BATH, U.K. — Lovehoney is giving consumers a chance to play Leonardo da Vinci for the sex toy market.
The novelty company has announced its “Design a Sex Toy” competition where interested parties can submit their ideas in exchange for the chance to win big bucks and a shot at getting their design produced.
The judging panel, which includes “Fifty Shades of Grey” celeb author E.L. James and Lelo founder Eric Kalen, will award $1,500 to each winner of the three eligible categories: best sex toy for men, women and couples. The overall winner of Judge’s Pick will receive an additional $3,000
“Are you a sex toy connoisseur? An engineer? A graphic designer, inventor or incessant doodler?” The website asks.
"You don't need to be engineer or a designer to enter — all we need is a great idea and a rough sketch so that our designers can make your sex toy become a reality," Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford clarified.
Slateford noted that the 2009 competition winner Trevor Murphy has earned more than $150,000 in royalties from the commercial success of his product the Sqweel. The Sqweel (fathomably a portmanteau of “wheel” and “squeal”) is a rotating wheel that simulates oral sex. In addition to selling hundreds of thousands of units, the Sqweel was featured on the Jay Leno’s Tonight show.
"When I entered Lovehoney's Design a Sex Toy competition I was a struggling artist, living in the Irish countryside with not a whole lot to do,” Murphy said. “Winning the competition and having my toy produced for real has allowed me to move to the awesome city of Toronto, Canada and have hobbies like comedy improv. My life has changed a lot!"
"If we get a design which brings something completely new to the market there is no reason why the designer cannot enjoy the same kind of pay day as Trevor,” Slateford added.
Entrants need to provide a drawing of their design, a product name, plus an explanation of how it works, who it is for and what makes it different than existing adult novelties.
All entries must be submitted by Sept. 16 online. The contest's official website provides a list of competition rules, submission guidelines and offers inspiration and design tips.