Lora DiCarlo founded her namesake brand in 2017 with a mission to create a more sexually equitable world. Prior to launching, the brand broke ground at CES, with its flagship product Osé, winning a coveted innovation award. However, the award was quickly rescinded when the CTA cited the product as “obscene”. Lora quickly became a vocal advocate for sexual wellness brands, stressing the importance of inclusion in the broader wellness category.
Continuing to garner accolades, the brand has seen explosive growth with over ten patents-pending for its award-winning technology. In addition to becoming a leader in wellness tech, Lora is building a team rooted in her founding principles of respect, empowerment, and integrity.
Q: What inspired you to found Lora DiCarlo and what were the main challenges you faced?
It all started when I experienced my first blended orgasm, which is where you stimulate the glans clitoris with a tongue on the outside, and the Clitoralurethralvaginal Complex (CUV) , formerly known as the G-Spot, with a finger on the inside. It was absolutely mind blowing. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and all I kept wondering was “how can I do that again?” But more importantly, “how can I do that again… by myself? That was powerful; how do I harness that kind of power on my own?” I went looking for a product that would recreate the experience and I knew I wanted something that was hands free, could fit my anatomy, and moved like a human partner. But after hours of research, I came to find that product did not exist. So then I started looking for the physiological data needed to engineer such a device, and I quickly learned that that didn’t exist either. So I got to work, and I began to collect the research myself. I started asking friends, family, and strangers, “Do you know where your clitoris is?... What about your CUV Zone (formally known as the G-Spot)?” I asked nearly 200 people, and there were three things that I learned immediately:
1. Initially, everybody was ashamed and embarrassed. But once they started talking, I couldn’t get them to stop.
2. Almost no one knew exactly where these pleasure points were, I had to teach people.
3. When I described the experience I wanted to create, every single person said emphatically, “I want that!! No! I need that!”
That is when I realized that there was a need in the market and truly a problem to be solved.
But, something so basic, so human, as sex… how is there no data? That has been one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced to date.
Q: Did you start the venture alone?
I can’t even imagine trying to tackle a feat as big as starting a company in an unmarketable space alone. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for mentors, family, friends, and my amazing team who truly believed in me and were willing and able to teach and help along the way. I had to come to terms with the fact that help is not a bad word, in fact, it’s the only way we have been able to scale this company at the breakneck speeds with which we have done so in the past three years.
But what I have learned is that no one will ever be as invested in you or your business as you are, so, that means that everyone is actually invested in themselves. So when you ask your team to work hard for you, make sure that their investment in your business is an equivalent to an investment in themselves. Live your values, support your team, invest in them, help them grow. Practice altruism; your investment in them is an investment in yourself.
Q: In your opinion, what are some key opportunities in the sexual wellness space going forward?
This is an industry that hasn’t seen much change in decades years, which is crazy when you think about it, because there is still so much to uncover. We’ve seen the $4 Trillion Health and Wellness industry absolutely take people by storm, but what hasn’t seen it’s full potential is sexual health and wellness, because it’s being excluded from the conversation. Despite the growth we’ve witnessed in the past decade, many corners of the world still considered sex to be taboo, shameful, and obscene, when, in fact, sexual health and wellness is health and wellness. There is so much potential to make sex a mainstream topic, but it's going to take a lot of collaboration and the continuation of many advocating for the normalization space.
Speak on telehealth??
Q: What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
At Lora DiCarlo, we embrace a truly inclusive culture rooted in our values of Respect, Empowerment, and Integrity; when every one of us can contribute, we begin solving problems that affect everyone. That means that I trust my team because we’ve hired the best, whether it’s top level experience, or entry level with top potential. We’ve created an environment where it’s safe to ask questions and failure is just a part of the process. As leaders, we prioritize an altruistic agenda… we instead of me. I believe in having a purpose-driven agenda, that focuses on three main principles:
- Curiosity - that strong desire to know, learn, and grow.
- Integrity - having the self-awareness or introspection to be truly honest with ourselves and with each other. We all have our biases, myself included, and it’s critical to become aware of them.
- Empathy - to truly take those biases out of the equation and see the world from someone else’s point of view
Our vision is to become the thought leader and primary driver in a sexually equitable world where individuality is celebrated and sexual exploration is praised.
Q: Do you think luck played a role in the success of Lora DiCarlo?
I believe that everything in life comes down to the choices we make. Opportunities present themselves, and we have the choice to either take advantage of those opportunities or to pass them up. We encourage our team to make decisions based on our values; ultimately values based decisions will never result in the wrong choice. I don’t know that I believe in luck, but I do believe that opportunity has presented itself in a number of ways throughout the lifetime of our company. Sometimes opportunity can actually look very similar to misfortune; had we not recognized those moments and taken action, we wouldn’t have the success that we have today. Perhaps that’s why some folks believe that you make your own luck.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I’ve always had big dreams, maybe too big for my own good sometimes, but the ideals that I have and the future I envisioned for this company has kept me focused and motivated. First and foremost I’d love to see Lora DiCarlo become a catalyst for change in terms of reshaping how sexual health and wellness are viewed by the mainstream population. I strongly believe that sexual health is just that, health, and I’d like to see sexual wellness become a cornerstone of the wellness category. On the business side of things, I have visions of growing and scaling the business to become an ecosystem of complementary consumer goods products making Lora DiCarlo a common household name around the world.
Q: If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
This is a great question and one I find quite funny… the first thing that comes to mind is wishing I would have trusted myself earlier. However, one can’t discount how frightening it is to go all in and even put your name on the product. I was afraid of failure and allowed the thought of letting others down hold me back. However, hindsight is 20/20; I look back and see plenty of mistakes and have found myself thinking “if I only knew then what I know now.” But I believe the mistakes and missteps are the only way we truly learn. If everything went according to plan and we don’t make any mistakes, what knowledge would we walk away with beyond what we already knew before?
Q: Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
My mother, she’s my inspiration and as a woman, it’s incredible to witness the strength of a mother get passed down through her daughter. She always identifyed as a feminist and I have so many memories from my childhood of my mother advocating for equality. One instance that comes to mind was when I joined the honor choir in fourth grade. I was so excited, however, my mother strongly disagreed with the rule that all girls were required to wear skirts. But, she knew how badly I wanted to participate, so she worked with the conductor to change the rules. Little did I know, I’d be doing something similar nearly two decades later with the Consumer Technology Association. The older I get, the more I see my mom in myself, and the more I give myself permission to embrace the qualities. She embodies compassion, humor, determination, stubbornness, strength, and integrity. I’ve always admired those qualities about her, and seeing how they have passed down has helped me embrace those similar qualities about myself. She has really helped me come into my own.
Q: What are your favorite books?
I love anything business or personal development related.
- Brotopia: Breaking up the Boy’s Club in Silicon Valley
- Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men - Caroline Criado Perez
- The Disruption Mindset - Charlene Li
- Dare to Lead - Brene Brown
- We should all be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Motivation Myth - Jeff Haden
- The Body Keeps The Score - Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
- Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls - Mona Eltahawy
- Hiking with Nietzsche - John J Kaag
But I can’t lie, I am a sucker for anything science fiction. Right now I’m reading The Enigma Cube by Douglas E Richards and I just finished reading the Vaughn Heppner Lost Starship series, and if you’re curious, yes, I’m a Trekkie.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Start somewhere. The hardest part is getting beyond the self-talk and self-doubt and just taking the first step. It’s not going to be perfect right away, so get that out of your head immediately and just jump into action. The only way to learn is by doing.