Go into your local adult novelty shop and pick up a pair of edible undies. Maybe it’s a gag gift. Maybe it’s intended to spice up a sexual relationship that has started to feel rote. Maybe it’s part of a birthday or anniversary present — the details of which will be shared behind closed doors.
Whatever the reason, as the clerk puts those edible undergarments into a plain brown bag, most customers are probably not thinking about the product’s artistry, about the level of love and care and creativity that went into the design.
In this industry you can put out a great item and if it’s a real hot seller, so many companies are going to come after it and try to knock it off.
To the consumer, it’s a gummy thong or a gummy bra, hard candy shaped in an amusing way or stretchy, string candy that covers just enough before it gets hungrily eaten.
For Chris Post, vice president at Hott Products, making edible undies — or penis-shaped water bottles, dildos, lotions, lubricants, cock rings, gels or other adult products — is a wonderfully creative process, akin to writing novels or songs.
And he should know.
Before Post founded Hott Products back in 1999 with CEO Morris Abdelsayed, he was the lead singer for Dillinger, a pretty popular ’90s hair band, to use his phrase. They had a record deal. They had a video on MTV. They toured with Joe Walsh, Boston and Tesla, among others.
“Once the hair band era kind of went by the wayside with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, we lost our record deal,” he said.
Nowadays, Post applies that same level of creativity — thrust through a commercial filter of course — to adult products.
“I design all the products and name everything,” he said. “It’s a creative process.”
Every item sold by Hott Products begins with Post and a graphic design team. As in songwriting, Post will get his inspiration from what already exists in the marketplace — with Dillinger it was the gritty, blues-driven rock of bands like Bad Company and Aerosmith. With Hott Products it’s mainstream items like candy or other consumer goods.
“That gets the creative juices flowing,” he said. Products then get 3D-modeled and fabricated, then shipped out to retailers. “We cut molds for our own products,” Post said. “We do everything ourselves.”
The problem with being creative in the adult toy and novelty industry is how difficult it is to maintain exclusivity.
“You really can’t trademark an adult item,” Post said, suggesting that the Library of Congress, for whatever reason, is reluctant to trademark a product intended to mimic a piece of male anatomy.
“In this industry you can put out a great item and if it’s a real hot seller, so many companies are going to come after it and try to knock it off,” he said.
That hasn’t stopped Hott Products from running into some difficulty on that score. Soon after the company was founded, Post launched a small, white penis-shaped candy. Suffice to say, the makers of a rather well-known breath mint fell their brand name had been infringed on, and Post had to rebrand his product as “Dick Tarts.”
That, and the edible underwear, “kind of launched our company into the stratosphere,” Post said.
That also hasn’t stopped Post and Hott Products from innovating.
“Basically we are always trying to create the newest and greatest,” he said.
For example, “We were the first company in the industry to have a vibrating cock ring called the Humm Dinger,” according to Post. And clitoral stimulation gel, “again we were the first ones to have it.”
“We had a lot of firsts,” he said.
The company’s grown since then, shipping Rainbow Cockpops and penis-shaped macaroni and cheese out of its 15,000-square-foot warehouse in Chatsworth, Calif.
These days, Post is looking to take Hott Products to the next level.
“Man does not live by novelty alone,” he said. “Man could live by novelty alone, but you’d have to sell a lot of novelty. They are not very expensive. We have tons of them, but you have to sell a lot of volume to get into the high dollar range.”
Known as they may be for adult novelty products, the company is attempting to expand its horizons. Since the beginning of the year, Post and Hott Products have launched 55 new products, with yet more on the way.
Get ready to see more of brand names like “Skinsations,” and “Wet Dreams” from Hott Products, though they won’t be giving up on novelty products any time soon.
“We came up with these pretty extensive lines,” Post said. “We can do it, we can do it well and well priced.”
That many new products — which doesn’t even count the new and upgraded novelty items Hott Products is marketing — has made Chris Post a very busy man indeed.
“We went through a lot of new manufacturing,” he said. “That’s a lot of products to design for us.”
In addition to the creative aspect, Post said there’s a bit of rock and roll in the adult industry that made his transition easier. He started out in sales, selling condoms for a major manufacturer, and quickly found a lot of people with similar sensibilities.
“If you go to the lingerie shows, there’s always a group of guys with tattoos and long hair,” he said, though he noted that there are some more straightedge elements involved. It may be a counter-culture, but it’s also sales.
“Even though there’s a lot of alternative culture in the market a lot of people who own the stores are very conservative,” he said. “I still have a rock and roll look about me, but I’ve realized there are a lot of conservative people in the industry.”