Williams Trading article

(Note: This story appears in the April 2021 issue of SE Magazine)

Two decades ago the majority of sex toys along your slat walls were all made in China. But products are now being purchased that have decisively different places of origin. In this Special Focus, STOREROTICA has selected a chosen few manufacturers from around the globe who are helping expand the international offerings found in stores across the US.

Orion Wholesale is Europe’s go-to for the best products and customer service

Answers courtesy of Björn Radcke, Key Account Manager ORION Wholesale (Germany)

SE: Based in Flensburg, around for more than 35 years— can you talk about what has made Orion one of the most successful erotic wholesale companies in Europe?
RADCKE: ORION Wholesale has been very successful in the industry for more than 35 years with its extensive best-seller assortment with quality controlled products and especially with its packaging designs and labels that have influenced the erotic industry in a permanent way.

We are one of Europe’s most successful erotic wholesale companies—with activities and customers all over the world.

Furthermore, ORION Wholesale stands for fair and stable prices, high delivery capacity and competent and service- oriented advice. We have customers all over the world and our motivated team is available for them everyday. Our main focus is on a trusting business relationship and personal contact.

SE: What is your most popular product and why?
RADCKE: ORION wholesale has a large selection of own labels and products, which are well-known all over the world and stand for a successful, sustainable strategy, which has the necessary tactfulness for the erotic industry. Retailers and customers trust in this know-how and benefit from the variety of products and labels that are high-quality and have brand recognition.

We have many popular products, for example the Vibe Pad – a remote-controlled love cushion that perfectly adapts to the female anatomy. Or the Suck-O-Mat with its innovative Hands Free Masturbation Technology, which is known as “The Hummer” in the US.

Also very popular are our best-selling lingerie labels like Cottelli Collection, Abierta Fina and Black Level, LateX and Zado (the fetish labels). This also applies to our men’s lifestyle labels Svenjoyment and NEK. And women’s plus size lingerie is one of our highlights, too: Our Cottelli Curves lingerie goes up to size 4XL and means high-quality lingerie for women who want to show off and emphasize their curves.

SE: If you’re not present in the United States, have you explored ways to expand your presence in the U.S.?
RADCKE: We are not present within the US so far, but we are in good contacts with local retailers and distributors. Furthermore, we are checking further possibilities to step onto the US market.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times – what are you doing to combat that?
RADCKE: COVID has shown how closely the industry sticks together and how strong together we can also master these times. We have learned a lot, shown flexibility and focused on what was possible.

Our internal work processes have changed over the last year: We work with hygiene concepts in different shifts and, where possible, increasingly in the home office. As we are well positioned with modern hardware and software, our sales and customer departments are available to our customers without restriction. In our logistics, we have also had a new shift system. Nevertheless, we can guarantee that all orders will be processed and shipped by us quickly and reliably as usual—also due to our high-storage capacity.

Even though we cannot yet estimate how long the pandemic will affect our lives and the economy, we are optimistic about the future.

For more information, visit orion-wholesale.com, or email wholesale@orion.de or bradcke@orion.de.

Kiiroo ups the ante on teledildonics worldwide

Answers courtesy of Frank Kok, Sales Director Kiiroo

SE: Can you briefly talk about Kiiroo and its history?
KOK: Kiiroo is an interactive sex toy company from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We specialize in teledildonics which in simple terms is remote sex/sex through the internet!

We have been around since 2015, working hard to create interactive sex toys and interactive content that will bring people together, no matter where they might be in the world!

We have four interactive male masturbators and five vibrators currently on the market.

SE: What is your most popular product?
KOK: For penises, our most popular product is our flagship interactive masturbator, Keon by Kiiroo. Our most popular vibrator is the OhMiBod Esca2 Powered by Kiiroo which is an egg-shaped insertable G-spot vibrator.

SE: Which distributors do you work with? If you’re not present in the United States, have you explored any distributors to expand your presence in the US?
KOK: Kiiroo works with multiple global distributors in Europe, US, Colombia and Australia. We strive to have a good balance of partners on each continent that we sell. In the US, our distribution partners are East Coast News, Eldorado and Holiday Products.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers and vendors) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
KOK: Once your customers experience a sex toy with VR, it will change the way they look at sex!

SE: Where does your company have the biggest imprint?
KOK: Even though we hail from the Netherlands, our biggest market for male pleasure products is the US, and for the vibrators, our biggest market is South America.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
KOK: COVID and quarantine has really helped shine a light on our interactive technology. Most of the world is separated, and a huge portion of people have not seen their loved ones in days or even months.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for our toys exploded and although this is a very positive development it also created a lot of pressure on our global stock levels. COVID created a higher demand which was hard for Kiiroo to keep up with, as we strive to have a minimum three-month “iron stock” in our global fulfillment centers, which ended up being depleted a lot quicker than usual.

To make a Kiiroo product is a very lengthy process, there are a lot of different components (PCBAs, Bluetooth, etc.) involved in all our devices and so the lead time, especially of these PCBA boards, is weeks or even months to fulfill. Due to the high demand and long lead time, we were not able to put our new 2020 stock on a boat and instead we had to fly almost all our products to make sure we could fulfill the demand as quickly as possible.

Although 2020 has been a great year in turns of sales, the cost of logistics went through the roof as well. We are now finally back in a position that we managed to have our ‘’iron stock’’ levels on a healthy level again.

For more information, visit kiiroo.com or email sales@kiiroo.com.

Massive UK success helps Lovehoney become a well-known US brand

Answers courtesy of Jade Bawa, Sales Executive Lovehoney

SE: Can you briefly talk about Lovehoney and its history?
BAWA: Lovehoney was founded in Bath, UK in 2002 by Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford, upon discovering a simple gap in the market. We are now the largest global online retailer specializing in adult toys and lingerie via our nine territory websites and warehouses situated in the UK, US and Australia.

We boast more than 19 years category experience, 150- plus products developed in-house each year and are proud to say that one in three sex toys purchased in the UK are sold by Lovehoney!

In 2011, Richard and Neal worked collaboratively with E.L. James on launching the only official licensed Fifty Shades of Grey The Official Pleasure Collection, based on items from the book.

SE: What is your most popular product?
BAWA: It’s got to be the iconic Fifty Shades of Grey Greedy Girl G-spot Rabbit vibrator, which wears the crown of best-selling toy within the whole E.L. James’s approved Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection and boasts over 3000 five-star reviews across our UK and US website alone.

Following the renowned success of this product, we were proud to announce the launch of the show-stopping Fifty Shades of Grey 10 Year Anniversary Rabbit this year in celebration of a decade of Fifty Shades of Grey.

SE: You’re renowned in the UK, but can you talk about the footprint you have in the US?BAWA: 2020 has been our biggest year to date, with record sales and profit in the US. After opening our own distribution centers in the US in 2018, we are continuing to tailor offers and deals to meet local demand, further fueling our international growth.

Our aim is to establish Lovehoney as the leading online sexual happiness brand in the US and we will continue to nudge our way in the US market in 2021.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
BAWA: Our goal has always been to provide high-quality products and services, maintain stock levels, and to fulfill orders in a timely manner. We are encouraging our B2B customers to top up and re-forecast on a regular basis to keep up with demand.

With the 10-year anniversary of Fifty Shades of Grey happening in 2021 and new product launches taking consumers by a storm, the Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection has never been so popular, and customers can look out for further exciting new launches this year.

For more information, visit lovehoneytrade.co.uk or email tradeenquiries@lovehoney.co.uk.

It’s not just the UK that’s charged up by ElectraStim’s electro-stimulation products

Answers courtesy of Claire Blakeborough, Marketing and Communications Manager Cyrex Ltd.

SE: Can you briefly talk about ElectraStim and its history?
BLAKEBOROUGH: 2021 is actually our 20th birthday as a company. Cyrex Ltd (and our brand ElectraStim) began in 2001 when Andy Smith decided to take his experience working with medical electro stimulation devices and bring it to the for-pleasure market. The ElectraStim ethos has always been to innovate—our products are of the highest quality and we offer electro-stim experiences that no other range does.

SE: What is your most popular product?
BLAKEBOROUGH: Our Flick stimulator has been incredibly popular since it first launched; it’s compact, easy to use, powerful and has a good price point. It’s the staple item in all product recommendations we make and it’s compatible with the majority of our toys. In recent years though, largely since the release of our AXIS stimulator in 2019, there has definitely been an appetite for the more advanced side of electro-sex. E-stim isn’t usually an impulse purchase as it does come with a higher price tag than a bullet vibe for example, but we’re seeing more and more people investing in the high end stimulators right off the bat.

SE: Can you talk about how vital it is to the company’s philosophy to stress knowledge and increase awareness for electrosex in general?
BLAKEBOROUGH: It’s an incredibly important part of our philosophy to educate and increase awareness about electro-sex in general. E-stim has usually been seen as a hardcore-only activity and a lot of more ‘mainstream’ stores and customers have been reticent to try it. Largely that’s down to misunderstanding of how it works and what it feels like as it’s easy to hear ‘electro’ and equate it with a shock or something unpleasant. We recognize that electro isn’t for everyone, but we do firmly believe that everyone who is even slightly curious should give it a try. The vast majority of people we demo for are surprised how different it feels compared to what they expected so a large part of our
job is removing the stigma around electro products and overcoming any fear the customer may have. We’re always happy to provide product training for our stockists, plus we’ve released a ‘What Is Electro Sex?’ pamphlet for brick- and-mortar retailers. We’re more than happy to jump on a Zoom call with any customers.

SE: Can you talk about the footprint you have in the US?
BLAKEBOROUGH: The USA has always been a staple market for ElectraStim and is a key a part of our business strategy. In 2017 Cyrex Inc., was born with orders shipping out of our Miami fulfillment center and with US dollar invoicing. Our US customer base has now grown as a result and setting up in the US in general has proven to be a great success for us.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
BLAKEBOROUGH: ElectraStim offers electro-sex experiences that no other brand does. We take a lot of pride in designing and developing everything ourselves in-house which means that we can take the time to add features or technology that hasn’t been seen before. We’re always trying to push the boundaries of what’s available in the e-stim category and also to push our own personal boundaries to find something new and exciting for customers. Everything we offer has been painstakingly designed, tested and quality checked to make sure the customer is as happy as possible and we’re doing ourselves proud!

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
BLAKEBOROUGH: From the first day of COVID restrictions in the UK (3/23/20) our ultimate priority has been maintaining a safe operation while protecting our team. Although at the beginning we did see a little delay in fulfillment times while we implemented social distancing measures in the workshop, we very quickly returned to ‘normal’ in terms of in-house fulfillment. There have been challenges with couriers globally who have been experiencing delays but we’ve always communicated this with our customers as best as possible. Everyone is in the same boat at the moment, so as long as we’re up front about any potential delays and do our best to help, 99% of people are incredibly understanding and patient.

For more information, email account manager Jack at jack@electrastim.com or call +44 (0)1992 676262.

Rocks-Off is powerful and bold, just like their “industry must-have” toys

Answers courtesy of Sue Walsh, Managing Director Rocks-Off

SE: Can you briefly talk about Rocks-Off and its history?
WALSH: The company’s launch was initiated in 2003 with the Rock-Chick. What Rock Chick delivered in terms of functionality, design and pleasure experience was ground-breaking and the shape and style has since been replicated across numerous products that we now see at large.

The Rocks-Off start range products were powerful, bold, aesthetically pleasing and above all, like no other on the market at that time.

Eighteen years down the line our RO bullet ranges boasts sales of million units worldwide and they still hold their position as “inventory must haves” in a very competitive market place.

Our prostate massagers were the next to push the market with Rude, Naughty, Cheeky, Big and Bad Boy, again many have followed in our footsteps and we must take this as a huge compliment.

SE: What is your most popular product?
WALSH: The rechargeable Chaiamo vibrator is an amazing product, so much so that we have recently followed on in the same lane, using the superb motor technology with Giamo, which as the name suggests is a G spot vibrator. The positioning and power of the motor in Giamo is truly amazing and we are fully expecting this product to be as super successful as Chaiamo is.

SE: Can you talk about the footprint you have in the US?
WALSH: We have a great business footprint and business relationships in the US and work with some of the biggest distributors and large retail groups, which is further testament to the quality and presentation of our products and ranges. We pride ourselves in fast turnaround to the US, although at the moment the shipping world is clearly difficult for everyone.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
WALSH: When lockdown came in March 2020, as a company we stayed really focused to make sure that we were on track to deliver some amazing additions to our product range as well as continuing to supply our customers’ needs. We have already launched some fabulous products this year and there will be more running through.

In fact, May will see two iconic Rocks-Off products coming forward that are going to really bring some interest. The motors are exceptional, the silicone is sensory touch, and the packaging and presentation will really have great appeal in the market—and to lovers of the Rocks-Off brand. We are really excited about these products and the packaging will be absolute eye bliss!

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
WALSH: During the pandemic, the intimate product market has maintained and gained healthy levels of growth.

Clearly for everyone it’s not been plain sailing and the times ahead will still bring challenges. Shipping across the world has also bought its own challenges and as a company we are planning ahead as much as possible to maintain the supply chain.

There are aspects that are clearly out of our control, but we are focused and committed to working hard to deliver the best possible service whilst also creating and delivering new and innovative products to the market.

When businesses are challenged, it’s vitally important to remain on point to maintain market interest, remain relevant and be the first port of call to your customer base.

For more information, visit rocks-off.com or email sales@rocks-off.com.

Intimacy and wellness products for women fuel Exsens’ growth in the US and beyond

Answers courtesy of Rebecca Pinette-Dorin, North American Brand Manager Exsens

SE: Can you briefly talk about Exsens and its history and how the South of France embodies Exsens’s mission?
PINETTE-DORIN: Exsens was created in 2014 by a group of women who decided to make a beautiful, safe and fun brand that would speak to women on both a holistic and a sensual level: mind, heart and body!

It is our belief that intimacy and wellness are deeply connected. Our ongoing mission is to educate and empower all women, everywhere, so they may recognize and nurture that connection.

We don’t just develop these products—we use them!

We try to use only ingredients sourced in the EU and having our laboratory in the South of France gives us direct access to all-natural perfumes and botanicals, as well as centuries of tradition in quality cosmetics and body product manufacturing.

SE: What is your most popular product?
PINETTE-DORIN: Definitely our Strawberry Warming Massage Oil.

SE: Which distributors do you work with? If you’re not present in the United States, have you explored any distributors to expand your presence in the US?
PINETTE-DORIN: We work with both Entrenue and Eldorado in the US as well as Vice and Ultra Love in Canada. We also work with distributors all over the globe. The relationship between a brand and a distributor is an important and vital one. We have been very lucky in our choices so far.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
PINETTE-DORIN: Our brand is growing by leaps and bounds due to our high-quality product and great packaging, but also because we understand our buyers’ needs. There are many warming massage oils out there, and even more lubricants! What makes Exsens stand out is our branding, our communication, our transparency and our quality. Our products stand out so your customers want to give it a try, our quality makes them come back for more.

SE: Where does your company have the biggest imprint?
PINETTE-DORIN: At first it was France, now it is definitely the United States. Other markets are booming however: South Korea, the UK, soon Mexico. We are very happy with our ability to please in many cultures.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
PINETTE-DORIN: Seeing our retail clients, especially our smaller clients, struggle was really difficult. 2020 was hard on many levels, but feeling powerless to help brick and mortar through the shut down was a huge source of stress.

Our own offices suffered through several COVID scares as did our manufacturing facility in France. Early in 2020 we dropped everything and made hand sanitizer for French hospitals which upended our production schedule and put a halt to our new product pipeline. Every part of the manufacturing framework from sourcing to printing to fulfillment has suffered setbacks over the last year.

We are all running a little ragged, especially since business has not slacked off at all.

For more information, visit exsens-usa.com/retailers.

Female-based Adrien Lastic boasts innovation and quality construction

Answers courtesy of Christina Snider, North American Sales Manager Adrien Lastic

SE: Can you briefly talk about your company and its history?
SNIDER: Adrien Lastic begin in Barcelona in 2009, coming to the US shortly after. Adrien Lastic is a prominent female-based company that prides itself on being all- inclusive, innovative and unique. We offer a 2-year warranty on our products and work hand in hand with retailers all around the globe to ensure our products move off their shelves and keep their customers coming back for more.

SE: What is your most popular product?
SNIDER: Our Gladiator, without a doubt. The uniqueness of the design along with the diversity in the different ways it can be used make this a best seller! We also just debuted our Inspiration at the virtual XBIZ/AMNE show and I have a huge feeling that this will soon be taking over the spot as our best seller.

SE: (For vendors) Which distributors do you work with? If you’re not present in the United States, have you explored any distributors to expand your presence in the US?
SNIDER: We are proud to work with Williams Trading, Holiday, Nalpac and National Video Supply.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers and vendors) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
SNIDER: I would love for people to know that although we are still a fairly new company and small compared to others in the industry, we work hard to be a fully inclusive brand. We have so much talent on our team from being sexual educators, LGBTQ+, a ton of retail experiences and our dedication not only to retailers but their customers set us apart on so many levels. We are working hard to meet every vendor, store owner, buyer and trainer in our industry and we cannot wait to show you what we are made of!

SE: Where does your company have the biggest imprint?
SNIDER: We are still best known in Europe, though we have made quite the imprint on the US market.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
SNIDER: As all other manufacturers in our industry, the stress of COVID has tested our limits at our US warehouse and overseas. Most people aren’t aware of the fact that we own our own factory in China, so we felt the effects immediately. Thankfully though, through the hard work of our teams in China, Spain and the US, we have been lucky enough to only have two items on back order in our entire line up. We have gone up on our US warehouse’s stock as well as the productions in our overseas factories to ensure that we are able to fulfill orders as quickly as possible.

For more information, visit adrienlastic.com or email jricherson@cnexusa.com or csnider@cnexusa.com.

Handy’s eponymous toy ready with the assist

Answers courtesy of Jens Petter, Co-founder Handy

SE: Can you briefly talk about Handy and its history?
PETTER: The idea behind Sweet Tech actually came together in 2017 when the three founders—Nikolai, Alexander and I—came together and Alexander set the predecessor to Handy. Four months after, we established the company Sweet Tech AS in Norway and have since developed the Handy, both hardware and software.

We started selling the product in September 2019 and through 2020, we experienced a significant increase in interest globally.

SE: What is your most popular product?
PETTER: At the moment, we only have one product: The Handy, our flagship product. We do have several sleeves and accessories to use with the Handy.

SE: Can you talk about the footprint you have in the US?
PETTER: We’re still in our early stages in the US, but that’s definitely a very important market for us. We can see that over the last year, we’ve had significant ramp-up in demand from the US—both from private individuals and various retailers. We’re taking one day at a time and building up traction in the US.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers and vendors) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
PETTER: I do believe if there’s one thing retailers should know about Sweet Tech, it’s that we provide what I believe is the most-inclusive sex tech on the market today. I do believe sex tech and overall technology will be more and more important going forward to enable personalized sexual experiences and we want to be at the forefront of that. The first thing readers should do is get the Handy and experience it themselves. The second thing after trying it, is to use it with online services. If they want to know more about an innovative company working toward providing personal sexual pleasure digitally and analog, they should check us out.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
PETTER: For us being a start-up, not pushing the same volume as competitors, we entered 2020 with the goal of making the logistics seamless.

The first issue we met were delays in shipping and handling times.

The second thing we noticed was the actual handling of various orders at fulfillment centers were challenged because volume was overwhelming for those centers. The fulfillment centers couldn’t meet all those orders, so that led to delays. That’s been seen globally.

What we’ve tried to do to actually combat this is start working with longer lead times than what we were used to prior to COVID and subsequently inform our customers accordingly, to make sure we’re not disappointing anyone—retailers, wholesalers or customers.

The last thing I want to emphasize is that we believe we’ve created a hardware that is flexible and gives our customer a unique experience and this can be done either offline or online.

For more information, visit thehandy.com or email contact@thehandy.com.

Move to the pleasure sales rhythm with Viben Toys

Answers courtesy of Char Lopez, Brand Manager Viben Toys

SE: Can you briefly talk about your company and its history?
LOPEZ: Viben is the sister company of Honey’s Place. Bonnie Feingold took her years of experience in the industry to create a brand that would appeal to women of all sizes, cultures and ages. Feingold and Kyle Tutino, Director of Purchasing for Honey’s Place, worked hard to create this line of adult pleasure products. “From the packaging to the products, we worked on every detail to make sure that we developed a quality brand at a great price point. I knew that if I created a collection of pleasure products, that it needed to stand out,” says Tutino. We began shipping our first orders in January of 2021. The response that Viben has received is amazing.

SE: What is your most popular product?
LOPEZ: Viben is a collection of wands, rabbits, remote controlled vibes and bullets, all with incredibly intense power. Our most popular products within the line are our wands and our uniquely designed panty vibes.

SE: (For vendors) Which distributors do you work with? If you’re not present in the United States, have you explored any distributors to expand your presence in the US?
LOPEZ: Viben is exclusively distributed via Honey’s Place, based out of San Fernando, Calif.

SE: What would you like to tell readers (retailers and vendors) who may not be aware of what you have to offer?
LOPEZ: Viben is a female founded and owned company committed to creating high functioning, sophisticated and powerful pleasure products. We have more than 35 years of expertise in the adult industry, tying together every facet of the business, from manufacturing and distribution down to the store level and user experience. Viben promotes contact-free selling with eye-catching packaging and easy-to-read icons explaining every product.

SE: Where does your company have the biggest imprint?
LOPEZ: Viben has received a huge response in the US and resonates with women and couples. We are a perfect fit, not just for brick and mortar retailers, but also e-tailers.  Every time someone receives a package from Viben, they feel like they are truly receiving a gift.

SE: Talk about the stress, if any, COVID has put on fulfillment times—what are you doing to combat that?
LOPEZ: The COVID pandemic has definitely forced manufacturers to become more aggressive when securing our supply chain. Viben has made sure to consider increased sales as well as lead times to meet the increased demand that our industry has experienced since the beginning of the quarantine.

For more information, visit vibentoys.com, email sales@vibentoys.com or char@vibentoys.com, or call (877) 91VIBEN.

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