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#LifeLokal: Isabelle and Ava Daza's sexual wellness brand Jellytime breaks the stigma on using pleasure toys

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Nov 05, 2022 12:18 am

Let's face it. Not a lot of people have the guts to shop for sex toys or lubricants out in the open. Besides that it is taboo in predominantly conservative countries, it can also be confusing, especially for first-timers.

Who can blame you? There are a lot of choices you can find online with little guidance on which ones would suit your liking and budget. If you're wondering where to begin, local sexual wellness brand Jellytime will kick you (and your partner) off to a good start.

The brand was launched by celebrity sisters Isabelle Daza-Semblat and Ava Daza-Zanirato along with their cousin Martine Ho in April this year, with the goal to empower everyone—male, female, and LGBTQ+ people—to take sexual pleasure into their own hands without having to be ashamed of it.

In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe during Nala Women's "Let's Talk Ladies!" event on Sept. 15, Ava recounted how the brand started as a "passion project" before becoming a reliable companion for couples who want to revive the art of intercourse.

"Jellytime is a passion project but it's really because I love seeing a reaction out of people when I recommend something that I personally love," the mom of one started. "So I was telling [my older sister], 'Ats, you know you just have to try this.' She’s like 'You’re so weird... I don’t need that.' She actually walked away [and] I slipped it into her bag. And then two weeks later, she was like, 'Av, you know that thing you gave me? The thing that you put into my bag? The lube... Where can we get more?' And the same thing happened with all my other friends."

"When I realized all my friends or people around me didn't know it but when they tried it they loved it, I’m like, 'How many more people don’t know about lube?'" she continued, "And in the end, my sister and I and another cousin of mine created Jellytime."

The brand made its debut with a hypoallergenic, water-based lubricant, or lube, as its flagship product. Priced at P320, the FDA-approved Jellytime Lube promises customers a "slippery cushiony texture" and a "soothing, cooling effect" upon usage.

"Jellytime started off with just lube," Ava said. "It could be life-changing because for some who have been in a relationship for a long time, getting intimate takes a lot of mental effort, physical effort, and all of that. And sometimes, lube just makes it easier for you to get straight to it. It helps make everything smoother and comfier."

Three months later, Jellytime expanded to pleasure toys like the Bobble (P1,199), a six-centimeter vibrator with a "bulbous head" and 10 different vibration frequencies. Next was the Chinchilla (P1,499), a rabbit-looking toy that comes with seven different vibrations to bring pleasure to external areas of your body.

Much to everyone's surprise, both toys were approved—no, highly recommended even—by the Daza sisters' mom and Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz. During the Bobble's launch last July, the 71-year-old beauty queen went viral for uploading an unboxing video of the toy wherein she described it as one that "vibrates very fine... and then faster, faster... faster!" 

The video and its unexpected popularity still amuse Ava up to this day. The Sexytime Podcast host told PhilSTAR L!fe"You know what's so funny? My mom is exactly how she is in that video. It's really how she is in real life. So walang practice whatsoever. She just really loves the product."

And the celebrity entrepreneur said that it her mom's strong support for her business accounts much for its ongoing success. "My mom, she’s the number one supporter. She’s the most excited talaga, and I think that’s a big part of why we are where we are today," Ava explained.

"If my mom had told me, 'Ava, that’s weird. I don’t feel comfortable doing that,' I don’t think I would have done it because her approval was very important to me. Nothing else stopped me after that."

Can you tell us the story behind your name?

We wanted to make it sound fun, we didn’t want it medical, we didn't [want it] corny, or vulgar. I remember Martin was like 'Okay, what are the things that you remember when you talk about sex? How else do you call it?' We were like, “sleeping together," “making out," "being horny," "sexy time." We were like, 'Maybe we can do a sexy time jelly.' So it started with sexy time jelly.

And then we mocked up the logo. We were like, 'It's too much wordy.' So we were like okay, 'Let's rephrase.' One day, we were just,“Jellytime”. It's cute. I’ve been noticing now, a lot of people are messaging me, “Girl, we now call it jellytime every time we wanna do it."

How do you develop your products?

With the lube, it took us a year and a half to create that formula because we don't wanna just come up with a random formula. It's actually classified as a medical device by the FDA. It's not cosmetic because you put it inside you.

That's why when we created this I was like, 'It has to be healthy like the ingredients have to be clean. It has to be paraben-free.' I didn't like any fragrance at that time cause I just wanted very basic, easy to introduce, and most importantly, non-sticky and clean.

A lot of it is just us sitting down, brainstorming what works, and then testing it out with people. Even with our toys, we always ask people, 'How does this feel for you?'

Even our whole team—so we have females, males, LGBT—everyone always has an opinion. What we're trying to do is actually not just make it female-centered but we really wanted to expand it enough to penis owners, vagina owners—enough for everyone, that’s really our main goal. 

It was coming up with the perfect formula, making it affordable, and packaging it in a way that people don’t feel embarrassed buying it.

What was your market's reception of your brand?

Actually, it was overwhelmingly great. When we started with the idea, we thought it was crazy. Like this can either make us or break us. And up until the point that we posted for the first time to say that Jellytime is alive, I was so nervous, I didn’t sleep the night before maybe two nights na. 

But thankfully people were ready for it in the Philippines. I'm so happy that society is just open or ready… open-minded enough to be like, 'Okay, I need this. This isn't shameful. I’m happy to purchase this for my own well-being.' 'Yun yung goal talaga namin.

How do you make your Jellytime stand out from other sex toy brands?

I think one of our biggest things is the design. It has to be a type of design you wouldn’t be really ashamed to own it. ‘Cause a lot of times, people purchase, thinking, "E saan ko ilalagay yan?" 

So even when we design our toys, we wanted to make sure to put them in a nice pouch where you can store it in and include a pamphlet to tell you know how to use it. Because so many people are curious but don’t know how to use it.

Why is it important for you and your brand to educate people about sex? 

Coming from the Philippines, there’s no sex ed. The only education you have when it comes to sex is through pornography. And pornography is an unrealistic depiction of how it is to be intimate with someone. It is so important to be able to tell people what really is so.

For example, we had a director, she was from Sweden, and she told us that in Sweden they introduce sex education super early on and actually their teenage pregnancy rate is so low. Contrary to the misconception that the more you talk about sex, the more poeple would wanna do it.

It's actually the reverse—the more you talk about sex education, the more they become informed enough to make the right decision. So that's what we want to do in Jellytime. We want to give you fun, approachable, but also educational [materials].

Because at the end of the day, if we could find a way to encourage our government to incorporate sex ed into our program, we would have done our job. And we would be so happy.  

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What do you want your customers to feel about your products?

It's our company's motto that everybody deserves pleasure. And, you know, people are always ashamed to say, 'Ang sarap ng feeling.' Like, why? Why would you be ashamed to feel sexy. Everyone deserves that and that’s why we also say, “Sex care is self-care”. Part of that is taking care of your sexual needs and it's nothing to be ashamed of. You want to feel good; there is nothing wrong with that.