SUNNY ISLES, Fla. — This week’s XBIZ Retreat — an all-inclusive, invite-only event — boasted the highest attendance to date since launching one year ago, bringing together adult retail market leaders for three days of private meetings, networking and special events.
Executive adult retail buyers and leading vendors in the fields of adult DVDs and the full spectrum of pleasure products gathered at an exclusive resort hotel in Sunny Isles, Fla., for a packed schedule that included poolside cocktail receptions, beachside competitive games and in-suite private meetings.
“The XBIZ Retreat show was one of the best shows ever put together that I have attended in my 32 years in the adult business,” Devil’s Film Vice President Eric Gutterman said. “My list of the best could go on and on — from the limo rides to the dinners and the show itself! All that you and the staff put into the show really showed off! As far as the business we did at the show, well that was great too!”
Vendors from the pleasure products industry ran the gamut from hardcore BDSM product manufacturers such as XR Brands, Spartacus and Dr. Clockwork, to softer goods like Maia Toys, Tantus and Dilduz, and lubricant manufacturers such as Divine Corporation, Sliquid and Sierra Sage, among a slew of others.
“I really enjoyed myself at the recent XBIZ Retreat,” XR Brands General Manager Randy Alvstad said. “It was very rewarding to spend such a generous amount of quality time with industry buyers. The chance to interact outside of a pure business setting is always enjoyable and rewarding. The XBIZ staff did an amazing job of organization. The entire event ran like clockwork. Thank you for such a great event.”
Vieci’s Brian Sloan said, “I think the retreat was a perfect fit for my business. The in-room meetings with distributors and buyers helped me to form relationships that would not have been possible at a traditional trade show. I also liked that all of our meals and happy hours were spent with the buyers and other vendors — I made a few business friendships outside of the meetings that may lead to future opportunities.”
Nori Fields offered a poolside demonstration of its body-to-body Magic Nuru Massage Gel for attendees of the XBIZ Retreat.
“In regards the show format, organization, and attendees we think it was a well rounded event with the required organization, support and fun time we expected to have,” Nori Fields’ Cariel Cohen said.
Sierra Sage CEO Jodi Scott said, “Overall the experience was extremely positive. I feel like I not only had the opportunity to engage buyers, but make friends who I hope to work with in the future. I think collaborative efforts can be powerful and I appreciate brainstorming with people who are passionate about their visions to think about the next step. So beyond buyers, I see a future with the innovators creating the products as well. It was inspiring, motivating and very productive. I think the intimate setting was on target and of course it was fun to play too!”
Maia Toys’ Mara Epstein added, “XBIZ has the inept ability to bring business and pleasure together so when the retreat is completed you walk away feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Team XBIZ hit another one out of the park.”
“Divine Corporation loves the retreat format,” said Jeff Hawkins, Divine Corporation director of sales. “It gives us the platform we need in a controlled and casual environment to explain and educate the distributors and retailers on Divine 9. Very well done by the entire XBIZ staff.”
"The XBIZ Retreat was an incredible opportunity for me in a number of ways," Dr. Clockwork said. "As a small business owner looking to grow and expand my company, I was able meet with the stores and distributors that I want to carry my products. At face value, that alone made the retreat well worth going to. But I gained so much more than that. I was able to expand my perspective of the adult novelty industry, make contacts and friendships with other new and growing companies and received invaluable advice from established industry leaders. The XBIZ Retreat was an amazing experience and I can't wait until the next one."
Impulse Market President Wes said, "The XBIZ Retreat was great. It was a lot of fun and gave us the opportunity to meet the buyers that matter. Its format is far superior to any trade show we've done. The one-on-one time with each company allow us to understand the customers needs and really begin great business relationships. Financially speaking, this show was better than any we've ever attended and we'll definitely be back."
Buyers also offered rave reviews of the three-day exclusive B2B event that offered high-end hospitality and fine cuisine, as well as an informative seminar moderated by The Pleasure Chest’s Robin Jenning and featuring Sliquid’s Dean Elliott, GVA-TWN’s Scott Bowman, Deluxe Distributors’ Ed Braunstein, Liberator’s Michael Kane, and Williams Trading’s Robert Pyne, that covered the scope of adult retail with a focus on branding and customer outreach.
“I thought that this retreat was well-run and all aspects were first class,” GVA-TWN Operations Manager Scott Bowman said. “The meetings that were scheduled with varied vendors were productive and gave both buyers and vendors ample opportunity to discuss business. My main focus going into this was to enhance old relationships and begin new ones and I feel that both were accomplished. Thank you to Alec and the rest of his team for a first-rate event.”
The XBIZ Retreat also allowed industry newcomers to gain a better understanding of the nature of the business.
“Being new to my position I don't have much to compare the retreat to, but I thought it was an excellent way to break the ice between buyers in vendors that haven't had prior connections,” Picture Brite buyer Zeke Edwards said. “For me, having such a high gay (male) customer base, I wasn't sure many of the vendors that attended were going to have much Picture Brite would be interested in. After meeting face to face, hearing them out and getting a better look at what they had to offer, there ended up being more then I had figured. So for lack of better words, I think forced meetings ended up being a very productive way to present as well as seek out. Everyone from XBIZ was great. The staff was amazing! The whole experience was far beyond what was expected. I appreciate the invite and hope to attend future events.”
“This was a first-time experience for Joy Hollywood meeting everyone and socializing whether through activities or dinners planned,” Joy Hollywood’s Kimberley Gordon said. “XBIZ Retreat allowed you to fully gain and grow trust for everyone that attended within this industry. This was a blast and opened my mind to many different areas within sexual wellness. I had a blast and wish we all had more time to spend together.”
Williams Trading’s Beth-Ann Smith said, “As a buyer, I thought the retreat was done very well. I liked the way the schedule was set up so we were not in meetings all day. I also met many new people in the industry that I didn't know. The beach games were a lot of fun and brought out the kid in all of us. It was great the buyers won the tug-a-war.”
"The event was great," said Brian Herbstman of ECN. "It was nice to see some new faces."
"I really enjoyed the show! I liked all of the vendors that were selected, great job on that,” Adam & Eve’s Melissa Lott said. “I also feel that is was very productive for our company. I enjoyed seeing new items as well as never seen before items. This type of show allows us to get personal attention without any interruptions —always a good thing! XBIZ, great job well done and thanks for including me in this event. I look forward to the next one.”
"The 2013 XBIZ Retreat venue and hospitality was first-rate,” Komar Company’s Mark Foreman said. “XBIZ delivered a unique, well planned and well-executed event. It really made for a great networking opportunity amongst a cornucopia of vendors and buyers alike. The balance of meetings, seminars, entertainment and relaxation was just perfect."
Castle Megastore buyer Jamie Casas added, "I thought the event was great. The atmosphere and setting were perfect to conduct business. The meetings, meals, and events pulled everything together nicely and by the end of the week everyone seemed to be close knit and almost family like. It would be great if more events were handled like this, this was flawless. Thanks to everyone at XBIZ for all their hard work."
XBIZ Associate Publisher Sara Ramirez, who helms the production of the XBIZ Retreat, said the success of event's latest edition was a clear indication of its future potential.
“On behalf of the entire XBIZ staff, I’d like to thank all of the participants of XBIZ Retreat Miami for making it the most successful event to-date,” Ramirez said. “Everyone’s contribution enabled the event to be equally productive and enjoyable, and we’re looking forward to the next retreat in January to being even bigger and better.”