Have you ever heard of a fifi? As a matter of fact, it is a colloquial term, used for a homemade masturbator. Enter the term at Urban Dictionary and you will also find that the name fifi has originated in prisons. Inmates used it to describe their makeshift masturbation aides, which usually consisted of an old sock, Vaseline or tooth paste, and a toilet paper tube. Any questions?
“fifi is slang for a homemade masturbator. If you look it up online, you will see that it has been around for a while and is made in a variety of ways. One method for making a fifi is to use a towel and latex glove,” says Dave Abramovitz, co-founder of Whizworx, the company behind fifi. “I thought this was a great idea because it offered something the majority of masturbators on the market don’t – disposability. In trying to make one on my own, I found it cumbersome and thought it would be a good idea to make a product designed in its likeness, but more user-friendly.”
The result of this endeavour sticks with the original name, but this fifi is a discreet masturbator with adjustable tightness. Hygiene is no problem either, as the product it combined with disposable sleeves that you throw away after using them.
“You roll up a portion of a disposable sleeve inside the fifi and then pull down the excess over the end after it’s rolled. Add lube, do your business, and when finished upon completion, throw away the sleeve,” Dave says, explaining the use of his product. What makes fifi special is the smartly placed Velcro fastener that allows the user to adjust the tightness of the product. Also, fifi warms up during use.
Functionality, effectiveness, hygiene, discretion – all these things have been taken into consideration. The development of fifi took up two roughly years since the production of the disposable sleeves proved rather tricky. Additional sleeves have to be bought individually, just like the fifi lubricant. This should result in follow-up sales for the retailers.
If a customer buys a fifi, chances are he’ll be back to get more sleeves and lubricant. Considering all these things, it’s not surprising that the response to Whizworx’ masturbator has been very positive. “It’s really the only masturbator on the market that offers a recurring revenue model through the use of the disposable sleeves. People will buy twenty – fifty sleeves on their first purchase. Also, there are more products in development that will expand the family of products and offer more variation across the brand.”
fifi’s future in Europe
So far, fifi is available in five different colours, among them a camouflage-style model that is intended as an homage to the US troops deployed all over the world, as David explains. The outer skin of the product is made of 95% polyester and 5% spandex, the lining is 100% polyester, and the inside is 100% PE foam. The sleeves are made of latex, and the fifi lubricant is a water-based gel. As for marketing, Whizworx focuses on ad networks, Google AdWords, ad their own affiliate programme where webmasters can advertise fifi, receiving a commission for each sold product.
Now, David and his team want to establish a foothold in the European market. To that end, they are looking for local distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. What they expect from potential trade partners? Well, communication is key in any form of partnership, as Dave points out – also in business relationships. “We expect to have open lines of communication with our partners, and in return we’ll both reap the benefits by successfully selling fifi and its products. In addition, we will assist our partners in any way we can.”
This also includes POS materials such as shelf displays to effectively present the products in the store, and pocket format brochures for the checkout area. These brochures sum up the advantages of fifi and the way you use the product. In addition, Whizworx support their partners with a USB stick containing a ‘How it works’ video, and select retailers also get a special 20cm video display to show this clip on. E-commerce retailers, on the other hand, are provided with banners, codes, descriptions, text links, etc. “We’re very open to creating custom marketing materials for clients in niche markets”, David adds.
Men are simple
Before and during the conception of fifi, Dave Abramovitz took a close look at the market for masturbators, and he wasn’t all too impressed with what he saw. “Men’s masturbators in particular seem to lack variety. They all seem to copy Fleshlight in form and function. There are a few that take the high-tech approach, but they’re expensive and, in my opinion, kind of scary. I’d rather not have anything electrically powered near my junk. Also, they all require cleaning, powdering, and drying. Not sure about you, but when using a sex toy, after an orgasm I’d rather just roll over and take a nap than clean out my semen.”
When it comes to masturbation, men are simple, Dave says. Anatomically speaking, it’s no big deal – a tight, moist hole and a little imagination do the trick just fine. “At fifi, we’re definitely the opposite of high-tech. At the same time, we like to say we’re better than your hand.” His analysis of the market also led Dave to the conclusion that masturbators are still sort of a taboo topic. This becomes quite obvious when you look at their design.
“Most of them look like a chopped-up appendage from a horror flick. Not only are they scary looking, but women also find them gross and unattractive. When more options come out that don’t try to look ‘realistic,’ they will be more accepted.” Slowly, but surely, male masturbation will reach the level of acceptance and openness that female masturbation already has achieved. The driving force of this development will be more appealing, sophisticated products. And there need to be more of them, as Dave emphasises. “I think the current situation is fairly stale. I’m not seeing much innovation in the category. I believe discretion and ease of use will be trending soon over high-tech options.”
Whixworx are going to do their part, and they are already working on new products for the fifi brand. Next up will be some products to help the users customize their fifi in line with their wishes and needs. “We also have another product in the planning stages that will work with the disposable sleeves. We have some cool projects on the horizon.”