BERLIN — Since 2012, the XBIZ Retreat has brought together international vendors and buyers for wildly successful gatherings encompassing packed daily schedules of one-on-one meetings, and plenty of other opportunities to bond with colleagues over elegant dinners and fun evening social events in lavish settings. Usually held in Los Angeles and Miami, last week XBIZ Retreat conquered Europe when its signature event made its successful debut in Berlin.
The first-ever Berlin edition of XBIZ Retreat featured all of the popular elements that have made it a must-attend event for the adult retail community; and much like the ever-popular January edition of the XBIZ Retreat in Los Angeles in which participants gain access into highly anticipated annual XBIZ Awards, Berlin Retreat attendees went to the first-ever XBIZ Europa Awards.
XBIZ Retreat Berlin kicked off on Sunday, Sept. 9 with a welcome reception where attendees picked up their schedules for the week and indulged in complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres while mingling with fellow Retreat participants.
Approximately 40 international vendors and buyers primarily hailing from Europe were up bright and early Monday morning for the first official day of XBIZ Retreat Berlin. Following a breakfast of traditional German fare, attendees found their places around a U-shaped table setup for a round of speed networking. Several attendees praised the event for its ability to get initial introductions out of the way, leaving their meeting time for getting straight to business.
“It's always good to connect not only with international (European) vendors, but also with other buyers,” said Jens Bergermann, buyer for Switzerland-based online retailer Amorana.ch. “And the best networking happens apart from the meetings, during lunch, dinner and drinks. Berlin is a great place for both the Retreat and the [XBIZ Europa Awards] show.”
Massimo Bonera from Italy-based Welcomax said that there were three important features of the show: “Speed networking — it was really useful and fun to get immediately in tune with the other operators; the location and duration of the one-to-one meetings, and the XBIZ Europa Awards evening. Business-wise, the show was productive because I was able to make new contacts and above all strengthen the knowledge of some manufacturers I had previously met at the Miami Retreat.
“And, personally I think that anyone that has the courage to propose something new and to make new initiatives should be followed and praised — to do an XBIZ Retreat in Berlin, organize an evening like the XBIZ Europa Awards, and to try to unite as much as possible the adult world in a serious and professional way is a productive effort that is good for our entire sector. XBIZ is proof that we should be moving in this direction.”
For many attendees, among the XBIZ Retreat Berlin highlights was attending the inaugural XBIZ Europa Awards, which awarded leaders in every sector of the adult industry, including global pleasure products manufacturers and retailers.
Bergermann praised the awards show host, noting that he appreciated “Rocco [Siffredi] as a host and his anecdotes, as well as the euphoric, fun atmosphere” of the event. The XBIZ Europa Awards was the culmination of the XBIZ Retreat Berlin, which was hailed a success by several buyers and vendors.
CLS Healthcare buyer Frank van’t Veer said, “I think the XBIZ Retreat Berlin was very productive for me. Having a lot of international vendors together in one place is always a good thing. But I really loved how we got one-on-one time with the vendors, which makes it a lot easier to discuss specific prices and marketing opportunities.
“Besides that, I really liked the people there and the food was amazing. Visiting the XBIZ Europa Awards was also a great experience.”
Within the elegant rooms of the Titanic Gendarmenmarkt Berlin hotel, vendors showcased their latest and greatest pleasure product offerings.
Rebecca Anniuk, the European regional manager at United Consortium, introduced buyers to the latest additions to the System JO and DONA collections. DONA has new bath bombs that are now shipping in the U.S. At XBIZ Retreat, Anniuk said she hoped to gauge the popularity of the product in the European market.
“In the U.S., bath bombs are all the rage and we’ve already sold out of them,” she said. “We want to see what people say here and at next month’s eroFame.
In honor of the company’s 15th anniversary, System JO is hosting a display contest for retailers in which the winning store will win Apple Watches for all store employees. New products from the brand include a bestsellers couples’ kit and new flavored lubes available in seasonal flavors — including the trendy pumpkin spice flavor.
JO’s new collection of feminine care products, available now in the U.S. and arriving to European retailers next month, addresses a range of women’s health issues such as moisturizing, tightening and fertility. The collection includes tightening serum, a vaginal moisturizer and a fertility-friendly lubricant that creates an environment that encourages conception.
Anniuk told XBIZ that the company’s recent move to Eropartner as its exclusive European distributor has allowed for the company to make a lot of positive changes.
“We’re able to better share information that helps us to better support retailers,” she said. “There’s been a lot of change but it’s really had a positive outcome.”
Creative Conceptions sales manager Dwayne Waring told XBIZ that his goal in attending XBIZ Retreat was to network, meet new people and expand the company’s brand exposure in Europe.
“All of our games are aimed at couples,” he said. “Couples that play together, stay together.”
Creative Conceptions also introduced two new games, Sexy 6 and OSG (Our Sexy Game). Sexy 6 features six dice that determine who does what to which part of their lover’s body, how will they do it, and where they will do it.
OSG encourages conversation, erotic exploration and experimentation. On a board that spells out "SEX," the experience intensifies from Sensual to Erotic to X-rated as players advance from one stage to the next.
Creative Conceptions also is a distributor of U.S. brands such as Sportsheets, ID Lubricants, and CalExotics’ COLT line, which the company exclusively offers in the European market.
Amorelie is a Berlin-based retailer and manufacturer of a wide range of products. The company had eight brands on display, representing all experience levels.
“We’re happy that XBIZ Retreat came to our town,” said Elena Kirova. Amorelie’s head of buying and supply chain. Offering a history of the company, Kirova said that Amorelie was founded in 2013 and quickly became a market leader. Backed by renowned investor ProSiebenSat.1 and run by experienced entrepreneurs, Amorelie gained recognition through television advertisements.
“A TV production company invested in the company so we got a commercial on TV,” she said. “Two years ago we began offering our own products that are designed in-house.”
According to Kirova, Amorelie takes a fun, affordable approach to product design with a minimalistic, bold approach. The company’s most popular item is an advent calendar filled with 460 Euros worth of products. To cater to shoppers that are looking for something more affordable, the company released a smaller version with four compartments where gifts are opened every Sunday for a month.
Kirova said that the company is interested in expanding into the U.S. and is currently seeking distributors.
“I like the approach of XBIZ Retreat,” Kirova said. “Amorelie also attended as a buyer so it was a great opportunity to meet everyone — from manufacturers, to new distributors and retailers.”
Dame Products’ Savannah Robertson attended XBIZ Retreat Berlin to offer European buyers a sneak peek at its newest product. While the company is staying mum on product details with the press, Robertson said that Dame Products will be ready to introduce its newest release in the beginning of December, and will have yet another new release in February.
Robertson also took pride in sharing that Dame Products’ recent appearance on the “Megyn Kelly Today” gained the company a lot of new sales.
“She can sell sex toys,” Robertson joked.
Dame Products had fun swag for XBIZ Retreat Berlin attendees — a branded “dad hat,” and “socks for sex” — based on a recent study that revealed that women are more likely to orgasm if their feet are warm.
Swiss Navy showcased its bestselling lubricants, which director of sales Ellen Friedman says are “held to higher standard” in terms of quality ingredients. The brand has already been on the market in Europe for more than 10 years.
“We came to connect with existing and new clients,” Friedman said. “ We want to help existing clients increase sales. It’s integral to meet face to face with our customers. We learned a lot from them and the information that they shared will be helpful to increase business.”
Shibari showcased its range of wand massagers that come in a variety of sizes, along with attachments for internal stimulation. Among Shibari’s latest releases is a new anal enema bulb. According to Shibari’s Danielle Seerly, more women are practicing colonics.
“Recently one of the cast members of ‘Real Housewives’ got a colonics and I think that it’s since becoming more normalized and not so taboo,” she said.
ZALO — which was among the winners of the XBIZ Europa Awards, taking home the Luxury Pleasure Product of the Year trophy for its Cleopatra-inspired Queen stimulator — also exhibited its range of carefully crafted vibes.
“All of our products are splashproof, high quality and are made for women,” said Peter Ovsonka, president and CEO of ZALO USA. “Each design is unique and features 24k or 18k gold plating.”
All of Zalo’s products are compatible with an app that can control them. Along with looking very chic, Queen offers several multiple features. The vibrator also has a heating function and comes with a sleeve that turns it into a clit stimulator with Pulse Wave technology.
Satisfyer, which won the XBIZ Europa Award for Global Pleasure Products Brand of the Year, debuted several new additions to its highly popular collection. Satisfyer’s Irina Kraemer said that the company is taking preorders for a new Satisfyer Men masturbator that vibrates and also warms.
Kraemer also told XBIZ that the company will be introducing a new brushed aluminum version of the Satisfyer. “It will be perfect for Christmas,” she said.
“So far, everyone that has seen it loves it.”
Doxy wand massagers also were showcased at XBIZ Retreat Berlin. The company recently expanded its team with the addition of Leigh Dedhar, who told XBIZ that he’s happy to join a growing company.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “The company is five years old and there are a lot of projects that I can get involved with and have a say on where the company goes.”
According to Dedhar, retailers like Doxy because of its uniquely powerful vibrations and because it is the only diecast aluminum wand massager available. Doxy also offers the wand in smaller sizes that are designed to be more couples friendly. Among the brand’s biggest fans are female and male users as well as with the professional market of cam models and porn stars.
“It’s the tool of choice,” Dedhar said.
Tease & Please is a brand of adult games that are manufactured by Eropartner. According to Mischa Heins, the brand is gaining more exposure throughout Europe thanks to its female-friendly packaging. Among the brand’s bestselling games is the Discover Your Lover Game.
“For men it’s hard to ask their wives questions in order to discover pleasure,” he said. “With the game, the farther into the game that they go, the more intimate it becomes. All of our games help improve couples’ communication and their sex life.”
Among Tease & Please’s games are Master & Slave, which retails for around $80 and includes a selection of BDSM accessories, as well as the Kama Sutra Poker Game and many others.
XBIZ Retreat returns in 2019 in Los Angeles on Jan. 14-18. The all-inclusive, invite-only event will include access to the annual XBIZ Exec Awards, along with other special events, including the adult industry’s biggest night, the XBIZ Awards slated for Jan. 17, which will be hosted by adult super star Stormy Daniels.