Like condoms, personal lubricants have come a long way in a short time. There was a time when only basic, utilitarian products were available. With the addition of new flavors and formulas, some people may have thought that was as good as it could get.
But Sylvain Séguin knew there was plenty of room for improvement. More significantly, the Canadian entrepreneur envisioned entirely new types of sexual aids—for both men and women—waiting to be invented.
Séguin’s Shunga Erotic Art line was launched by the Canadian company Eau Zone in 2000 and quickly garnered a reputation for offering high-quality goods. It wasn’t long before Shunga’s romantic oils and intimate-moment enhancers became market leaders, serving as a high-grade link between the adult and mainstream markets.
Séguin has created every product in the Shunga line. Despite dropping out of high school at the age of 16, he built upon his talents—as artist, inventor and businessman—to succeed in a highly competitive field.
The term Shunga (Japanese for “image of spring”) is a label for Japanese erotic art from the 16th to 18th centuries. Created by prominent ukiyo-e artists—who sometimes left these erotic woodblock prints, scrolls and paintings unsigned—Shunga art is carnal and graphic, yet also elegant and refined. This imagery is used as inspiration for the sophisticated packaging that encases all of Shunga Erotic Art’s pleasure-enhancing products.
“When a new product is developed, we want to make sure that the packaging is specifically designed to reflect the quality of the product,” said Angela Mustone, director of business development for Shunga Erotic Art. “If we feel that it is not the right fit, then we go back to the drawing board. … That is our philosophy, and that guides all our marketing decisions.”
The entire Shunga line is produced in Montreal, Canada, in the company’s own factory. Every step of production is controlled there, from product development to packaging.
Shunga’s R&D process involves a team of staff chemists with their own laboratory facilities. “We use state-of-the-art technology and equipment,” Mustone said. “The manufacturing process includes mixing, filling, capping and packaging. We are proud to say that no compromises are made on the quality of our products.”
As Mustone explained, each product that leaves the facilities meets high-quality standards based on the CGMP (cosmetic good manufacturing practice) accepted by the FDA in the United States, the European Cosmetic Regulation, and Health Canada.
The Shunga Erotic Art collection includes 19 different lines that amount to 60 products in many flavors or fragrances, encompassing everything from massage oils to chocolate body paint, massage candles to lubricants in the TOKO line—and a wide array of high-end gift sets. Among the consistent sellers are the Chocolate Body Paint, the Erotic Massage Oil and the Secret Garden Female Orgasm Enhancing Cream.
“The first thing we take in consideration is how people will use the product and what they are expecting from it,” Mustone said. “We always analyze if it can meet our brand standards and if it can be referred to the Shunga era.
If so, we look at what is already on the market to develop something better—or we just develop something completely new. Once these steps have been accomplished, we talk with our customers to confirm its place in the marketplace and to target the right selling price.”
Nowadays, people see the pleasure-product industry as a component of sexual well-being rather than the taboo subject it used to be. People are more open to talking about love and sex and its importance in everyday life. Eau Zone, through its Shunga brand, is developing new products every year that cater to this.
In October 2007, Shunga launched a product designed for women: a G-spot arousal cream named Rain of Love. The following October, Shunga released the Oriental body slide massage gel, designed for a body-to-body massage experience. This fall the company brought out the Dragon Virility Cream, formulated for men but also serving to heighten female pleasure.
“Consumers are well informed today, and if love is an important subject in their lives, they won’t accept a product if quality does not meet their expectations,” Mustone said. “At the moment, Shunga sets the pace worldwide in the intimate-moment products sector in more than 70 countries.”
For more on the company, go to Shunga.com or call (888) 328-0663. To see photographs of Shunga’s labs and more examples of its packaging, click here.
This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of AVN.