LAS VEGAS - The International Lingerie Show brought nearly 1,000 buyers to the Rio Hotel Convention Center from October 1 to 3.
"The traffic has been amazing," Lady Calston sales rep Michael Cramp told ANB, adding that it was very busy during convention hours and during evening activities. "We've had enthusiastic response to our new products, including our new peanut- and chestnut-shaped, seven-speed, waterproof bullet vibrator. Everybody we show it to wants to carry it."
"This is my third time coming to this convention," said Michael Pockett, co-owner of the Canadian adult boutique Shagg. "We've been able to see all of our favorite people and their new products."
NEW PRODUCTS AND IDEAS
Frank Reich of Fukuoku said the company's new programmable dual-vibrator has been extremely well received by ILS attendees. Fukuoku also premiered its Mini Vibe, a water-resistant vibrator that comes with two sleeves that are phthalate-free and nontoxic, and unveiled the fuchsia version of its Five Finger Massage Glove.
In addition to adult-industry veterans, the show attracted newcomers such as Saint-n-Sinner, which brought sensual-but-edgy, stainless silver jewelry.
"The show is giving me a great impression of the industry," said Matty Straus of Saint-n-Sinner. "For my first industry show, we've been very successful."
A wide variety of new products caught buyers' eyes, from twists on established items to the unusual. The classic, catchy design of Get Lucky's safe-sex packets got a second look, as did Smart Beauty's Bikini Styler hair removal and styling kits and Transform Products' silicone breast forms and enhancers. The Ballistic Ball Adjustable Weight System-hollow metal balls made to be filled with a variety of weighted items-from Steel Vineyards wowed passersby.
Kenny Soreano, buyer for The Crypt's six costume and novelty stores, was on the lookout for new products made in colors other than the ever-popular black.
"We are constantly battling our sea of black," Soreano said. Although black and red continue to be his best-selling colors, he said they sell better when he can visually break up displays with items in other colors. "If those other colors don't move, we just put them on sale," he said, since they've already served their purpose as sales tools.
Attendees couldn't help but notice the cardboard cutouts of bikini-clad models available through HollywoodStandups.com. According to Gord Cohen, they are popular as gifts and useful in retail stores. Cutouts also can be custom-made from any photo.
Other vendors were selling items to help retailers raise their bottom line. George Swiger, owner of Basket Carts, showcased shopping baskets that can be custom-printed with store logos or purchased with rolling carts for the baskets.
"Having baskets in stores fosters impulse buys," Swiger said.
Distributors such as ADI, Eldorado, Honey's Place, Holiday Products, Universal Distributors, and William's Trading were on hand to highlight their adult-industry expertise and the variety of products available to their customers. East Coast News (ECN) and its sister company International Video Distributors (IVD) stocked their booth with knowledgeable salespeople instead of walls of products.
"Books are making their way back into shops," said Victor Duran, general manager of book distributor Revel Books. "We are trying to help retailers integrate books into their stores. We've even set up our own showroom, so our customers can get ideas of how to market books in their store."
Porn megastar Tera Patrick also got plenty of attention with her new Mistress Couture line of lingerie.
"The line is made with fabulous fabrics," said Kim Franks, manager of My Pleasure Store in Alabama. "The styles are more edgy, though sexy and tasteful, too-something for everyone."
A few aisles over, adult-movie and sex-education legend Nina Hartley got to meet retailers-and fans-while autographing her book Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex in the Penguin Group booth.
"It was fun to be exposed to a whole world I didn't know existed," said Hartley-who sold out of her books within three hours at the event, and enjoyed walking the show afterwards.
Monday morning's most notable event was a press conference announcing whether the U.S. Supreme Court would hear a case about the legality of selling sex toys.
For the past 10 years, MyPleasureStore.com owner Sherri Williams has fought for the right to sell sex toys in Alabama, taking her case through the federal district courts, and twice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her case, for the second and final time.
"I may well go to jail when I get home from this convention," Williams told ANB.
Under the Alabama law Williams has been fighting, the sale of "devices designed or marketed primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs" is punishable by one year in jail for each item sold.
Retailers in the eight states with such laws can sell "personal massagers" (vibrators) or "educational materials" (phallic-shaped dildos), but not personal massagers that educate (phallic-shaped vibrators).
Williams is asking members of the adult industry to step forward as plaintiffs in an effort to overturn the Alabama obscenity law by filing a First Amendment challenge. The law allows the sale of adult toys for several reasons but does not allow the advertisement of such toys for any reason. Details about the case and information about how to get involved are available through the National Alliance of Adult and Trade Organizations, which Williams created to help fight in cases such as hers.
Monday evening, hundreds of buyers, manufacturers and distributors gathered for the always-popular fashion show. Led by Karisa from the Second City comedy club, the hour-long show featured nearly 100 manufacturers' costumes, lingerie, shoes and novelties. The show featured contests and giveaways, including a "guess how many" contest with a sealed box of sexy educational videos from the Alexander Institute; Karla Santiago from My Secret Pleasures in Miami won the contest.
More images from the fashion show are available at AVN.com.
TRAINING TO BOOST SALES
Tuesday afternoon, the Home Pleasure Party Plan Association showed its dedication to its mantra-"Education is the Key"-by giving a three-hour demonstration in a packed room. The demonstration was led by HPPPA President Tamara Payton Bell and Leslie Anderson of Holiday Products, who discussed a variety of popular home-party products and how to educate partygoers and sell to them at the same time. They also gave tips on how to warm up timid audiences and bring up topics such bondage for various types of audiences.
Many manufacturers that cater to home-party companies were on hand to describe their products, both as part of the presentation and in one-on-one sessions afterward.
"Who is sick of having missionary sex?" Sportsheets Director of Sales and Marketing Todd Carter asked as he and a volunteer demonstrated sexual-positioning devices, drawing an enthusiastic response. "You, too, can get that kind of reaction every time you demo these products."
Capping off Tuesday's events was the first Sportsheets University meeting, where the company displayed its new plan-o-gram and led attendees through the new online university created to help retailers sell Sportsheets items. "Our products are high-concept items," co-owner Tom Stewart said. "We've been doing a good job of making quality products for years; what we weren't doing was help stores sell it."Buyers and exhibitors alike had much to gain from attending the Lingerie Show. For more information on the biannual show, and the next ILS April 7 to 9, 2008, visit Specialty Tradeshow Inc.'s website, SpecTrade.com.