Sunday, September 29, 2013


Twice a year I go to Vegas for the International Lingerie Show. The trade show features lingerie and adult toys. Distributors and manufacturers have booths and buyers (like me) roam the floor looking for products to buy for their stores and websites. It's a place where you can find the newest products, build relationships and learn about what's coming out next. Most importantly, it means that we get to hold the new products in our hands, turn them on and beg manufacturers for testers. It's also a place where the really good manufacturers solicit feedback on their products. One of these manufacturers is Crave.

You may have seen their products at Sugar. They make the Duet and Solo - two high powered, waterproof, super sleek USB charging vibes. You can pull these vibes apart and charge the bottom part in your computer and no one will know it's not a jump drive.

The Duet came out about two years ago. When it first came out, several of us retailers and reviewers had some complaints about the design. Guess what. They listened. Asked questions. Showed us options. And quickly changed the vibe. Since then, I've had a soft spot for Crave. Was their choice to listen and make changes based on feedback a good business decision? Of course it was. But doing so takes a sense of humility and openness that's hard to find. And the best toy designers have it.

Crave assembles their products in house in San Francisco. That enables them to have a high level of quality. Sometimes they bring their assembly set up with them. They had their build-a-vibe station in their booth at ILS.
Of course, I happily signed up. Accompanied by Crave's head engineer, I took all of the components of the Duet vibe and put them together with my own hands. It was fascinating. The motor had already gone through most of it's tests before it arrived in Vegas. Before assembly, each motor is run for over an hour and each battery is tested as well.

With my tested parts in my tray, it was time to start. First, I picked up the motor, put the silicone sleeve over the motor, put the mother board in the case, cranked the case shut, and then tested each part for waterproofness. One part failed. Which was cool. I got to see how the part was checked to determine where the failure was. We figured out that the silicone sleeve had a tiny leak somewhere. Once the sleeve was replaced, and passed the test I had a brand new vibrator in my hand.

One of the things that I love about this industry is how many different skill sets are needed to make it work. We need engineers (Greg who owns nJoy used to design metal bicycle parts), supply chains, entrepreneurs (Michael, the founder of Crave used to own a company that made underwater cameras), educators, chemists, marketers, authors, graphic designers, retailers. There is so much work, creativity and passion needed to bring a good product to market. And at the end, if everything works well, it makes orgasms.

Damn. What a privilege to be a part of that process.

And. New fabulous vibrator. Assembled by me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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