Still Evolving: The ZT Story

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—When Evolved Novelties came onto the pleasure products scene in 2006, one of its best-kept secrets was the fact that its owners were the masterminds behind an adult video production company.

“Even today, we have customers who do not realize that Evolved Novelties and Zero Tolerance are related,” said Greg Alves, president.

Alves had seen success launching his own adult-centric company in 2003, when he founded Zero Tolerance Entertainment. Even then, he had a different approach than the established regime.

“I feel that with all of my experience in retail as well as wholesale that I’m very in touch with what the consumer wants, not to mention that I’m a pervert myself. I want to make movies that I’d want to watch,” Alves said at the time. “I am determined to make this company the most consumer-friendly in the entire industry. We will welcome any and all feedback, good or bad. We want them to feel like a part of the team. Our product will reflect that philosophy and I believe we will be producing some truly outstanding titles.”

Zero Tolerance grew to include Third Degree, Black Ice and, more recently, Addicted 2 Girls and Fallout Films.
While many argue that DVDs are dead, the Zero Tolerance lineup is still going strong.

“We have even released our first celebrity sex tape,” Alves said, referring to the recently launched Tami “Pippi Longstocking” Erin movie. “We had opportunity to do something before, but never felt like the time was right. Now, we have the right tape at the right time.”

But the company’s attention and sales from the sex tape aren’t the only positive news: Zero Tolerance is also riding high on sales of its newly created 6-Packs. The DVD collections feature six movies and total 24 viewing hours with a theme, either around a certain girl or a specific fetish.

“Our sales have increased that we are seeing numbers similar to what we recorded in 2008,” Alves noted.

After making a splash in the video world, it wasn’t long before Zero Tolerance officials turned their attention to novelties. But unlike today, the video men had no predecessors who had made the transition from porn to pleasure products to model themselves after.

When Evolved Novelties made its debut, most manufacturers of sex toys and pleasure products were doing everything they could to distance themselves from the “porn” label. That’s part of the reason, Alves said, that the decision was made not to associate Evolved Novelties with Zero Tolerance Entertainment.

But Evolved Novelties still needed to set itself apart to avoid being labeled another fly-by-night novelty manufacturer.

“We were the first company to do plan-o-grams for our products, to help retailers know how to display and sell the products,” Alves said. “We launched with that concept, and now everyone in the industry is doing it. It really set us apart.”

The plan-o-grams, and most everything about the early product line from Evolved Novelties, came from Alves’ views on how he and his wife shopped.

“When we go into a store, we go right to the areas that have the products and brands we like,” he said. “It’s almost like creating a destination in a retail outlet. Everything from one brand is in one spot.”

Since Alves knew he and his wife were not the only people who shopped by brand in mainstream retail, he believed the idea could be translated to adult boutiques. And he set out to create that brand destination with Evolved Novelties. When the company launched, in addition to plan-o-grams, the vibrators all came in tin packaging, which further helped define the brand.

The mainstream retail ideas Alves brought into the adult world of pleasure products not only worked well with Evolved Novelties, but also with Zero Tolerance Toys—a brand created to deliver male-centric novelties and pleasure products to fans of the hardcore company’s movies—and Love Candy by Kendra, pleasure products designed by reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson. Most recently, the ability to create a strong brand led to Evolved Novelties’ partnership with Adam & Eve to re-establish that company’s brand in the novelty market.

Alves admits that the success of the companies are major accomplishments to be proud of, but he and company officials aren’t about to rest on their laurels. In the works are a Game of Bones XXX parody, new novelty products in existing lines, and the launch of a new collection of pleasure products.

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