The genesis for Louis Friedman’s Liberator empire was born, in part, from an almost-2,000-year-old text. The Kama Sutra is replete of postures with props and it — coupled with Redbook Magazine’s article, “Pillow Power” — lent credence to a brewing idea. Fast-forward to the present and Friedman has a brand that extends far beyond its Atlanta roots.
“‘What could we do that a pillow can’t?’ That was, I guess, the tough part,” says Friedman. “We were really in uncharted territory, there was really no demand for our products.”
Friedman notes one of the hurdles Liberator faced in its infancy was how to market itself. Everyone knows what a sex toy is, so Friedman had to convince consumers about the benefit of his products. Liberator advertises and promotes to the end user with the hope and understanding that they demand the product before they’ve even set foot in the store.
A key ingredient to Liberator’s marketing success has been its aesthetic appeal, which has presented itself in its packaging and website presence. Through those means, Liberator has ventured into the no-man’s land of not displaying sexual positions as solely clinically or as porn. As if there was any need for proof of the success of Liberator, look no further than a certain bull’s eye.
“When Target calls and says we’d like to carry you, that says something,” he says.
STOREROTICA got the opportunity to speak to Friedman for some insight into the man beyond the venture capitalist, entrepreneur, CEO. - Eugenio Torrens
For more information on Liberator products, visit liberator.com or call (866) 542-7283.
STOREROTICA: What’s your favorite part of the industry?
FRIEDMAN: My favorite part is customers calling for things that you’ve created. And for retailers, wanting to stock and distribute your product.
SE: How about the biggest headache?
LF: Our biggest headache is when someone places a million-dollar order and they want it in two weeks!
SE: What would you say you’re proudest of in your tenure at Liberator?
LF: The reviews from customers are just outstanding, of the way that we’ve helped people with their relationships. Unlike sex toys that are artificial stimulators, we don’t vibrate. What we can do is assist people in a variety of ways. We do everything except stimulate an orgasm. We’re an assistive device and a brand category, and really very mainstream.
SE: Is there one testimonial that sticks out in your mind?
LF: One testimonial—this is really crazy—came from someone who floated to safety during Hurricane Katrina on a Liberator Wedge/Ram Combo. The other one that I really like is a military troop that decorated their helicopter with Liberator, decorated their helmets and wrote a beautiful story of how Liberator inspired them. They were Liberator fans and we got a note—our name was associated with being a “liberator.”
SE: If Liberator hadn’t come up, where do you think you’d be?
LF: Liberator came about during the dot-com boom and at the time I was looking at a wide variety of dot-com opportunities. Liberator was something I simply came up with, it wasn’t something I found, so it would be possible that I would have been more inclined to pursue a dot-com opportunity … like Facebook!
SE: What would your ideal day off look like?
LF: I haven’t had one in a while! An ideal day off would be going to a Broadway show and then going out to dinner to a restaurant, a good one.
SE: What hobbies or activities do you partake in?
LF: HBO: “Game of Thrones,” Bill Maher and, of course, “Masters of Sex.”
SE: Biggest guilty pleasure food?
LF: Chocolate. Couture chocolate.
SE: Because of your artistic background, how important is music? What about one of your favorite musicians or shows?
LF: My children are musicians and we’ve grown up in a house of music. I used to be in a rock band, guitar and keyboard. This goes back to the ‘60s, when it was cool and hip to be in a rock band. If you wanted girls, you needed to be in a rock band.