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Meet the Makers: HANX

meet the makers

Meet the Makers: HANX

Ali LawrenceSeptember 2, 2019

Learn all about the love story between co founders and best friends, Farrah and Sarah.

We’ve got a little crush on  HANX condoms.

Not only are they easy on the eyes, but they’re designed by women, for women with the highest-quality and body-safe materials - and, they have been thoughtfully constructed to be odorless. Have we got your attention yet?

Not to mention, we love the love story between their founders, best friends, Farrah and Sarah.

Close since high school, Farrah and Sarah set out on a mission to bring something to the marketplace that would not only revolutionize carrying condoms into an appealing accessory but de-stigmatize sexuality as well.

HANX is leveling the playing field, and it’s a welcome sight to behold.

“Why in this day and age should women feel shame about buying condoms?”

Pepper: How did you two end up making condoms?

Sarah: At the time, Farrah was working in finance; I was working in medicine. Farrah and I were both overworked, and we had a random Monday off and had lunch and a few glasses of wine together. And we were just talking like friends, and she bumped into her boss buying condoms - she was absolutely mortified by the whole thing. She was sure that the whole team and boss would think that she was a hussy and was getting into some business at lunchtime, and all these thoughts are going around her head. And I guess that was the moment that we started talking more about how it's still very taboo to carry condoms, especially as women. Meanwhile, I was seeing women in the clinic with really difficult to treat STIs and unwanted pregnancies. We thought actually, why in this day and age should women feel shame about buying condoms?

Pepper: What are the core values of HANX?

Sarah: We wanted to be the "go-to" condom, so we did a lot of research here in London to see what the market wanted, in particular, what women wanted from a male condom. Often, we are overlooked in this process, but at the end of the day a condom often ends up inside a woman! We have always wanted to be sustainable, vegan and produce high-quality products as a business. Hence, we stood by these values from the start, and have always had women in mind when developing our product.

Pepper: Tell us more about the process of developing a vegan, no scent condom?

Sarah: This was a long process, as we were keen to get the right manufacturer, that we trusted and had the ability to produce a high-quality product for us. A lot of researching, manufacturer visits, and medical testing was needed. Our condom combines what we believe to be all the premium aspects into one lovely package... ultra-thin, fair-trade and sustainable latex, vegan certified, 100% natural, biodegradable and clean scented (no tacky smell upon opening).

Pepper: What have been some of the challenges in developing HANX?

Sarah: So I guess some more negative things would be when we'd be in an investment meeting, people would treat us as though were two little girls, or like they didn't really think that we had a business. It was a tough slog I think. Raising money in sexual health and consumer products in the U.K. is tough, and there's still a bit of a stigma around it. So I think we definitely had ups and downs with the investment side, but we got some great investors on board now.

Pepper: How do you share the responsibilities and maintain balance in the company?

Sarah: Well, in terms of skill sets, Farrah's obviously the numbers, which is great. She does all the accounting and finance parts of the business. I'm a little bit more creative, but also I've got my medical background, and I worked in sexual health clinics as a gynecology doctor. So I've got insight into female health, sexual health, and the content side around that, and the marketing too. I think Farrah's definitely a night owl. She works late and comes to life later on in the day. I'm much more of an early bird, which works. We balance each other out that way. Different things irritate each other, but we just know how to deal with each other now. And I think a really important aspect with working together is that we're super honest, and there nothing's too big. If there's an issue about anything, we talk about it.

Pepper: What’s your strategy or practice for getting back on track when you and Farrah run into an issue interpersonally?

Sarah: In terms of when we're irritating each other or things are going badly, or we're in a bad mood, we just take time out. I think it's important. We're almost like siblings. We can wind each other up if we're in that kind of mood, so we have to just take time out, and just be like, okay, I'm not gonna talk to you when you're like this or vice versa. And then even within half an hour, things tend to settle down. And then we connect.

“I think there aren't enough open spaces to feel comfortable and talk openly and honestly about sex.”

Pepper: Around the Hanx office, does everyone talk about sex all the time?

Sarah: Yeah, we can't get away from it. We talk about sex all the time. Within the team, we're always talking about our personal experiences as well. And I think there aren't enough open spaces to feel comfortable and talk openly and honestly about sex. So yeah, we definitely do in our workplace.

Pepper: How has developing condoms changed your own sex life?

Sarah: So my boyfriend calls me a sex person now, since launching HANX. Because obviously, I talk about condoms and sex products all the time. So that's quite funny. I guess it brought up lots of topics in terms of why we're really encouraging women to take control of their sexual health without shame or embarrassment. And what comes with that is women knowing what pleasures them, and I think there's a big stigma about women not knowing what feels good to them, whereas there's a lot of entitlement to male pleasure out there. So I think talking about what's good, what's not, trying different things, and just being open with regards to sexual wellness. Yeah, just nothing's too taboo anymore.

“You're not gonna deepen your connection if you're not completely honest and open about things you're feeling or concerns you have.”

Pepper: What are three tips you’d give to partners wanting to know how to sustain a positive connection?

Sarah: So I think number one would be: trust. I don't know whether that's a tip, really, but trust each other and be open with each other. You're not gonna deepen your connection if you're not completely honest and open about things you're feeling or concerns you have. And then again, with that comes the trust. So you have to trust each other implicitly to really deepen that connection. Communication would be another one. So it goes along with the first one, but just talking about how you're feeling or your thoughts definitely helps. I think also letting each other do your own thing and having your own life is important, whatever kind of relationship it is. Because you can't do everything together. I know I said Farrah and I have done so much together, but we do have our own lives and we do things so that when we come together, we have different things to talk about and different things that have stimulated us. So I think having your own interests is important, based on whether it's a relationship in a marriage or a friendship, or whatever it is.

Thanks for the business and partnership inspo, Sarah. In our estimation, you and Farrah aren’t just condom makers, you are changemakers, and we’re keeping our eyes out for what comes next!

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