Giant Dreams: Pipedream's Nick Orlandino Builds an Empire

Nick Orlandino has been a fixture in the adult novelty business for more than 30 years, his name synonymous with Pipedream Products. But now, his reach is growing rapidly in all sectors of the adult business.

Orlandino got his start at the age of 15 in the adult and gift industry unloading trucks for Forum Novelties in New York and eventually worked his way up to general manager. In 1992, he relocated to Los Angeles and joined Pipedream Products as vice president of sales and marketing. In 1994, he became a partner in the corporation and now he runs all day-to-day operations at Pipedream.

Orlandino and his companies Giant Media and Diamond Products have made headlines in adult and mainstream publications for his acquisitions in the novelty and movie sectors of adult.

Recently, Orlandino and Diamond Products—a holding company for which Orlandino serves as chairman and CEO and that owns Pipedream Products—acquired design-centric pleasure products manufacturer Jimmyjane.

“People are always shocked at what Pipedream does,” Orlandino told AVN. “We’ve been known for many firsts in the industry, and for our cutting-edge decisions. Our motto has always been to offer great products at a fair price, and we like to think of ourselves as the Ford/Chevy of novelties. We recognized that we needed a high-end brand to add to our family of brands, and Jimmyjane was the perfect fit.”

Jimmyjane will continue to operate separately, maintaining its product development, creative, online, sales and day-to-day operations teams at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco.

“It’s a great brand and one of the most well known and widely respected luxury brands in the world,” Orlandino said. “Jimmyjane has been featured in every major magazine and, above all, people respect it as a brand. Since we’re known for our award-winning branding, Jimmyjane fits right into our philosophy. Although the companies offer very different products, our approach and dedication to quality is shared.”

While the announcement about Pipedream and Jimmyjane was surprising to some, perhaps even more so was the announcement last year that Orlandino and his Giant Media Group had taken complete control of Devil’s Film’s catalog and day-to-day operations.

“Devil’s had potential, and a great opportunity presented itself,” he said of the business move. “I’ve known Steve [Volponi, vice president of production and sales] and Eric [Gutterman, vice president of operations] for a long time—they’re both hard-working, creative guys, and they needed someone with vision, guidance and the financial backing to take them to the next level. Opportunity knocked, and I had to open the door.”

The move was not only a strategic one for Orlandino, but also a good one for employees at Devil’s Film.

“Nick buying Devil’s Film has been an amazing transaction for many reasons,” said Volponi. “Nick does nothing small at all. He gave us the means and the reins to take the company to a level we weren’t able to previously. Nick loves a challenge; with his guidance and his help we gained business contacts we never had before.”

But the new leadership offered other advantages in addition to new contacts, Volponi added. It allowed the adult studio to move up a few notches in the quality of the product it produces.

“Nick turned over production to me with a no-holds-barred amount of backing to bring us from where we were to a much higher quality than we previously delivered,” Volponi said. “I knew it was there before, but it was just outta my reach. I was kinda working with my hands tied. He knew I had passion, and I know Nick is a passionate guy about his work and creations. We’re a great fit friend-wise, and it carries over into our working relationship. Go big or go home.”

With Orlandino and Giant making the move with Devil’s Films, longtime veterans of the video side of adult are getting to know this shrewd businessman.

“I’ve been in the business for over 30 years and I know both sides of the industry very well,” Orlandino said. “My reputation with Pipedream and my track record speaks for itself. I will take the same approach that I have with all of my other business and apply it to the video side of the business.

“In the novelty industry, we do things differently than most of the video companies,” he continued. “I plan to focus on marketing and merchandising to build the brand up, just like I did with Pipedream.”

At the core of it all, though, is Pipedream Products. The company started selling glass pipes and adult-themed gag gifts. Today, the brand offers various best-selling and highquality lines, including Icicles, Fetish Fantasy and Ceramix.

During his tenure at Pipedream, Orlandino has developed several business relationships and friendships, many of which date back decades. And sometimes, those relationships overlap for the good of the company.

“Personally I would describe him as my friend, boss and mentor,” said Steve Sav, vice president of sales for Pipedream Products. “Nick and I started out together—him at Forum Novelties and me as an assistant gag buyer at Claire’s boutiques. At this point, I’ve known him about 24 years.”

The two maintained their personal and professional friendship through the years, even after Orlandino moved to Pipedream Products and Sav became a buyer at Spencer Gifts. 

“In 2005, I left to start a sourcing and consulting company,” Sav said. “Nick and I were always in China at the same time, and around that time he asked me to cover a few accounts. By 2009, he had asked me to come on board full time. I’ve never looked back.”

Sav said one of the keys to Orlandino’s success as a businessman is that he embraced mainstream retail ideas such as brand extensions, plan-o-grams, and consumer-friendly packaging.

“Think back only four or five years ago at what adult novelty retail looked like,” he said. “Look at it now. He’s taken these mainstream ideas and developed them for the adult retail market to help create an environment that’s attractive and female and couple friendly.

“There was a time when no one would meet with us,” Sav continued, “No one cared about carrying Pipedream in their stores. Now, we’re the main supplier and focal point of almost every category in an adult store.”

Sav said the company’s proprietary PD Plan-o-gram software and consumer-friendly packaging have enabled any adult store anywhere in the world to build a Pipedream Boutique to increase sales, build brand awareness, create customer loyalty and offer a better in-store experience to the shopper. Every distributor and store owner who use these tools have seen their businesses grow, he said.

“At the very first Erofame in Potsdam, Germany, in 2010, we were having a 3 a.m. sales meeting,” Sav said. “Nick had this feeling that we were on the verge of something great. The sales staff, art department and operations were all getting what they needed to build a new Pipedream. We had our best show to date, we’ve grown incredibly fast, and we’ve never looked back. Nick continues to build an incredible team to support his plans, goals and ideas for the future of Pipedream and his other companies. I can’t wait to see where we go next.”

Despite extending his reach into other segments of the adult community, Orlandino continues to be focused on Pipedream and not letting things get stale. The novelty company was the first to street a line of products molded from and featuring a TS performer with their Mia Isabella Collection. The line was billed as the first-ever complete transsexual sex toy collection.

And now, the mega-manufacturer has teamed up with AVN’s 2013 Performer of the Year Bonnie Rotten to develop a line of toys centered around her.

Rotten told AVN that she sought out Pipedream Products because she knew the company could deliver what she envisioned. “Like anyone else, who wouldn’t want to be immortalized by having their own toy collection?” she said. “So my journey began, and I approached Pipedream seeking the opportunity to create something different and awesome. I knew they had the ability as I have seen the huge variety that they have to offer in stores all around the country and the world.

“I set up a meeting with Nick, and we spoke about what we could do for the toy lines and what ideas I have to make this special,” she continued. “After going back and forth to finalize the deal, we had the shoot and set up the toy molding! That was so much fun … kind of weird, but interesting! While we did the shoot we talked about different ideas and went over the products. A couple weeks later I received some photos and wow… this Be Rotten toy line is going to be something epic! I can’t wait!”

Despite the flurry of activity amongst all of his companies, Orlandino said he doesn’t plan to let up. Giant Media Group recently teamed up with Daring!, a high-end European production company owned by Scala.

“Giant will distribute the Daring collection in North America, and we’re excited about the partnership,” he said.

On the novelty side, he noted, “Diamond is currently vetting companies regularly, and plans on acquiring three to five existing companies in the next three years. I’m excited about the future for both companies.”

Orlandino—whose present titles are chairman and CEO of Pipedream Products and Diamond Products, CEO of Giant Media and CEO and founder of the ANME Founders Show—is also a former treasurer of the Free Speech Coalition. In 2012 he was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.

In addition to his corporate duties, Orlandino remains committed to civic responsibilities. He’s the founder of the Frank N. Orlandino Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing tuition assistance for students with financial difficulties. Orlandino is also recognized for his charitable contributions to Rock Out Cures, a nonprofit organization based in New York that provides financial assistance to the American Cancer Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He stays active in the local community through volunteer activities and charitable endeavors, including annual contributions to the Sierra Canyon School Foundation.

“Nick the man and the businessman are the same person,” Sav said. “Both are passionate about Pipedream and the adult industry. Both are driven to success. Both care deeply about the people close to him. And both are focusing energies on building a world-class company.”

This article originally ran in the July issue of AVN magazine.

Pictured above: Nick Orlandino at ANME; photograph by Boots Bryant