(Note: This story appears in the June issue of STOREROTICA Magazine)
Alexander Giebel stuck to his prinicples nurturing pjur from a nascent vision to an established 25-year-old adult power.
Alexander Giebel’s moment of truth came, distributed across 1,000 bottles. “I remember thinking to myself “hopefully you’ll be able to sell these,” he recalls.
Sure, there were other significant milestones in Giebel’s journey from salesman (“I always knew I wanted to run my own business”) to establishing pjur as one of the legacies of lube.
There was the signing of the rental contract on pjur’s first office; and Giebel’s first US trip for lube business (“It was exciting, there was so much to see and learn, a whole new world opened up to me. Pjur stood out, being the first silicone-based product on the market, filled in the iconic black bottle and, furthermore, manufactured in Germany).
But as Giebel and pjur celebrate a quarter-century of success, it all comes back to those thousand bottles.
“When I ordered that very first batch – it could have been the last, but luckily it was not,” says Giebel. “Our customers liked the products and thus the vision of becoming a global brand of premium intimate products was brought to life.”
pjur and simple solution
Giebel was born in Trier, Germany and the efficiency synonymous with German production soon came to identify pjur.
“Outstanding quality has been a cornerstone of pjur since its inception, and that goes for every single product we develop,” Giebel says. “Germany has among the best and most efficient production standards worldwide, which is why all pjur products are subject to strict quality and safety management, abiding by the highest German criteria. After 25 years, we are still proud to offer our customers high-quality products ‘Made in Germany.’”
I saw the potential to develop the product and disrupt the surrounding stigma, make it more attractive, and reach new customers. Product development has always been our strong suit and so we created pjur Original, a silicone-based product that was completely unique to the market at that time. The consistency was really key, as it was miles ahead of the unpleasant sticky quality most people were used to. It was silky-smooth, long-lasting, and consumers loved it. — Alexander Giebel
But back in 1995, the lube selection wasn’t as extensive as it is today. Giebel remembers starting out, when personal lubricants were essentially seen as something people used to “solve a problem” and were embarrassed to buy.
“I saw the potential to develop the product and disrupt the surrounding stigma, make it more attractive, and reach new customers,” Giebel says. “Product development has always been our strong suit and so we created pjur Original, a silicone-based product that was completely unique to the market at that time. The consistency was really key, as it was miles ahead of the unpleasant sticky quality most people were used to. It was silky-smooth, long-lasting, and consumers loved it.”
Today, pjur is like the old British Empire on which the sun never set, dotting more than 70 countries. Giebel doesn’t mince words, expansion was always the goal.
“We’ve been full-steam ahead on expanding our global business partners and distribution ever since,” he says. “But I have to say, it does give me a little thrill every time I think about how far we’ve come as a small family-owned business.”
Despite its German ties, pjur is located in Luxembourg, which nestles the European continent surrounded by France, Belgium and Germany — a logistical boon.
“Luxembourg is a hot spot of global trade and banking and luckily only 20 minutes from the German border,” says Giebel, “so I decided to move pjur’s head office across the border to have more access to international market.”
pjur, unadulterated love
Despite creating a brand with 25 years’ worth of staying power, Giebel knows maintaining a global presence while retaining its heart as a family-run business is his greatest challenge.
“Since we first started, we have expanded, developed and launched new products based on customer feedback from various markets and set up state-of-the-art production and logistics facilities,” Giebel beams. “During all these encounters we have managed to stay true to our core values of quality and safety, enabling us to meet all regulatory requirements to enter the respective markets. Overall, having the right employees and partners, that are passionate about the brand, make the difference to be successful.”
Indeed, pjur thrived so much, it piqued the interest of the Berlin-based WOW Tech Group, a merger between Womanizer Group Management GmbH from Germany and Standard Innovation Corporation from Canada.
“The partnership with WOW Tech Group offered huge potential and has certainly delivered,” Giebel says. “WOW Tech embodies pjur’s core values of quality, innovation, and reliability so it was a natural fit. We’ve been able to invest more in marketing the pjur brand in the US, Canada, and Mexico, add more product training sessions, and collaborate with media in new and exciting ways.”
If one thing shines clear about Giebel and pjur, it’s that both are far from done. Giebel is already forecasting more growth through “new and exciting partnerships, campaigns, and international expansion, along with new innovative products are all on the roadmap in 5-10 years.
“No matter how far we go, there are always ways to improve the quality of people’s love lives all over the world,” Giebel adds. “That always has been and always will be the primary motivation behind pjur. Founding pjur has allowed me to implement my own ideas quickly and to create a product that is made to my standards — a high-quality silicone-based personal lubricant that inspires millions of people to increase the pleasure and quality of their life. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”