Though the atmosphere is low-key and laid-back, exhibitors at the Adult Novelties Manufacturers Expo said it was all business for the second day of the trade show.
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Susan Colvin, president of California Exotic Novelties, offers that she hasn't been able to take count of how many people had stopped by her company's booth to see their solar- and computer powered vibrators and kegel exercisers, but estimates it at more than last year, especially in the morning. "All I know is that none of us have had time for lunch for both days of the show," she added.
AMNE's turnout so far not only impressed members of the hardware industry, but attendees from the video business as well. Christian Mann, president of video producer Video Team, says, "My hat off to the people at ANME. They attracted the biggest and most serious group of buyers from across the country. I think part of the reason why they get the big hitters is because the people can come here and know that they're in the ultimate business environment. This is a business environment show... The layout is clean, there's business, there's hustle and bustle but you can breathe because the only people here are with pen and purchase orders. It gives me confidence about our business, even in the summer."
Industry veteran and California Exotic Novelties' employee Al Bloom said the respect the buyers had for buying the products through the distributors, rather than trying to make deals directly with the companies, was "refreshing." "In the video business, it was the complete opposite. Everyone wanted to buy direct."
It's been busy for Topco Sales as well, Terry McGowan, executive sales manager, told AVN.com. Interestingly, McGowan adds that requests from distributors made Topco Sales bring out about 30 items, a far cry from the usual the company's selection of over 100 items at the show. The company has also introduced sex swings and the Love Machine, a machine similar to the Sybian. He added that the novelty-type joke items for bachelorette parties, such as key chains, yo-yos shaped like breasts were selling well and drinking games. Among the more popular items the company did bring out included eGlass, the company's glass dildo line.
Ben Fisher, owner of Exotic Novelties, has also found that Pyrex dildos are a high-profit turn on an old hardware standby. "The show has been absolutely fantastic. We've had incredible orders... It's just amazing." His more popular item is the Glow Daddy, which glows under an ultraviolet light and another glass dildo that has vibrators mounted on it. Fisher says his year-old company will attend the Adult Entertainment Expo in January with 10 new items.
But AMNE isn't all just dildos, vibrators and lubes. Sadie Allison, president of Tickle Kitty Press and author of Toy Gasms! and Tickle Your Fancy, says her books are in a niche market in the adult marketplace, but they enhance sales of the traditional hardware items. But, like toys, her books are "just flying off the shelves."
Pills have also taken up real estate in video stores and are appearing at ANME. Thomas Vito Sinopoli, owner of herbal supplement company Stardust Industries, says his company's 70-plus products enhance relationships. His pills include non-regulated alternatives to Viagra, marijuana and stimulants. "We provide all the enhancements someone needs, outside of feathers and videos... All the inducements to heighten what he's doing."
Tiffany Gabrel, Proprietress of Little Genie, a company that specializes in what Gabrel describes as romance games for couples, says, "The idea behind our games is that you spice up your romantic life by going back to things you first did." The games are usually bought in addition to vibrators, dildos or lubes. Little Genie's products are of particular interest to stores that must stock non-adult items, which doesn't mean, however, that they're any less successful.
"We've been doing phenomenally well," she adds. "I started this company about three years ago with one item and now we have 47 products. It's all about getting people to communicate with each other, or maybe for the first time, and trying new things."