Pleasure, Empowerment, and Style from Rianne S
The Dutch sex toy brand’s founder believes ‘women deserve beautiful sex toys.’
Rianne Swierstra, born into a family of entrepreneurs, dreamed of starting a condom company at age 14. The prophylactics business never materialized, but her dream of innovating in the sex space did. Rianne S, Swierstra’s eponymous brand, is on a mission to “make women and their partners happy” with thoughtfully designed, female-focused pleasure products. Swierstra talked to Quiddity about her local Amsterdam’s culture of openness, the message she hopes to spread with her brand, and how to introduce toys into the bedroom.
Please describe your background. How did you become interested in sex toys?
I grew up in the northern countryside of the Netherlands. My parents have always been free spirits, which helped me have an open mind when it comes to gender and sexuality issues. My family is full of entrepreneurs. At the age of 14, I had the idea to start my own condom factory with funny looking condoms (I never did. LOL).
As a young woman, it was difficult to know what I enjoyed sexually and where my boundaries were. What I like about sex toys is that they can help you discover what you like sexually.
What gave you the idea to launch your namesake collection of sex toys in 2010?
Ten years before founding Rianne S, I came across Hustler. The pink dildos that I saw in there did not appeal to me at all. Aesthetics have always been very important to me in fashion and in art, and I believe women deserve beautiful sex toys.
My mother always told me how important it is for women to be empowered. I really wanted to do something with that, empowering women. I gave the brand my own name to make a statement. I think that it’s easier for people to relate to the brand if there’s a real person behind it.
Rianne S is headquartered in Amsterdam. How does the local culture impact your brand?
Amsterdam is a very open-minded city, which has definitely influenced me. You are free to be whoever you want: gay, queer, female, male, and anything in between. I’d like to spread that message with my brand.
Women’s sexual wellness is my number one priority.
Can you describe your research and development process?
Women’s sexual wellness is my number one priority. In my opinion, female sexuality is even more complicated than male sexuality. We work with a testing team of various women of different ages and sexual preferences in order to develop the perfect products.
How are your products different from other sex toys?
Style and quality have always been essential characteristics of the brand. They also have great mainstream appeal and are well-priced.
Who is your target customer?
It’s the woman who is empowered, stylish, and loves sexual pleasure.
The Duo Vibe is specifically designed with couples in mind. What advice do you have for couples looking to integrate toys into their sex life?
Just do it! Once you get over any initial feelings of hesitation, there’s a whole new world to discover. I would buy something in a beautiful, specialized online store, or a nice physical shop where you can go and ask questions and find something that suits you and your partner.
What changes have you witnessed in the sex toy industry since you launched in 2010?
It has become much more focused on women and their pleasure. And so many toys are designed for couples these days. There are also many more brands. On one hand, it’s a good thing that there are way more cool products on the market, but on another, there are lots of brands just doing the same thing.
What’s next for Rianne S?
Designing many more fabulous products to make women and their partners happy.
Frances Thomas is a writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from NYU.