No longer a taboo topic, sex-related brands are seeking to reinvent the retail experience.
As society continues to break taboos around sex and sexuality, cutting-edge sex brands seek a better retail experience–one that’s not shameful or illicit, but more in line with the everyday retail experience consumers expect today.
In New York’s Lower East Side, shoppers in August could check out a brand new type of pop-up shop. “The Changing Room,” from sex toy brand Hot Octopuss, invited women in for an “orgasm makeover” courtesy of the brand’s first women’s sex toy, the Queen Bee. After, they could shop the product line in the brand’s temporary storefront.
The Changing Room operated much like any other beauty or retail pop-up. Visitors first attended a consultation with a sex therapist, and afterward were invited to “try on” a new orgasm by demo-ing the Queen Bee. The approach clearly resonated with consumers: Over its two-day run, more than 1,000 women attended. Hot Octopuss is already planning to bring the pop-up to more US cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.
“The level of demand for The Changing Room shows how far attitudes have come in terms of the acceptability of women’s sex toys and masturbation,” said Queen Bee designer Adam Lewis in a press release. “With this event we want to remove the final barrier to talking about this issue – why should it be discussed with any more embarrassment than any other health and wellbeing activity? Our mission is to empower everyone to have their best possible orgasm.”
Other brands are taking design cues from the retail environment and applying them to sexual products. Sex essentials brand Maude, which launches late 2017, offers chic, minimalistic packaging for products like lube and condoms. The brand’s design, created with Standards Manual founder Hamish Smyth, ensures that it fits in with a modern home décor.
“We’re creating an e-commerce experience that is incredibly easy and friendly,” says Eva Goicochea, cofounder and CEO of Maude. “We’re not in the business of selling ‘sex’, but rather we create products for sexual wellness and happiness…When you walk into a drug store aisle or even a sex toy shop, they’re littered with confusing packaging and loud colors. Maude wants to take out the discomfort of buying these goods.”
Beyond design, other retail concepts have proven that they adapt well to the sex toy industry in today’s climate. Unbound Box offers a Birchbox-style subscription package with themes like “Arousal” or “Body Jewelry.” In August, the millennial comedy Broad City even launched a line of branded sex toys, including a vibrator and a masturbation egg, to promote the show’s new season.
Younger generations in particular are driving more forward-thinking attitudes towards sex and sexuality, a trend which will continue to play out as generation Z comes of age. As explored in our trend report, The Well Economy, sexual wellness is also playing an increasing role in overall wellbeing. Expect more branding and design that overlaps with health and retail, as consumers begin to seek out new experiences in this sector.
For more, see the “Vagina-nomics” section of our Future 100 trend report.
Main image: Maude.