DTC Sexual Wellness Specialist Cake Launches With Over $1.4M In Seed Funding
A cream made for male masturbation? A lube intended for beginner anal play?
Launching today, Cake is betting on consumer demand for premium and highly specialized products designed to enhance sexual experiences regardless of the gender or sexuality of its customers. Investors are betting on it, too. Founded by Hunter Morris and Mitch Orkis, the new Los Angeles-based brand has raised a $1.435 million seed round from direct-to-consumer heavyweights led by Brand Foundry Ventures with participation from Brian Spaly, co-founder of Trunk Club and Bonobos, Roth Martin, co-founder of Rothy’s and Finn Capital. The funding will be put toward product assortment and employee expansion.
Morris and Orkis connected at their previous positions. Morris, COO of luxury watch club Watch Gang until recently, met with Orkis, formerly chief strategy officer at creative agency Frank Collective, about a possible Watch Gang rebrand. Though the rebrand never happened, the two kept in touch. When Morris had the idea for a sexual wellness company, he reached out to Orkis, who worked closely with period care brand Lola on its visual and verbal identity. Orkis was convinced they could offer a unique take on sexual wellness.
“The entire reason we started a company is because we couldn’t find the products that spoke to us out there,” says Orkis. “And, the more people we talked to, the more they didn’t see themselves reflected.”
Priced from $12 to $28, Cake’s initial products include Feel Fresh wipes for pre- and post-sex cleanup; Tush Cush, a jelly for beginner anal play; Backside Slide, a long-lasting silicone lubricant for anal play; and Toy Joy, a jelly for use with sex toys. Additionally, the brand has products like organic lubricant Get Naked and cream Motion Lotion that can be used with a partner or solo. Motion Lotion starts as a thick cream before turning into a gliding lotion and then transforming into a moisturizing lube.
“None of these big lube brands are selling anything that talks about men’s masturbation or penis masturbation or self-play,” says Morris. “So, for us, it’s really thinking about what our actual sexual routines and activities look like, and talking to a really wide diverse group and audience and seeing what products just aren’t out there that are talking to the way you play. The way people are having sex just wasn’t reflected in the actual products that we saw.”
Cake products are selling on its website, and the brand’s subscription program provides 15% off regular prices. “This is obviously a replenishment-type product,” says Morris. “We are hopeful that a lot of our customers will find subscriptions in this space helpful to not run out of product, especially with solo play products and those everyday lubes.”
Cake is open to retail partnerships in the future. “We are really focusing on how to deliver the best experience and make this cohesive from guidance, content, product, and make people really great customers over a long period of time,” says Morris. “Retail is definitely something we’re interested in, but it’d be about finding the right partner and making sure that it’s changing the sex aisle for the better and that we have a good footprint in there.”
“The way people are having sex just wasn’t reflected in the actual products that we saw.”
Amid the pandemic, sexual wellness has been a strong category. Foria Wellness, for example, reported sales are up 60% year-over-year, and sex toy specialist Unbound has registered a 150% sales jump since shelter-in-place orders went into effect in March.
“When you look at it through the lens of the sexual health and intimacy market, it’s been really positive for the space,” says Orkis. “People are staying home more often and really taking this time to explore pleasure and intimacy in different ways, whether it’s 100% by yourself or with a partner. I think we’re seeing that both are growing and people have a big desire for products and guidance in the space.”
He emphasizes supplying guidance clearly and with zero shame is a tenet of Cake. Products such as Tush Cush, Toy Joy and Motion Lotion come with informational booklets. Orkis says, “For Tush Cush, it’s a beginner’s guide to butt sex, everything that you need to know to have a pleasurable and not painful experience. That’s so key because that particular experience can be painful if you do it the wrong way.”
While future products may evolve from liquids to solids, lube’s universal utility means it will always be a centerpiece of Cake’s selection. “Lube is one of those things that can help everyone have a better sex life, no matter what your gender is, what your sexuality is, who you like to play with, how you like to play, it makes it a more pleasurable experience, period,” says Orkis. “If we can get people to recognize that and then use a much better quality product, I think I’ll die a happy man.”