understanding sexuality and living with it. Thanks to the humor, fun, and professionalism of our team of sexologists, we have managed to create the largest community in the world in this sector in a 100% organic way.
How have you seen the sextech sector change since Platanomelón was born, and how have your objectives and goals changed with it?
We believe that since 2014 there has been growth in the sector since taboos in our society have been broken throughout these years (because of many reasons). For our part, we have been generating content day after day to be able to naturalize sexuality and its enjoyment, but there have also been other players, such as new references in series like Sex and the City or movements in favor of women’s rights.
There has been a social change, a click in people’s minds that has generated more attention to sexuality, pleasure, and the clitoris. And we are proud to be one of the agents of change in this process.
Now, compared to 2014, the market is larger, more developed, and more vibrant than ever. Therefore, the objective must be to keep up, and that is what we do: keep innovating. For some time now we have had our own I+D department to focus on innovation 24/7.
Platanomelón has more than 1.31 million YouTube subscribers and more than 660k followers on Instagram. What tips do you have for building such a strong online community for a sextech company?
We establish a continuous and nutritious conversation with our community, completely bidirectional, and we grow with our audience, in addition to creating a relationship of trust with them.
We generate content on sex education that is extremely important since in this country there is a huge lack of education on this subject. However, in addition to teaching our community (the basis of our content is our sexology team), we also learn from them and we nourish ourselves with their questions, their queries, and their experiences.
What do you think is needed to break taboos and evolve at a faster pace?
Things grind slowly. It is a slow job but it is necessary to do it that way so that values are properly established. Erotic toys and the enjoyment of our own sexuality cannot be a temporary fashion; if we tried to change things too quickly, that’s what would happen.
Breaking taboos is not easy, and it does not happen overnight. Not at the individual level and much less at the collective level. We will continue creating content and trying to establish a conversation with new audiences, encouraging them to generate conversation for themselves and to take our message even further.
It all boils down to the fact that sex education can and should be carried out by different actors such as family or school, and achieving that is definitely not something that can or should be done quickly.
What are your plans for international expansion? Which markets are most important for Platanomelón and why?
We have already started to expand internationally, beginning with Mexico, where in just a few months we have already begun to position ourselves firmly and we have reached 100k followers on Instagram. We already had followers from Mexico which shows that there’s also interest in our message overseas. We are crossing the ocean hoping to achieve what we achieved here: that every day more people live a better sexual life and therefore, can be happier.
What are your predictions for sextech in the next 10 years?
There is definitely a lot to explore. We will innovate, explore, look for new ways. We can only make speculations about this but, are we heading towards a world with less skin-to-skin contact and more remote/solo playing? Will we have several toys in the drawer just as we have different make-up or clothes? Will we see technologies from other sectors applied to ours (electrostimulation, artificial intelligence, IoT, nanotechnology, etc.)?
We will discover it slowly and bear in mind all these trends in order to respond to the needs and desires of people in terms of sexuality – which, fortunately, is becoming more extensive thanks to a more open-minded society.