In the case of the AVN Novelty Expo, one could say that four’s a charm. The pleasure product trade show, which took place January 21-23, was in its fourth year at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino—and this time it seems to have found the sweet spot.
In the first three years that ANE was co-located with the larger AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock, some exhibitors in Artist Hall groused about the hubbub created by fans there to attend AEE. Others said the space in Festival Hall—located in the Paradise Tower—was too far away from the heart of the action. But this year, with all of the business-to-business exhibitors in the Paradise Tower, traffic was brisk but solely comprised of trade attendees.
One of the reasons for the productive bustle: every inch of public space in the Paradise Tower was put to good use. As soon as attendees stepped out of the elevator and into the lobby and café, the exhibits began. The hallway outside Festival Hall was lined with showcases and a wall of free samples, and inside the hall was a diverse product mix.
Distributors jumped on board to engage with those retailers who only attend AEE. And some participated in AVN’s VIBE program, an invitation-only program for the industry’s largest buyers. VIBE offers one-on-one meetings, networking lunches and parties in the evening—a regimen that balances work with fun. Eldorado Trading Company took over the large Fuel Café space; National Video/Universal Distributor—which handles NS Novelties, New Sensations and Fantasy Lingerie—was in the lobby by the elevators. For the first time, Nalpac showcased products at ANE—and so did Williams Trading Company. Xgen Products brought Baci Lingerie and other apparel lines, as well as Bodywand vibrators and other novelties.
Many of the exhibitors were returning to ANE, including njoy, System JO, Evolved Novelties, Wicked Sensual Care, Videotel, Deeva Toys, Dr. Clockwork’s Home for Electrical and Medical Oddities, Fleshlight, Love Merci, Impulse Novelties, Shenzhen Xise Toys Company and HGD Industry Co., Ltd., which has a new line of brightly colored pleasure toys under the name Kiziu.
But there were just as many first-timers, fired up about their creations and eager to show the industry what they had to offer. Among these were the Rabbit Company, which has a singular focus on rabbit-style vibes; the Go-Go Glider from Happy Place Products, designed for use by couples; Chakrubs, offering dildos made from quartz crystals and other minerals; the fresh-off-the-drawing-board Erosscia; 4MoreLove.com, which debuted, among other more traditional vibrator shapes, the whimsical Fausto the Frog, a remote-controlled plaything; and Airups, which manufactures inflatable positioning aids that can be stored more conveniently than traditional sex furniture.
And of course there were new sexual enhancement products in the mix: Super Dragon delay spray; Party Harder, a male enhancement dietary supplement (and breath freshener!) that is taken as a dissolvable strip (PartyHarder.com); and Fuel Up, available in male and female formulas (FuelUpPills.com). Enhancement manufacturer U&A NatureTech was on hand to promote the latest formulas, with four new products coming in the first half of 2015: SparXXX, for women; Pure, an energy booster; Fury, for “raw power”; and Patriot, for “increased potency.” And there were two new exhibitors in the sexual wellness category: Sir Richard’s Condom Company, which has positioned itself as the “clear choice” for adult entertainment (“See the Dick. Not the Condom.”); and Say It With a Condom, which offers myriad messages on its rubbers, from funny slogans to holiday greetings to political messages.
In addition to the exhibitors in Festival Hall, there were novelty products in other parts of the show. XTC Get Wet Lubricant fielded booths in ANE and AEE, the better to reach consumers with its hemp-based natural lubricant. Another standout on the consumer side was Vorze, showing its A10 Cyclone, a device similar to the RealTouch from AEBN that offers action synched to video content. A company rep waxed enthusiastic, describing the device as a “sexual home appliance—orgasmic, realistic and futuristic.” Made in Japan, the device rotates at seven different speeds, and will soon include up-and-down motion as well. Also coming soon: a nipple stimulator.
Some ANE exhibitors were there to offer services rather than products. CardConnect, BankCardUSA and Humboldt all offered information on payment solutions, and Adult Drop Shipper had a booth to showcase its latest e-commerce advances. International Amusements showed new technology for its video arcade booths, and Videotel—another player in that sector—also showed display systems that retailers could use to highlight products.
Speaking of highlighting products, Dan Dorey explained how Ortery Technologies could help manufacturers and retailers. “This is an automated photography studio for product photography, whether that be web, print, catalog, 360 or 3D. We just automate the process. We developed the software and the hardware to bring it in-house, make it easy and efficient, so if you have a lot of SKUs, the fastest way you could possibly do it is to buy one of these machines, put it in your studio, and you’re good to go.”
He added, “This is our second year at the expo; it’s a new industry for us. We’re typically in fashion, accessories, but there’s been a good amount of interest so far.”
High-end pleasure product manufacturer Joydivision made a big splash at the show—first with its booth, which showcased such products as its popular Joyballs and two attractive vibrators billed as works of art: one called Abstract; the other Expression. And second, the company was the main sponsor of the show’s opening party. The ANE Bash took place in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Real World Suite. Products from Joydivision could be found on shelves and tables in the lavish three-bedroom space, which is equipped with a bowling alley, pool table and jacuzzi.
Other sponsors also got in on the act: the G-vibe from Fun Toys was prominently displayed, and bondage gear and more from Sportsheets adorned the bedroom and bathroom. And Debbie, a representative of Boobzie, supplied party-goers with busty beverage holders. First created for Hooters, these cute drink coolers are now available for adult retail. Guests at the ANE Bash were treated to an open bar, a live DJ, and hot party action that went on into the early morning. It was the first event of its type since ANE relocated to the Hard Rock, and it was another factor in making this fourth incarnation the most fun so far.