Founded by industry vet and certified sex educator Alicia Sinclair, COTR Inc. made its debut in 2015 with the fresh, upgraded take on anal products of its b-Vibe brand. Hailed “the Apple of anal” by Vice.com’s Motherboard online magazine, b-Vibe was soon joined by COTR’s other sex tech-focused brands Le Wand and The Cowgirl, each bringing thoughtful innovation to categories that hadn’t seen much recent reinvention.
Dedicated to delivering an exceptional user experience, COTR has taken an in-depth educational approach to reaching consumers. All of the company’s products come with pleasure guides and easy-to-follow instructions, along with regularly updated websites and a social media presence that allows the company to connect and establish trust with consumers. COTR has made it its mission to not only offer advice to help consumers learn more about their products, but their bodies and desires as well. As a result, COTR brands are not only regularly featured in mainstream media, but have developed a loyal following that look to the brands as the authorities in their respective categories.
I feel like these are products that are for an overall healthy lifestyle.
By letting the brands speak for themselves, COTR, the parent company has remained in the background, known only by its acronym — until now. In this exclusive Q&A with Sinclair, she reintroduces us to the company behind some of the pleasure products industry’s most progressive brands as “Children of the Revolution.”
Sinclair’s nearly two decades has made her an ideal leader for shaking up the sex toy industry. Over the past four years, she’s also recruited a team of like-minded forward-thinking industry vets to spread COTR’s message of sex positivity. With non-stop retailer training throughout the U.S. and abroad, COTR has also prioritized in-person branding to consumers through educational, interactive events in bustling cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the newly rebranded Children of the Revolution.
XBIZ: What inspired the “Children of the Revolution” company name?
Alicia Sinclair: It’s a double play on words — the first one being realistically that I grew up in the industry. January will be my 17th year. It’s been an interesting time to be in the industry because of the way that it’s been revolutionary — from the way the products look to the way we talk about them. And, secondly because of the process of creating products, we’ve often thought about them as our children. So, not only is everyone on the team part of the “children of the revolution” in that they’ve been in the industry for a long time, but the products themselves also feel like they’re representations of where we think consumer products should be.
XBIZ: How is COTR propelling the industry?
Sinclair: What we feel our strengths are is that we have a different way of looking at how products are developed and being extremely focused on consumer interaction and experience — from the minute that they pick it up at the store to the minute they open it up at home. We want to offer a really thoughtfully designed product partnered up with a how-to guide to that teaches how to use it — and it’s non-gendered; it’s very easy for any one, respectively, to pick up and feel included. I think those things are really important. As well as the products — the colors, the messaging, the marketing, and clearly the education — it’s the “why” behind the product. We want to create products with meaning.
XBIZ: What are the company’s principles?
Sinclair: Our main principle is to continue to revolutionize in the way that we’ve been doing — by offering body-safe products (always, that’s a standard); having a warranty, a customer service department with somebody that’s a trained sex educator, sales reps that have been in the industry for a long time and have the same ethics as the company. We value inclusivity, sex education, quality products, and looking at the industry and how we want it to be. It’s transitioning right now. For example, I see pleasure products as lifestyle items — I mean yeah they’re sex toys, people have sex with them and I like that about them too, but I feel like these are products that are for an overall healthy lifestyle.
XBIZ: How do you keep the team motivated?
Sinclair: I think I’m driven a lot by my own past experiences as a salesperson, the things that I’ve seen as missed opportunities to create a team dynamic where everyone worked together and enjoyed working together. We as salespeople spend a lot of time building companies, and on the road with our coworkers, and having an experience that feels nurturing really makes a difference in how you feel overall. For me I want our people to be really happy about where they work. So I feel that’s part of building the team, bringing us all together and making sure everyone is on the same page — whether that’s product releases, marketing initiatives or making sure that we’re all in line with the messaging from the company, I think has been really productive.
As far as keeping folks motivated, believe it or not, our team is really passionate about the brands and so for them to get a little preview of what we’re releasing at upcoming shows or what our new campaigns are going to look like, I think makes them so excited to see what we’re doing and how we’re thinking outside of the traditional way of doing things.
XBIZ: How does COTR stand out?
Sinclair: I think what makes us different overall is the very strategic placement of our products within a store space. It’s very different from what other companies have done, which is to try to make something that covers every category. We’ve been very specific in the categories and how we educated around them. I think our design and marketing is something that could match something that you see in a consumer electronics store, or even a beauty store — it’s something that could sit on the same shelf and look like it belongs there. I think that really says something about how a consumer approaches our products. Mainstream publications and retail folks often seek us out for our sex-ed advice and I think we’ve really carved out a leadership role.
XBIZ: Discuss events that COTR hosts and how they reflect the company’s progressive values?
Sinclair: When we do consumer events, rather than focusing it all on the product, we try to show how these products are lifestyle products — as in, how can this product benefit your overall life. How can a product like The Cowgirl be relatable to anyone who has never used a sex machine before? We put The Cowgirl at the Museum of Sex in New York and let people (fully clothed) play on them. When we launched the Le Wand Petite, we hosted “Sex & Sound” and the follow-up to that, “Sex & the Senses,” with The Pleasure Chest in New York and Los Angeles. It’s really about tying all of the senses together — from vibration to sound, the feelings in your body, how using the senses can be really pleasurable. It’s education and it’s also really fun. I think it presents sex in a slightly more understanding light and makes it less stigmatized. For example, when we did our “Anal Throughout the Ages” event — it’s the same conversation over and over again. Anal sex is stigmatized right now in our culture, but in other times it wasn’t, it was a preferable form of sex for men and women. It’s always shifting and we’re showing people a different way of looking at it.
XBIZ: Discuss the mainstream exposure that COTR’s progressiveness has attracted.
Sinclair: We’re regularly being featured in mainstream publications — most recently Le Wand was in Bride magazine, Business Insider, and the Le Wand Petite was a winner in the first-ever Women’s Health Femtech Awards.
I really think the mainstream attention has to do with being a female-founded company in sex-tech, having a team of folks that are really passionate, and products that do what they say they do, and make people feel good about their bodies and sex overall.
XBIZ: What can we expect from COTR and its brand in 2019?
Sinclair: It’s going to be a really exciting year! We have a new ad campaign for b-Vibe coming out at the end of January. We have a special edition wand coming out with a very powerful marketing message behind it. Overall, I can tell you that that this year is full of big stuff for us. We have a team in place that I feel we have all the right people in all the right places — people that are naturally attracted to our company, are passionate about mission and like where they work. That’s exactly what I consider my ideal scenario.