Fresh Companies, Mainstream at ANE

Ericka Jensen

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Buyers and distributors from all genres of the novelty industry gathered for the AVN Adult Novelty Expo this week.

The annual B2B tradeshow drew 1,000 attendees and 150 company exhibits including established companies standing their ground and new companies striving to break new ground.

California Exotic Novelties , Doc Johnson , Nasstoys , Pipedreams and Topco Sales sponsored this year’s event.

The industry saw a number of themes emerge on the tradeshow floor including companies that have taken a hard-line stance towards environmentally friendly and organic products, the brilliant appearance of chrome and metal items and newbie companies launching with a single flagship product.

Lubricant manufacturer Sliquid has gone green with its line of Sliquid Organics. The company has introduced a glycerin and paraben-free formula blended with certified organic botanicals. In further commitment to creating an earth-friendly product, bottles are 100 percent recyclable and labels are printed on partially recycled stock. Sample-size pillow packs are made from 75 percent recycled paper, representing a 92 percent reduction in waste after use.

“We’ve worked really hard to create an environmentally friendly product,” Collin Roy, creative director for Sliquid, told XBIZ.

POW Products, maker of the stimulating gel Tickle Her, introduced a line of organic gels, massage oils and body products called Intimate Organics. The line is paraban-free, DEA-free, pure vegan and made with certified organic extracts.

“These are the types of products the novelty industry needs,” Mark Franks, president and CEO of Castle Megastore told XBIZ from the show floor. “A lot of companies sell similar products in this industry, but we need more innovative products like the Intimate Organics line. Some of the most successful companies are the ones that sell these organic products, like Whole Foods.”

Forty-five new companies exhibited at the show, including several that launched with a single product.

One such company is Blowguard, whose flagship product was designed by a dentist. The Blowguard is similar to a night guard worn by those who grind their teeth at night, but helps relieve pressure on the jaw during blowjobs.

Erotic toy company, Vergenza , headed by a pair of New York University business school graduates was also a first-time exhibitor. The company’s signature “erotic tool,” the Mk I, is made out of aircraft-quality aluminum and marketed as a lifestyle product.

In an unusual case of expanding from mainstream markets into adult retail, first-time exhibitor Betty Beauty specializes in color dye for the pubic hair. The product has been featured in Oprah’s O magazine, People and Allure. Vogue magazine also wrote about the product in an unprecedented editorial for the normally conservative periodical.

“People have really embraced our product,” Nancy Jarecki, founder and CEO of Betty Beauty told XBIZ. “We had a really big response from the mainstream press. But we decided to offer our product in the adult industry mainly because we’ve had so many novelty companies ask us to do so.”

As usual, the industry’s stalwart companies offered products of varied design, material and concept.

The Nasstoys exhibit was crammed with countless products from some of the company’s best-selling lines of dildos, vibrators and masturbators. Nasstoys spokesmodel and adult star Taylor Wayne attracted crowds of attendees towards the goods. In celebration of the Nasstoy’s 30-year anniversary, discount prices were offered on original products the company has sold since its inception.

Pipedreams’ sampling of new offerings ran the gamut from a vitamin water-style “Sex Water” to politically correct African American penis straws for its line of bachelorette party products. New this year, for the company, were a number of prostate stimulation toys, among other items.

“We always have a very wide selection of products to offer customers,” Pipedreams’ Adam Moskowitz told XBIZ. “And we strive to sell solid, quality products at fair prices.”

Attendees sipped Jamba Juice smoothies at the CalExotics booth while browsing a wide array of products. Red rose petals and sprays of fresh flowers decorated the company’s huge display of items that included several new offerings — mini aluminum anal plugs, water play accessories and the Platinum Jack Rabbit Collection — only a sampling of the products on display.