Sex Sells on Second Day of ANE

The crowd on day two of the AVN Adult Novelty Expo (ANE) and Adult Novelty Manufacturers’ Expo (ANME) came in waves Tuesday, with some booths reporting that Monday was busier, while others said business had picked up during the second day.

The 90-plus-degree weather kept both buyers and sellers busy inside, with pens flying and pages of order books flipping, offering a cool breeze to busy salespeople.

It was truly a virtual Candyland for novelty retailers, with a stunning variety of products: Dildos and vibrators of every shape and size; moaning, screwable vaginas; lubes of seemingly every thickness and flavor; computer sex games; cosmetics. You name it, someone has found a way to tie it in with the sex industry. And why not? Sex, in all its different variations, sells.

“We’re expecting to double our sales from last year’s show,” Sportsheets co-owner Tom Stewart told “We’ve been very, very busy.”

The company had an impressive booth to show off a product line that has more than tripled since last year’s show. Sportsheets, which focuses on quality products in classy packaging, debuted two new lines in 2005, Manline and Flirt. Manline is Sportsheets gay-themed items, while Flirt is geared toward boutique stores and the female consumer.

The Vivid Girl Cosmetics booth sported cornucopia of new products, from Hydrafirm Throat and Breast Formula to tanners, toners and a full line of makeup. Tonia Ryan, CEO of X-Girl Cosmetics and WII Group which launched the line, and account representative/adult legend Rebecca Bardoux manned the booth for the new company.

Prior to licensing Vivid Girl Cosmetics, Ryan spent 15 years working for Lancome. She said that literally hundreds of girls called her after a story on hoping to land a job working for her. Bardoux was the perfect fit, having gone to makeup school before entering the porn limelight and working for Estée Lauder and other companies during a break in her adult career.

Ryan said that since the company is so new, ANE was the first time many potential customers had been introduced to the expansive product line, which is so large that it can be a bit intimidating to distributors and retailers who aren’t accustomed to carrying cosmetics.

Nonetheless, she said, “I see their eyes light up when they come by and see ‘Vivid Girl Cosmetics.’”

The California Exotic Novelties booth looked like a retailers dream all by itself, with what looked like thousands of products on display. The booth drew a steady stream of customers to match the range of available items.

The Lady Calston contingent came all the way from Toronto, one of the few manufacturers on hand in search of new distributors. While representatives said that the booth was busier Monday, the originators of The Tongue were still too busy in their small booth Tuesday to get a chance to see any of the Southern California sights.

Nearby at the Elbow Grease/Encounter booth, the company displayed an array of his and hers lubricants that included gallon jugs of its 26-year-old classic Elbow Grease in four versions (original, light, hot and hot light). Of course, the Grease is also available in more reasonable amounts like 1 oz., 4 oz., 9 oz. and 15 oz.

For the ladies, the company created the Encounter line with more female-friendly packaging that is available in five flavors and the various versions like the Elbow Grease counterpart.

“We were the first company to make warm lubricants,” Encounter Director of Sales Irene Campana said, “but it wasn’t until K-Y came out with it that it got popular.”

The company soon capitalized on the popularity of the item it had originated and has long since established itself in the lubricant trade.

Back toward the front of the convention area, the Wet booth displayed its own arsenal of lubricants, as well as probably the most valued promotional items of the entire show – a pocket-size “trade show survival kit” in a purple pouch with the company’s logo and contents including Airborne Formula (the cold-stopping effervescent), Blistex, Alka-Seltzer, Aleve, eye glass cleaner and more.

The Wet booth featured a South Beach theme with a “Ride the WET Wave” slogan. Their reformulated flavored lubes were reduced to five essential flavors and were on display with the corresponding fruit for anyone who dared take the taste test. The bottles also feature a slimmer look with grips that allow for one-finger open/close ability as well as multi-lingual labeling (English/Spanish/French).

“The new products have been well-received,” Account Executive Michele Goodman said. “I’m very pleased with how things are going this year.”