ANME, ANE Organizers Trade Shots

LOS ANGELES — Organizers of the AVN Novelty Expo and ANME Founders Show find themselves in a donnybrook, days after an XBIZ news story announced the reformation of the ANME show.

ANME Founders Show organizers — Doc Johnson, California Exotic Novelties, Topco Sales, Nasstoys and Pipedream Products — have scheduled its show to go in direct competition with AVN Novelty Expo, or ANE, just a day away from each other’s event.

“Frankly, the last thing our industry needed is another trade show, especially with what’s happening with the economy,” AVN Novelty Business Editor and Publisher Tony Lovett told XBIZ. “The ANME Founders Show comes at the worst possible time and has placed an unnecessary burden on the industry as a whole.”

But ANME Founders Show spokeswoman Val Jones cries foul and told XBIZ that its wrong to assume that the ANME show will dog the sex toy and novelty business.

‘It’s understandable that ANE may be nervous about whether the industry can support two shows,” Jones said. “Our answer is, unequivocally, yes.”

But Nick Orlandino, Pipedream’s COO and one of the ANME Founders partners told XBIZ that he’d go further with that statement.

“There will only be one show next year — ours,”he said. “Our show is almost sold out and it’s going to be a great show for us.”

The ANME Founders Show July 10-12 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, Calif., precedes ANE, slated for July 13-15, which will once again be held at the Sheraton Universal and Hilton Los Angeles hotels at Universal City, Calif., just 15 miles away.

Jones said that for the ANME’s five companies that are organizing the event, the new show goes back to their original mission years ago and creates “a demand for a show with a more focused dedication to retailers.”

“Our vision for the ANME Founders Show fills a need that was no longer being served by ANE as the original event expanded,” Jones said. “We allowed AVN to manage the show and they did a poor job of it, so we took it back. Anyone who has attended the ANE event over the past several years is aware of how its mission has shifted.

“Like any organization that wants to grow, ANE expanded the event to include many outlying product niches and supply chains within the adult industry,” she said. “While this decision was legitimate, it limited the show’s ability to service the needs of retailers and created demand for a show with a more focused dedication to them.”

Lovett, however, contends that the five companies attempted to persuade ANE organizers to see their vision but ultimately the two groups were unable to see eye to eye.

“Because ANE was unwilling to compromise its format to suit the needs of these five companies, they have decided to compete directly with us,” Lovett said. “Our values remain the same — ANE will continue to serve the needs of the market. We feel that there is plenty of room for quality, growth and profit in the novelty marketplace and are dedicated to servicing the industry as a whole.”

Lovett explained that the formation of a second toy and novelty trade show is something AVN had “tried very hard to avoid,” but that with ANME’s show date announcement it’s time for the adult publishing and event company to try something new.

“Every year we have had a waiting list for ANE and this year is no exception — but now there is more room to accommodate more vendors who offer the kind of innovative, quality, health-conscious products that buyers are looking for,” Lovett said.

Jones, on the other hand, said her group has a more definitive vision on the types of vendors it is trying to attract, ones that “meets consumers’ needs today.” Also ones that realize that the ANME Founders Show is invitation-only and limited to exhibitors and buyers.

“The ANME Founders Show will focus specifically on aspects of our industry where we see the greatest growth potential over the next several years,” Jones said. But Lovett counters that a trade show should be designed around the needs of a market, not a handful of companies.

‘The fact that ANME has fewer vendors than ANE is an advantage for both parties — but in two completely different ways,” Lovett said. “It will allow ANE to provide a wider range of products and services. For ANME, it consummates the barrier to entry that they have long sought.”

Lovett continued that ANE won’t be at a disadvantage by not having Doc Johnson, California Exotic Novelties, Topco Sales, Nasstoys and Pipedream Products — organizers of the ANME Founders group.

“In actuality, the absence of these companies has opened up opportunities for other manufacturers and distributors to step into the spotlight,” Lovett said. “We continue to attract more qualified buyers from both adult and mainstream than any other industry event.”