2008 Erotica L.A. Expo Novelty Coverage - Part 2

LOS ANGELES - Exhibitors at the 2008 Erotica L.A. expo made good use of show management's Erotica Bucks program, received consumer feedback for how to improve product lines in the coming year and educated consumers about the safety of adult toys.


The Demand for Eco-Dildos


Natch Snatch, an adult novelty manufacturer with a conscience that packages all of its eco-friendly, safe toys in recycled materials, noticed a big response from couples and women walking the show in groups.


"In general, the response blew us away," said Natch Snatch president Casey Clark. "I felt like I was part sex educator, part science teacher, and part company pitch man. Most people don't know about the toxins in their toys. So, first I had to explain the problem to them. Once they understood what they had been putting in their bodies, most people were excited to have another option and not have to pay more for it."


Clark said he sold out of the Natch Snatch line of dildos during the show as well as the stock in his warehouse.


"When customer and wholesalers feel our dildo and compare it to the traditional ones, there is no comparison," he said. "Then when they hear the price, the sale is done. Everything did well during the show, but the popularity of the dildo line blew me away."


The People Love Energy and Erotic Enhancement


Another exhibitor who told ANB he felt "blown away" by the response of Erotica attendees was the representative from energy drink manufacturer I Love Blow, which has received media attention for its controversial marketing campaign.


"We were blown away by the amount of support and encouragement we received from the industry," said Logan Gola. "The response from attendees was awesome as well, and we sold a tremendous amount of ‘Blow' at the show. Many had seen the news programs about our powdered energy drink vials but couldn't yet find us in their local adult store, so there was a lot of demand."


In addition to its I Love Blow energy drink mix, Gola told ANB I Love Blow shirts and tank-tops were also a big hit. The manufacturer is looking forward to not only exhibiting next year, but also becoming more involved in the industry in the coming months.


Another company attendees were already familiar with (due to its mainstream coverage on late-night infomercials) is enhancement supplement manufacturer BeaMonstar, who had two booths.


"It was our first time having booths in both the X Zone and Sensual Zone," company President Jeff Bolanos said. "We definitely noticed more males in the X Zone, so having our dancer at that booth was very helpful. Men of all ages responded to ExtenZe, and we heard a lot of 'Hey, is that the same ExtenZe we've seen on TV?'"


Operations Specialist Belle Chang said she noticed couples of all ages browsing the Sensual Zone, where she was working BeaMonstar's second booth.


"Female attendees loved Sweeten69," she told ANB. "They always say, ‘Finally something for me,' or ‘That sounds interesting; I am going to try it.' Ron Jeremy always boosts traffic and sales for us as well. It is always a pleasure having him promote ExtenZe at our booths."


Raking in Erotica Bucks


Chang also said that the Erotica Bucks $5.00 token was a great way to boost sales during the expo.


"The ExtenZe four-tab blister pack was a hit with the crowd," she continued. "They're trying ExtenZe for free by simply trading in their chip. We already booked our booths for next year, so expect to see us in both the X and Sensual Zones again!"


Erotica Bucks, tokens worth $5.00 toward merchandise, were given to each person with paid admission and were also a hit with Amorata Press, according to publicist Karma Bennett.


"We loved the chips," she said. "I don't think we even sold any books in cash; it was all chips. The chips were perfect for our price point: one chip for a book, two chips for photo books. Makes the sale nice and clean, not having to deal with cash. Generally, we sell out early, but this year we brought extra books to get a better idea of what our strongest sellers are."


Bennett said 101 Sex Positions by Samantha Taylor, Unleashing Your G-Spot Orgasm, and Nice Girl's Guide to Naughty Sex were among this year's top-sellers during the expo.


Feedback for a Brighter Future


Another exhibitor who said she is anxious for Erotica 2009 is Teena, owner of bath and body product manufacturer Soapy Ho.


"This was my first show ever, and what a show to be at," she said. "The types of customers I had were couples, and it was mostly women that bought my soaps. The pierced vagina and pierced boob soaps sold the best. I will definitely be at the next show. It was great being at this show with such nice helpful people."


A few aisles over, Dana Marie, owner of Cute Girl Couture, said she experienced a very positive response to her product line and received valuable input for current and future styles.


"We received a great deal of response from many of the models and performers working at the show," she said. "I was also able to network and pick up some wholesale clientele as well."


Fellow apparel manufacturer Phuk Gear was on show in 2008 for the second time. Angela Adoreno, owner of Phuk Gear said she appreciated the camaraderie among the exhibitors.


"Exhibiting at Erotica L.A. the past two [years] hasn't felt like I was there to compete," she said. "We're all hustling our asses off for the same goal, and we respect each other for that. I walked around to get to say hello to other exhibitors. One gave me a painting she had made that I stood up on my go-go stand. When people would pass by and look at it, I'd point them over to her booth to check out some more, or I'd direct others to other booths. I saw the guys from the glass toy booth walking someone else over to check out someone else's booth doing the same thing."


Sexx University , an adult apparel manufacturer, was also on exhibit for the second time. Scott Bogunia, principal of S.U., told ANB Erotica L.A. is a perfect environment for customer/manufacturer interaction and for information exchange to take place.


"For us that type of feedback is priceless," he said. "Our Erotica L.A. customers have the opportunity to explain to our staff first-hand their likes and dislikes regarding our product mix. An S.U. customer from last year's expo stopped by our booth again this year. Not only did he pick up another piece of S.U. gear, he explained how much fun he had with his t-shirt and diploma and brought along several friends this time to ‘graduate' this year as well."


John Richardson, director of client relations at Aneros , said he and two of his colleagues at Erotica L.A. returned home hoarse from speaking with all the fascinated attendees.


"Erotica was a success for us as interest in Aneros was high," he said. "Our new Peridise Unisex Anal PC Toy was a hit since women can now experience the wonders of the Aneros products as well as their men. Sales of this new toy surpassed our expectations. The trend at this show was that happy Aneros customers were coming to buy other models to experience all the nuances of each. Numerous men chose to take home two or more models. Helix, MGX, and Progasm are by far the most popular and best-selling models. Every retailer should make these available to their customers."


Mac McCaffrey, owner of Preston Penobscott, manufacturer of the Menage-A-Tool, called Erotica L.A. "the most well-organized and smoothest running show" with which he has ever been associated.


"Over the last 20 years, I have exhibited in trade shows for many industries: heavy construction, scrap recycling, demolition, and sportmen's shows," he said. "Hats off to AVN and especially Bonnie Shapiro. She did a fantastic job."


For information on exhibiting at the 2009 Erotica L.A. expo, contact Bonnie Shapiro at [email protected].


For a photo gallery of the novelty companies involved with the 2008 Erotica L.A. expo visit ANB magazine's gallery page.