(Note: This story appears in the February 2021 issue of SE Magazine)
Voodoo Toys, Get Lucky, Gender Fluid, Shibari and Hello Sexy are getting housed under a new adult retail umbrella company, Thank Me Now, Inc.
The past year was daunting enough for all of us, but imagine the challenges of launching a new business during the time of COVID. Voodoo Toys launched in January 2019 and has already been tabbed with the SE Award for Marketing Campaign of the Year with their “Stay Home, Get Off” message in a pandemic world.
But Voodoo has no plans of resting on its laurels.
“For 2021, we’re looking at our existing, best-selling product lines and expanding them by introducing new products throughout the year,” says Sally Cotching, brand manager for Voodoo Toys. “Be on the lookout for our announcements.”
Part of this year’s growth also includes a new umbrella company, Thank Me Now, Inc. that will contain Voodoo Toys, Get Lucky, Gender Fluid, Shibari and Hello Sexy. STOREROTICA had the opportunity to speak with Cotching and Voodoo Toys CEO Kevin Mirarchi to find out how this new umbrella company came together, and why this approach will help retailers embrace all of these brands.
SE: Can you take us through the thought process of founding Thank Me Now to house all your brands? Why unveil it now?
MIRARCHI: It comes down to simplification and trust. Since we are expanding with more brands, it’s simpler to refer to one brand name instead of saying all five brands we work across.
For trust, we have worked hard to create brands people know and trust over time: Shibari and Voodoo. We are creating new brands which serve different niches, and we believe people will benefit from knowing they come from an overarching company that people can trust. Our products are known for being extremely high-quality, reliable and original, and people can expect these same values from each of the new lines we are rolling out.
“We understand there are so many brands and products that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, even if you’ve had years of experience in our industry. We’re working to ensure people recognize that any thank me now brand offers reliable, quality products in nearly all categories.” — Kevin Mirarchi
SE: How do you ensure that each brand continues to operate independently while maintaining brand cohesion under Thank Me Now?
COTCHING: Our brands all serve different niches—there is very little overlap in terms of product offering. Customers may not be able to tell straight away that this is a “Thank Me Now” brand unless they see the TMN logo on the packaging. The thing that ties our brands together is quality products at an affordable price point, excellent customer service, fun and original tone of voice, and marketing support.
SE: Is Gender Fluid a company/brand that would have succeeded or even been launched five or ten years ago? What about the current consumer/economic climate tells you to strike now?
MIRARCHI: We have heard from our customers that this is something people are requesting more and more frequently. I think we have always worked to cater to people who haven’t been given as much of a voice in mainstream social consciousness. We see ourselves as a team of misfits who want to give others who feel like us a voice and feel like they have products that fit their needs. I think it would have worked five or ten years ago, but it may not have resonated with as many people. I think it’s a sign of social progress that people are broadening their understanding of the gender spectrum and there is less defining people into categories.
SE: What was the inspiration for Voodoo’s Beso?
COTCHING: We wanted to cater to our customers who were looking for something new and exciting, especially while they found themselves quarantined at home. We rolled out the release of them in the first stage of lockdown and people were thrilled to try a new suction technology to spice up their self-love rituals.
Each of the three shapes in the Beso range are very different – the XOXO focuses just on clitoral stimulation which is great for beginners who aren’t yet ready to invest
in a higher-priced suction toy, the Beso Plus offers that plus internal stimulation for intermediate users, and the Beso G is the deluxe suction offering, with an adjustable arm, internal and clitoral stimulation, and a warming feature.
SE: You mentioned expanding the product line of Get Lucky in Q2 so could you tease what you have planned in that area?
COTCHING: We are expanding the skin tone range to include a wide variety of skin tones, along with a range of incredibly high-quality strokers at a great price point.
SE: Voodoo’s a relatively new company, so how much does an industry award reaffirm your belief in what you’re doing, and, just as importantly, that what you’re doing is working?
MIRARCHI: It’s always a challenge to create a new brand and stand out amongst the rest. We really believed there was a need for a brand with a positive message behind it. Voodoo has never just been about a product, it’s been about encouraging people to enjoy themselves, love their body, and remove any shame around masturbation and pleasure.
Being recognized for the work we are doing and how we are amplifying a sex-positive message by receiving an award at such an early stage in the brand’s life was so incredibly rewarding! Sometimes when you’re deeply immersed in your work, it’s hard to know whether what you’re doing is really resonating. Receiving the Marketing Campaign of the Year SE Award definitely gave us a boost and let us know we’re on the right track and what we’re doing is being seen and heard.
SE: How does the ongoing pandemic play into your brand strategy and operations for the foreseeable future (think first half 2021)?
COTCHING: One thing that’s very obvious whenever we speak to retail salespeople is that they really enjoy the aspect of their job of finding a solution for their customer. If people feel like their sex life isn’t as exciting, or if they’re curious about trying something new and need advice, store staff provide so much great advice and knowledge.
We are making the staff-to-customer interaction the forefront of our focus in 2021, as we work with stores and distributors to help their customers and create an interaction where the customer has a great product that makes them feel good. We are so looking forward to things reopening, but until then we are looking to find ways to bring happiness to people. We are working with stores to create fun displays in physical stores, and offer promotions where staff can win products. We have fun videos about our products in our training academy, and for online stores we have a wealth of social and digital assets, all with a focus on empowering the customer and adding to their shopping experience.
SE: How does Thank Me Now impact/benefit retailers and possibly facilitate that relationship?
MIRARCHI: We understand there are so many brands and products that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, even if you’ve had years of experience in our industry. We’re working to ensure people recognize that any Thank Me Now brand offers reliable, quality products in nearly all categories. We want staff to feel secure recommending anything under our umbrella of brands. By expanding our presence in more categories, we aim to make it easier for distributors and stores to get everything they need in one place, supported by education and memorable marketing.
For more information, visit voodoo.toys.