Crave Creativity: Gives Pleasure Seekers What They Want
San Francisco-based luxury sex toy manufacturer Crave entered the pleasure products marketplace unconventionally. Last September, the company’s debut product — the Duet, a cordless, compact luxury massager featuring USB capability and two powerful micro motors in a unique “split tip” — became the first-ever crowd-funded sex toy with more than 900 donors supplying more than $100,000 for its development.
The concept behind Crave is the coming together of high-tech, luxury design and pleasure products. The founders of the company believe that in a world where design-centric consumer products surround us, pleasure products fail to meet the expectations and desires of the modern woman.
“We tend not to look at the current landscape of products,” Crave co-founder Michael Topolovac said. “We look at the audience and explore their needs. The desires and needs of female consumers are really disconnected from what is available — it’s a novelty- based industry as opposed to a modern consumer marketplace.”
Topolovac is a “serial entrepreneur” who’s earlier accomplishments include developing an underwater imaging equipment company, and wrote software that led to the founding of Arena Solutions, a pioneering company in cloud computing.
”My expertise was more tech-focused — I provide a design palette of materials and technology for Crave,” he said.
Topolovac met Crave founder Ti Chang at a tradeshow after having launched a company called Incognito to bring high-end design to the pleasure products market.
“Duet has been around for about a year in its pre-release stage,” Chang said. “Now we’re continuing to expand with new distributors. Crave had been around for a couple of years before the launch — two years prior, we launched Incognito.”
According to Chang, Crave’s designs are based on extensive customer research to understand exactly what they are looking to get out of the product. In their research, Crave found an overwhelming demand for a household product — one that’s rechargeable but doesn’t need an elaborate charging mechanism. “It’s an ordeal when there’s a base and plug-in involved,” Topolovac said. “It isn’t the charging that makes a good product. With USB, you can charge all over the world. Crave is for the jet-setter, and the memory allows her to store her private content.”
The small metal base of the Duet detaches and plugs into any standard USB port, where it will recharge fully in under two hours. The base also helps keep the vibration at the silicone tips of the vibe and not in your hand.
The Lux edition of the Duet offers 8GB or 16GB of storage and is adorned with 24kt gold plating.
The purpose of the unique split tip of the Duet is for it to completely surround the clitoris with vibration delivered unlike any other dual-motor vibrator. The Duet feature four vibration modes and four power levels.
“It provides precise sensation,” Chang said. “The two sides are different — one has more of a Vshaped tip and the other is round. Together the shape and dual motor create a unique sensation.”
According to the team, Crave’s prototypes are created in San Francisco and tested to gain “rich customer feedback” that inspires next-gen product designs.
Crave’s collection of pleasure products is rounded out by the Solo, Wink and Droplet vibrators. While the Solo and Wink feature more classic designs, the Droplet features silver pendants containing miniscule motors that deliver subtle yet insistent vibration along the leather loops of which they’re attached.
“We want to be the experiential brand and expand the definition of what a sex toy can be,” Topolovac said. “Everyone has their own sexual journey — we look at it more holistically. We are supporting people’s sexual aspirations and creating conversations inside and outside of the bedroom.”
According to the company, it is currently expanding its manufacturing capabilities while keeping production in the U.S. Crave’s exclusive distributor in the U.S. is Entrenue. The retailers that Crave works with are the ones that make the market more accessible and retailers that understand the modern luxury market, Topolovac said.
“We are actively expanding our dealer network with shops that are a good fit for the Crave brand,” Topolovac said. “We are not looking for new distributors. We like to work with shops directly when possible, but do work with Entrenue for the few shops where that works better for their business.”