Staying True: The Business DNA of Blush Novelties
All too often in the arena of business news, we’re inundated with tales of overly flexible ethics, corporate cultures that tolerate the abandonment of professionalism in the pursuit of profit and other hazards of short term, “rip-and-run” style thinking. Such stories are hardly unique to the adult entertainment sector (the likes of Enron, WorldCom and Arthur Andersen come to mind), but in an industry commonly associated with profligate content piracy, predatory billing practices, deceptive advertising and dismal customer service, it’s always refreshing to hear of ventures that are making a serious effort to “do well by doing good,” as the old saying goes.
Adult pleasure product manufacturer Blush Novelties is one such company, an operation that goes to great lengths to ensure that the promises made in its marketing materials are kept by its products, and that takes immense pride in its responsiveness to, and support of, its customer base.
XBIZ recently sat down with Eva Casseta, the company’s marketing and design manager, for an in-depth look at what makes Blush Novelties tick, and what sets it apart in the highly competitive adult novelties market.
What sets Blush apart from its competition and other sex toy/novelty manufacturers?
We own our own factory and produce all of our own products, which lets us maintain tight quality control. Our products are CE- and RoHS-compliant, so we go beyond what the government requires for material safety. We constantly have U.S. management in China to ensure that the correct materials are being used. Making sure our toys are body safe and phthalate free is of the utmost importance, because if you can’t feel comfortable putting something in your body, how can you enjoy it?
We also strive to quickly turn feedback into reality when it comes to improving products. For example, if a motor needs to be stronger, or a certain color isn’t doing so well, our design team and engineers implement these changes. We do product and graphic design in-house, which is great because packaging and marketing evolve alongside the product. What also makes Blush unique is the sheer variety of products we carry; there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
We realize that with personal products like sex toys, one person might hate a product but another person will love it, so it’s great to offer options from the most discreet mini-vibe to a huge dong.
We have also been paying more attention to private labeling and OEM projects. More and more adult toy factories are popping up in China, and unfortunately many of them have unethical practices. They make unsafe or substandard products, use child labor, treat their employees poorly and the factories are filthy. When our factory manufactures a product it has our name on it, whether it’s made for us or another company, a competitor even! Our reputation is on the line. So we do not cut corners, we go to great lengths to manufacture a safe product and ensure that our employees are treated right. And we stand behind our products — the materials, the function, everything.
What are Blush’s most popular product lines? Can you provide a few thoughts on what makes them stand out in the market and drives their popularity?
One of our newest lines that was an instant hit is Splash. These are average-sized, multispeed vibes made of super-soft TPE in eight bright, transparent colors. They all have fruit-themed names like “Blueberry Squeeze” and they look super juicy, like candy. They’re doing really well because it’s a body-safe material with strong vibrations at an affordable price point. People always comment on how great they look with all eight colors together on the wall.
We’re also excited about Real Nude, which is our debut into the world of high-end dual density silicone. They’re made from platinum cure silicone, the same material used for medical devices, so purchasing a Real Nude dildo is an investment that’s totally worth it. You can boil these dildos, or put them in the dishwasher. The realism of our dual density honestly surprised me. It’s soft and squishy to the touch, but it’s firm and will stand erect. The suction cups are super strong.
We had fun testing them on walls, cars, everything around the office. And the semi-realistic designs are actually completely unique on the market. The line is comprised of six different forms designed to create different sensations. Both the Real Nude and Splash lines were created by our in-house female design team who have a background in pleasure products. It’s incredibly important that product design in this industry is smart, because these products have to do more than just look good. Real Nude so far is blowing reviewers’ minds.
How big a role does the Internet play in Blush’s marketing and sales strategy, versus brick-and-mortar sales?
Blogging and social media are important tools to get the word out among sex toy enthusiasts. A professional reviewer will go over every detail, from a product’s first impression, to the variety of uses, pros and cons, care, everything. This kind of information is valuable to consumers as well as us. Both positive and negative feedback help us create better products. In terms of sales, online purchases are becoming a larger and larger part of our total sales, which is why we make product images and descriptions easily available to our customers. We also have instructional YouTube videos, web banners, and other marketing tools for online retailers to use.
Does Blush have any upcoming marketing campaigns or product launches coming up in early 2014 that consumers, distributors and retailers should keep an eye out for?
We have a bunch of awesome items coming out in January. First of all, our OHM line is expanding to include three larger, full-size vibrators and three teasers. The fullsized vibrators include two beautiful g-spot forms and one very sleek rabbit. The teasers are powerful bullets with soft silicone sleeves with can be removed. We are also adding two very sexy teasers to the serendipity line, and two teasers with fun squishy TPE sleeves. We’ve developed a very low, deep vibration bullet with a ton of power, so this is serious fun. The purpose behind all of these bullet items is to focus on couple’s play and encourage creative foreplay. A teaser isn’t confined to a single type of use—it can be used for clitoral or other external stimulation, inserted, or used with another toy. They all have anti-tangle cords and ergonomic controllers, so they are easy to incorporate into intercourse as well.
If you had to choose one defining trait that characterizes Blush as a company, what would it be, and why?
Fluidity. We’re flexible and embrace change. Think about what “novelty” really means — the excitement of trying something new. Though many high-end sex toys are not considered “novelties,” because they’re built to provide years of pleasure, it’s human nature to be excited by the unfamiliar. Even a trusted classic has room for improvement. We’re continually expanding our product line, developing and testing new concepts. We make growth and improvement our primary focus in all areas.