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EP Products Takes Pride in Focus on Canadian Retailers

EP Products Takes Pride in Focus on Canadian Retailers

Yet another “accidental sex toy career that spun itself into an industry success” story? It’s beginning to seem like the best way to create a thriving pleasure products business is to avoid trying too hard to make it happen. Such is indeed the story of the now well-known and -loved team at EP Products.

Today, the Canadian distribution outfit carries over 3,000 items, ranging from traditional brand names like Pipedream and Nasstoys to ultramodern brands like b-Vibe and Satisfyer. But it wasn’t terribly long ago that EP founder Don Wilson had barely dipped his toe in the waters of adult retail.

“What one customer finds beautiful or fun, another might find pricey or cheesy, so we ensure we are not just marketing towards a single style when we look at our overall inventory.”

“Opening a sex toy distribution warehouse, I can’t say was a planned venture but more of a transitional one,” recalls Wilson, a no-nonsense kind of businessman who runs the show from the company headquarters in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.

“For years I was in the retail industry and as things were changing, more products became available online with ecommerce and Amazon, so I had to look at other avenues to continue to be an entrepreneur,” he continues. “Already selling adult videos to retail stores, I picked up a few other products, and then added a few more, until I took over my brother-in-law’s warehouse space. It became a family business with my brother-in-law as the shipper and warehouse operator, my sister and niece came on board in the office, and as we have expanded our business, we’ve added more members to our team.” Wilson might never have made the switch to the toy world if it hadn’t made business sense, but once he did, he readily embraced sex positivity.

“One thing I have found in this industry is that it really supports diversity and inclusion. No one is judged and it promotes sex-positivity, sexual empowerment and sexual education,” he says with pride. “It is rewarding to help and educate store owners, who in turn can share the knowledge with consumers.”

Established in 2013, EP Products focuses on serving Canadian customers exclusively.

“We have no plans to expand our distribution internationally, as we feel it is imperative to meet retailers’ requirements in a timely, cost-effective manner,” Wilson shares.

Though formerly a video guy,

Wilson has turned his full attention to the sex toy space. If there’s an innovation, he’ll make sure he knows about it — and if there’s ever a need for improvement, his suppliers can be certain they’ll hear about it.

“We have made it our company mission to focus on providing exceptional customer service and quality products to customers, while meeting high health and wellness standards. So, we work closely with our suppliers, providing feedback on products for all body types, considering body-safe materials and also retail practicality,” says Wilson.

“Working directly with the manufacturers has been fun and rewarding, building great relationships in the process. All our suppliers know if they ask me for feedback, I will gladly give it to them,” he admits with humor and honesty. “We’ve been told a number of times that specific changes in products or packaging are due to my ‘constructive criticism’ that I pass along from our wholesale customers.”

Wilson relies on the innovation birthed from such interactions to keep his customers and their consumer audience coming back for more.

He says that first and foremost, EP Products’ goal is to offer innovative, attractive and modern pleasure toys that are a fair and good value to both the retail client and the end consumer. EP keeps its inventory fresh by maintaining a balance among different types of products.

“What one customer finds beautiful or fun, another might find pricey or cheesy, so we ensure we are not just marketing towards a single style when we look at our overall inventory,” he remarks. “We strive to continue to listen and learn from our customers, and are always receptive to product requests.”

Speaking of Wilson’s famous constructive criticism, he has a few words — well, paragraphs — of advice for the whole industry on behalf of his knowledgeable retail clients.

“Manufacturers first will need to continue expanding and evolving technology in toys,” he advises. “The rechargeable toys were a great innovation and are here to stay, but the next generation includes expanding voice technology, interaction and more phone apps.”

Wilson also sees the importance of the “green” movement spilling over from mainstream product marketing and manufacturing.

“Manufacturers will need to produce more competitively priced green products and packaging to satisfy consumer demand to sustain the environment,” he notes. “We are already starting to see some great ideas in these areas and are looking forward to manufacturers building on these concepts.”

If retailers think they can escape Wilson’s all-seeing business eye, they simply don’t know him. He’s got plenty of tips for the B2C sector too.

“Retail stores, moving forward, will need to enhance their physical spaces and increase a supporting online presence to provide the best customer service,” he advises. “As a distributor, we have seen a huge increase in drop-ship type transactions from our retail customers, and we support them in any way we can to grow their online presence.”

Those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of making Wilson’s acquaintance will be able to when the company hits the road to exhibit at trade shows.

“We have missed our industry colleagues and are excited to continue attending more upcoming manufacturer shows,” he says. “We will be ready to showcase exciting changes in adult toy products and promote inclusivity, which includes color, sizes and gender fluidity.”

For Wilson, finishing out 2022 includes sending his staff out on retailer product trainings or coordinating Skype training sessions. Working closely with both manufacturers and retailers to bridge the sales and education gap is top priority, to ensure his suppliers can keep supplying and his retailers can continue selling.

Looking back over the last handful of years, Wilson concludes, “distribution added a whole new dimension to my adult retail, warehouse and sales experience. EP Products Canada is well positioned to continue growing and shaping our product lines and customer base. Our focus is always on the customers’ success, so continuing to strive to provide the best customer service is our goal in the future.”

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