profile Going Global With the Beauty of Simplicity

Q. Boyer

Established in 2009 by designer Line Iren Andersen and her Managing Director/co-founder Karianne Ronning, has quickly established a reputation for manufacturing products that are as functional and effective as they are singular and compelling in their design aesthetic. Laid doesn’t make “sex toys,” it makes works of art that please the eye nearly as much as they do the erogenous zones.

The design excellence of Laid’s products flows in part from Line’s academic background, having earned a Master’s in Industrial Design from Oslo School of Architecture and Design in 2007. Her Masters project itself was to design a sex toy set for couples—and a creation inspired by necessity.

We are fun and young, sophisticated and refined, and appeal to a broad consumer base — which allows Laid to maintain a presence in almost any adult, lingerie or lifestyle shop. -Karianne Ronning Managing Director/Co-founder,

Ronning says Andersen’s “wakeup call” came in 2005, when her personal vibrator broke and she began to take an interest in how the devices were made, and how their designs might be improved. After reading an article about British designer Tom Dixon’s Bone vibrator, Andersen was hooked, and realized that pleasure-product design was an exciting and growing field, one in which she could “truly make a difference” as a female designer.

Andersen started her Master’s project in 2006, completing a set of three sex-toy designs in the spring of 2007, two of which went on to become core Laid products: the P.2 Silicone Cock Ring and the D.1 Silicone Dildo. To date, the P.2 and D.1 have been Laid’s bestsellers, success that can be attributed directly to their designs, Ronning says, which represent the unity of function and form.

“The overall design and minimalistic look of the P.2 is very attractive at first glance,” Ronning notes. “For many, that is enough to make the initial purchase. The design is very complex and it’s those intricate details that offer an incredible user experience, which has garnered us many fans and rave reviews. These details include the oval shape of the ring, its unique angle (specially designed for comfort), its perfect hold and pleasant ‘squeezing’ sensation, the firmness of the material, the material’s velvety smoothness (which creates less drag on the skin and body hair), and the convex shape at the triangular perineum extension portion, which ensures it touches and presses completely against the erectile tissue behind the testicles.”

A spin on the original silicone D.1, Ronning cites the combination of an “elegant, minimalistic look with the aesthetic and tactile appeal of natural rock” as being the initial source of customer attraction to the D.1 Stone Dildo—customers who later get hooked on the way the dildo performs.

“Consumers often are drawn to it simply because of its beauty, and later are pleasantly surprised to find that it is an incredible G-spot dildo,” Ronning says. “The Stone Dildo’s shape is handcrafted following the design of our D.1 Silicone Dildo, which has a twisted shaft and asymmetric head. The combination of these two unique aspects directs the D.1 in perfect alignment with the G-spot area and requires only slight movement to provide ample pressure to effectively stimulate the G-spot.”

On the business development side, one of the lynchpins of Laid’s rapid growth has been the brand’s ability to “target men and women equally,” Ronning says, a fact that derives from the brand’s personality and the image projected by the company—an image that Laid is projecting in an increasingly international way.

“We are fun and young, sophisticated and refined, and appeal to a broad consumer base—which allows Laid to maintain a presence in almost any adult, lingerie or lifestyle shop,” Ronning explains. “Using this brand strategy, we successfully secured availability in 40 countries in less than two years, and our unisex product line didn’t have a single vibrating sex toy at the time.

Being one of the few adult product manufacturers led by women — with all products designed in-house by a woman—also sets up apart within this vast industry.”

Of course, growing internationally when distributing potentially controversial goods like pleasure products has its challenges, but Ronning says that Laid fully embraces those challenges rather than shirks from them.

“Each region is diverse and we are differentiating our approach accordingly,” Ronning observes. “There are cultural sensitivities to consider in certain regions, which some might think to be obstacles, but we consider them opportunities. For example, we are focusing on women’s health and health benefits in our approach within the Middle East, ensuring a culturally respectful presentation of our products and their functionality in collaboration with local partners. It’s a work in progress and scalable once properly established.”

Looking ahead, Ronning says Laid will rely on its fundamental brand ethos and philosophy to continue to set it apart from its competition, aspects of the company that inform all its products, as well as its approach to the market. Central to this brand persona, Ronning notes, is the value of simplicity.

“We want our products to be intuitive and simple to use, with optimal effect and enjoyment,” Ronning explains. “While we are technically not a low-tech company, our goal is to have each product’s shape and form to be what provides the sexual response without having to incorporate some kind of high-tech functionality. We also incorporate unconventional manufacturing solutions into the design of each product, which helps ensure maximum functionality without the need for bells and whistles. This distinguishes us quite a bit from the high-tech focus of several competitors. We aim to only create products that offer a true alternative or improvement on existing shapes and styles in each product category.”