Striking out to introduce a new concept to the adult pleasure products industry is nothing new to Eric Kalén.
Originally trained as an industrial designer, he saw a unique business opportunity in 2003, and chased after it with his friends. The result was LELO, a company that has become synonymous with high-end, luxury pleasure items.
Fast forward to 2009, and Kalén saw another chance to make a difference in the market, this time forging ahead on his own to create the Tickler line of vibrators.
“When we started LELO, it was because we saw a great opportunity to create something that could fill a void,” he told AVN. “There were not many brands at the time that were truly high-end. I figured, people care about what they eat, how they dress, where they sleep, where they live … why not care that much about their sexuality?”
That same philosophy carries into his latest effort, Tickler, which is also the first line of vibrators presented by Liberator.
“We believe that Tickler adds an air of playfulness and fun to the market that is currently missing,” said Michael “Sky” Kane, chief sales officer at Liberator. “The Tickler concept was adopted for the mainstream market in areas where this industry has typically never been before.”
Kalén’s belief is that a company that produces pleasure products should be concerned with quality and design—for both the products and the packaging—and have a clear brand.
“My aim with Tickler is similar to what my goal for LELO was: I see a gap in the market and I want to grasp the opportunity to start a new brand that is known for quality, but has a lower price point,” he said.
The Tickler family initially starts off with five members: Cute Tickler, Rebel Tickler, Sunny Tickler, Mystic Tickler, and Bunny Tickler. All Ticklers have their own character and individual design that provide different vibration patterns to match individual preferences and moods.
Kalén admits that often, when people see the new line, their first exclamation is, “They’re so cute!” It’s a label he’s comfortable with.
“I wanted to create something that was not intimidating, but that was fun, fresh and playful,” he said. “I wanted it to be something that you could leave out and no one would know what it was really used for. I wanted to create something that you would be comfortable giving to a friend, or your partner, or yourself.”
All Ticklers do share some main features. They are all powerful, waterproof, quiet, and made of the finest body-safe materials. The product is delivered in contemporary packaging together with a stand for storage and display. The battery is included and they are ready to tickle right out of the box.
“By marrying Eric Kalén, the name synonymous with great design, and Tickler with the Liberator brand, I believe that we have a tiger by the tail and that this relationship marks the next step in our evolution as a mainstream provider of sexual well-being products,” Kane said.
With a price point under $40, Tickler vibes are designed to bring quality items to a wider market.
“It’s vital for our industry to get returning customers, and in order to do that we need to grow and expand to reach market that already exists as well as reach out and find new buyers,” Kalén said. “In order to accomplish that, Tickler is going to be pretty aggressive. There’s a lot more in the pipeline than just the initial five vibrators. We want to develop our brand of ‘Which Tickler are you?’ and make it even stronger.”
For more information, visit Liberator.com.
This article originally ran in the April 2010 issue of AVN magazine.