Pleasure Drum is an African themed wellness and pleasure brand created by tech exec, entrepreneur and mother Zuleika Philips, to help women achieve inner body confidence and satisfaction in the bedroom.
Describing herself as a “solutions evangelist”, 36-year-old Zuleika Philips is single mother/co-parent to her two boys, who has used the challenges of the last 10 months to propel herself into a new industry.
With a 15-year career in corporate IT under her belt, as well as being the founder of London Party Ideas, an events company that operates across London, Kent and Oxfordshire, Zuleika is a proud entrepreneur who enjoys starting up business ventures and her latest project, Pleasure Drum, ticks a lot of important boxes for her.
Keen to celebrate the West African side of her heritage (she’s also part Scottish), the Pleasure Drum range of products includes a range of intimate massagers, kegel balls, oils, lubricants and much more.
Following the successful launch of Pleasure Drum in October, Melan caught up with Zuleika to find out more about her exciting new brand.
What inspired you to start Pleasure Drum?
I started Pleasure Drum for three main reasons.
The pandemic affected the additional income I received from my events company with all bookings for 2020 needing to be cancelled and refunded.
With two sons at private school this change started to affect my personal outgoings and I needed to make the hard decision to pull one of my sons out of private school.
I knew I needed to create an additional income stream and with consumers now being forced to be at home and under travel restrictions I knew I wanted it to be an e-commerce store.
- George Floyd, Race Riots and Protests.
I am very afro-centric and am the individual always dressed in African cloth with head wrapped at awards shows. The visible unity and the emergence of platforms such as Black Pound Day and groups on social media now pushing Black owned businesses encouraged me to form an online store which reflected my love of my ancestry and heritage and wrap it in my culture.
A few other mum friends and I had an open discussion around the changes with our bodies since having children. I was astonished to see that so many of the women in the room were suffering from incontinence and had no researched solutions to resolve the issue. I realised this was a solution that I could bring to market.
The sexual pleasure industry is said to be worth $18 billion, why do you think we are only hearing of a Black owned brand in this space for the first time?
I am not the first of its kind although Pleasure Drum is the first African diaspora range of Wellness and Pleasure products based on the fact my products are dressed in African fabrics and rooted in culture.
With regard to other Black owned sex stores that sell purely pleasure products in the USA there is KinkCrate, Bedroom Kandi, Lylyth, Anya Lust, Kinky Choices and The Pink Purse, but shipping to the UK makes these choices financially testing.
In the UK I was really pleased to come across Black Honey Toys which sells sex toys using Black skin tones.
I would hope that we are now in a time where female pleasure is now riding shotgun rather than the backseat…
Sexuality and fertility is an intrinsic part of being an African woman, as depicted by the African Goddess of fertility, Osun, is it important we claim this identity?
Absolutely. I am a firm believer in the circle of life and the human race relying on childbearing women, regardless of race or heritage. Women in general have historically not been given a voice, struggled and still struggle with equality when we are the complete foundation for the evolution of existence. Yet even expressing our sexual wants, needs and desires have been restricted, silenced and are still judged by a high majority of society today. We need to start having the conversation and become more comfortable with things which are 100% natural.
Why do you think Black women shy away from talking about pleasure?
It certainly is an area of taboo but one which has been getting better in the last few years with access to social media and understanding that there are others in the world willing to not shy away from the subject matter.
Growing up, Black women in particular would be worried and concerned by public opinion. To express desires openly could lead to judgement and assessments of ‘whore-like’ behaviour.
Black society is heavily influenced by music and it has not helped that musicians have found it comical and sellable to easily voice such judgements and negative names and connotations for women who have enjoyed such freedoms as owning their own bodies and sensuality.
They still are not being held accountable for a lot of judgements, stereotypes, negative language, terms and slurs they have popularised in modern society.
Do you think there is an age divide when it comes to using pleasure products?
Given my tech background I cannot help but follow data trends and I spend a lot of my time going over my customers data and social media traffic. My customers’ age range ranges between 18-44.
My customers on the younger scale typically purchase The AMA and KWESI vibrators for personal pleasure and are predominantly female.
My customers aged 32+ are my highest buyers for The ABEYO “bringer of happiness”, special Kegel balls to tighten the vaginal wall and pelvic floor. These are typically both male and female, I expect this is because it also acts as a couple’s toy as it has a separate remote control.
We are going through a digital and sexual transformation where access to information is more readily available and online purchases are on the rise with an expectation of quick delivery.
The range includes ‘Kegels’, how can they help new mothers?
The range can assist all mothers, no matter if their child is three months or 10 years.
The pelvic floor is like an elasticated hammock which is stretched whilst supporting the weight of a baby in the womb. When the baby leaves the womb, regardless of a natural or C-section delivery, the pelvic floor will not be able to return to its natural state without strengthening support and exercises.
Some women can live with the changes as they are not greatly noticeable, for example, they may only be able to hold their bladder for 90 mins, where previously they could hold it for three hours.
Others will be impacted by what is known as ‘Stress incontinence’ which means they could suffer from slight leakages when they cough, sneeze or laugh. Kegel Balls will help improve things in either scenario. Simply by doing 20 minutes of exercises once a day for a few weeks.
Our Kegel products will also improve intimate relations. As well as strengthening the pelvic floor, the balls will also help to tighten the vaginal birth canal and make sex with a partner fit like a glove.
As well as strengthening the pelvic floor, the balls will also help to tighten the vaginal birth canal and make sex with a partner fit like a glove.
What’s the most popular items in the range?
The AMA which is our vibrator with 10 modes is our most popular range. We also have a most popular fabric bag which is our Kente Yellow, but each customer has their own preferences.
The popularity of the products, especially Covid, has allowed me (thankfully) to put my other son back on the waiting list for the private school his brother is still attending.
Female pleasure often takes a back seat, and the idea of Pleasure Drum range brings it front and centre. Was this one of your intentions?
I wanted to start having the conversation. My intention was to create a product that could solve the problem of my inner circle suffering from incontinence since childbirth. As I started to investigate this further and composed some market research with my target audience to what other products they wanted to see in the portfolio, the common thread was pleasure products to spice up their marriage or relationship.
I would hope that we are now in a time where female pleasure is now riding shotgun rather than the backseat but if it isn’t, send my website link to your spouse or any friend who is content to satisfy themselves.
Who are your products aimed at?
Primarily, women of African descent, which is the reason why the names of the products are West African. The packaging is rooted in heritage and the fabric bags are a mix of Kente and Ankara with Barkcloth, Oke and Kintenge due to be released in the New Year.
That said, anyone with a love of this culture will naturally be our key audiences. I have seen quite a few of my buyers from all races, sexes and backgrounds.
Own your body, own your voice, experience orgasms either alone or with someone you want to share a genuine smile with.
What other products are you working on in the range?
We have additional couples’ products currently being manufactured which include wedge cushions for increased penetration and depth. We also have hen party gifts which include miniature bullet vibrators.
Any last words to readers who may be a little shy about getting Pleasure Drum products?
Own your body, own your voice, experience orgasms either alone or with someone you want to share a genuine smile with. Invest in products that can change your world because life is too short to be concerned about anyone’s opinion but your own.
Visit the Pleasure Drum website.