Glass Reinvented: Q&A With Joyful Pleasure's Keith Gordon

Ariana Rodriguez

Founded and ran by industry veterans, Joyful Pleasure was rolled out three years ago as a boutique brand dedicated to producing unique glass pleasure products. Most widely known for its distinctive pepper-shaped dildo, Joyful Pleasure continues to grow and reinvent itself. Company owner Keith Gordon recently sat down with XBIZ to discuss the growth of Joyful Pleasure and how his roots in fetish porn served as an inspiration for the line of glass toys.

When was Joyful Pleasure developed?

The brand’s objective is basically to educate the consumer that there are other toys out there besides rabbits or rubber goods.

Joyful Pleasure was developed about three years ago by me because I was selling another glass line that was beautiful, but very expensive. A lot of customers loved but it wasn’t affordable, so I begged the manufacturer to please make designs that were more affordable – he wouldn’t do it so I said, “you know what, I’m going to do it myself.

How much industry experience is behind the brand?

I worked and owned Bizarre Video for over 20 years, Dennis has been with the company for 10 - 12 years, Paula — my other sales person has been with my company for over 25 years, even before I even got there — she worked for my dad. So between all of us, it’s been a very long time.

Who designs the glass toys?

We went to a European designer and he designs a lot of the shapes that we have. There are a lot of very unique styles. Our first batch we got designed in Europe, the second batch we went my uncle Teddy, who owns Nasstoys to his people that he knows in China and we got the same designs hand blown there to make them more affordable. This allows the store owner to get great quality at an affordable price.

What makes Joyful Pleasure’s collection unique from other glass lines?

Very simple — there’s only a handful of glass companies, and they are all great companies but if you look at their designs, they’re all very similar if not the same. I didn’t want to come out with something that would be the same, I wanted to create something that was completely unique with very different styles. When people come to my booth, they’re like “oh my God, that’s beautiful, we love the designs” because they’re different. So Joyful Pleasure stands out for its unique designs, it’s very affordable and with beautiful packaging. Our products have a window that shows the shopper exactly what they’re buying, and the description is on the clean white box in three different languages.

One thing that stands out with Joyful Pleasure is the weight of each item. Compared with our competition, ours are heavier. I make the mold a little bit thicker to make the items heavier. Customers like that — they want something that they can really hang on to.

How many items are there in the collection?

We now have 27 different styles. We came out with nine two years ago, and released second collection of nine styles last year, and we just recently launched another nine. We have total availability on every item. We were shipping out of two locations — East Coast and West Coast — to make it easier and so customers get them quicker. Now they’ll most likely all come from our West Coast office, but we always have plenty in stock.

There is currently more styles in development. We have the next 18 styles in development now, and the plan is to release nine new styles every four months so we don’t flood the market. While some companies oversaturate the market with monthly releases, we are a glass company and glass is a niche market so I don’t want to do that. I want the store to buy this product, take their time, customers come in, they buy it, they like it, they remember the name and when new styles come in, they’re happy.

What is the brand’s objective?

The brand’s objective is basically to educate the consumer that there are other toys out there besides rabbits or rubber goods. People need entertainment in life. When women and men come home after a stressful day at work and they want to have fun and glass is something that’s new to people. Glass is still new to some women. They get a glass toy and they don’t know what to do with it — it doesn’t vibrate … they don’t know that it can be warmed or chilled to achieve different sensations, but more and more people are becoming more aware of this, and I want to bring that sort of discovery to the world. Coming from Bizarre Video, nobody did fetish, everybody was scared to make videos. It was a very under-served niche market but my father said no, let’s do it! We’re not doing anything illegal, it’s a lifestyle, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. So coming from that background of making something that was taboo, and now it’s mainstream, I see glass as something that’s intimidating for some people but has the potential to become very popular.

How are Joyful Pleasure products best displayed?

It’s displayed two ways. First is our packaging, it’s probably one of the best out there. It’s clean, it’s white, it’s classy and you see the toy. The second thing that I’ve been telling all of my retailers is that I had acrylic stands made and retailers can take the toy out of the box and display it. It’s so beautiful so that when people see it, they can pick it, and it’s not just lying on its side on a shelf. We just did a deal with Lion’s Den retail chain and they’re displaying one of each style out of their box. Mark from Castle Megastore displays them out of the box too and has also praised its effectiveness. He suggests displaying them in a glass box with lights so that the glass toys really shine. He’s really a visionary.

What makes this line a potential bestseller?

We already have bestselling styles. After being in the glass business for two years I know what sells, I know what people are looking for. Our double-ended designs do very well for us, also the Pepper is very popular in Texas. The Indigo and the Majestic — which appeals to the gay demographic — and the Gemini also do very well for us. We have a lot of great styles and that’s what we stick to. Some of our styles glow in the dark and those fun characteristics are what customers really want.