- GetThatWholesale: Could you provide a brief sketch of your background and industry experience?
Brian: In May 2000 I started as a sales associate at the Hustler Hollywood store on Sunset Blvd. I was eventually promoted to Inventory Control Manager of the store (maintained inventory, placed all orders, received all product, and made sure it was properly merchandised and/or backstocked). I worked there until April 2008. I have been with Honey's Place as a web account manager Since April 2011.
- GTW: It would certainly seem that the market for adult novelties has become huge in recent years. Is this so, and if so to what do you attribute this rise?
B: I think the "mainstreaming" of porn and the rise of up-scale women/couples friendly erotic boutiques has hugely contributed to the increase in market size. Companies aren't sleazy as they once were, the new generation of owners/producers see it as a serious business.
- GTW: How does the profit margin on adult toys compare to other retail niches?
B: The profit margins are normally a little higher than normal retail.
- GTW: I noticed on your site you have a category entitled As Seen on Oprah, could you explain what this means?
B: Like it not, Oprah has a HUGE influence on middle aged, middle class women. She has shown this line on her show. It’s like the the huge increase in the sales of "rabbit-style" vibrators when they were shown on the tv show "Sex In The City". Shows the items on show women watch-they'll buy the product.
- GTW: What advice would you offer to a retailer interested in carrying adult novelties and toys?
B: Learn the product, learn about the different materials. Learn what's compatible with what. Start with the basics, nothing too freaky and hardcore. Women will be your main customers - lean towards pretty stuff.
- GTW: On a related note are there legal concerns a retailer should be aware of?
B: Yes, obviously the product cannot be around/sold to minors. Also the amount of product in the store will depend on the zoning. If they want to be an "adult store", there will limits to where the store can be located. There is a way around that. An "erotic boutique" as we called Hustler Hollywood, are able to be in normal areas. The percentage of adult product to non-adult product has to be below a certain percentage. So, we had a cafe with magazines,books, apparel, lingerie, jewelry, souvenir glassware, condoms, and lube. All of these items are not considered "adult". All of this was open to any age - which helps draw customers, no one is turned away at the door. We had a separate section with the porn DVD's and sex toys that required an ID to enter. I think our percentage was 60/40-adult. Every town will have its own ratio.
- GTW: What trends do you see developing in the adult items industry or the coming years or months?
B: There are many adult items that are getting away from the "molded peni" look and changing to more ergonomic designs designed by women. These items are usually easier to sell because its an asexual shape rather than a "big ol' dong", which can scare off a nervous first time buyer. There's also a new trend in packaging. Many manufacturers now offer "soft packaging". There's no nudity on the packaging - so the items can be sold in almost any store, and it's more appealing to some women and couples.