LOS ANGELES -- Swedish designer brand LELO celebrated its 10th anniversary in style at the XBIZ Awards on Friday night by picking up the Pleasure Products Company of the Year award.
“We’re planning a 10th anniversary celebration in September but this is a great start to our anniversary,” Donna Faro, director of sales and marketing for LELO, told XBIZ at the gala ceremony at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, Calif. “We have come a long way to introduce the luxury novelties to adult industry. It has taken us a long time because our price point is a lot higher and we have a niche customer base. It has been a long road but we’re now known as a household name in this type of space and we’re proud of that.”
LELO also won the Excellence in Product Packaging Award.
Another company celebrating a milestone anniversary year pulled in the Soft Bondage Line of the Year honor. Sportsheets, celebrating its 20th anniversary, won that award for Sex & Mischief (S&M), its line of playful bondage-light products. The line includes items designed to appeal to fans of 50 Shades of Grey, including the Grey Tie, a functional tie that is marketed as a restraint. “We sold over 80,000 Grey Ties in four months,” remarked Julie Stewart, president of Sportsheets, “which is funny because when Tom [Stewart, CEO and founder of Sportsheets] founded the company he always said, ‘Don’t use your tie, use Sportscuff’s instead.’ So in 20 years we’ve come full circle, now you can use your tie and Sportscuffs.”
German-based Fun Factory took home Sex Toy Company of the Year. Guillermo de la Vega, with Fun Factory’s business development department, felt that the honor was due in part to the combination of German know-how and quality materials. “It’s the best of German technology in a toy. We’re trying to make the world a fun place and we’re using the best technology and materials available,” de la Vega said. “We actually use medical grade silicone whereas most other companies use inferior materials. But more than that, we use fun shapes and colors. We have unique shapes because they are not realistic. If someone were to accidentally find one they would think it is a fun piece of art rather than a sex toy.”
The Lingerie/Apparel Company of the Year honors went to Hustler Lingerie. Elan Rofe, the jubilant owner of Electric Lingerie, the licensee that designs and manufactures the line, expressed his gratitude to Theresa Flynt for tapping him to represent the Hustler brand. “I just want to say that you did really choose me to be the one to do it and you’re the best for that, for believing in me.“
Flynt proclaimed Rofe her “favorite panty maker” and noted that Hustler Lingerie has shown growth every year since the line launched six years ago. “It’s been growing every year and it's global. We do everything from bras to club wear to men’s underwear. We did especially well with Halloween costumes this year,” Flynt noted.
Sliquid took home the Sex Lubricant of the Year award for the second year in a row. “We bottle clean, pure, women-safe lubricant and all our skews are designed for women’s sensitivities and that’s what makes us different from the rest of the field,” owner Dean Elliot said. “We’re obviously being thanked for our efforts by being selected as the Lubricant of the Year for the second time.”
“We’re thrilled for Thrill,” said Tori Parker, director of business development for Standard Innovation, on behalf of her company upon receiving the Powered Pleasure Product of the Year award for the Thrill by We-Vibe. “We’re known for our innovative products and this is just more evidence that we deserve our reputation.”
California Exotics Novelties founder Susan Colvin was pleased that her company’s Intensity by Jopen was recognized as the Innovative Pleasure Product of the Year award in the Design category. “It is the first exciting wellness product on the market,” Colvin said. “Intensity helps women build up their Keel muscles and improves their sex lives by giving them more frequent and more intense orgasms. Also, their partner will feel that they are tighter. Anything that makes sex better for people is something we’re glad to provide.”
Ethan Imboden, founder of JimmyJane, was excited that his company’s Form 6 was recognized as the Luxury Toy of the Year. “In this case the luxury denomination is due to our obsessive compulsive need to create the perfect product,” Imboden said.
Imboden noted that the Form 6 was a perfect example of product development, the topic of his keynote speech. The Form 6 was originally designed in 2002, although the first generation of the product wasn’t released until 2006. The second generation was released in 2010, and the product was redesigned again in 2012 and it was this most recent version that won the Luxury Toy honor.
“The lesson here is that we can find a great product solution and a great experience for consumers and continue to iterate on that and make it better and better over time instead of just continuously throwing new ideas out there into the sea of products," Imboden added.
For the complete list of winners, click here.
Photo of JimmyJane founder Ethan Imboden by Rick Garcia.