ANME Founder Nasstoys, Teddy "OG"
Teddy Rothstein has seen quite a bit in his tenure at Nasstoys. The co-founder dishes on the “wild, wild west,” trends and the SE Hall of Fame.
From its beginnings in a seedier Times Square in the 1970s to its present standing as an industry titan, Nasstoys has borne witness to the evolving landscape of adult retail.
That starts with Teddy Rothstein, Elliot Schwartz and Irvin Schwartz. SE Magazine spoke with Rothstein in advance of the SE Awards, where he will be inducted into the SE Hall of Fame.
SE: With the upcoming SE Awards, you may have been hit with small pockets of time to reminisce. When you look back, what does it mean that you’ve been able to get this far knowing it all started with you and your friends?
ROTHSTEIN: Looking back over the years, I have many fond memories of advising and assisting many good friends as they started out in numerous adult businesses, which led to the start of Nasstoys. Some have come and gone, but many now serve as the foundation on which this successful industry stands today.
SE: Could you share an anecdote or two about the old days, when the adult retail industry was the “wild, wild, west”?
ROTHSTEIN: In the beginning, the main theme of adult retail business was peepshows and magazines and the XXX theatres, which my partners and I operated in Times Square, which was then a red-light district. Much has changed, but the great stories and the history remains and is now being harvested by writers and producers of books and television series. There was nothing like living it. The characters, the energy is impossible to duplicate digitally. In the beginning, this business was raw and primal and taboo. And that is what made it desirable and profitable.
SE: As Nasstoys has grown, how have you seen your own responsibilities and role with the company change?
ROTHSTEIN: I am still technically CEO and am hands on on a daily basis, but I have stepped back slightly as my partner Elliot has assumed the leadership role.
SE: How important has it been to have Elliot as your partner and how do you complement each other in business?
ROTHSTEIN: I could not have asked for a better friend or partner, as Elliot takes care of our business on the outside and I orchestrate the logistics.
SE: How much easier is your life now that adult retail is so much more mainstream than when you started three-plus decades ago?
ROTHSTEIN: Business is better than ever. Technology and engineering advances have enabled us to create better quality, more socially acceptable goods, and the internet has marketed our products and made them more discreetly accessible for consumers.
SE: If the phrase “everything old is new again” holds true, where do you see adult toys going or cycling back to?
ROTHSTEIN: Forty years of analyzing data and trends have shown me that proven consistent sellers are a risk-free investment in upgrading and redeveloping. One example is our All-American Whoppers Collection, which we are relaunching at the ANME Show in July 2018 with its new upgraded look and same great pricing structure.
SE: What are your thoughts on the current state of the adult retail industry? Anything that worries you or you think could be cause for concern down the road?
ROTHSTEIN: The greatest cause of concern is the Prop 65 in the state of California. A lawyer’s dream and a lawyer’s racket to coerce companies into settling phony cases.
SE: Can you talk about being inducted the SE Hall of Fame and just generally what it means to be acknowledged by your peers?
ROTHSTEIN: It is a great honor and feels wonderful after all of these years to be recognized for the role I have played in this business.
SE: What have been the main contributing factors to the over 40+ year of success that Nasstoys has had so far?
ROTHSTEIN: The ability to recognize talent and Elliot has been an integral part of the growth and long term success of Nasstoys. Also, being able to bring new and better products to our customers.
For more information, visit nasstoys.com.