WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Fun Factory co-founder Dirk Bauer shared his observations about the industry and the evolution he’s witnessed in his 20-year career in an uplifting keynote speech yesterday at the Andaz Hotel.
After a brief introduction by Fun Factory USA CEO Fred Walme, Bauer thanked the crowd in attendance and began his keynote by acknowledging the passion and pride that many in the pleasure products industry possess.
“First thing that I want to say is that I love this industry,” Bauer said. “This industry is so lovely and I think that all of us really love this industry, but it’s not just about making money. It’s fun, we all know each other — and of course we have competition but we all contribute to making the industry shine.”
In the past 20 years, there have been many changes in the industry. From the rise of female-friendly stores to the increasing demand for gender-neutral products, Bauer said there is constantly a need to adapt. Currently the digital revolution is having an impact on the market.
“The digital revolution’s impact differs from market to market,” Bauer said. “It is worse in some markets and it’s better in others. We see this happening at an accelerated pace.
“We have pricing pressure online. It’s about education. Education takes time and time is money — so we have to make sure our margins are protected. That’s what all of us need to do. “
Bauer shared the keystones of the Fun Factory brand — passion, innovation, performance and fun.
“Passion is very, very important,” he said. “It’s what drives us to work everyday.”
Passion is what inspired Bauer to create Fun Factory; and he shared what the company’s headquarters looked like in 1996 — a garage. Bauer also shared the series of logo changes that the company has undergone.
“What you see now — big, red, round, shiny, loud, noisy — that’s Fun Factory,” he said.
Bauer then showed a photo of Fun Factory’s expansive headquarters in Bremen today that includes multi-level offices, manufacturing plant and several warehouses.
As an engineer, innovation is part of his DNA, Bauer said.
“Innovation is necessary for all of us,” he said. “Not just important in the products that we carry but also in the business model. We are facing major changes what is important today might not be important tomorrow. We need to change and work on our business model and the service that we offer.”
Among the brand’s many innovations is the Battery+ line, which uses patented technology to offer what the company calls most powerful battery-operated motor on the market.
“Why a battery? Because it’s convenient, it’s always there. If the batteries in your toy die well you know that your TV remote control has batteries,” he said. “You can use this technology in different industries. We’ve been asked for this technology by other industries.”
Performance also is key to the Fun Factory brand.
“Performance is another core value that matters most to me personally,” he said. “As an engineer I want a toy that performs. People don’t buy sex toys just because they have $100 in their pocket. They want to an orgasm — that’s why people buy vibrators.”
With changing consumer demographics, Bauer suggested staying on top of trends and redeveloping products accordingly.
“Check the product to see how people use and then make it the best,” he said.
Bauer concluded his speech by addressing what Fun Factory is most known for — serving up fun product designs and spirited brand messaging.
“We have fun every day,” Bauer said. “We bring fun to our customers and to the industry. We bring smiles to the faces of customers. Fun also means that we have fun inside the company. Daily life is really important so how do we prepare for the next years? Keeping our heritage but also modernizing it.”