• Velv'Or in the no. 6 edition of the EAN - 2014



    “I do believe there is a well designed and stylish lack of attention towards products for men.”

    Most big sex toy producers have set their sights on women and couples as their prime target audience. The classical erotic store clientele, i.e. men, seem to be pushed to the sidelines of the market. But niches have always held great potential for companies willing to specialise and bank on innovation. Jelle Plantenga and his company Velv'Or cater to a male audience with their products. And, as he tells us in our interview, men's expectations concerning sex toys have changed, just like women's: They want quality and topnotch design.

    You are an expert for sophisticated erotic products geared towards a discerning male audience. Do you feel that this product category is not getting enough attention what with all the buzz surrounding couples- and women-friendly love toys?
    Jelle Plantenga: Thanks for the compliment and yes, I do believe there is a lack of attention towards well-designed and stylish products for men. Maybe better called menfriendly love toys. It’s good to see that there are colleague brands supporting the assortment of toys focussing on this group by launching well-designed and nicely packaged products. But still, many believe that higher priced items are hard to sell. Although they are used to selling lots off high priced toys for women and couples. Sometimes, I feel like being in the same position as Lelo was when they first started. The boys also had to convince the market that there was a market for their concept and products.
    And I am very happy that the brand continues their quest and is still going strong and, of course, I hope the market understands that the quest I and other small players have set out on can only succeed if they add these brands to their assortment so sales and awareness of the brands grow. Of course, I understand that retailers ask for marketing back-up from the brands, something bigger colleagues can do with advertisements in trade magazines and great in-store displays, etc. But they also need to understand that this type of promotion is nearly impossible for the small players and that these small players do their utmost to use the social media networks to get the message out there.

    Products for men are often perceived as nothing more than masturbation aids. What do you say to that?
    Jelle: Well, personally, I think this is not true, especially because there still is a lack of knowledge out there on the street. If you walk up to a guy on the street and you ask him if he uses a sex toy, most hetero guys tell you: Why should I use one?
    Many never even used a sex toy to please their female partner; instead they just use their hands as an extra on themselves and on their partner. In the gay scene, the situation is different, of course; here, it’s more normal to use multiple toys for multiple purposes. But to get back to the masturbation question of yours, these toys are definitely the most-used products in Japan. The sales figures for masturbation products for men can't be compared to the sales these products generate in the rest of the globe.

    Rubber pussy, trucker pussy, inflatable rubber dolls, etc. - those are the products products that dominate the shelf space in the stores. Is there even enough awareness in the market for classy, stylish brand products such as yours?
    And: How much awareness – and demand for such products – is there among the male clientele?

    Jelle: Of course, you are right if you are looking at the more traditional sex toy stores. But with the development towards female & couple-friendly products, a lot of new stores have opened their doors over the previous years, and most of these stores select their products for men very differently.
    They have a selection of brands like Fleshlight, Tenga, Nexus, Aneros, etc and sell the male-oriented products of brands like Lelo, JeJoue, etc., plus they offer their male consumers the latest novelties. Many of them have also picked up Velv’Or as well.

    What can be done to create more awareness and show to the trade and the consumers that there are more products for men than one might guess at first?
    Jelle: Retailers should get the word out on the street and on their websites and blogs and most importantly, tell their mainstream press contacts about these great products. The consumers will adapt to the products easier when they read about them in magazines or see more pins on Pinterest for instance.

    Your Manhood collection is proof that much more is possible in the market for male-oriented products. Please tell our readers more about his line. What products does it include, and how did you get the idea for Manhood?
    Jelle: We created the MANHOOD collection upon request from our fans and beyond to explore their personal manhood alone and with their partners. It’s a collection of 8 products that men can use on or for their penis.
    Some of them are created only for the penis, following the philosophy of the brand, but they all have one thing in common and that is that they enrich the sex-life of the male and his partner. The Penis Delay, Penis Refresh and Penis Vitamins are created only for him to make him last longer, feel fresh, and more active. The After Shave Gel, Massage & Lube, Anal Relax, Cum Lube and Powder Lube are created for him and his partner to enjoy their sex-life more smoothly. All products can be used on a daily basis or just when required,;the Powder Lube for instance is great for mid-week and weekend trips.
    It passes customs at the airports without any difficulty, and the lube is created on location, so the user can decide how viscous the lube will be himself.

    You are famous for the way you position your products and collections as brands.
    No one can deny any more that brands are becoming increasingly important in the erotic market. But can that development also be felt among maleoriented products?
    Jelle: Yes off course this can be felt, not only this is created by brands like mine but also by the brands that primarily focus on women and couples. Most of these brands also carry a nice range of products for men. Together we created an assortment of products all store should actually carry to EnRich the lives of many many men.

    In your opinion, do brick and mortar stores and online shops miss out on a lot of business if they focus on couples and women and more or less ignore quality products for male consumers?
    Jelle: Of course, they miss out on business because men as well as women love to buy these products.
    But it’s not only the brick and mortar or online stores that miss out on the business!! It’s also the distributors many of whom also still need to understand the great opportunity for growth in this segment of the market. They play a very very crucial role in what ends up in the stores! So if we want to make more men happy in their sex life, all channels need to make an effort, and not only the consumer who can always buy directly from the brands.

    How can products for men be presented to the greatest effect in brick and mortar stores and in online shops?
    Jelle: By adding an assortment of products and displaying them in a special corner for men. Modern men are like modern women: They like a well-designed product of good quality and they do not mind paying more money for that. They are used to this from their other purchases as well. Nice packaging always makes the sale easier.

    Many producers of erotic products offer a wide range of materials and tools to support marketing and boost sales, most of which seem to be focussed on couples- and women-friendly items.
    Are there enough sales-promoting materials for male-oriented products?
    Jelle: There are some, but because this segment is still developing, only the bigger colleagues of mine have the budget to create and offer something really nice and effective. I wish I had the budget to offer my retailers and all future partners something amazing. In-store sales promotion that shows the use of the CRings and display the MANHOOD collection in a nice stylish way.

    The presentation of the products is important, but so is professional advice. What can the retailers do so the male consumers become more aware of the specialised support only an erotic store can offer?
    Jelle: They should ask the brands all the questions they have so they can advise their clientele more effectively. And based on these questions, the brands can create questionnaires to offer sales support.

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    It's again a pleasure to be mentioned in the EAN

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