WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Tuesday morning kicked off a full day of back-to-back vendor-buyer meetings for XBIZ Retreat participants, who ended their day with a comedy show at the Pleasure Chest and food and drinks at the trendy Pink Taco bar and restaurant on the Sunset Strip.
“LOLs and Lube” is a monthly comedy show at the legendary Pleasure Chest; and for its latest edition invited the XBIZ Retreat group to attend and enjoy hors d’ouevres, drinks and comedy from popular comedians including MTV’s Nicole Byer and Yvonne Orji from HBO’s “Insecure.” Head of business operations Sarah Tomchesson and national buyer Victor Tobar were on-hand to offer private tours and network with the attendees.
The evening’s entertainment followed a full day of meetings, where the full spectrum of pleasure products were on display in the Andaz hotel suites of the 50-plus exhibitors participating in the XBIZ Retreat.
From tech-focused developments to promoting sexual wellness and education, the XBIZ Retreat is introducing retailers to the full range of consumer interests.
Lovense’s Eddy Olivares showcased the company’s range of Bluetooth sex toys, noting their burgeoning success among webcam models. He told XBIZ that the company has developed software that works with third party websites to allow cam site visitors the opportunity to interact with the model.
“Cam models have created a need for this,” Olivares said. “With this software they’re able to control how much a tip activates the toy.” While some company’s sex toy development is influenced by what others are doing, Olivares said Lovense innovates “without needing permission,” adding that what makes the unique is that it is a software company at heart.
“We see the problems and use technology to solve them,” he said. The company is further targeting the cam industry with a new Bluetooth-controlled prostate massager to tap into the segment of gay male cam performers.
With her interactive products keynote session slated for Thursday, OhMiBod co-founder Suki Dunham told XBIZ about the company’s latest developments. “We will be revamping the Bluemotion line by moving from an audio chip to BLE 4.0,” she said. OhMiBod just returned from CES, where the company has exhibited for seven years in a row.
“The mindset of the attendees has changed,” Dunham said. “People used to tell us that we were at the wrong show, but now that’s dramatically changed. The mainstream press we get from the show is unbelievable.”
Last year, OhMiBod’s Lovelife Krush won Engadget’s 2016 Best of CES award for digital health and fitness. “We beat well-known mainstream companies like FitBit and Y-Things,” Dunham said.
Dunham addressed OhMiBod’s popularity among webcam models. “It’s become a whole community that supports us that we didn’t expect,” she said.
Rouge Garments launched in 2012 in the U.K. and found success in the U.S. through the XBIZ Retreat. “We took a gamble and it worked,” Rouge Garments’ Farah Shaikh said. “The XBIZ Retreat is where we found our U.S. distributors: Eldorado, Nalpac, ECN and Jackson Supply.”
Satisfyer also discussed how the brand has progressed from its first XBIZ Retreat a year ago until now. “At our first XBIZ Retreat we encountered a lot of doubt and skepticism but now we’re one of the top sellers worldwide. We are opening the doors to sexual wellness with entry-level prices that are accessible to many more consumers.”
Japan-based Tokyo Design Co. participated in its first-ever XBIZ Retreat, where the company showcased its selection of “Kawai” toys. Featuring bright colors and adorable designs modeled after confections like macarons and a giant lollipop, Tokyo Design also offers edgier products such as its selection of bondage furniture that retail for $1,000-5,000. According to Tokyo Design Co.’s Jacky Fu, the furniture is extremely popular in Japanese “couples hotels,” and the company is now making the products available to consumers.
Very Intelligent Ecommerce introduced XBIZ Retreat participants to the “the first and only” fully silicone stroker. According to Brian Sloan, the stroker’s silicone construction makes it last longer. The company’s Mangasm line is the first-ever masturbator range that’s based on amateur models — specifically, the collection was designed based on Very Intelligent Ecommerce’s “Vaginal Beauty Pageant,” which was held last year, where women competed for a chance to win cash prizes and have their vaginas 3D-scanned. The packaging of each Mangasm sleeve features the pageant winner’s name, age and occupation.
Sexual wellness products also are thriving in the toy industry. Epi24’s Frank Alde told XBIZ about its study with the University of North Carolina, which can be viewed WomanizerStudy.com, is revealing how the Womanizer can improve cases of orgasmic dysfunction. “We’re working with [sexual health expert and urologist] Jennifer Berman, Emily Morse and have had support from Dr. Drew Pinsky,” Alde said. The company also unveiled its latest product, the Womanizer Plus, at the XBIZ Retreat and told XBIZ that the company will release three more products this year.
Sustain condoms also exhibited at the XBIZ Retreat. Created by Seventh Generation, a producer and distributor of environmentally safe household products, Sustain condoms are not only the first and only natural condom brand, but also are the first condom brand to focus on women. Sustain’s Bill Brasfield said that the brand has already received a lot of publicity because of the father-daughter duo that serve as its spokesperson.
Up 24-7 LLC/Oh Man! Studios’ Bruno Riccelli told XBIZ that after 20 years in the business, he’s found success in diversifying his brand. “When DVDs stopped being what they used to be, I had to reinvent myself.”
In addition to continuing to produce movies, Riccelli’s Up 24-7 LLC offers a selection of male enhancement pills, cock rings and lube. “I had a great 2016,” Riccelli said. “Australia was the most successful for us and we’ve expanded into Europe and now have distribution in Mexico. We’re back and bigger than ever.”
Sliquid debuted two new flavors of Swirl lube — Tangerine Peach and Blackberry Fig. “There are eight flavors to maximize the range and I think it really speaks to Sliquid’s mission of offering something for everybody,” Sliquid’s Michelle Marcus said.
Shots America is tapping into the suction clit toy trend with the release of its new Hiky toy, which not only offers five suctioning functions but also vibration. “It’s a huge hit already,” Shots’ Ruben Dietz said. “We’ve been sold out since June just on pre-orders.”
Sinclair Institute showcased its sexual wellness products alongside Adam & Eve videos. “Adam & Eve continues to produce money for our customers,” Sinclair Institute’s Peter Reynolds said. “While other companies have reduced their investment in producing content, Adam & Eve is still elevating its production.”
Day two of the three-day XBIZ Retreat continues today with another full day of meetings followed by the retail edition of the XBIZ Executive awards ceremony tonight.