Q&A: CalExotics President Susan Colvin Discusses Brand Revamp

Ariana Rodriguez

LOS ANGELES — CalExotics is preparing to debut its new look alongside new collections and an e-learning platform at the upcoming ANME Show in Burbank, Calif.

CalExotics unveiled its new logo on July 1. The new logo highlights the letters “XO” to signify passion; and evoke the same emotion that people get from using CalExotics products, the company said.

With a focus on retail education, the company has launched CalExotics Institute, which will debut at next week’s ANME. The e-learning platform provides information on CalExotics and JOPEN products. The courses are based on product collections from both companies and will focus on educational facts, product features and benefits.

At ANME, CalExotics will debut new kits for men, women and couples, as well as penis pumps alongside its existing bestsellers.

“We have so many changes happening at CalExotics. We are excited to finally share them with our friends and customers,” said Susan Colvin, president and CEO of CalExotics.

In an exclusive Q&A, Colvin sits down with XBIZ to discuss some of the changes that are coming to CalExotics.

XBIZ: How did the decision to re-brand come about? Why this year?

Susan Colvin: Over the past couple of years, we’ve made many changes to our business from marketing to operations to accommodate the growth of our business. During the past year, we talked with our customers and retailers who all agreed that the focus should be on driving consumer demand for products. In response, we felt that brand recognition and awareness were important to address. We’ll be launching several additional changes to assets in the next year to support these efforts, but it made sense for this change to come first.

XBIZ: How will CalExotics remain true to its founding principles?

Colvin: We remain committed to quality, innovation, design and service. That has not changed. We are constantly working on new ways to drive change in the industry, much like we’ve done over the past 21 years. At the Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo, we’ll also launch a new online education portal, Toy Time, for our distributors and retailers to educate their sales professionals. This focus on education is part of our commitment to innovation and service, and we hope that it creates a better understanding of our products.

XBIZ: Discuss the logo. What is the significance of the noticeable “XO”?

Colvin: This is not the first time we looked at updating this mark. We looked at options a few years ago, none were compelling. When we invited a new creative group in, they mentioned that the “XO” was a defining characteristic that could serve as a cornerstone of the mark. While we evaluated variants, this stood out as more intimate, personal and sexy. The “XO” connotes passion, we feel that our logo now evokes the same emotion that people get from using our products.

XBIZ: How will the rebranding allow shoppers to connect with the brand and products?

Colvin: The logo change is part of a larger innovation effort in our branding, one that started a couple years ago with cleaner box designs. We endeavor for our brand and products to be easily recognizable, so that consumers and retail sales associates can clearly identify CalExotics from others, while having a simple message that connects consumers to our products.

XBIZ: Does the re-branding signal a move to B2C? How will CalExotics promote its retailers?

Colvin: We remain committed to retailers, which is why we are making this move to create more recognition in their stores. We’re partnering with retailers to create exciting marketing in-store and out-of-store to drive awareness. Consumers can find retailers listed on the “Where To Buy” section on our website, CalExotics.com.

XBIZ: What marketing strategies will CalExotics utilize to place its brand before more mainstream audiences?

Colvin: We’re looking at our consumer journey, identifying areas for improvement to capture each of our target audiences. Research is really the foundation of how we approach marketing, and we’ll continue to deploy measured strategies to drive awareness and create loyal consumers. We are exploring all opportunities to profitably place our brand in front of consumers.

XBIZ: Tell us about the visual merchandisers. What will their responsibilities be? How will they help retailers transition to the new branding?

Colvin: Our new visual merchandising team is a critical part of how we’re helping our distributors and retailers. They’re in the field educating retailers about our products, and demonstrating how to create more impactful visual displays of our products. We work with the distributors to give them the feedback, as well, so that they can also follow-up with additional support. So far, this has been an overwhelming success, especially for our distributors as they get valuable information from the front-lines.  

XBIZ: How will the re-branding impact product packaging?

Colvin: We’ll be transitioning our new logo in over time as we bring in new product styles or replace current packaging. This will not be an overnight process, with over 3,000 SKUs, it’ll be a gradual transition.

XBIZ: When does the re-brand take effect? When do you expect the transition to be complete?

Colvin: We’ll start the transition in July, but this is a long process. For less expensive and fast moving items, we anticipate this to happen rather quickly. For new products, we’ll launch them with the new logo at the January 2016 Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo