When Sex Expo New York attendees gathered at the Brooklyn Expo Center in September, they were not only exposed to the sex toys of established brands such as Doc Johnson, We-Vibe, Fun Factory and JOPEN, but also, to some newer brands as well. And one of them was the San Diego-based Velvet Co. (the “Co.” is short for “Cock”), which featured its Velvet Thruster line of silicone thrusting toys.
At the time, the Velvet Thruster had yet to ship commercially; that didn’t happen until January. But Velvet Co.’s booth at Sex Expo New York 2017 attracted a lot of foot traffic — which was encouraging — and this year, the company has been moving full speed ahead with its collection of Velvet Thrusters.
The Thruster products today use 3D software, engineering mechanics and aerospace materials that had been first used or intended for high-end electro-mechanical applications on aircraft.
“Velvet Co. started the development of a thrusting dildo product in 2014,” Alex Fima, general manager and co-founder, told XBIZ. “Our patent for a reciprocating sex toy was issued in 2017 just prior to the product introduction at Sex Expo 2017. We were very nervous about consumer reception when we first introduced the new products, but the customer response from sex-positive individuals was overwhelming.
“Production deliveries, both direct to consumers via TheThruster.com and through various reputable resellers, commenced in January.”
The term “fucking machine” is often used in connection with larger and much heavier toys. But for the Thruster collection, Velvet Co. envisioned a portable penetrating device that a woman could hold in her hand — not unlike a traditional vibrator — and use for thrusting pleasure. In fact, Velvet Co.’s Thruster toys can fit comfortably in a suitcase or handbag.
“Our goal with the first product line was to replace the large fucking machines with a superior product that is handheld, powerful and flexible,” Fima explained. “Today, Velvet Thruster products are similar in size and price to a traditional dildo or vibrator; so, we are an option to anyone considering adult pleasure products. Our mission is to deliver quality, sex-positive pleasure products using technology and innovation.”
Typically, manufacturers who launch and market new sex toys have considerable experience in that area of the adult industry. But Velvet Co.’s founders, including Fima, had no experience marketing a sex toy before The Velvet Thruster — and in fact, their background was in aerospace.
“Our engineering experience comes from 23 years owning and operating a successful aerospace engineering and manufacturing company,” Fima noted. “The Thruster products today use 3D software, engineering mechanics and aerospace materials that had been first used or intended for high-end electro-mechanical applications on aircraft.
“Certainly, we use quality practices in manufacturing our own thrusting dildos that far exceed basic standard practice.”
So far, Fima said, Velvet Co.’s experiences in the pleasure products space have been positive. “The sex toy business is substantially more fun than our previous aerospace enterprise, and entirely different,” Fima stressed. “We used to be subject to the demands of our customers in aerospace; today, we maintain a consistent production line that is easier to manage.”
Fima is finding that San Diego is as beneficial a location for sex toy production as it is for aerospace, and Velvet Co. plans to remain there.
“The benefit of San Diego is that it is very easy to attract and retain talent to work on our team,” Fima observed. “Today, we bring in parts from Canada, China, Taiwan and the U.S.; the final assembly and quality control is done in San Diego using quality control procedures one might find in an aerospace facility.”
Although Velvet Co. has focused on the U.S. market so far, a European promotional campaign is on the company’s to-do list for 2018.
“Today, the Velvet Thruster handheld sex toys are being sold within the U.S. only,” Fima pointed out. “Later this year, we plan to release products for sale in Europe, with a fulfillment facility in Baden, Switzerland.”
Asked to discuss Velvet Co.’s long-range plans, Fima mentioned that another line of thrusting toys, the Mini Thruster, is in the works for next year.
“We now have new variations of the Thruster product in development,” Fima explained. “There will be a line of Mini Thrusters — still powerful, but even more economical — coming to the market in early 2019.”
Fima added, “Our flagship Thruster line will benefit from interchangeable toys and accessories next year as well. This will expand the offering of silicone toys that users may enjoy using.”
Having introduced Sex Expo New York attendees to the Thruster line at last year’s show at the Brooklyn Expo Center, Fima said, Velvet Co. is anxious to make its presence felt at Sex Expo New York 2018 this September.
“Our booth at the show will have demonstration products and videos to educate consumers on handheld fucking machines, and (there will be) lots of giveaways,” Fima noted. “Education is important. Vibrators have been the core of adult toys for decades.
“Our thrusting dildos are very powerful, flexible, body-safe silicone toys — and yet, are very affordable, giving everyone an all-new alternative. This has made our products very desirable with all consumers that want the latest innovation in personal stimulation products.”
Presently, there are four products in Velvet Co.’s Thruster line: Jackie, Frankie, Walter and Abbey, all of which are selling for $199.99 at TheThruster.com and will be on display at Sex Expo New York 2018.
“Our original intent was to provide an alternative to the traditional fucking machine, a large and expensive toy many didn’t have the financial luxury or physical space to bring home but had a desire to try nonetheless,” Fima asserted, noting that the Velvet Thruster product line is affordable enough to compete with traditional vibrating or pulsating dildos."