Sliquid started as a quest by company owner Dean Elliott to find a personal lubricant that could be used by his wife, who was troubled by sensitivity to glycerin and other elements usually found in commercial personal lubes.
The company was started in 2002, and spent more than a year and a half researching formulas, clearing trademarks and test marketing.
A lot of our customers are men — not just gay men, but men — and we were packaging our product with a girly face on the label. The men didn’t like it. We repackaged the line with more-masculine packaging and call it “Dude Lube” — same product.
“We were on the shelves in January 2004,” Elliott told XBIZ. “We knew going in that we had to be more than just a cool name and a cool logo. We needed to create a major point of difference for the health-conscious consumer. We formulated our lubes from day one, every single variation, to be glycerin and glycol free. After that we introduced newer-school preservatives, so we got rid of the parabens after the first two years. By 2006, we had a newer, gentler preservative, so we were the first to be glycerin and paraben free in the full line. Our No. 1 seller is still Sliquid H2O. It’s the cleanest, the greenest, the purest, the least amount of stuff in it — people love it.”
The natural ingredients in Sliquid make the lube perishable, even with the preservative. “Because it’s all natural, the meter is running,” Elliott said. “It’ll go 24 months, and some of the line will go as long as 30 months, but we tell people to use it within two years.”
The preservative elements, potassium sorbate and citric acid, primarily prevent the growth of mold “like little sea monkeys,” according to Elliott, and the citric acid also serves as a pH buffer, keeping the product at a neutral 6.
The Organics line is made with organic botanical material. “We have a proprietary blend of ingredients,” Elliott said. “The USDA signs off on them, and we infuse that into our lubes. Some of the ingredients are anti-inflammatory, some are soothing, some are restorative for tissue — they all have their benefits. The folks that love the Organics want to have those benefits.”
Elliott told XBIZ that representatives spend a lot of time on the road, servicing accounts and getting feedback from sales associates in stores.
“We get a lot of ideas from them,” Elliott said. “A lot of our customers are men — not just gay men, but men — and we were packaging our product with a girl-y face on the label. The men didn’t like it. We repackaged the line with moremasculine packaging and call it ‘Dude Lube’ — same product.”
This fall, Sliquid will be launching new massage oils with certified organic shea butter and mango butter, plus flax, green tea, hibiscus and sunflower seed, in three fragrances and unscented.