BURBANK, Calif.—The Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo took place January 11-13 at the Burbank Airport Marriott hotel, with vendors and wholesale buyers starting off their new year with the latest offerings from adult novelty manufacturers. The show filled the ballroom of the hotel, plus a conference room and a large tent erected in the parking lot to accommodate overflow.
The ballroom was dominated by the original founders of ANME—California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Nasstoys, Pipedream Products and Topco Sales—each with a large conspicuous booth running through the center of the room. Around the perimeter were longtime ANME exhibitors, including Alexander Institute, Fun Factory, Kama Sutra, Kheper Games, ID Lube, LoveHoney, Pjur, Shunga, Sliquid and PleasureWorks.
California Exotic Novelties added star power to its booth with a personal appearance by reality-TV star Coco, from Ice Loves Coco, presenting her line of "Coco Licious" toys. Aimed at the new consumer, the items include a lipstick vibe, a plastic ring that looks like a rose and hides a vibrator, and a compact that opens to reveal a bullet vibe.
"It just happened naturally," Coco told AVN. "I've been a model since I was 18 years old, and you just have to step up and go into another field. You can't be a model forever. The first collection is very girly, stuff you can conceal in your purse. I think the next collection will be stuff couples can use."
California Exotic Novelties is adding rose gold metal accents to its Entice collection of vibes and restraint products, and the Apollo line of men's items includes new pumps, cock rings and underwear. Silicone Basics is a new line of no-frills dildos. "They're nice dongs, at a good price point," said California Exotic Novelties Director of Marketing and Public Relations Desiree Duffie. New items have been added to the Up! and Love Rider lines as well, and Jopen has added new vibrators and a prostate stimulator to its Lust line.
Pipedream Products' Rob Phaneuf, vice president of product development, told AVN that Pipedream just added 22 items to its Fetish Fantasy Extreme Gold line. "It's very popular right now, the gold with the gray." Pipedream has added a new Real Feel Deluxe line. "It's an extension of our regular Real Feel program. It's made with our Fanta-Flesh material, which is better than the previous version. They all have suction cups, which make them harness compatible." There are 28 new items in the Icicle glass line, 12 new harnesses including some made of genuine leather, and 18 new Pipedream Extreme Dolls. "The factory in China went out of business two years ago, so there's been a big void in the market," Phaneuf said. "There are three different price points: entry level, midrange and super deluxe. There's something for every niche." Pipedream is also offering an inflatable six-foot-square wrestling ring, which comes with a jar of wrestling lube.
Pipedream also has a new portable sex machine with a thrusting dildo. It weighs three pounds and comes with two dongs, a silicone vibrator that acts as a controller, and adapters for electrical systems worldwide and a carrying case.
Gabe Segura, retail sales liaison for Doc Johnson, pointed out new James Deen-molded dildos, including a silicone model and one that will fit in the Vac-U-Lock harness. The company's Black Rose bondage line has added a double-rope with sliding beads to immobilize one's partner. A new Extend It penis extender sleeve can be customized, with a two-inch plug that can be inserted either full length or cut in half, and the length can be trimmed to suit the users' preference. Pleasure For Him and Pleasure For Her kits have individual bottles of lubes and gels for solo and partner use, and the company has expanded its lines of vibrating butt plugs and super-large "American Bombshell" butt plugs. Doc Johnson has also added models to its iVibe, OptiMALE and Platinum Premium Silicone lines.
Nasstoys has added a vibrating strap-on with an adjustable harness that can accommodate plus-size users, and increased their lines of remote controlled toys and cock rings. "The vegan alternative-leather cock rings are really popular," said Kathryn Hartman, director of sales and marketing. "I've been wearing one on my wrist for a month and it still looks brand new."
Lynda Mort, director of sales and marketing for Topco Sales, told AVN that the company didn’t have any new releases for January "but what we did do is fill the booth with items we have back in stock. We're focusing the next six months on bringing all of our products back in stock and focusing on our retailers and distributors." The Climax collection has new controllers and is made from TPR. The company's Love Swing is now complemented with a floor stand, and the company's dong collections—including Average Joe and Down & Dirty—are back in stock.
"This is what our customers and distributors were asking for," Mort told AVN. "We listened, and we gave them what they wanted."
Paradise Marketing owner Dennis Paradise told AVN that Astroglide has a new Tantalize massage lotion. "It's the first massage lotion for couples to have both pheromones and aphrodisiacs in the formula." Astroglide also has a new gel for sensitive skin. The company also has reintroduced the Vivid condom in regular and studded, individually packaged in a small cardboard packet, and has started merchandising Playboy branded condoms. Paradise Marketing is also introducing a cylindrical bulk package of 40 condoms that can be used for individual condom sales on a counter or sold in the package to consumers: "It's not too big," Paradise said.
Executive Administrator Joanne Queenin of Sportsheets pointed out some new crops, including vegan-friendly, non-leather crops and cowhide leather models, and a Red Lace Corsette strap-on harness. "It's padded, it's soft, it fits any size," Queenin said. "There's also a pocket for a bullet vibe. We didn't include the vibe, because a lot of retailers want to upsell."
A Satin and Lace lovers kit includes a blindfold and cuffs, and comes prepackaged in a gift-wrapped box for easy last-minute shopping. There are also themed box sets for Valentines Day, the Sex & Mischief collection, and Sex In The Shower collection. "The response has been terrific," Queenin said. They're flying off the shelves."
Sportsheets' Sex In The Shower line has expanded to include a waterproof G-spot vibrator, a stroker, suction-cup neoprene wrist and thigh cuffs and collar with Velcro closures, bath sponges with vibrator pockets, a two-headed showerhead, and suction-cup grip handles and a footrest. Also, a water-based gel lube that's safe for shower use. "Silicone is great, but you don't want it in the shower where you can slip and fall." Shelf talkers are available for promotional use.
"It's starting to take off again," Queenin said.
Wicked Sensual Care is offering new sampler packs of its Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel and Mocha Java flavored lubes. They are sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener. The package comes with three packets of each flavor plus a packet of toy lube. MSRP is $10.99.
"A lot of our stuff is geared to a younger market," Lulu from NS Novelties told AVN. "[The industry is] leaving behind this market, people who don't have a lot of money to spend. What we are offering them is ugly, cheap crap. What we [at NS Novelties] have is feminine, cute, glittery. We're aiming for the Hello Kitty girls." To meet this market, NSNovelties is offering adjustable-speed waterproof glitter vibes with a $24 MSRP and a kit with a bullet vibe, a Pocket-Rocket-style vibe and a larger phallic vibe with a MSRP of $40 or less. Also a new line of minivibes called Emoticon, packaged in small clear-plastic capsules, which would be good for impulse buys.
NS Novelties is also promoting new additions to its Sinful bondage line, with MSRPs of $25 or below.
We-Vibe was showcasing its newest We-Vibe 4, with a flatter insertable portion and a wireless remote that controls vibration modes and intensity. Other line improvements include induction charging and stronger vibration on the We-Vibe II; a matte silicone finish on the Touch model; and new packaging for all products.
Spartacus is highlighting informational posters for its products for retailers to make it easier to match customers with products that are appropriate for their commitment level. Products are also now marked with intensity ratings.
Christian Savoie, director of global sales and operations for Baci Lingerie, told AVN that the company is "changing virtually everything. We're reducing surplus inventory styles that have been stagnant; we're adding 120 to 130 styles that we'll be releasing in three waves throughout the year. We're changing the packaging on our White Label and Black Label collections. In the past it was very vague. We're making a point of illustrating what comes in the package."
New styles include Corsets by Baci, with steel boning and a choice of satin, lace or leather finishes, and a fetish collection. "We're looking at introducing fetish to the woman who might not be sure if it's something that she's interested in. We also know that there are a lot of women who are interested but aren't sure how to approach this market."
Savoie summed up, "We're known for our luxurious styles that are affordable for the mass consumer."
Retired performer Julian St. Jox is now sales manager for Closet Collection, a new line of silicone toys that started in January 2013. "We wanted to make high-quality toys with a price most consumers could afford," St. Jox told AVN. "The most expensive one is the Lady j'Adore, USB rechargeable with two motors and velvet-touch silicone. Price point on retail is $100 to $120." The Stella remote control egg has a range of 50 meters. The line has 19 items in different colors, and the products are available through major distributors.
JimmyJane’s Alicia Sinclair told AVN about the luxury edition of the company's Form 2: “The Rolls-Royce of adult toys,” it is jet-black with a gold-plated charging plate and luxury box. The luxury toy also offers "Chaos mode," which is a combination of the usual four modes in random order and intensities. MSRP is $175 and the edition will only be available during 2014, starting in late March. The motor for the company's Little Chroma vibrator is now 25 percent stronger and is replaceable, the size and shape of an AA battery that can be placed in the shell.
Tantus' Metis Black displayed the company's Black Widow leather harness, featuring a red and black spiderweb design with a pocket for a small vibe. The harness is packaged on a cardboard hanger "so you're displaying it like lingerie." The harness secures with Velcro on both sides and can fit up to a 58-inch hip line. "It goes really well with the Tantus silicone dildos." Other harnesses in the Connoisseur line include Nurse, Amazon and Nevada. "When a harness works for a woman, she doesn't just own one," Black told AVN. "It's like her dildos. She will buy a plethora."
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Stockroom has launched Agent NØIR, a limited edition Neon Wand kit in a locking metal briefcase. The kit includes black handcuffs, a metal flogger and a light bulb. MSRP is $400 and the item number is 007. The company is planning events and parties to celebrate the 25th anniversary, starting with sponsoring The Lair at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo.
Maia Toys, known for its neon-colored toys, showed off three new prototypes: a silicone bunny vibrator with multiple speeds and functions; a simple, one-speed silicone vibrator; and a boxed starter kit including a long thin vibrator, graduated anal beads, and kegel balls, all in a bright pink.
Vibratex debuted “The Girls”—a collection of three palm-sized, ergonomically comfortable vibrators. "They are simple to use and are green because they are so simply rechargeable," Shay Martin told AVN. "And women think they’re really cute, too."
Adult entrepreneur Kim Airs was promoting Bubble Love, a new pleasure product that shoots a jet of bubbles underwater. "It’s an amazing product, and the feedback has been beyond my dreams!" Airs exclaimed. Set for a spring rollout through Vibratex, the Bubble Love is rechargeable and has an automatic shutoff if not activated under water. An optional "Dilly" silicone dildo attachment is sold separately.
Trigg Laboratories' Wet lubricant brand has new formulas for most of its water-based lubes, making them paraben-free. "It's much longer-lasting and not sticky," Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Martsolf told AVN. "We want people to know that they should try them again, and we have sample foil pouches available for giveaways." They also have a new Nuru massage kit for Japanese-style full body massage. "It's really fun and very sensual," Martsolf said. "You use the whole bottle for a massage. The kit includes the bottle of lube, a massage sheet and an instructional DVD. It'll be available before Valentine’s Day. MSRP is $59.95." A countertop display for replacement sheets and lube will be available in March.
The next ANME Founders show will be held in July. Admission to the ANME Founders show is restricted to professionals in the adult novelty field.
This article originally ran in the February 2014 issue of AVN magazine.