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Babeland Toy Store
Customer Service: (888) 289-8423
Customer Service: (888) 289-8423
This month, we're highlighting one of our favorite sex toy makers:� Cal Exotics.� From the affordable and adorable (like the Butterfly Kiss, who's become a major bestseller on Babeland.com) to the sleek and multi-function (Jopen Vanity series), Cal Exotics has long been bringing us a great variety of toys.� And all month long, we'll be highlighting Cal Exotics toys with sales, deals, and specials -- be sure to keep checking back for the latest! With that in mind, we ask Cal Exotics President Susan Colvin a few questions about where they've been, how they got here, and where they're going next (hopefully with a little input from you, their satisfied customers).� Read on!Babeland: Tell our customers a little bit about how Cal Ex began. Susan: In the early 1990?s, I was working as the General Manager of a full-service adult products distributor that sold magazines, books, videos, and a handful of adult novelty items imported from the Far East. When the owners of that company decided to close after a long and very expensive legal battle with the US Federal Government, I saw a future for myself and a handful of loyal employees in the novelty business. I worked out a deal with the owners to purchase the existing "Swedish Erotica" branded line of toys, and California Exotic Novelties was born. There were about 200 products in the "Swedish Erotica" line that we took over, almost all of which were packaged for a male audience.Babeland: How did you get here from "Swedish Erotica," and what's the biggest difference between Cal Ex then and Cal Ex now? Susan: Our product line is 180� from where we started. While we make plenty of� products for men, our primary focus is to create products that a woman finds pleasing to the eye, touch, and function. When we first started making vibrators in bright colors, plenty of our distributors (and our competition) thought we were out of our minds. But we knew it was only a matter of time before women would find their own path to pleasure, so we persisted. We have a great creative staff in product development, package design, and manufacturing. It has definitely paid off, not just for California Exotic Novelties, but for women around the world.Babeland: How many slimline vibes did you produce when you first started?� And how many varieties do you now produce?Susan: We sold two types ("Rainbow Slimline" and "Rainbow Super-Slim"), with ten colors each.� Our selection today includes hundreds of slimline designs, shapes, colors, textures, and finishes. And we're careful to provide as large a size selection as possible, from super-slim to extra-girthy.The first slimline series of vibrators that we sold was called "Raquel," and featured a photo of a naked girl on the front AND back of the packaging. Looking back, I see the influence of the male-dominated buying public. We were able to convince distributors and retailers to start stocking multiple colors, but the industry wasn?t ready for more sophisticated packaging.Babeland: How have your female customers affected your toy development over time? Susan: Our female customers' needs have evolved as technology has changed. In the early days, for example, we tried selling rechargeable vibrators, but learned that they didn't sell at the retail level.� We saw great potential, but the consumer wasn't ready for it. We ended up discontinuing the items at a huge loss; it took years for those products to find their audience. We also introduced several other features that are now taken for granted in sex toys:� waterproof, remote control, phthalate-free, and multi-function. Also, the internet has proven to be a great educator regarding pleasure products, their uses, and features. Women can now easily access any number of sites that educate and explain the various products that we manufacture. Our complete line includes over 3000 items, so it's a daunting task to explain the differences without that resource.Also, we spend months on the road visiting not just our distributors, but also retailers, home party businesses, and E-tailers. The feedback that we receive is invaluable, and we honestly try to incorporate these comments into our products.Babeland: What?s one of the most popular toys you make for women?� And why do you think women love it so much?Susan: Recently, the Butterfly Kiss arouser has pushed the popular Jack Rabbit model off its pedestal. The Butterfly Kiss is designed for simultaneous G-spot and clitoral arousal, in an easy-to-hold and maneuverable shape. This item has quietly climbed to the #1 position on our bestsellers list.� I think women like the idea of a dual-purpose arouser without a lot of moving parts; it's easy to use, and its function is easily understood.Babeland: When you look around the sex toy market, is there another company?s toy that you wish you?d invented?Susan: Not for one second! Our success is about our own creativity, never about what someone else has done. We find it creates negative energy to waste time trying to emulate rather than innovate. Sure, new companies have sprung up, and existing companies have come up with new and exciting products? those creations define who they are. California Exotic Novelties is all about well-built, easily available products across all price points; we're driven creatively by the in-house abilities of the great people at our company.Babeland: Where do you see your sex toy designs moving in the future?� What are some trends you?re noticing?Susan: We've essentially seen an entire industry emerge over the 17 years we've been in business, from small mom-and-pop adult stores to the more glamorous large retailers popping up all over the world. Add to that the very refined specialty shops with loyal followings, like Babeland, and it's clear that the buying demographic has changed completely over the years. The power of the internet, with all the resources available, has made our users more product- and technology-savvy than ever (and hip to materials, functions, and what a product will do for them).Our trending points to more high-tech products at the top-end price range of products, but our well-priced products are the mainstay of our high-volume business.Babeland: If you could ask our customers one question, what would it be?Susan: What?s your favorite toy, and what changes would you like made to it? Our best ideas come from you!� We're grateful for all of the support we've received since we opened our doors, and we look forward to many more years in a business that we love.� The business of pleasure:� what could be more exciting than that? iple colors, but the industry wasn?t ready for more sophisticated packaging.Babeland: How have your female customers affected your toy development over time? Susan: Our female customers' needs have evolved as technology has changed. In the early days, for example, we tried selling rechargeable vibrators, but learned that they didn't sell at the retail level.� We saw great potential, but the consumer wasn't ready for it. We ended up discontinuing the items at a huge loss; it took years for those products to find their audience. We also introduced several other features that are now taken for granted in sex toys:� waterproof, remote control, phthalate-free, and multi-function. Also, the internet has proven to be a great educator regarding pleasure products, their uses, and features. Women can now easily access any number of sites that educate and explain the various products that we manufacture. Our complete line includes over 3000 items, so it's a daunting task to explain the differences without that resource.Also, we spend months on the road visiting not just our distributors, but also retailers, home party businesses, and E-tailers. The feedback that we receive is invaluable, and we honestly try to incorporate these comments into our products.Babeland: What?s one of the most popular toys you make for women?� And why do you think women love it so much?Susan: Recently, the Butterfly Kiss arouser has pushed the popular Jack Rabbit model off its pedestal. The Butterfly Kiss is designed for simultaneous G-spot and clitoral arousal, in an easy-to-hold and maneuverable shape. This item has quietly climbed to the #1 position on our bestsellers list.� I think women like the idea of a dual-purpose arouser without a lot of moving parts; it's easy to use, and its function is easily understood.Babeland: When you look around the sex toy market, is there another company?s toy that you wish you?d invented?Susan: Not for one second! Our success is about our own creativity, never about what someone else has done. We find it creates negative energy to waste time trying to emulate rather than innovate. Sure, new companies have sprung up, and existing companies have come up with new and exciting products? those creations define who they are. California Exotic Novelties is all about well-built, easily available products across all price points; we're driven creatively by the in-house abilities of the great people at our company.Babeland: Where do you see your sex toy designs moving in the future?� What are some trends you?re noticing?Susan: We've essentially seen an entire industry emerge over the 17 years we've been in business, from small mom-and-pop adult stores to the more glamorous large retailers popping up all over the world. Add to that the very refined specialty shops with loyal followings, like Babeland, and it's clear that the buying demographic has changed completely over the years. The power of the internet, with all the resources available, has made our users more product- and technology-savvy than ever (and hip to materials, functions, and what a product will do for them).Our trending points to more high-tech products at the top-end price range of products, but our well-priced products are the mainstay of our high-volume business.Babeland: If you could ask our customers one question, what would it be?Susan: What?s your favorite toy, and what changes would you like made to it? Our best ideas come from you!� We're grateful for all of the support we've received since we opened our doors, and we look forward to many more years in a business that we love.� The business of pleasure:� what could be more exciting than that?