Horse Play: COLT Studio Group Extends its Reach to Clothing Lines
More than any other company in the gay adult space, COLT Studio Group knows the value of its hard-earned brand — a name that has stretched its success far beyond its successful movies. That versatility has enabled the name to thrive through the industry’s sometimes rocky road.
“We’ve had a good year,” says John B. Rutherford, President and Creative Director. “The industry is and has been in a constant change now for several years, and we are fortunate to have a strong brand that is able to adapt and evolve with these changes. One of those ways to evolve and benefit from our over 47-year history is to join forces with others who recognize our brand strength by producing products with our name on it.”
That includes Timoteo Studio, which has teamed with the iconic gay company for an all-new COLT Collection apparel line. COLT also has a long history with California Exotic Novelties — Rutherford notes the products and sales for the COLT Gear line of toys grow every month.
“Timoteo and his partner Joel from Timoteo Studio in Los Angeles met director Kristofer Weston in Chicago during the IML show, and the conversation came up about them producing a COLT apparel line for us,” Rutherford shares. “Hence the COLT Collection apparel line was born. It continues to grow.”
They have just released the new COLT Swimwear line in two styles: Kuzak Square Cut Swimsuit and the Kelso Swim Brief Cut. Both come in COLT red and navy, and they plan to release new products every spring and fall.
“When I was running Falcon Studios, we tried to create a line of branded clothing and we quickly found out that customers and fans didn’t really want to wear that brand on their bodies in public. But when we purchased COLT, they had already many high-selling items that did quite well. COLT is a brand that many gay men look up to. Many men say that they always wanted to be a ‘COLT Man’, and that by working out and staying in shape they feel proud to wear the four-letter word ‘COLT’ on their bodies,” Rutherford says.
“For this we’re lucky. Also, we work very hard to be sure that the COLT brand stays true to how it was conceived — staying consistent is a key. Most gay men today think of high-quality, muscular men who have confidence when they hear the word ‘COLT’. So I believe this helps with them to want to wear it as well.”
In October, the studio released four new COLT Gear items with CalExotics: the Manhole, a penis extension piece that fits on any size dick and gets inserted for “bigger pleasure”; the Jumbo Probe, a sturdy ergonomic butt plug made for men; Bum Buddy, an ergonomic and artistically styled douche; and Buddy Balls for butt play (the last three all coming in COLT red and black).
“We have been working very closely with California Exotic Novelties now for nearly 12 years. Susan Colvin and her team have been very good to us and involve us closely to develop all of the COLT Gear products,” Rutherford says. “High quality and products people buy are our two keys to success. Not to mention California Exotic Novelties has a stellar reputation in the industry. We’re proud to have the COLT brand there with them.”
Colvin, President and CEO of CalExotics, is equally excited by the long relationship the two companies have shared.
“We’ve collaborated for many years to produce the licensed line of COLT products. It has grown into a very large collection to feature everything the gay man could want: masturbators, anal toys, dongs, pumps, prostate toys, rings, vibrators, douches and more make up the line, which consists of nearly 100 items,” she says. “COLT knows the gay market and CalExotics knows sex toys. We’re two experts in our areas who have come together to produce the world’s premium range of male toys. John Rutherford, (CFO) Tom Settle and their team understand the target demographic through and through. They work closely with our product development team to help produce the most sought-after gay toys on the market.”
COLT also recently released its 2015 COLT and Buckshot calendars. Every year, the studio releases six: COLT Hairy Chested, COLT Leather, COLT Men, COLT Butt Beautiful, Buckshot Boys and this year it brought back the COLT Man Calendar (starring COLT Man Ginger Seth Fornea, also available in a bundle with the COLT Legendary Bodies DVD).
“We’ve seen that many of our customers are still buying our DVDs and joining our membership sites, but not at the sort of growth we have become used to over the years. While that area is down, we’ve seen our online store sales for all other products increase,” Rutherford says. “COLT Calendars are on the rise and sales keep going up. Everyone thought that nobody wanted calendars, but not the COLT and Buckshot calendars. Our sales were up last year, and so far this year we’ve seen even higher numbers.”
The studio released a few movies this year under all four of its lines: Beef N’ Briefs from the main COLT line (which also released Vault Classics); Embrace from the Buckshot line; Taking Hold from the European-based Olympus line; and Bruisers, the 44th installment in the studios successful Minute Man Solo Series. Roland Dane, the Olympus director, has also started his own line called Wrestle Hard that is distributed and sold through the COLT Studio Store (ditto Weston’s Bound Jocks line). Rutherford notes that while they have cut back on DVD releases to focus on their entire product line, they still release 12 to 14 movies a year (which he anticipates will be roughly the same output in 2015 as well).
“It’s amazing how well our COLT Minute Man Solo Series does with our customers. We really work hard to shoot our COLT Men in their solo scenes looking and engaging the viewer, almost as if they’re right there in the room with them. It truly is every man’s fantasy to have a big, muscular and sexy COLT Man working it for them personally,” Rutherford says.
Weston, who also serves as Marketing and Project Coordinator, concurs: “Minute Man videos are fun to shoot because you really have to connect with the performer and let him show you what he enjoys doing to himself. Without a scene partner to have to please, I think solo videos are much more relaxing and enjoyable for the performer.”
It can all be found on the studio’s brand new online store, launched at the end of last year.
“We wanted an online store solution with modern and contemporary user tools to help our customers find and purchase their favorite COLT products easier,” Rutherford says. “We have been updating its functions every month since then. We have social network tools for our customers to help spread the COLT word, easier purchasing methods, real-time shipping rates, upselling tools and much more. We will be adding new functionality very soon where customers will be able to view the DVD trailers and scenes right there on the store.”