Vibe Expo Kicks Off With Celebrity Workshops, Product Showcases

Vibe Expo Kicks Off With Celebrity Workshops, Product Showcases

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The inaugural edition of Vibe Expo kicked off yesterday at 2 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by sexual health celebrity Melanie Rose, “the Mary Poppins of sex rooms” made world-famous by the hit Netflix show “How to Build a Sex Room.”

Cheered on by pleasure community members, exhibitors and general public attendees congregating on the mezzanine of the Loews Hotel in the heart of Hollywood, Rose used a pair of oversized scissors to declare the consumer-facing part of the day officially open.

A veritable panoply of sexual health vendors vied for the attention of the sexual health-curious consumers who descended on Hollywood’s Loews Hotel from all corners of the world to check out the debut edition of Vibe Expo.

Only a few hours after opening, the many vendors and other seasoned pleasure industry professionals were raving about the impact of Vibe Expo as a sure-to-become centerpiece of the B2B and B2C show calendars.

“This is the place to be!” proclaimed television personality and pheromone entrepreneur and spokesperson Patti “Millionaire Matchmaker” Stanger, on hand to extoll the virtues of her Matchmaker line of Eye of Love products.

Stanger spent time at Eye of Love’s booth — red and black to match the Matchmaker line packaging — chatting with fans, signing bottles of her pheromone-infused scents, candles and other products, and answering questions with her characteristic passion and intensity.

Flanked by her partner in the line, industry vet Jacqui Rubinoff of Eye of Love, Stanger explained that her involvement with the company went back years.

“I used to promote their other lines for many years, but this is the first time I got my own fragrance,” Stanger said. “First I was a customer and then we made a supercharged version of the product.”

Across from the Eye of Love booth, iconic adult performer, creator and entrepreneur Sara Jay was also on hand to promote the Sara Jay Self-Care Collection of CBD products.

“We have everything from massage oil and bath bombs to personal lubricants,” Jay explained, “but we are especially excited about our new product Private Revive It, which is an intimate healing cream. There's really not another product like it on the market.”

Made for external use by men and women, Private Revive It was created to address a personal need Jay says she understands from experience.

“I created because I needed it!” she said. “It's great for after long, rough sex, grinding, anything like skin lacerations — a tear, a cut, nails, teeth — all the things that can happen during sex. I realized we didn’t really have anything good that is organic and extremely soothing to put on our private parts after that."

Private Revive It made its debut at Vibe Expo, and Jay expressed enthusiasm about the event and her growing company.

“We’ve been doing this for three years now,” she said. “Our goal for 2024 is to get our products in many more people's hands.”

Another recent addition to the sector making its sexual health show debut at Vibe Expo was gay-owned-and-operated CockBlock Toys. The Canada-based company's owner and product inventor, Justin Depow, explained that CockBlock is “the world's first adult toy for two penises that combines the feelings of penetration and frot — the practice common in the gay community of rubbing two cocks together.”

Depow and business partner Phillip Ryder showed prospective customers and buyers animated demo videos of CockBlock’s technology and functionality.

“I came up with the idea over 10 years ago,” Depow shared, “and I worked on it alongside a full-time job. About three years ago, Phillip joined and helped me commercialize it, launching an ecommerce store two years ago. The people really wanted it — we were only advertising the U.S. and Canada, and now we have customers in 46 countries. We are here today at our first adult store and toy show. Vibe Expo has been amazing! Everyone here has been super supportive and friendly, and full of amazing information that's helping us understand what the next chapter for CockBlock might be.”

Another innovative product being offered at Vibe Expo was a line of “vapordisiacs” by NUUD, which commandeered one of the largest booths in the show, offering customers samples of its blends of natural aphrodisiacs with premium psychotropics.

A helpful rep for the Miami-based company explained that the sex vapes combine 14 aphrodisiac, high-intensity oils with hemp, and are currently legal in 48 U.S. states.

Many of Vibe Expo’s attendees crowded the NUUD stand to sample its lushly designed array of vapes, gummies and pre-rolled joints

“Combining the oils and hemp gives men and women a euphoric feeling of heightened blood flow, and more focus for women,” the rep elaborated. “We have distribution in adult stores, smoke shops and convenience stores.”

Several other distinctive products were available in the middle aisle of the showroom, like those offered by iconic trans performer and activist Buck Angel and partner Rob Reimer through the Demon Kat store.

Sexual health veteran Kim Airs extolled Angel and Reimer's long-term commitment to the adult novelty industry, which translates to a unique aesthetic — centered on mischievous black cats — and products catering to a diverse clientele.

After launching on Halloween in 2022, Demon Kat came to Vibe Expo with a stand showcasing a diversified catalog.

Airs demonstrated the company's bestsellers, such as the Kiss-X and the Demon Kat Paddle.

“The Kiss-X can be used by trans men to masturbate, but it’s also for guys with micro penises, because most masturbators out there are much larger,” Airs explained. “And the always-popular Kat Paddle will make the mark of a cat on whatever you slap. It’s a good one! It's all silicone and it's got a nice reflex to it.”

More impact play items were offered at the corner Sportsheets booth, where reps were gifting some of the most charming swag at Vibe Expo to the many attendees interested in the company’s signature high-end BDSM accoutrements.

“We’re so excited to be here at the first Vibe in Hollywood,” enthused Sportsheets’ Kelly. “We're showcasing 14 new products and five new strap lines that were just released, all tested within our own team and by friends of friends.”

Kelly also showed four new additions to the popular Saffron collection, with its distinctive faux leather and red-orange hue, including the No Matter Where.

“This is probably everyone's favorite,” Kelly said. “No matter where you are, you can be tied up in play. This can go on your bookshelf, this can go around your bed, this can travel with you anywhere — wherever your imagination takes you.”

Another unique product Kelly showcased was Sportsheets’ Sensory Spiked Mitt. “On one side, it's really furry and soft, and on the other side, there are spikes in it. They're dull, so they're not going to hurt you. We've got so much interest in sensory play, so this is a totally new product for us.”

Across from Sportsheets, Vibe attendees could sample the instantly recognizable, endlessly versatile luxury bedroom shapes and love loungers produced by erotic home decor powerhouse Liberator.

Liberator’s Dennis Brito and his staff walked everyone through the company’s loungers, sex mounts, cuddle pillows and more, for couples or single use, and U.S.-made in Atlanta.

“We're just excited to be at Vibe and meet our previous buyers, our new customers and also interact with the people who actually use these on a daily basis and get them excited about the brand,” said Brito.

“We also use really soft, resilient fabrics so they're very indestructible for use in sex and provide years and years and years of pleasure,” he added, inviting attendees to pet the items. Brito was particularly enthusiastic about Liberator’s Aria, a convertible sex chaise that easily and efficiently can be rearranged into an extremely discreet end-of-bed bench.

“With its matching cover, the Aria just sits at the foot of someone's bed — very incognito,” Brito demonstrated. “But then, you take the cover off, you flip it open — and it becomes a pleasure palace.”

Another large booth was occupied by sex machine purveyor Motorbunny, which went all out for Vibe and brought a videogame station, marquee-name adult startlets as booth staff, and even LED bunny ears for anyone signing up for its mailing list.

Co-owner and co-founder Caleb explained that Motorbunny has been hard at work developing new products based on customer feedback.

“Of course, at Vibe we’re showing off our Motorbunny original machine, and also our Buck machine,” he said. “But we've built out around those newer, richer experiences for our customers. We've got a collaboration with Doc Johnson, offering vacuum lock attachments, which gives our customers as many different shapes, sizes, colors and textures as there are Doc Johnson dildos in their catalog, which is hundreds! We also did a a collaboration with Bad Dragon, which is all about a fantasy experience for our customers.”

Bad Dragon’s signature tentacular shapes were mounted on the Motorbunnys, as performers/booth girls Freya Parker, Alison Rey and Haley Reed invited people to ask about the products.

Caleb directed attention toward the impressive Game Station, a show-ready prototype that the company hopes to commercialize in a more portable version. The station features a Motorbunny with a nonpenetrative attachment and a tablet hooked to a large monitor showing one of the company's interactive games, Fappy Bunny.

“This could easily be placed at festivals and concerts,” Caleb explained. “We've made it playful and safe for work. Nothing phallic. You can sit on it with your clothes on. It could be at festivals or clubs.”

Perhaps it could become the new mechanical bull?

“Yes!” Caleb enthused.

Parker also sang the praises of the Game Station and the Motorbunny machine.

“I have arthritis in my my right hand and I'm absolutely convinced it's from using my wand vibrator,” she said. "Motorbunny is hands-free. I can masturbate as much as I want and my arthritis isn't going to act up!”

Over at the Pleasure Chest booth, the veteran adult retailer was offering a very comprehensive sample of novelty items, including Classic Adult Movie playing cards, erotic Tarot cards and a "micro" version of the iconic Magic Wand vibrator.

Pleasure Product Junior Buyer Jake Lehmann invited attendees to sample the full brick-and-mortar experience at the nearby West Hollywood location, which now features a new dispensary bar and lounge right next door.

“You can come out for a ‘sex night,’ like a date night where you go to the bar, grab dinner and drinks and weed, and then come over to The Pleasure Chest to get some sex toys on your way home,” he explained.

“We could only bring a tiny selection of what we offer, but we curated little items that we stand behind,” he said. “The micro Magic Wand has been catching everyone's eye because it's so compact and cute, and it's been selling like wildfire.”

But there is always more room for innovation, especially if someone thinks of an untapped niche. Valentino Tolman combined his industry expertise with his passion for Tiki culture to launch Friki Tiki, a brand-new venture with one of the most Instagrammatic booths at Vibe Expo.

“I worked in the industry for 23 years, for a lot of different companies, and I'm originally from Hawaii, so I decided to launch Friki Tik to focus on Polynesian pleasure products,” Tolman explained.

In a volcano-themed booth that invited photo ops, mermaid strokers that could pass for a mug at legendary Silver Lake bar Tiki Ti shared space with dildos packaged in authentic midcentury Pacific island designs and Coco monkey masturbator nuts.

“The Tiki Dickies are named after surf icons, like Big Kahuna,” Tolman said. “A good friend of mine does a lot of set work for Disney and other big companies and she's a big Tiki fanatic, so she helped me out by constructing this booth. The artist of the packaging is a world-renowned Tiki artist named BigToe. So I really did incorporate people that have a passion and love for Tiki.”

Tolman was thrilled that the debut day of the inaugural Vibe Expo provided him with his first direct-to-consumer sale.

“Even though I picked up some distributors, the thing I’ll always remember about Vibe is that it allowed me to sell my very first Friki Tiki dildo to a customer!”

As workshops got underway, Stanger offered a session titled “Love Potions: Pheromones 101,” which combined her contagious enthusiasm for the art and science of attraction through scent with dishy asides about reality television friends and associates, and even a mini talk show with three lucky audience members who benefited from her accumulated wisdom as a high-end people-pairer.

Clad in a short black mini dress and snakeskin cowboy boots, Stanger oversaw the proceedings with help from Rubinoff, who offered some organizational grounding so the 2010s reality TV icon could unleash her vivacious charm.

Rubinoff explained that the company collaborated with Stanger to create the Matchmaker pheromone collection, including perfumes, massage candles, body sprays and more.

“When we made this fragrance, I had been working with Eye of Love for years,” Stanger told the capacity crowd at one of the Loews conference rooms. “And then they came to me and they said, ‘We want to create fragrance with you,’ and I said, ‘One thing we have to do is not just give it to straight people, but give it to gay people and queer people, to pansexuals, and hopefully we covered everybody.”

Stanger kept returning to her motto, which is that the Matchmaker line is “not just a fragrance but a party with a purpose.”

Whether you put it on your pulse points, your heart chakra, or anywhere else, she added, “the smell might go away, but the pheromones keeps working. You may not smell it, but the person you're trying to attract will.”

The final portion of the workshop offered three audience members a chance to get Stanger’s personalized love advice, which emphasized being open about one’s reality and getting out in the world to attract the person of one’s dreams.

Award-winning sex edutainer and speaker Dirty Lola offered an interactive workshop on “Booty Meat Basics.” A highlight of the first installment of Vibe Expo, Lola brought her A-game to give specific, actionable advice on spanking and impact play, effortlessly showing why she is one of the most in-demand sexual health educators in the space.

Using her signature combination of personal sharing — attendees learned a lot about Lola’s love and sex life, fantasies, kinks, preferences and penchant for 1990s cultural references — straight-up comedy-club-ready jokes and routines, and her inimitable personal pizzazz, the sexpert imparted gems of BDSM wisdom that could be used by anyone from beginners to veteran lifestyle folk.

“If you are at a party or anywhere,” she advised, “find some excuse to find quiet space, and you can have these kinds of conversations to find out people's boundaries and limits, and what they need from you and what you need from them.”

Demonstrating on an audience volunteer using a Liberator lounger she borrowed from the company booth, Lola talked about consent, different impact tools and implements, and furniture, eventually arriving at the explanation of the workshop’s intriguing title.

Providing a handout with technical terms for body parts, Lola exhorted, “OK, so if you look at your handouts those are the actual names, the parts of the butt and whatnot. But what you will remember is ‘booty meats!’ Booty meats. Say it with me! Act like this is ‘Sister Act’!”

Using stickers, Lola labeled areas on the volunteer as “Booty Meats,” “Thigh Creases” and “Thigh Meats,” and proceeded to show, lightly, how they could be used for impact play while staying clear of areas above them that house more sensitive organs.

After the lively demonstration, cleverly peppered with jokes and asides so the important information would stick, Lola stressed the importance of aftercare.

Vibe Expo continues today until 8 p.m.

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