LOS ANGELES – Last night's edition of the XBIZ Awards, presented by Fleshlight, marked another milestone for pleasure product manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike, who were recognized for their excellence and impact on the adult industry at large. (photo galleries)
U.K.-based Lovehoney snagged the prestigious Pleasure Products Company of the Year award, which caught co-founder Neil Slateford off guard.
“I'm totally surprised, very flattered,” Slateford told XBIZ after accepting the award at the Century Plaza Hotel, explaining, “We're from England, so it's cool that we've been made so welcome here. And there were some amazing companies that we were up against.”
Lovehoney, seeing revenue increasing due to its exclusive license to sell "Fifty Shades of Grey" merchandise, recorded profits that tripled to £2.25 million last year, according to filings with U.K. government agency Companies House. After catching wind of the Bath company's explosive growth mainstream outlets often feature it as a paradigm of success, particularly for the online market.
No stranger to the winner's circle, Swedish designer brand LELO's received recognition this year for Luxury Toy of the Year for its innovative Tara couples massager.
More specifically, the LELO Tara is a rotating and vibrating clitoral and G-Spot massager that features a slim internal shaft which gently rotates and mimicks a come-hither finger motion. The Tara’s ergonomic shape means that it can be worn during penetrative sex with a partner, and is the only sex toy on the market to combine wearable rotations with vibrations, the company says.
“We're so excited. This product has been a long time in the making,” said Donna Faro, director of sales and marketing for LELO, told XBIZ backstage amidst the commotion. “We feel like it is revolutionary, and to be honored for it is just amazing."
LELO celebrated its 10th anniversary in style last year at the 2013 XBIZ Awards, where it picked up grand honors as Pleasure Products Company of the Year.
2013's Sex Toy Company of the Year, German-based Fun Factory, returned to take home the honor of Innovative Sex Toy of the Year – Technology for its Stronic EINS “pulsator,” which purports to provide a rhythmic thrusting sensation distinct from most sex toy's typical vibration motion.
Memo from Fun Factory explained the win succinctly: “It's that great German technology, you know?”
The Fun Factory Stronic Eins features a worldwide patented technology that sends the female-friendly sex toy in a controlled forward motion and stimulates the user’s G-spot and other key internal pleasure points while providing a pleasant “full” feeling.
“We feel so great, we're so fortunate. Fun Factory kicks ass and takes name every year.” Fun Factory's April added backstage.
Ascending the stage for another year's win was California Exotic Novelties, which took home the 2014 XBIZ Soft Bondage Line of the Year Award for its Scandal line.
PR Director Desiree Duffie's enthusiasm for the product backstage was inspiring, evincing that a winning product takes heart and true dedication.
“The Scandal Line is really something that the entire team put a lot of effort in,” she said. “From the packaging, which is just exquisite, it's beautiful… it's very artistic if you haven't seen it. It actually shows the products in a photo shoot that was done by our in-house staff. The products themselves have this beautiful brocade fabric. It's red and it's just luxurious. It feels so good against the skin. So the entire line is something that we all put our heart and soul into, and it feels absolutely amazing to win tonight.”
Sportsheets also won big at the glitzy gathering, scoring the Fetish Pleasure Product of the Year for its Expandable Spreader Bar and Cuffs Set.
Male Sex Toy of the Year went to presenting sponsor Fleshlight's Flesh Pilot and Dreamgirl International was named Lingerie/Apparel Company of the Year.
For a complete list of winners, click here.
Backstage Winner's Circle photo of LELO's staff by Rick Brenes.