During hour number six of a nine-hour car ride back from New York to their tiny Ontario, Canada village of North Gower, delirium set in and Bruce and Melody Murison started talking about sex toys. As the discussion moved past talk of the more dated, male-targeted toys of previous generations, Bruce wondered if there was a device that would actually fit “between” a couple as they were making love.
“Up to that point, sexy toys were not part of our life,” Bruce recalls. “It was just an innocent thought.”
But Bruce didn’t forget that conversation. In fact, as soon as they got home from that trek he began taking copious notes on all of the ideas he had regarding this still fictitious yet captivating idea for a couples’ toy. “For the next couple weeks I began doing research about adult toys,” he says. “Of course my eyes glazed over all the different products I found that are out there on the market, but I didn’t find anything similar to my idea.”
That’s because there was, of course, nothing similar to what would become the We-Vibe. When the couple were laid off from their dot-com jobs at a company called Nortel back in 2000, Bruce and Melody got jobs in an assortment of industries. But the idea for this “couples’ toy” never faded from Bruce’s thoughts. In a leap of faith, the Murisons mortgaged their home as Bruce began a six-year odyssey to create the ultimate toy for couples: The We-Vibe.
Released in 2008, the We-Vibe quickly became the buzz of the entire adult novelty industry. The creation has enjoyed accolade after accolade, award after award. It isn’t just a couples toy, it’s the couples toy.
From its genesis in their basement to its present stake as a major adult retail brand, We-Vibe has accomplished a lifetime in its 10-year history. The company that began with a toy has since become a name in the industry.
As the company celebrates their 10-year anniversary (Editor’s note: The first industry story written about We-Vibe appeared in the April 2009 issue of STOREROTICA), SE Magazine spoke with Frank Ferrari, president of Standard Innovation—parent company of the We-Vibe brand—to get his thoughts on a decade of success, their Anniversary Collection, and what the next 10 years hold for the brand.
SE: Does it seem like it’s been 10 years since We-Vibe was introduced to the world?
Ferrari: Who could have imagined this amazing little invention, the very first couples vibrator, would go on to be enjoyed by millions of couples around the world? That it would become app-enabled, so couples could play together even when they’re apart? And that it would inspire a whole line of leading premium pleasure products and an industry-leading brand?
It’s been an amazing ride for all of us at We-Vibe, and for our loyal, dedicated customers. By creating the first couples vibrator and staying dedicated to innovative, high-quality, body-safe and eco-friendly design, We-Vibe has helped shape the adult pleasure product industry.
SE: How much more open is society now than it was 10 years ago in regard to adult toys, and how has this evolution benefitted We-Vibe?
Ferrari: The social acceptance of sex toys has soared over the past 10 years, with the percentage of the population buying them shooting up from about 15 percent about two decades ago to nearly 50 percent today. We’ve certainly noted this cultural and social change and its effect on our business. Millennials are leading the charge and are unabashedly open about pleasure, self-care, and their sex-toy use. As this generation takes leadership roles in cultural industries and the media, they talk openly and freely. You see it in TV shows like “Girls” and “Broad City” that are changing the conversation for everyone. On “Grace and Frankie,” Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (who are both nearly 80) openly discuss female pleasure and vibrators, and continue the conversation on the morning talk-show circuit. For the We-Vibe brand, that’s meant rapidly expanding our product line.
As the cultural conversation has changed, we have worked to grow with our customers’ changing needs. Our world-class engineers and industrial designers work closely with sexual wellness experts and consumers to design and develop pleasure products that work in sync with the human body. We’ve created a purposeful line of beautifully designed high-quality clitoral and G-spot vibrators and vibrating plugs and penis rings. In early 2017, we launched Bloom, which allows women to strengthen their PC muscles to help achieve stronger orgasms. As we saw a growing demand for couples wanting the freedom to play on the go, at the end of 2017, we launched Jive, a wearable G-spot stimulator that can be controlled via the We-Connect app, giving couples a new level of liberation that comes with openly discussing their wants and desires with their partner.
SE: There have been a great many accolades bestowed upon We-Vibe over the years. What are the most recent awards that We-Vibe has taken home?
Ferrari: Over the years, We-Vibe products have won dozens of awards for being the best, most innovative and best-selling pleasure products and sex toys. In just the past 12 months, We-Vibe won STOREROTICA’s “Boutique Brand of the Year” Award, while our founders, Bruce and Melody Murison, won the Xbiz Legacy Award. Bruce was also inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame. We are very appreciative to all of those organizations who have honored our company with these awards and thankful for everyone in the industry who has voted to acknowledge We-Vibe’s products.
SE: Can you talk about the conceptualization and production of the Anniversary Collection?
Ferrari: We wanted to mark our 10th anniversary by offering customers something special that celebrates We-Vibe’s commitment to connecting couples. For many couples, a We-Vibe couples vibrator was their first sex toy purchased together. And when the small yet mighty Tango came on the market, its deep, rumbling vibrations were a revelation to many women, quickly becoming their “go to” vibrator while also enhancing couples play in all kinds of ways. That’s why the We-Vibe Anniversary Collection includes a limited-edition We-Vibe Sync and an updated Tango, plus an exclusive new play case.
We’ve also been listening to our customers and they told us they would love a collection of premium products they can take on the go. This request led to the development of the new play case that discreetly holds and charges both products together. Sync and Tango come in a limited-edition iridescent, cosmic purple that celebrates our customers’ pursuit of passion and is a nod to the original We-Vibe couples vibrator.
SE: How does the Anniversary Collection reflect the growth of the company in its past 10 years?
Ferrari: By offering two of our best-selling products together, we’re showcasing the height of our innovation and excellence. The Anniversary Collection is inspired by the original We-Vibe and its iconic sunglass case that was launched in Las Vegas in 2008. It was the first, the original and still the best on the market. Of course, over the past 10 years, We-Vibe has continued to use state-of-the-art techniques and tools to take our products to new heights, setting new industry standards for ergonomic design and high performance while remaining eco-friendly and body-safe.
That means the We-Vibe Sync, our flagship couples vibrator, is now customizable to fit your unique shape; the clitoral and G-spot stimulators can be adjusted to target your pleasure. And with the free We-Connect app, couples can connect and play from anywhere in the world. Sync’s exclusive We-Connect vibration modes include Beat mode, to vibe to the rhythm of your favorite music, and Touch mode, which allows real-time touchscreen control.
Tango has always been the most powerful mini-vibe. Its tapered tip delivers deep rumbly vibrations with pinpoint focus, while the flat edge is perfect for all-over massage. And now the updated Tango includes improvements to its control button, battery, and charging.
The Collection’s play case references the original We-Vibe case design and allows for discreet storage and charging of both products.
SE: A decade in, how has We-Vibe clung to the originality that helped define the brand? Along that vein, how hard is it to combat imitators?
Ferrari: We-Vibe has always stood out in the market. We’re from Canada, and our roots are in high-tech. As innovators, we were the first in the industry to create a product specifically for couples to use together and one of the first to use computer-simulated modeling and 3D printing and consumer research insights to create our products. We continue to bring advanced engineering, technology and manufacturing to the adult toy industry, and all of our products contain innovation. We are known for our quality, reliability, and effectiveness. We stay ahead of our competitors by investing in research, in product development, and in people. In the past year, we’ve also greatly expanded our product offering.
SE: Where do you see We-Vibe heading in the next 10 years?
Ferrari: In our first 10 years, the way couples operate their We-Vibe, for example, evolved from pressing a button to using a remote control to gaining amazing control with the We-Connect app. With We-Vibe Sync, for instance, We-Connect gives users more control over vibration and intensity, it works to music, and it has secure in-app voice, chat and video capabilities.
In the next 10 years, we’ll bring couples even greater functionality, so they can customize and control the stimulation of their devices all the more, making them even more fun and even easier to use. And as we continue to focus on customers’ desires and get better at miniaturizing parts, we’ll be able to invent new products that we haven’t yet imagined. We’ll continue to work with researchers to create products that reflect the meeting of science and sexuality. It’s all about using technology to heighten pleasure and enhance intimacy, not replace it.
We also know that we can’t rest on our laurels. In the last decade, progressive manufacturers have introduced toys and vibrators that are aesthetically pleasing, designed and manufactured to high standards, and safe to use. But we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can achieve. We can deliver designs that let users customize their experiences, fit their devices into their mobile lifestyles, and explore new avenues of stimulation.
This is an exciting time for We-Vibe. The ride into the future is going to be exhilarating. Technology can’t replace the human experience of intimacy, but it sure can enhance it.
For more information, visit we-vibe.com.