Because I am a pervert obsessed with genitals?
I don’t think so. I just enjoy inventing really cool stuff no matter what it is.
In 2011, I was dating a woman who liked sex toys. I was ending a long and unsuccessful struggle to get my last business off the ground. I had invented an awesome water conservation product for landscape irrigation (www.spray-smart.com). I didn’t know that the irrigation market was ANTI-innovation.
I was ready for a new challenge. She said “you should invent a better vibrator because X”. She was wrong about X, but in searching for solutions I had stumbled upon something really cool. I invented a really cool vibrator. Different for sure. But, was it better?
I had some good feedback from testers including Joanie Blank, the founder of Good Vibrations. Joanie and I had become friends at the very beginning of my Journey. She was in San Diego for a convention and we met in the lobby of the conference hotel.
It was a memorable experience. We really hit it off as she played with the roughest early prototype in the lobby. Joanie loved the different feel and eventually set up a group test months later (this was way back in 2013). She also helped point out some issues. Joanie and I remained friends for all her years that followed.
I took my awesome new vibrator to some trade shows to get feedback from potential licensees. I found a warm reception for the product but also something much bigger. I found an industry that craves innovation but gets very little.” This is what I have been looking for!”, I thought. This industry “needs me”.
The original vibrator was quirky and too expensive to make a profit. Regardless, I felt like I had found a new purpose for my creative passion. I had started on the path to today.
Better Sex Toys!
At the time, I thought the goal was “better” using metrics of established products. I struggled to understand what the metrics were. Are there any metrics?
The top selling brands churn out 100’s of the same products in new colors every six months and call it progress. Meanwhile hundreds of copycat brands quickly introduce “their version” of anything that sells. New ideas are exceedingly rare and the whole industry is much more focused on style than substance.
That is why there are no highly recognizable (= super successful) brands. Most brands NEVER have innovative products to differentiate themselves. Even those who innovate once struggle to repeat it in any meaningful way. They mostly ride the wave of derivative upgrades or sister products and forget how to innovate. Most industries have similar challenges, but without an existential threat (i.e. an innovator in their midst), the sex toy industry seemed extra-complacent.
What is YOUR Favorite Brand of Sex Toys?
Can you name one sex toy brand off the top of your head? Seriously, how many can you name?
Most people can name the top brands in 100’s, even 1000’s of categories. Not just for things like cars or fast food restaurants where the top brands fight for your attention every day. Brands of house paint or phone cases that most of us won’t even think about more than once a year. You know those brand names too. Still, only a few people can name sex toy brands.
The sex toy industry is an opportunity to touch every demographic in every corner of the globe and right now the top brand is “China”.
That’s right, “China”. The reason most people can’t name a brand is because the market is fragmented by 1000’s of brands selling the same junk from a handful of factories in China with almost indistinguishable differences.
There are a few exceptions and a few good products. I’m not going to name them here. Still, none have risen above the fray of spinning the same motors in the same way while using essentially the same shapes and materials.
So, What is Better?
I didn’t want a toy that was better by the poorly defined existing metrics. I saw the problem differently. I felt that the toys need to “connect” with the user more. The toys need to “adapt” to the user. Mostly, the toys need to adapt to the same user in many different ways on any given day.
In my opinion, that is why there is so much crap in the market. Everyone is trying to get something slightly different. Right now, your only option is “buy lots of slightly different toys”!
I’m trying to help! I want to make sex toys that are awesome for everyone. That means different things to different people. Tell me what you like or don’t like about your existing sex toys. Or, tell me how mine can be better. I love the challenge!
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