opinion

50 Shades of ANME

Kim Airs

So, it's been a while since I've checked in - I think I've been busy doing too much product testing and enjoying my summer. And you?

Getting back to ANME, which for many of us was chock full of busy-ness (and business), new product roll outs, new faces in the industry, and many other things that keep the Ben Wa balls rolling... now it's time to get back to work!

In the words of the ever-popular (and super great guy, Larry Garland from the fabulous company, El Dorado Trading), "Welcome to 50 Shades of ANME!" And how true that was! Where do I start?

First of all, there were several companies riding the bandwagon of Anastasia and Christopher Grey, the main characters of the ubiquitous "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy who will also be contributing greatly to retailer's bottom line (as red-spanked as it may be). The winner of the race to the top, and who were already there given their ability to create couples-friendly SM gear to begin with, was our pals at Sportsheets. "OMG!" she uttered around her carefully placed ball gag. "The Sportsheets' 'Sex & Mischief' line has 50 Shades written all over it!" First of all, they take the prize for coming up with offering the silky grey tie as featured on the cover of the book, with a nifty Sex & Mischief tie holder on the back. Niiiiice touch. Their product offerings in the S&M line continued with sleek packaging in black and white, smart retail-able products, all at a really great price. If you're not already carrying this line of products (and all of Sportsheets for that matter), you must ride the wave of these best selling books and sell these products to the hilt. Do that or Christopher Grey will personally visit your store and beat you into retail submission.

Another nice touch was the fabulous sales staff at Sportsheets who were also gracing lucky visitors to the booth with necklaces that had the S&M letters spelled out in crystals that they ceremoniously draped around your neck. I was lucky to receive one and enjoy wearing it in public. I tell people it stands for "Santa and Monica" and if you say it fast enough, they don't even notice but then I quickly point out what it REALLY stands for. Yum.

Of course, Pipedream Products' Fetish Fantasy line continues to grow at a breakneck speed. They, too, have packaged several of their products with the familiar 50 Shades theme but I think they have enough products that stand up quite successfully on their own. The crowning achievement by Pipedream has been coming up with several smaller and complete catalogues which make looking for products much easier than a large, cumbersome catalogue. Nice job, art department at PD! And the products are great to boot, too...

All of the rest of the ANME Founders had plenty to show off, too. Nasstoys wowed me with their new remote controlled vibes that have a simple, onyx-looking controller that can be worn in public very easily by both men and women... it really looks like jewelry!  It's called the Power Ring and it controls both a small, bullet vibe or a stretchy cock ring with a bullet through the top. It always amazes me how far technology has come in the way of remote control gizmos. They're incredibly fun to use in public or when you're getting to the good parts in a movie that you're watching in a theater or going to dinner and ordering your partner's favorite appy... I mean, why just use a remote control in the sack?

Anyway, I digress. These vibes are strong and quiet and are really cool so get a lot of them in... they'll sell really well. Here's a retailing tip for remote control vibes... set one up in your store but keep the remote behind your register. When a customer starts looking at it, hit the remote and it will start buzzing for them. They'll have no idea how that's happening. Then, as they walk away, hit it again... it's a great game you can play with them and I guarantee you'll sell more!

Cal Exotics promoted their new Phil Varone line of toys and he was there for most of the show. Of course, Cal always has the latest and greatest products including a few in their separate division, Jopen, nice, high quality toys that have been selling very well. Their booth is always pristine (Jackie) White, too! Clean and crisp to highlight their wonderful products.

Doc Johnson weighed in with more of their Wonderland line of whimsical toys, complete with a cute cut out of three of them that you could put your face in and morph into a giant vibrator! THAT was fun! They have updated lots of their packaging for their products and have continued to rock on with their School of Doc sales training program (it's brilliant and if you haven't checked it out yet, please do). New shapes, new vibes, new packaging - it's what you do to stay ahead and DJ has done that again.

To round out the ANME Founders, I must say that I was completely blown away with the new and improved Topco line of toys. They recently had some shake ups which has resulted in offering a mind-boggling amount of new toys and lines that are complete with some of the most creative packaging designs this side of the Pacific. I was speechless as I circled the shelves and displays full of the most colorful and creative toys I have seen in a long time. The picture that accompanies this blog is what they created on one side of their booth and the many displays they had with the products on the shelves left me in awe. I can't wait as these products roll out in stores as they are destined to shake up the industry like they never have before.

So of course, there were TONS of new products at ANME and I'll continue to write about them more. In the meantime, I invite you to check out my monthly reviews in the print version of XBIZ where I blab about individual toys in the way only I can. I swear, I love my job!

Okay, here's a few JOTBs because I've missed you so much...

In keeping with the 50 Shades of Grey theme...

1. Once a submissive was asked why she likes being with a masochist...  "Beats me" she replied.

2. Once a street hooker approached a guy and said "Why don't we get it on?" "Oh, no!" he countered. "My Mom said women always have teeth between their legs!" "WHAT?" the hooker responded. "That's not true!" and she continued to talk to him until he finally gave in to have sex.

Afterwards, she said "See, women don't have teeth between their legs..." and he said "It's no wonder with your gums the shape they're in!"

Tell that to your dental hygienist next visit...

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