Nourish the body, cleanse the soul — and, if you’re in the business of lubricants, energize the sensual self. The French are known for beautiful skin and decadent pleasures, and Aix En Provence-based company Exsens is raising the bar on body desserts. Delivered in colorful collage-style, artsy packaging fit for the funkiest of adult boutiques, these collections of lubricants, refreshing stimulators, and massage oils are a reflection of the industry-wide sexual health revolution.
Sexy edibles and lush liquids are next in line to come out of the nightstand and display proudly alongside luxury vibrators and sensual jewelry. Though the FDA has recently enacted some daunting laws requiring rigorous testing for products carrying the “lubricant” label, Exsens has the medical chops to cut through the red tape. Since 2003, Laboratoire Kemesys, creative helm of the Exsens brand, has been crafting a full catalog of all-natural skincare goods and cosmetics and offering private label services. When the company sold to chemical engineering corporation Technic in 2013, new owner David Weisberg wanted to ignite a creative spark. “David asked the Kemesys creative team what they would like to do, and Exsens was born,” says U.S. sales manager Rebecca Pinette-Dorin.
The Made in France aspect pleases immensely. –Rebecca Pinette-Dorin, Exsens
Taking a cue from their cosmetic roots, Exsens boasts of several coveted European medical device certifications. The team is now pursuing the FDA to secure similar manufacturing compliance for the U.S. market. “I think America is leaning more and more towards quality, all-natural and organic,” says Pinette-Dorin. “We are currently putting a line of 510(k) approved lubricants through the FDA screening process.” The government’s rigid steps to earning certification are already known to be lengthy and expensive, but the benefits outweigh the roadblocks to a quick product launch. Customer and end consumer response has been, according to Pinette-Dorin, “Extremely positive. They like our packaging and our commitment to quality.”
Since the brand’s inception, team collaboration remains at the heart of product development. The Exsens founders remain enthusiastically involved throughout the process of creating the next big lube trend. “The team is very gung-ho about R&D,” says Pinette-Dorin. “Everyone participates in the choice of new products and new flavors.” Unique, tastable creations like Ginger Lychee, Vanilla Espresso, and Margarita round out a collection of massage oils, sensual stimulants and lubricants fit for the most discerning of gastrophiles. “Bar none, the Arousal Gels have been flying off the shelves,” says Pinette-Dorin. “The unique flavors have really pleased and of course, they work (like really, really well)!”
To the surprise of Pinette-Dorin, one of Exsens’ most popular lines is a curious nod to the sexual-spiritual niche recently carved out by companies like Chakrubs. “Our Crystal Massage line has been far more of a success than expected,” notes Pinette-Dorin. Crystal-infused massage oils lend the healing powers of Amber, Garnet and Amethyst to skin-soothing essentials like Jojoba, Argan and Sweet Almond. Aventurine, Tiger Eye, and Carnelian are expected to join the collection of gems in January as Exsens amps up promotional efforts in the U.S.
The reputation of Laboratoire Kemesys provided an essential launching pad for Exsens’ sensual products. Tapping the European market was an obvious first step. “We are a French company and very well distributed in Europe already,” says Pinette-Dorin. As the company crosses continents, Pinette-Dorin touts their international success as the catalyst for a coming dive into American bedrooms. “Australia is doing well,” she says. “Asia is developing as we speak, and I have been in talks with some South American distributors.” Now based in Rhode Island, Pinette-Dorin’s recent relocation to the U.S. is just the beginning of a new era of lubricants for domestic customers, prompted by Pinette-Dorin’s passion for her career. “I have just moved back to the States after many years in France,” she says. “I am looking forward to hooking up with old friends and getting to know everyone in the industry again.”
Rebecca and the company’s creative team are calculating a multi-channel launch for the high-end lube brand. Exsens’ new home at U.S. engineering outfit Technic has padded some of the financial risks involved with doing business abroad. “It just seemed natural to come here. Technic has a strong presence in the U.S. so we are supported logistically,” notes Pinette-Dorin. Within the distribution, retail and consumer markets, Exsens is planning a full-spectrum campaign to embody the essence of “Exquises Sensations,” the company’s slogan and core value. “We expect to do a lot more marketing and viral media and really try and build up brand presence throughout North America,” says Pinette-Dorin. “We want to enlarge our line and provide a full spectrum of fun, body-safe products that are all 100 percent made in France.” Unsurprisingly for luxury-minded consumers, “The Made in France aspect pleases immensely,” Pinette-Dorin says.
The French have seemingly found a magical balance of moderation and decadence. They partake in desires of the flesh without acquiring the unsightly American staples we associate with indulgence. Exsens has taken the most delicious acts of partner play and made them healthier and safer without losing their essential naughtiness. The future of Exsens can be foretold in sales manager Pinette-Dorin’s genuine excitement for the new year. “[My goal is] To build this wonderful brand and help it fulfill its true potential! Everyone is going to LOVE EXSENS!”