The Winter Season Sextoy Report
Whew whee! It's been a while since I last logged in and you've probably been wondering "Where has Kim been? Has she run out of JOTBs?" Well, the good news is that I have NOT fallen off my motorcycle, The Big Vibe, and that I have been really busy with all things sex, GrandOpening.com and if you're reading this, probably the same goes for you! I mean, February 14th is always the big jackpot day in our business - Valentine's Day - and I hope yours was filled with love and lots of sales!
So where do I start? New Year's 2012 rang in and right now, the winter snows are being held at bay this year. Good news for sex toy shoppers, bad news for ski resorts, though. So let's start out at the beginning of the year...
The weekend of January 7 and 8 in Burbank, CA kicked off with the ANME Founder's Show (aka just the "The Founder's Show") where there was plenty of free flowing booze the night before the heavy buying action took place on Saturday for the qualified retail buyers in attendance. It's such a pleasure to schmooze with everyone, catch up on the "who's working for who" industry shuffle (always entertaining to keep track of), learn hints about what's going to be unveiled 12 short hours later when the show opens. I really love this industry - we all get along even though we are all competitors in the same business.
The show opened bright and early Saturday with a few new faces and companies as well as the ol' stalwarts who have been doing the show for years. There were new technologies presented (Can you say "QR codes"?), new products (more on that in a minute) and a few new faces, too.
Let's go into more detail...
The ANME Founders: California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Nasstoys, Pipedream Products and Topco had some of the largest booths as they always do. Cal introduced several new toys in beautiful packaging and continued with heavy marketing for their high end Jopen line featuring the whiz-bang electro-stim "Intensity" vibe. Doc Johnson presented really intelligent staff training tools including poured, sample mini penises that are made of the different materials that Doc uses for their goodies as well as PLENTY of written material that can be shared with staff. Attention Bricks and Mortar folks: My two bits on this training program which is called "School of Doc" - USE IT FREQUENTLY to train your staff about these materials with knowledge that can be applied to pretty much every toy available in your store. The material is smart, funny, and extremely useful since the printed matter are basically giveaways for your staff and customers. If you can't get these important training materials from your distributor, get in touch with Doc Johnson themself and they'll probably be happy to supply you with them.
Back to the show: Topco presented technology and social media meets sex toys with popular webcam chicks getting masturbators made of their privates (more on this later in the blog). Nasstoys continued to roll out reasonably priced, nicely designed and quiet toys. Pipedream kicked out even more stylish packaging in all of their categories and rolled out their much anticipated and long overdue Plan-O-Gram program.
There were, of course, lots of other really cool products and companies represented at the show. NS Novelties, spearheaded by the New Sensations DVD company, unveiled over 100 new products, some of them familiar and some of them sporting creative designs. Standard Innovation, the folks who brought you the We-Vibe and many other fine products, have upped their game with the new, remote controlled We-Vibe that can be worn when one goes out grocery shopping and no one will ever know. Need to walk right past the Haagen-Dazs section of the freezer? Simply slip this on and in, hit the variable speed remote control and voila! You have experienced pleasure without calories, my friend! Paradise Marketing and Trojan wowed the crowd with the new Midnight Collection vibes that twist in the middle and are in an undescribable deep purple color, never mind that they are being promoted with a pretty cool, 3D postcard. Nice touch... bring 'em into your store and watch the customers' eyes widen when they see the Trojan brand on sex toys...
OhMiBod presented many new products which, while being publicly displayed for the first time, are not yet on the market. Of course, yours truly managed to snag some of them so I'll report on them as soon as they are out there... hint: they're being promoted by Kandi Buress of "The Real Wives of Atlanta" and they're super nice and classy...
So after two days of the ANME Show, our own XBIZ Retail Expo took over with different companies and distributors taking part. RodeoH was there, SCB Distributors (great, classy, explicit and HOT books that are hard to find) and a few new sparkling companies selling their wares to even more buyers.
As always, the XBIZ Retail Show had several workshops that focused on retailer's needs and the highlight, I must say, was the "3 Minute Showoffs" which proved not only entertaining, but extremely interesting. I was one of two judges (the other being "Sex Toy" Dave) and we were able to dish products "American Idol" style, after the products' manufacturers tried to wow us over with a, you guessed it, 3 minute show off. The competition was fierce, there were some great products shown, some that were yawners (I personally think there are enough glass dildos out there, folks), and a few WTF items which, who knows, might become your best sellers... ya never know.
The top winner was Topco who, in my own opinion, is cleverly moving forward with QR technology, webcam starlets' popularity, and other cutting edge technologies and meshing them with, well, rubber dicks, squishy vaginas, porno, blogs, websites and other creations that will bring in a fresh demographic wanting to by products that have been around for years. Brilliant.
Second place went to RodeoH, the new and clever dildo harness that fits like tightey whiteys. The audience loved the presentation and I think they are the coolest thing on the market since, well, the dildo harness was invented.
Third place went to Jopen's Intensity vibe which I think has a bigger audience in the kink community than in the medical one. Don't ask me why I think that :)
Okay, so from Burbank to LA and AVN's Adult Entertainment Expo, which was squeezed into The Hard Rock Hotel. It was a mix of new manufacturers and buyers and I often felt that it blurred the line of adult industry buyers and fans, kinda like the old days in the Sands Convention Center before the B2B section was developed and promoted. I saw a few new things there and had a good time schmoozing, as always.
And then there was Valentine's Day. How was it for you? It's always the time to have your store well stocked, your website up to date, your products ready to roll. Hopefully, your store has recovered and continues with strong sales this month and through the spring.
So be on the lookout for the next blog which I promise will be cranked out hot and fast... just like I like 'em.
And now for the JOTB:
Once an old man was brought to a nursing home to live out his final days. The first night he was there, he sat despondently on the edge of his bed and in walked a beautiful, buxom blonde who exclaimed "I'm your Hospitality Hostess and I'm here for Super Sex!"
After a moment, the old man gazed up at her with his tired eyes and sighed "I'll take soup."