2012 marked the 20th anniversary of Fetisso Latex, which has made a name for itself selling latex attire that is known for being both durable and stylish. It’s been a long road for the Brazilian/European company, and with the popularity of latex having grown considerably in recent decades, Fetisso (FetissoLatex.com, Fetisso.com.br) has earned an enthusiastic international following with a variety of attire that includes everything from gloves, skirts, dresses and leggings to lingerie and bras. Fetisso has a largely female clientele, although the company continues to expand its men’s line.
Fetisso was founded in 1992 by Willi Graber, a Swiss entrepreneur and latex fetishist who recruited two of his European colleagues (René Savoy and Fritz Liechti) to help him run the company. John Miller, Fetisso’s Las Vegas-based U.S. marketing rep, describes Graber, Savoy and Liechti (who is from Germany) as “the brain trust behind Fetisso Latex.” Meanwhile, José “Nissinho” Edmilson is the general manager for Fetisso’s factory, which is located in the small town of Japaratinga in northeastern Brazil — and that unionized factory is where all of Fetisso’s attire is manufactured (the rubber that Fetisso uses comes from Brazilian rubber trees).
Miller stressed that Fetisso insists on using chlorinated latex exclusively. Thanks to the chlorination process, Miller said, Fetisso’s attire is not only stronger and more durable — it is also much easier to get in and out of than non-chlorinated latex attire. And an important part of building the Fetisso brand, according to Miller, has been showing consumers the difference between chlorinated and non-chlorinated latex.
“The chlorination part is so important,” Miller said. “People who don’t know anything about latex don’t know that the old non-chlorinated latex was sticky and hard to get on; you had to use powder or lube or corn starch. But you don’t need any kind of powder or lube to put on Fetisso clothing. It just slips on.”
Fetisso’s products have been well-received in the BDSM/fetish world. Professional dominatrices and fetish models have worn Fetisso attire, and the company’s products have been carried by well-known erotic retailers such as Passional (a BDSM/fetish-friendly store in Philadelphia that is owned by former pro-domme Kali Morgan). Fetisso has been making its presence felt at BDSM/fetish-oriented conventions such as FetishCon and DomCon along with adult industry conventions that aren’t specifically BDSM/fetish-oriented.
“We’ve put Fetisso into the hands of virtually every latex clothing retailer in the U.S. as well as most of the well-known latex clothing designers,” Miller notes. “We hope they will see the quality and realize that Fetisso makes an ideal brand to drive retail sales as well as accent and accessorize their own latex designs.”
Miller is quick to point out that Fetisso’s customers aren’t necessarily people who enjoy playing with whips, chains, riding crops and ballgags. In fact, Miller estimated that about 80 percent of Fetisso’s customers are neither hardcore BDSM players nor hardcore latex fetishists.
“I would say that 80 percent of our end users like the look and feel of latex but are not big BDSM players or latex fetishists,” Miller explained. “That 80 percent might tie each other up with scarves or handcuffs, or maybe they don’t tie each other up at all. Maybe the husband just wants to see his wife in shiny, tight clothes. And of the other 20 percent, I would say that 10 percent are pure latex fetishists and 10 percent are big BDSM players.”
Adult video star Paris Kennedy has also taken notice of Fetisso’s attire. Miller recalled: “She came into our booth at FetishCon and asked, ‘Do you have a pair of leggings?’ She tried on a pair of leggings, and she was out in under a minute. If someone tried on a regular pair of nonchlorinated rubber leggings, it would take longer than that.”
Although many of Fetisso’s sales have been in Continental Europe, Miller noted that one of Fetisso’s marketing goals has been to continue increasing its exposure in North America. Germany, according to Miller, remains Fetisso’s biggest market. But Miller said that sales in the U.S. have grown to the point that he now regards the U.S. as Fetisso’s second largest market.
Liechti observed: “In the U.S., we are now represented in important places such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. So we feel a good uptrend there, and we are confident that we will double sales there in the near future.” Liechti added that Canada, Australia and Japan have also been healthy markets for Fetisso, and he said that Brazil continues to be the company’s strongest market in South America.
The fact that Fetisso has an abundance of female customers doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have male customers as well; Fetisso offers an entire men’s line (ranging from shorts to hoods), and Miller stressed that one of Fetisso’s marketing goals for 2013 is continuing to expand its men’s line and its marketing efforts in the gay community. Miller cited Mankind in San Diego as an example of a well-established gay retailer that has been receptive to Fetisso’s men’s line. And another element of Fetisso’s current marketing plan, Miller said, is an attractive redesign of its packaging.
Fetisso has come a long way since its humble beginnings. During its early years, Fetisso was essentially a three-man operation consisting of Graber, Savoy and Liechti. But now, Fetisso’s staff is at least five or six times what it was back then.
“Today,” Liechti explained, “we are still a relatively small company consisting of 15-20 persons. But we are growing and are present in many places in the world. And in all these years, we have lost very few customers — perhaps because we have always been careful to provide good quality.”