What's the Buzz: Wrapping Up the ANME Winter Show

BURBANK, Calif.—Surfboards, beach towels and sunglasses abounded in the CalExotics booth at the winter ANME Founders Show, which wrapped up last night amid the first real rain California has seen this winter. Nichole Grossman, marketing manager at the pleasure product giant, laughed as she handed over a white beach towel and confessed that she and the rest of the team had envisioned attendees lying around on the towels by the pool at the Marriott Burbank Airport. But not today. The pool was deserted as rain cascaded down most of the day. “We jinxed it,” she said wryly.

The beach paraphernalia—including full-size custom boards made by Anderson Surfboards—was part of the promo for California Dreaming, the newest vibrator collection from CalExotics. “It’s a set of three styles, all dual stims but each one is a little bit different. We have the Venice Vixen, the San Francisco Sweetheart and the Beverly Hills Bunny,” Grossman said.

The rabbit-style vibes are operated by three buttons: one to control ten vibrations in the stimulator, another to operate speeds on specialized functions in the shaft, and one simple “panic button” in case the user wants to shut it all down at once. The Venice version has a vibrating shaft; San Francisco features a “come hither” motion at the tip to hit the G-spot; Beverly Hills is equipped with rotating beads—and all three come with a one-year warranty. Retailers will be interested to note the point-of-purchase display, and there are branded shelves as well.

California Dreaming won’t ship until later in 2018, but several items are available this month. First are new styles in the Mini Marvels collection, which feature the bright colors and saucy illustrations that made the line a winner for Outstanding Packaging at the 2017 “O” Awards. “It’s been such a success for us,” Grossman said. “We added two styles. The Lover is a bendable massager. We also have the Teaser—a handheld massager.” In addition, there is a new point-of-purchase display featuring the same illustrations. “Our artist did a really great job,” Grossman said.

Also shipping this month are two products for men that are additions to the Cheap Thrills stroker line. Called the Good Time and the Steamy Affair, these are gender-neutral styles made out of the same lifelike PureSkin material that feature a non-anatomical opening.

Continuing to create a unified presentation for its product categories, CalExotics debuted new packaging for its Kegel exercisers. And there are also two new models that offer a welcome twist. Both are rechargeable, and available in two weights: starter and advanced. One is hot fuschia, the other deep purple. “But what’s great about these is that the on-off button is on the retrieval cord,” Grossman said, noting that this means users don’t have to turn the balls on before inserting them. The cord is reinforced at the base of the ball with an ABS ring, and the on-off button lights up.

Kegel balls and other items have also been added to the Dr. Laura Berman line. “She’s always done really well for us in the sexual wellness space because of her name and her credibility,” Grossman said. The additions include two dilator kits: one silicone set with three sizes and one vibrating set with two sizes.

In addition to the new California Dreaming collection, there are also several additions to other vibrator collections. One—the Rechargeable Miracle Massager—is shipping this month. A discreetly designed wand-style vibe, it offers 10 functions and is “so powerful it’s crazy,” Grossman enthused.

The Personality Vibes—easy to operate and attractively priced—have three new versions with different stimulators. “What’s also unique about these is the placement of the beads. It’s lower down on the shaft to really stimulate the entrance of the vaginal canal,” Grossman noted. “And then you obviously have the G-spot at the tip and the clitoral stimulator. It’s really going to be a party down there.”

Other vibes with special function include the Extreme Thruster, “which expands to double the length of all of our thrusting vibes,” she added. “It’s got all the bells and whistles. The long thrust is what’s going to sell this product.”

Speaking of long, the new Silicone Panty Pleaser offers an extended range of up to 33 feet with its remote controller. “You can give it to the neighbor,” Grossman joked.

And finally, there are two new Venus Butterfly models with remotes. In addition to the butterfly-shaped stimulator that covers the vulva, these are equipped with insertable shafts—including one model that offers that alluring come-hither motion, also controlled by the remote.

Penis owners certainly won’t be overlooked by CalExotics in 2018. First off, there are two new pumps in the Optimum series: the Magic Pump and the Automatic Smart Pump. The Magic Pump is manually operated while the other operates with the push of a button, but both deliver intense suction. The cylinder is clear so the user can see the growth. And the Smart Pump features an exercise mode that squeezes and lets go in intervals.

Other products of interest to men are the Silicone Rocking Probe, with a shaft that produces the come-hither motion to stimulate the prostate, and the Silicone Pegging Probe, which is “non-threatening, a great introductory toy,” Grossman points out.

For men who pine for a bigger penis, CalExotics is adding a stretching device to increase length. Also in the wearable extender category is a model that features nubs inside, adding sensation for the wearer, as well as the PPA (Prosthetic Penile Attachment), designed for men with erectile dysfunction.

Speaking of strap-ons, the Her Royal Harness collection will see the addition of the Countess and the Empress—both crotchless designs. And the entire collection will also be available in boxes as well as on hangers. And the purple, non-anatomical Me Too probe has a new model—the Rumbler—which stimulates the wearer and comes equipped with matching purple silicone straps that can be trimmed for an optimum fit.

Other items of note to the LGBT community are additions to CalExotics’ packer line—including the STP (Stand to Pee), made of firm but foldable silicone—and a new FTM stroker for use by trans men.

Adjacent to the CalExotics booth was a smaller space for its sister brand Jopen. Though there were no new items from Jopen, Grossman said the brand was still going strong with the Amour collection, introduced at the last show. “We’re producing it as fast as we can get it out. For the upcoming Valentine’s holiday, it’s the perfect gift.”

Next door to CalExotics was Nasstoys, also a “founder”—the five manufacturers who created ANME (read more about current offerings from Doc Johnson, Pipedream and Topco here). Publicist Denise Kraft ran through the latest from the East Coast–based pleasure product company. The most exciting is the Infinitt collection, with five items that are all rechargeable, waterproof and made of soft silicone.

The Contoured Massager, available in pink or purple, can be used in various ways, both externally and internally. And Kraft said that one ANME attendee had pointed out earlier in the day that when turned one direction it would serve nicely as a prostate stimulator.

The second item in the Infinitt collection, the Tongue Massager, is aptly named. In size and shape it mimics its namesake, with tiny pleasure nubs along the surface—and it also replicates its motion, with back-and-forth licking action in varying speeds.

The other items in the collection offer one of the hottest sensations around these days: suction. The Suction Massager One features a suction cup on the step of a rabbit-style vibe; Suction Massager Two and Suction Massager Three are dual-stim variations, both available in purple or pink. The packaging features the products showcased on an uncluttered black background, creating an upscale look that will look great on display—but expect these intriguing toys to leap off the shelves pretty quickly. 

Showcased next to the Infinitt collection were new rabbit-style vibes in the Energize Her Bunny line, which are offered in both rechargeable and battery-operated models, to suit both consumer preferences.

Other notable additions are the Intense Bullets, packing a lot of power into a small size for her pleasure. For him, there’s the Mack Tuff Blowjob Vibe and the Commander Electric Pump—which lives up to its name with its commanding appearance.

Just down the hall from Nasstoys was the Xgen Products booth, which also had plenty of news to share. The Frederick’s of Hollywood collection continued to grow, with the addition of new vibrator models. And for the guys, Zolo added the Pocket Stroker. Discreet and transportable, it comes in three styles: lime green with a ribbed texture, bright blue with a beaded texture, and clear with a realistic channel. Full-size, vibrating versions of the stroker come in the same colors with Original, Backdoor and The Girlfriend interior textures.

For those who prefer basic black exteriors and sleeves with anatomically correct orifices, there are also plenty of models to choose from, depending on preference: The Perfect Deep Throat, The Perfect Backdoor and the double-ended DP Stroker.

Also new to the Zolo range: the BlowPro, with automated action to simulated a blowjob, and the Zeppelin, a black obelisk that vibrates and rotates.

But the biggest news is the introduction of the Couples Rabbit—a U-shaped vibe officially licensed product by We-Vibe and branded by The Rabbit Company. A small vibe designed to be worn during intercourse, it looks akin to the basic We-Vibe shape but also includes two “rabbit ears” on the external end to stimulate the clitoris and an internal end that is grooved to better accommodate the penis. The Rabbit Company just recently moved its distribution to Xgen Products, and this is a great beginning for the new relationship.

A nice rendition of the ever-popular rabbit design could be found at the Impulse Novelties booth. The rechargeable silicone Kate Duo G offers 10 speeds and functions, its soft and flexible form comes in either turquoise with a hot-pink accent on the finger handle, or hot pink with a turquoise accent.

Another new development is the stylish new black-and-white packaging on the Black Door collection, which was redesigned along with the Closet Collection to conserve space on retail shelves.

There to show off the products were rep Lorrie Klein, who has been with Impulse for about a year, and newcomer Maria Sandoval, who is bilingual and can assist Spanish-speaking clients. Klein was excited about one thing in particular: a full array of products in the popular Amie line of “tiny but mighty” vibrators. She noted that the battery-operated vibes—available in bright pink, turquoise and deep purple—have been “selling like crazy.” The ball-like handle rests comfortably in the hand, the the petite size makes them great for travel. “We have yet to keep it on the shelves. It keeps getting blown out,” Klein said.

Also on AVN’s agenda at the show was to stop by the Boneyard Toys booth to get a look at the Daisy. The follow-up to the “O” Award-winning Skwert, the Daisy turns any twist-top into an on-the-go douche bottle. Also worthy of note was the opportunity to touch the new steel-colored Nutball. This metal-colored silicone ring will be rolling out later in the year, and one touch is all a consumer needs to see how smooth and silky this silicone feels. Fortunately, the Nutball is packaged with an opening so consumers can do just that. Also offering more touchy-feely appeal are the Ass Ballz, anal beads available in three sizes. They are displayed loose, without packaging, which gives consumers a chance to really experience the product.

An intriguing sensation could be found at the Fun Factory booth, where the Volta was displayed on a pedestal. Featuring a looped handle with a short shaft topped by two pointed tips, the Volta is designed for pinpoint stimulation when using just the tips, or it can be spread apart to cover both the clit and the vaginal opening—or be used along the sensitive underside of the penis. The Volta comes in three colors: turquoise, blackberry and screaming-bright orange.

Directly across the aisle from Fun Factory was Stockroom, with many new bondage items on display that are now shipping. The new items are very fashion-forward, with the Passion cuffs and collar featuring black leather accented with red corset lacing, and the Stupid Cute Bondage Line, in pale pink leather with heart-shaped locks on the collars. On the other end of the style spectrum is the Dragon Tail Whip in deceptively soft suede.

Other exhibitors were situated in the Ballroom, off the main lobby at the Marriott. The first to catch the eye is Wicked Sensual Care—partly because Wicked contract star Jessica Drake was in attendance. Marketing wizard Carrie Smith was there as well, talking up the benefits of two new products: Jelle Chill and Jelle Heat. Both anal lubricants, they offer cooling and heating sensations—but Smith quickly assured that the effects are not as strong as in the intense Ultra heating and warming lubricants. “Red clover creates the heat in Jelle Heat,” she explained, noting that it also acts as an antispasmodic. “It’s the most gentle heating product from Wicked.” Like the original Jelle, it’s a thicker water-based lubricant that really stays put. Both products will ship in February.

Other big booths in the Ballroom included NS Novelties, showing, among many other offerings, its new Inya line, the Shi/Shi Sugar/Sugar (a followup to the Shi/Shi Union, “created by her, for her”) and the glow-in-the-dark Firefly collection.

In the Evolved Novelties exhibit space, the latest development was splashed across one of the biggest banners at the show. “We’re gonna need a bigger booth,” the headline read, promoting the Infinite Thrusting Sex Machine. The pleasure toy features a white handle topped by a deep purple shaft that thrusts in and out, quietly and smoothly, to double the penetration of the shaft.

Next door was System JO, which again was offering chair massages to grateful attendees. With attractive POS displays and pop-up banners—which company rep Natalie Wilburn says are available to retailers—the display plugged an enhanced formula for the 12Volt clitoral stimulant and the PROlonger Spray for men, which offers a maximum-strength dosage of lidocaine to prevent premature ejaculation.

System JO is also testing out a lube with a new cotton candy flavor, and showing prototypes of some bath bombs in the DONA by JO line, which will be coming out in July. “I think 2018 is going to be our year for new production,” Wilburn said.

Pictured above, from left: California Dreaming display at the CalExotics booth, Boneyard's Nutball, and new Jelle lubes from Wicked Sensual Care.

If you missed ANME, catch some of these products at the AVN Novelty Expo, taking place Jan. 24-26. Nasstoys, Topco, Xgen Products, Impulse Novelties and Boneyard Toys are just a few of the exhibitors at the pleasure products show. For information, visit NoveltyExpo.com.