Pleasure Products: The Year Ahead

Dan Cameron

The new year is always a time for celebration, but California Exotic Novelties has a little extra reason to party in 2014 as it marks its 20th anniversary. What better way to get started than with a new line from a reality television veteran, a venture leaked on TMZ?

Coco — a.k.a. Mrs. Ice-T, the object of affection from “Ice Loves Coco” along with being a Vegas headliner, model, author and clothing designer — has been involved with the creation of her Coco-Licious Collection. The official unveiling will happen at the Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo in early January, one of many new initiatives the company will be revealing at the show.

We’re just about ready to launch our newest version of the Ultimate Personal Shaver. With a new all-in-one design, this new kit has everything you need to do most personal grooming jobs and is much easier to use. -Steve Bannister President of BMS Enterprises

“Another highlight is the expansion of the incredibly popular Entice Collection with the addition of a sub-brand of fetish-play gear. Called Entice Accessories, the line will feature decadent gear including intimate clamps, cuffs, masks and crops,” says Susan Colvin, president and CEO. “Plus, we have a new line for the fellas. It’s called Apollo and includes men’s toys and body wear. New items are also being added to the Embrace Collection. Embrace was a huge hit at the July ANME Show, and this time we’re adding even more affordable, luxurious, feature-packed items.”

Additionally, the company will showcase items from the revitalized Bendies line, the popular Body & Soul Collection, Booty Call, First Time, Gyration Sensations, Up! and others. “We see the trend growing for luxury products, superior materials, higher quality and more power,” says Colvin.

And they aren’t the only ones preparing to make 2014 a hit. At CalExotic’s JOPEN, a resounding response to the items in the Lust Collection have led the brand to expand it — with 12 new products to be unveiled at ANME: “The new Lust pieces will be made of luxurious, body-safe silicone, feature technologies like incremental speed controls, incredibly powerful motors, USB charging cords and so much more,” says Robin Stewart, brand manager.

The Screaming O founder and CEO, Justin Ross, also notes they have a solid lineup prepared for ANME, including many affordable items.

“We are excited and enthusiastic about the prospects that 2014 holds,” Ross says. “We have successfully cemented our position as the No. 1 brand for fast-moving, high-volume pleasure products using fun and approachable marketing — now it’s time to hit the mark with some new and exciting releases that broaden our customer reach. Our roots will always be easy-to-use and fun-to-try vibrating rings, but we’ve supplemented our upcoming release schedule with some unique accessories and sex toys that strategically follow current market trends outside of the adult market.”

He adds that several concepts are in the final design-and-approval phase for the rest of the year’s release schedule. “As for marketing, we are in the final stages of updating our B2B marketing site, sellsomefun.com, to give our customers an easy onestop shop for descriptions, specs, detailed images and marketing collateral related to every Screaming O product. Signing up is free and fast, and grants any qualified retailer or distributor instant access to everything they need to make the sale in their online or brick-and-mortar stores.”

Randy Alvstad at XR Brands is excited for the launch of two new brands in 2014, in addition to new products in their current brands that meet the needs of consumers within consistently growing niche markets including electro-stimulation and enema play.

“With CleanStream, XR Brands has taken hold of the anal care market — from cleansing and maintenance all the way to aesthetic care — and we plan to continue solidifying that reputation worldwide. And as other competing lines have fallen flat in the electro-stimulation realm, Zeus Electrosex has become the single go-to source for quality e-stim toys with more SKUs being introduced in 2014,” says the general manager.

They are also launching a new website in 2014 to be XR Brands’ official distributor support center, while the biggest launch in the new year will be the introduction of Savvy by Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright — an expert certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

“This is our first collaboration with a respected AASECT-certified sex therapist and the first line backed by a sexual wellness and education angle, which has opened up the market to a brand new shopper. Dr. Fulbright will be touring the country at a variety of conferences and events as part of her existing speaking schedule and will be making special effort to educate people on the health and wellness aspect of using sex toys alone and in relationships.”

The Savvy line starts with the basics — wand and bullet vibes — and goes all the way up to advanced e-simulation massage and dual-action clitoral and vaginal vibrators. Savvy also pays special attention to the prostate, with SKUs dedicated to P-spot massage and men’s health awareness.

At Sportsheets, the holiday boost hasn’t been halted with the end of December, when their Christmas Gift Sets sold out faster than anticipated. The company hopes to still have consumers seeing red.

“Due to customer demand, we began selling three Valentine’s Gift Sets that have also been a huge success,” says President Julie Stewart, adding a busy 2014 is already gearing up. “They have been selling rapidly and are the perfect gift for that special someone. They are great for the man who doesn’t know what to buy and for the lastminute shopper, male or female. We are adjusting to the industry’s ups and downs as are other companies.”

“We are continuing to expand the Sex & Mischief line and bring higher-end products into the SS Premium line. We are continuing with our creative ad campaigns and continue to grow this year as we have in the last two; we were in Orange County Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies list two years in a row (2012 and 2013). Shooting for three in a row! We are celebrating Sex in the Shower’s fifth year with an exciting new marketing campaign — so watch for the ads and in-store promotional items. We will have the new catalog during the ANME show and some other spectacular items to share.”

The Los Angeles show will also host Pipedream Products, which will be kicking off five new collections. Fetish Fantasy Gold is a new collection of premium fetish products developed for “fashion-forward couples,” notes Sabrina Dropkick, media relations. The contemporary line of bold new bondage essentials features distinctive designs, sophisticated styling and custom concepts inspired by the runways of Paris and crafted with refined attention to detail — combining heavy-duty gold hardware with faux black crocodile leather.

Also on tap is Pipedream Extreme Dollz, a complete collection with 19 new sex dolls among three tiers that include lowend, mid-grade and high-end items.

“Unlike traditional gag dolls, these are real sex dolls that were meticulously designed with lifelike features, from 3D-formed heads with realistic hair to lifelike pussies, asses and breasts. Each tier includes six dolls, all catering to a specific niche including plus-size dolls, a black male doll, a blowjob doll, a doggystyle doll and more that are sure to satisfy every fantasy imaginable,” says Dropkick. “Although love dolls have been around for a while, no one has ever offered a complete collection with three competitive price points.”

In addition, Real Feel Deluxe is an extension of Pipedream’s best-selling Real Feel Lifelike Toyz collection. They have created 12 new styles of vibes with realistic features including a pronounced head, bulging veins, free hanging balls and lifelike Fanta Flesh skin. Their Fetish Fantasy Harnesses collection welcomes four new designs, while eight additional harnesses feature the company’s best-selling designs reimagined with improved shapes and materials. Plus, their Icicles collection of hand-blown glass massagers has added 24 brand new shapes to its award-winning collection for a total of 62 unique designs.

“Every Icicles massager is a unique piece of art designed with amazing attention to detail and sculpted to satisfy the most stringent quality standards,” Dropkick says. “All Icicles are hand-blown and made from high-strength borosilicate glass, making the entire line nonporous, hypoallergenic, easy to clean and always bodysafe.”

At BMS Enterprises, an award for its Swan line of vibrators was a highlight in 2013. “I’ve said it before and I’ll always stand by it, but a full silicone finish that is free from plastic rings, exposed metal contacts or harsh seams is the way a vibrator should be made,” says President Steve Bannister. “Other highlights of this year would be our push that we’ve made in touring our brands and training worldwide, the further expansion of our company with the opening of BMS Printing, and the recent launch of PalmPower into North America and Leaf+.”

BMS Printing is their new in-house print shop, featuring a high-tech printer to aid in producing the best retailer kits possible — all in an effort to give stores everything they need for an effective brand setup. Massager PalmPower offers explosive power and features interchangeable heads for different purposes (“I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they first feel its power,” says Bannister); while Leaf+ expands the Leaf with more powerful motors from PowerBullet and the introduction of vibration functions.

“2014 is gearing up to be another big one for us,” says Bannister. “We’re just about ready to launch our newest version of the Ultimate Personal Shaver. With a new all-in-one design, this new kit has everything you need to do most personal grooming jobs and is much easier to use. We have two versions coming out — one for women and one for men, both with a special shaving attachment geared towards their use, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t use the other.”

2013 was also a big year for Doc Johnson, which successfully launched more than 100 new products and received many accolades.

“We’ve had enormous success with the big, bold American Bombshell collection — it just keeps growing because the demand is so great. Oralove, our oral sex collection for women, is another fantastic example; the whole line is quite popular,” says COO Chad Braverman. “James Deen Black & Blue (BDSM collection) was immediately a hot seller and continues going strong — his fan base is definitely being heard! And Super Hung Heroes blew up for us — so many excited fans, tons of press coverage, and great numbers on those four guys, too. OptiMALE is about to release and that’s going to be huge.”

Braverman notes that providing meaningful support and tools to its customers is crucial, and has made an investment in it.

“We’re showing our investment in their success by working closely with them. Part of our ANME prep has been reassessing what is working well and where we can improve; we’ve identified additional resources to be created and are mapping out new cooperative strategies and programs to present to our customers; having Scott’s experience and fresh eyes is definitely taking our review and planning to the next level,” he says of Scott Watkins, a recent addition as vice president of sales.

“Product is always in development at Doc; it’s a matter of choosing what to debut in January and which items to continue working on for July. We’re going to make customers very happy with upcoming brand extensions at ANME. Based on sales figures and feedback, we present the very best choices to the buyers. These new products will roll out through the first half of the year, and then we’re in the same cycle for July.”

Despite an influx of new industry competition, Nasstoys intends to stand its ground as a tenured adult novelty innovator with a record of consistency as it celebrates its 35th anniversary in business. “We have also begun our preparations for expanded customer support; we will continue our unparalleled customer service and exceptional fill rate,” says CEO Ted Rothstein, adding that lots of unique items will soon be added.

Not to be lost in the plethora of new products is the focus on health efforts that drive business for everyone — an initiative that is no more apparent than in the lube space, where 2014 will be about more than just sales.

“2013 was a pivotal year for Divine Corporation,” says Director of Sales Jeff Hawkins. “It started with the announcement that our very special seaweed-based lubricant, Divine 9, is at the center of world’s first research study on preventing HPV transmission. This study is being conducted by the medical school at McGill University in Montreal and will involve over 450 women. Divine 9’s ability to block HPV has already been proved in laboratory and animal studies by the National Cancer Institute, so the human trials are the next step. The company has been very focused on researching the health benefits of our products that we went to the extreme of changing the name of the company from Divine Corporation to CarraShield Labs, Inc. to better reflect our medical initiatives.”

Hawkins notes they have an even bigger announcement on their medical research coming at the beginning of 2014. “It is the culmination of a year’s worth of work and will be yet another breakthrough on using Divine 9 lubricant with Carragel for HPV prevention.”

They have also developed two additional SKUs (an 8oz bottle and a 10ml single-usage packet) and manufactured a POS display to help the distributor and retailer place product in a unique way.

pjur is also looking to expand upon a successful 2013 across the globe — including the opening of a brand new office in Asia. “Owing to pjur’s international scope, there are many markets in which we develop and implement new communication and marketing measures every year,” says Alexander Giebel, founder and CEO. “pjur will consequently focus on new markets in the coming year while at the same time expanding and stabilizing the new markets from the last two years. Furthermore, we will not lose sight of the close cooperation with the traditional markets and our reliable partners throughout the world either.”

Giebel notes they are conducting educational work for certain target groups to break taboos about the products — and by extension about related issues — and will unveil new products in 2014.

“These products are being developed in our own creative workshop and from the valuable feedback we get from retailers and end customers. At the B2B level, for instance, we get feedback from numerous international trade fairs and conventions, which we always attend with our own sales team on location. But we also get detailed feedback from our end customers through surveys, advertising and naturally our social media presence. We research trends and look for market niches, which we have always been able to fill outstandingly well up to now.”

Giebel says it has been very gratifying that the theme of relationship, partnership and sexuality has becoming socially acceptable — particularly when put in a charming limelight. “Consumers are looking more and more for concrete products with a well-being character, and our pjur products definitively fit the bill. Customer service and customer-oriented products are likewise more important than ever before nowadays. We are accordingly attentive through our direct communication with sellers and end customers and will give this matter high priority again in 2014.”