profile

Dragontailz Owner Randy Broadway Talks Company’s BDSM Roots

Dragontailz Owner Randy Broadway Talks Company’s BDSM Roots

Ten years ago, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” book release catapulted BDSM into the mainstream. Each year since, kink has garnered increasing attention in movies, TV shows, music videos, social media and fashion trends. Those in the pleasure products industry know this widespread fascination with BDSM isn’t a passing fad. Riding crops, ball gags and floggers are common fare in mainstream sex shops and they’re here to stay.

According to Randy Broadway, owner of Dragontailz, he focuses on handcrafting affordable quality kink gear with both lifestylers and newbies in mind.

No one else has 30 years of experience in the lifestyle, of designing their own toys, and maintaining this level of quality.

Dragontailz was founded out of a personal need. Thirty years ago, as a new BDSM lifestyler himself, Broadway was frustrated by the lack of quality impact play implements available. Putting his background in engineering and hobby work to use, he set out to make the gear he wanted but couldn’t find in stores.

After his craft leather whips and floggers drew attention at events and parties, Broadway began making toys for friends. As the demand for his one-of-a-kind items grew, it became clear he was onto something. He opened North Carolina-based Dragontailz in 2002. His namesake whip, the Dragontail was the first of its kind and is now after among BDSM enthusiasts.

“My original design was the Dragontail. It’s a rolled leather whip and we perfected that. We have the only one on the market. People have copied it, but no one's come close to what we have,” Broadway told XBIZ. “People that pick up ours, who have bought other people's dragontails instantly say ‘this plays nothing like the one I have. Yours is far superior.’”

Today, Dragontailz offers floggers, dragontail whips, collars, cuffs and more made from high-end leather. Cowhide, kangaroo, buffalo, elk, bison, moose, bull hide, and mule are among the company’s standard materials. “We use three different kinds of leather in almost all of our toys. But the Dragontail is made from the same leather that Ferrari and Rolls Royce use in their cars. It's more expensive, it holds up better, and lasts longer.”

Broadway prides himself on sourcing only the finest materials. Dragontailz’s North Carolina location allows easy access to top-grade leather used in the furniture manufacturing industry. “I handpick the leathers we use. I spend generally one day every week driving around to my various suppliers to find different colors and textures. All the furniture manufacturers in North Carolina shop these leather distributors who have all this inventory. Lazy Boy, Broyhill, Henredon, Drexel — they're all shopping the same places I shop and buying this Italian leather for their high-end furniture.”

These supplier relationships also allow Dragontailz to consistently offer small-batch specialty runs. “We have 20 different colors in our collection. In addition to that, we do a whole range of limited editions in new colors, designs and textures. We’ve done a zebra colored flogger, alligator, snake, lizard. This year we released a Florida collection, which is tangerine orange, purple, pale lime, sky blue and teal. And these are limited editions — when it's gone is gone.”

While Dragontailz does a small number of consumer sales via website and event vending, most of their business is direct wholesale. Broadway says that he knows the retail market well and has crafted his 65 SKUs and MSRPs to attract attention. Nothing in Dragontailz' collection is over $200. In fact, half of their line is retail priced under $100. All Dragontailz items have a limited lifetime warranty. Additionally, if retailers can’t move inventory for 180 days, they can exchange it for better performing items.

Dragontailz caters to four target audiences — the bachelorette crowd, novice users ready to upgrade from or bypass their first low-end toy, intermediate users who are beginning to amass a collection of varied kink gear, and experienced lifestylers. Broadway has also devised a strategy to capitalize on a key trend. While first-time buyers were on the younger side a decade ago, that audience now skews much older.

“Fifty Shades has totally changed the dynamics and the demographics for our industry.” Broadway goes on to explain that the typical kink-curious customer is a middle-aged woman. “She's walking into her first sex shop very apprehensive, very timid, very scared. She walks up to the counter and says, ‘My husband and I are looking to get into this stuff, can you tell me or show me?’”

Broadway urges his retail customers to display high-end fetish gear behind the register. “This middle-aged lady is too terrified to walk past all your masturbators, cock rings, and everything else to go to the back and look at something in the dungeon. This way, she’s at the front counter asking, ‘Can I touch that and see how it feels?’ And you start a conversation. Now you just hooked her because you’ve gotten a personal connection going. She's going to come back and shop.”

To serve various customer profiles, Dragontailz offers introductory dragontail-style whips and floggers in addition to high-end gear. Typically, as a person's BDSM proficiency grows, they level up to heavier weight impact items. With a flogger, for instance, someone that starts out with a 24-tail item might upgrade to a 36 or 50-tail toy made from heavier leather when they become more experienced.

Beginner pieces typically transition to low-intensity warm-up tools. Unlike cheaper beginner gear that falls apart after long-term use, Dragontailz’s introductory selection is constructed to last a lifetime and remain a part of a growing collection, Broadway says.

“For those who seek only the best” is Dragontailz’s infamous tagline. According to Broadway, that’s not just a catchy phrase but a reflection of the company's unwavering dedication. “Our core value is to provide people with a higher quality toy that’s not going to fall apart on them and that they can use for the next 30 to 40 years.” Broadway adds, “No one else has 30 years of experience in the lifestyle, of designing their own toys, and maintaining this level of quality.”

Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

More Articles

opinion

How Sex-Ed Lays the Groundwork for Well-Informed Shopping

We often do some research before making purchases, whether by delving into a company’s background, exploring specific products or simply making sure we understand how to use something before we buy it.

Nathan Hammerle ·
opinion

A Look at How Customer Demographics of Full-Size Sex Dolls Have Evolved

For a long time, sex dolls were dismissed as cheap novelties used by lonely heterosexual men. This was especially true of early, inflatable versions, which became the butt of jokes in pop culture. However, things have changed dramatically.

Rebecca Weinberg ·
opinion

Why Getting Back to In-Person Events Is Imperative for Pleasure Biz

Even before COVID-19, consumers were already increasingly shopping online. During the pandemic, that trend naturally skyrocketed, and many of us store owners and suppliers became accustomed to leaning back and managing nearly all of our business from behind a screen.

Sean Quinn ·
opinion

What Pleasure Brands Need to Know About Celebrity Endorsements

The right celebrity endorsement could skyrocket your brand into profitable relevance. The wrong one could send your brand crashing down into obscurity. While the allure of celebrity endorsements is obvious, less obvious are the risks that come with handing over the responsibility for your brand’s reputation to a third party.

Kathryn Byberg ·
trends

The Next Wave: Pleasure Industry Execs Forecast 2024

The dawn of 2024 is upon us and the adult retail biz is buzzing with anticipation, looking forward to seeing what new, innovative pleasure products, lubricants and sensual cosmetic lines will hit the market in the coming year.

profile

WIA Profile: April Hoopes

When you do what you love, they say, you’ll never work a day in your life — and when your job involves educating the masses about sex toys, it’s hard not to love what you do. As director of sales for pleasure brand Edonista, April Hoopes would surely agree.

Women In Adult ·
profile

Bathmate's Tim Brown Talks Legal Standards of Penis Pump Production

Since the company’s inception in 2006, Bathmate has delivered myriad iterations of the brand’s namesake: a hydrotherapy pump utilizing warm water and suction to take advantage of the penis’s naturally hydraulic erectile function.

Colleen Godin ·
profile

Nasstoys Marks 45 Years of Pioneering in the Pleasure Industry

Longtime pleasure products manufacturer Nasstoys, known for its vast variety of adult products and supplements, is commemorating 45 years in the business of making people happy.

Kim Airs ·
opinion

Selling Tactile Stimulation With Textured Toys

Tactile stimulation plays a pivotal role in elevating intimate encounters. As consumers recognize and explore the link between diverse, expansive sensory engagement and enhanced pleasure, we are seeing a shift toward products that go beyond basic functionality.

Carly S. ·
opinion

How Mainstream Can Show Respect in Its Appropriation of Fetish Wear

Once upon a time, fetish wear was strictly confined to kink communities and subcultures. However, it has now made its way onto the catwalk and even mainstream Instagram and TikTok. This visibility of fetish clothing raises important questions about respect for its origins and the cultural significance of fetish wear.

Countess Diamond ·
Show More