Nasstoys Marks 45 Years of Pioneering in the Pleasure Industry

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. That’s considerably longer than the majority of other manufacturing and retail companies in the sexual wellness industry. For all that time, Nasstoys has been proudly helmed by one person — but before we meet him, let’s get up to speed on some history.

After celebrating victory in World War II, America rolled into the 1950s with a newfound sense of freedom. With that freedom came more adult-oriented magazines, available in what were called “dirty bookstores” as well as at the numerous truck stops rapidly proliferating along the new interstate highway system. The market for adult books kept expanding, with saucy titles for erotica driven by every taste and fantasy. Adult magazines — advertised as “marital guides” in order to skirt prohibitions around the publication of nude images — offered advice on how to improve your bedroom skills and have a better sexual relationship with your partner, often accompanied with black-and-white photos of nudes in various stimulating positions.

The secret to being in business for a long time is treating our employees with respect and fairness and providing competitive wages.

Enter Teddy Rothstein. Now a spunky octogenarian, Rothstein got his introduction to the adult market in 1968, working for Manhattan-based Star Distributors. Star not only distributed adult books and magazines, but printed some of the magazines as well. Soon after, the company relocated to Brooklyn, where it remained for many years, eventually taking the name of one of the neighborhood streets: Nasswalk.

When Rothstein lucked into the opportunity to buy a friend’s small business, he realized that that company’s 16 products could easily be sold, along with Nasswalk’s books and magazines, to the adult bookstores that were already his customers.

Rothstein chuckles when he recalls some of those first few “exotic” items.

“The products were pills and other stuff people could use to spice things up,” he shares. “Like ‘Spanish Fly’ — legend has it that when women ingest even a small amount, it acts like an aphrodisiac, and can also possibly help with erections. Believe it or not, they continue to be some of our bestsellers and we still sell them like crazy!”

Perhaps the most impactful result of that acquisition, however, was the arrival of the friend’s cousin, someone who would go on to be associated with the company for almost as long as Rothstein. That person is, of course, Elliot Schwartz.

Schwartz joined Nasswalk in 1978. Shortly thereafter, the company began offering basic sex toys, continually expanding into the 1980s. When Schwartz’s cousin, who had sold Rothstein the business, died, it left a void in the small, tightknit company, Rothstein made Schwartz a partner in the business, where he has remained ever since.

Starting with basic dildos and then simple vibrators, the company kept adding new designs and shapes to its lineup. Nasswalk was one of the first companies to make a hands-free clitoral vibrator, the Ladybug, which had elastic straps, a wired remote control and was made of jelly rubber. To this day, the company offers an updated silicone version of the popular product.

When the lease expired on the beloved Brooklyn warehouse that had housed the company for 17 years, Nasswalk relocated to its current location in North Bergen, New Jersey, a move that also allowed it room for continued growth. As the company got bigger, they began hiring staff artists and one decided to spice things up by calling the company Nassty Toys; then it became simply Nasstoys. Schwartz and Rothstein still call it Nasswalk to honor their hometown roots.

How has Nasstoys endured for four and a half decades, keeping people happy and healthy with a wide range of adult products? The answer, Schwartz reveals, goes beyond just keeping up with the latest gadgets on the market.

“The secret to being in business for a long time is treating our employees with respect and fairness and providing competitive wages,” he says. “Also, our motto is ‘The customer is always right.’”

As timeless as those old-fashioned values may be, it also doesn’t hurt that Nasstoys has found ways to incorporate some more modern ones as well — like the flexibility to adapt to shifting demographics.

Industry veterans will likely recall the “classic” Nasstoy packaging that, until relatively recently, featured nude or nearly nude images of people happily holding their toy with a teasing glance or expression of ecstasy. This was common in the business, meant to appeal to the target audience, which was presumed to be male. As the industry has evolved over the last 20 years, however, stores and manufacturers have recognized that a significant portion of buyers are now women and couples. This has given rise to more “boutique”-style stores and, of course, the packaging has changed as well.

“Nowadays, we have redesigned our packaging as the stores are almost all upscale and changed their looks and layouts to cater to more women and couples,” Schwartz says.

The company also successfully survived the pandemic, avoiding a complete shutdown and managing supply chain issues well enough to benefit from the upsurge in business experienced by the industry as a whole, as consumers remained at home and increased their use of a wide range of adult products.

Longevity seems to be a hallmark of the Nasstoys staff. Well-known sales rep Kathryn Hartman has been with the company for over 30 years. Other personnel have been with the company for decades too, including other sales staff and Office and Purchasing Manager Ellen.

Today’s sales team includes Taylor Means, who is also the brand ambassador and retail voice of the company; and the bilingual Suzy Contreras, who has personally expanded Nasstoys’ customer base in countries where Spanish is the primary language, focusing on the Mexico and South American markets. Longtime salesperson Tony Sicilia unfortunately passed away suddenly last year, leaving a hole in the Nasstoys family.

Sicilia’s loss also meant that the Nasstoys sales team was now composed of all women, something Schwartz says was not planned.

“We have nothing against men doing sales, it just worked out that way!” he offers. “I find it pretty funny when people seem surprised that we have an all-women sales staff and mostly women in the front office too. We sure are proud of all of them!”

Means enthused about her own experience at Nasstoys.

“I’m proud to work for OGs who have stuck by their business for all these years,” she said. “They never sold it just to get out of it, and they love and support all of us who work for the company.”

One change the company planned for its 45th anniversary was a modern repackaging of its classic Spanish Fly product.

“We are updating the look of our flagship item, which debuted 45 years ago,” Means notes. “It’s funny because we are already planning on what we will be doing for our 50th anniversary, the next milestone!”

She adds that the company will also be refreshing the looks of its bestselling creams and lubes, including Anal Eze and China Shrink Cream — which may also be getting a different name in the future. Meanwhile, Nasstoys’ bestselling line of dildos, All American Whoppers, recently got an update to reflect different skin tone variations. Nasstoys has further modernized with the Real Cock line, realistic dildos made of dual-density TPE, which have a suction cup and are offered at a competitive price point.

“We appreciate our retail partners’ support of these items, and we are happy to bring them into the modern market in a way that appeals to a wider demographic,” Means explains. “We keep growing and releasing new products. I’m especially pleased with our new line, Ass-Sation, which are made of metal and primarily remote controlled. People love a remote-controlled butt plug! It’s a big collection that also includes silicone ones, giving the buyer a choice of material.”

After four and a half decades, what changes in the industry stand out most for OGs Rothstein and Schwartz? Sheer scale, they say. More products, more vendors, more competition.

“With all these new companies that keep coming into this business, I don’t even know how they survive,” Rothstein elaborates. “They think it's glamorous and that’s why they do it, but there have been major changes in this business. Don’t forget, when we created ANME, we were one of the five companies that comprised the ‘Founders.’ Now when you go to ANME, there are at least a hundred companies.”

Nasstoys was among the five original companies that began the American Novelty Manufacturers Expo in 1996, along with CalExotics, Doc Johnson, Pipedream Products and Topco Sales.

Rothstein still goes to the office every day. When asked how long he plans to keep that up, he sighs.

“We are thinking, sometime in the future, of bringing in younger people to run Nasstoys,” he says. “So it will keep going, hopefully for quite a long time.”


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