LOS ANGELES — Justin Ross and Keith Caggiano, the entrepreneurial duo behind Screaming O, are profiled in an article on Bloomberg.com that follows the rising visibility of adult brands in mainstream retail —with Screaming O serving as a key advocate.
The article starts with the early beginnings of the Screaming O brand: “When Justin Ross first showed Keith Caggiano his business plan in 2005, Caggiano thought he was joking. Inspired by a Brazilian girlfriend, Ross, a former portfolio manager at New York City hedge fund Millennium Partners, wanted to start a sex toy distribution business.”
Now, the Torrance, Calif.-based company employs 20 and projects $15 million in revenue this year, Ross said in the report.
“Screaming O's desire now is to sell through mainstream channels while maintaining its racy branding. In late 2009, Screaming O signed a deal for national distribution in 7,000 Walgreens drugstores. Their products, with bright, explicit packaging, are also sold through Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and RiteAid.com, as well as stores in 27 foreign countries.”
The article points out that that while historically mainstream-friendly brands such as Trojan opt for a low-key approach to marketing with “packaging designed to disappear on the grocery store conveyer belt,” Screaming O banks on its fun and racy image.
“‘We stand right at the edge. We want to market and brand ourselves as a company that sells fun,’ Ross says, ‘without becoming so demure’ that customers overlook the products.”
The article also includes comments from Free Speech Coalition Communications Director Joanne Cachapero and Dave Levine of SexToy.com, who point to declining DVD sales as fueling novelty sales while offering overall revenue estimates of the business.
Screaming O’s latest release, The Studio Collection, also gets a plug in the article.
“With cleverly disguised packaging, the collection hides sex toys in lipsticks, eye shadow, and face powder containers. The collection includes high-quality materials and stylish designs that justify a higher price point and higher margins than Screaming O's earlier merchandise, Ross says.”