When Team Sliquid is in the house, you know there’s bound to be a party, and the party doesn’t start until Dean Elliott walks in. Sliquid’s founder, CEO and overall front man doesn’t need his signature fashionable suits to make an entrance — though we’re all glad he’s still the industry’s best-dressed pitchman. Elliott is the ultimate people person, and his outgoing personality could draw a crowd even if he decided to show up to the soiree in pajamas, which we’re certain would also be runway-esque.
Fashion sense and charisma aside, Elliott has made an international name for his Sliquid brand through business savviness, high-quality products and a team that’s as magnetic as Elliott himself.
Business is fluid and always evolving, so you must learn to go with the flow and roll with the punches.
This year, Elliott and the Sliquid team are celebrating 20 years as industry leaders in the lubricants game.
“If the past 20 years have taught me anything, it’s to be grateful for all that we’ve accomplished as a team,” Elliott reflects. “We have been looking forward to this milestone anniversary and it truly fills our hearts with great pride and gratitude.”
Since its humble beginnings, Sliquid has established itself as a company fully dedicated to quality. When consumers are seeking a lubricant without irritating ingredients, one that won’t sting or burn their private parts, they turn to Sliquid’s multiple body-safe formulas.
Founded in 2002, Sliquid is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Elliottt originally ran his business as a one-man show, selling his then-few products whenever the opportunity arose. In 2005, now-Senior VP Colin Roy joined the team and the pair started managing the original Sliquid office together.
Sliquid’s early days are now well behind them. The company has since partnered with leading queer influencers and performers to bring its products to market, such as Buck Angel’s groundbreaking T-Collection for trans men and Rocco Steele’s Ride Rocco line of lubricants. Sliquid has won a multitude of XBIZ Awards over the years, including Sex Lubricant Company of the Year, Sex Lubricant of the Year, and Sexual Health and Wellness Brand of the Year. Elliott also highlights the company’s pair of coveted XBIZ Exec Awards — one for Elliott and one for Michelle Marcus — with the entire Sliquid executive team being nominated year after year for their work in the industry.
“It is safe to say that everyone that makes up this amazing team shares in the love for the products we offer, and each of them plays an integral role from operations to marketing and creative to sales and our warehouse crew,” says Elliott. “These are the folks that internally make it possible for our Sliquid brand to grow day by day.”
Elliott looks to his supportive staff when times get tough, especially during the last two years of COVID. He says Sliquid was not without losses, but the company recovered with the help of its dedicated employees, distributor and retailer partners.
“We took a financial hit because warehouses, brick-and-mortars and corporate headquarters, including ours, temporarily closed,” says Elliott. “Supply chain delays slowed production, which resulted in stock shortages that we are thankfully beginning to slowly recover from.
“Planning for all the twists and turns that this pandemic has thrown our way was and still is a tough nut to crack, but the resilience and dedication of Team Sliquid prevails,” he beams. “My biggest objective during this pandemic has been to keep the lights on and to ensure that my employees retain their livelihood.”
Since bouncing back, Sliquid has returned to promoting the brand’s fan favorites, such as the Sliquid Naturals Sizzle stimulating water-based lubricant in 2- and 4.2-ounce bottles. Now the team is excited to introduce Sizzle in a larger 8.5-ounce size.
Last year, Sliquid released a new product in its Balance Collection brand line called Sliquid Soothe, a hydrating body lotion available in Sweet Coconut and Mandarin Bergamot scents. Though Elliott says it didn’t receive a proper introduction due to the pandemic, he gushes over the product’s 2022 XBIZ Award nomination for Sensual Bath & Body Product of the Year.
When asked to reveal Sliquid’s next big moves, Elliott is secretive about the company’s coming releases for 2022. However, he’s more than revealing when it comes to gassing up his beloved friends and colleagues in the pleasure industry.
“I love the lifelong friendships that have become my extended family. And let’s be real, I’m always down for a great party,” he laughs. “Knowing that I have a great team that’s always willing to wear many hats, and no matter where I am at in the world, they have it all handled. Our distribution and retailer partners have made it possible for us to reach households by the masses, and we owe them a fair share of this gratitude as well.”
Though Elliott was a sharp businessman long before he started selling to sex shops, his journey through the pleasure space has taught him that the basics still stand strong. Nothing creates good business like a great product.
“My biggest advice for anyone in this industry is to focus on creating products that your customers need, but also love using,” says Elliott. “Your product or service should better your customers’ lives.”
And if it wasn’t obvious, Elliott isn’t the type to be easily discouraged by difficulties.
“As for my team, they all agree with me that you should always focus on the peaks, not the valleys,” he advises. “Business is fluid and always evolving, so you must learn to go with the flow and roll with the punches.”
In conclusion, Elliott is the kind of boss who never sets himself or his needs above those of his team members and colleagues. A rare breed indeed, Dean Elliott has earned his reputation as the pleasure industry’s most interesting and intriguing man just by, quite simply, being a good human.
“Certainly, we have experienced our ups and downs,” he concludes, “but the resilience of my dedicated and hard-working team coupled with the years of brand-loyal customers has helped to make the harder times more manageable and less taxing.”