Empowering Sexual Wellbeing: Hugh Crothers’ Mission with drip

In our chat with Hugh Crothers, the brains behind drip, we dive into his inspiring journey from exploring his own sexuality to creating a brand that’s all about embracing every aspect of sexual wellness.

Hugh’s story is a heartfelt one, starting as a young queer person searching for honest, unbiased info about sex, which wasn’t easy to come by. This quest led him to craft drip, blending top-notch Aussie botanicals and ingredients with a big dose of genuine care. He shares how Australia’s stunning nature inspired the feel-good formulas of drip’s range, and how the brand’s inclusive mantra, ‘everybody drips differently,’ guides everything they do.

Hugh also sheds light on drip(feed), the educational side of the brand, which is all about offering a safe, welcoming space for people to learn and explore their sexuality.

Hugh, it’s fascinating how drip combines high-quality ingredients and Australian botanicals in its products. Can you share the story behind choosing these specific elements for your brand? 

I wasn’t ever a very proud Australian when I was growing up. I found conservative 90s Australia really backward, and something I was embarrassed by; Indigenous inequality, refugee and asylum seeker policies and our inability to sign the Kyoto protocol in the Howard era of politics was and still is so horrendous. However, I find Australian nature and beauty something to be so, so proud of.  

Our native fauna and flora are just spectacular. It was only in my early 30s that I really started to develop a true appreciation for the natural environment most Australians have at their fingertips. I think the inclusion of these ingredients in our formulations relates to that appreciation.

If we are going to have all of our products made here in Australia, it’s important for us to take cues from the natural environment and ingredients that are nourishing to the skin, moisturising and feel great. I think there are examples of great Australian skin care brands leaning into this and our environment – something I hadn’t really seen expressed in a range of sexual wellbeing products before.  

Australia has a long way to go on a range of issues, but I think the world appreciates our natural beauty and communicating our natural environment through Australian products they consume. There is a perfect blend in our safety and quality standards with our endless natural beauty and lifestyle that has seen so many homegrown brands be wildly successful locally, but also overseas.  

You’ve mentioned that drip aims to cater to the curious and diverse. How do you ensure your products and messaging resonate with such a wide audience, especially in a field as personal as sexual wellness? 

Our tagline ‘everybody drips differently’ acknowledges that everyone’s sexual journey is completely unique, and that sexy comes in all shapes, sizes, ages and orientations. This messaging is on our website and packaging to ensure all who come across our brand and products feel welcome.

We deliberately keep our packaging pretty minimal and have taken inspiration from brands that lean into minimalism. We want our products to feel utilitarian, approachable and accessible, while still feeling luxurious. Why do household names with cheap and tacky branding have to be the bar we set? Generally, we cater to a 25+ audience – you need to have tasted bad food to appreciate good food and sexual wellbeing products shouldn’t be any different.  

Whether you’re newly 18 and have recently come out, or you’re a single woman in your 60s, I like to think drip is a product that will help bring you pleasure no matter what your practices are; keeping our messaging and branding to be warm and welcoming is pretty key to that. Sex is so universal yet still so taboo for so many.

I always open my pharmacy store training sessions with, “Hey, today we are going to talk about sex. I know that isn’t a normal thing to discuss for some people with colleagues, in workplaces, in families or even with your partner in some relationships. I just want to acknowledge that – so, if anything I say today makes you feel uncomfortable, please let me know. I’m not here to make anyone feel like that.” I love being able to talk to people about such a sensitive and intimate aspect of their lives.   

I’m intrigued by the educational aspect of drip(feed). What inspired you to create this platform, and how do you see it evolving to support individuals exploring their sexuality? 

drip really is a love letter to my 18-year-old self. As a young, queer person who had only recently come out, I struggled to find education and unbiased information about sex and intimacy, and I had to really seek it out.

School was a bit of a desert when it came to sex ed and so are most family homes. I found I learned a lot of what I know about sex from older men in the queer community which I’m so grateful for, but it would have been nice to have had some free, community informed resources at my disposal to explore on my own.  

After working in Architecture & Interior Design for four years, I’d had enough and decided to join our family business (Substance) in 2016. After working in sales and marketing for several years, I became acutely aware that in the ‘family planning’ or ‘sexual wellness’ category, Aussies didn’t have a lot of choice when it came to premium sexual wellbeing products that were locally made.

I wanted to bring together my passion for design, health and sexual exploration together and build a community and a content platform that would be both inspiring and informative. The whole point of drip is to build confidence and camaraderie around sexual exploration. Of course, everything we are talking about only relates to consensual practices between adults.   

You could be a well-versed kink enthusiast, a postpartum woman or perhaps you’re considering a threesome for the first time – whatever the interest, drip is here to support you. Our products are designed to help ensure those experiences are pleasurable and that’s why we’ve built a knowledgeable community that can provide you with answers to questions or interests you may have.

We have a really fabulous roster of contributors to the drip(feed) who come from all walks of life which includes sexologists, therapists, pleasure coaches, physiotherapists, artists, queer writers, disability awareness consultants, and more. It really is a ‘it takes a village…’ kind of community space. Two and a half months in, I hope the drip(feed) becomes a bit of an archive and I hope we can see progress taking place as we reflect on articles from five or six years ago.  

Reflecting on your own journey and the challenges you faced in understanding your sexuality, how does drip contribute to creating a more inclusive and open conversation about sexual wellness in society? 

When I was growing up, sex wasn’t something that we talked about openly in our household. To be honest, I think my mum didn’t even mention her period when we were kids. Since leaving home, I often disclosed being gay with friends or colleagues, and I found early on straight friends would confide in me.

It was like I had been vulnerable through that disclosure, and now they had too. This sort of snowballed and I often found I would be a welcome pair of ears anytime anyone had had a unique experience. It is with this level of openness and curiosity we try to approach all of our subjects and topics – kind of like an agony aunt or uncle, without being creepy or weird.  

Sex and intimacy are a fundamental part of the human experience, but they’re rarely talked about in the same way as other key components of holistic health needs such as food and water. It also isn’t something that we should be ashamed of or feel that we have to hide.

So long as you’re a consenting adult, we want to encourage real talk about real sex and we do this by sharing stories and insights from people from diverse backgrounds and sexual experiences.

What’s more, drip products are designed to sit on your bedside table not stashed away and hidden in your bottom drawer. By making these products be more visually pleasing and less intimidating or ‘X-rated’, it means the conversation can flow a lot easier and feel far less scary.  

In a market that’s often crowded with stereotypes and one-dimensional approaches, how does drip distinguish itself and uphold its commitment to authenticity and diversity? 

Fundamentally, our origins are authentic. drip didn’t come about through a bunch of het-cis-white men/women sitting in a boardroom trying to be PC or capitalise on the ‘pink dollar’. We don’t do our Mardi Gras campaign or pink wash our logo for Pride month. It is actually relatively easy when you are from the community you are trying to serve. That way it doesn’t come across as ‘put on’ or virtue signalling.  

It’s really important that everything drip stands for, says, makes and does, adds rather than detracts from sexual experiences and pleasure. We are committed to making quality products locally that are gentler on the environment and supporting causes important to the LGBTQIA++ community.

From every drip sale, 5% goes towards our community partners and we allow our customers to choose from either Scarlet Alliance (peak body representing sex workers), Black Rainbow (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTIA+SB social enterprise) or Bump’n (the first disability driven sex toy) at checkout. 

By purchasing drip products, you’re also helping feed sex positive content and supporting our community of artists, writers, musicians, therapists, DJs, sex coaches, educators and academics who contribute their time and expertise to the drip(feed).  

Looking towards the future, what are your aspirations for drip, both as a brand and as an educational platform, in the landscape of sexual wellness? 

I hope the drip(feed) will continue to create free, unbiased content that is community informed. With such a boom in professionals in this space now, I hope we can continue to platform their voices. I want to continue to open people’s hearts and minds to get closer to their authentic selves and encourage forms of self- expression.

drip will keep innovating regarding our products. I’m a big believer in always striving for improvement. From our purpose, to our design, to our formulations, we are good at creating products based on true use and function through our community’s experiences.

We’re always asking ourselves, ‘How can we continue to design products that encourage people to be liberated and free?’ ‘How can we encourage safe and exploratory behaviour among adults?’ When your sex life is fulfilling, everything else in life can feel pretty great. It is a pretty awesome barometer. Ultimately, we just want to keep adding to people’s lives in a positive way.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.