Sabrina Earnshaw, Kate Hodgson-Egan and Jim Primrose

“Fifty Shades is not all about the movie, it is a brand in its own right.”



The incredibly high number of views for the Fifty Shades Darker trailer is just one indicator that audiences worldwide are still very much interested in the exploits of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Obviously, the trade wants to be ready for the release of the new movie, and as the next wave of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is picking up steam, Lovehoney brings us two new Fifty Shades collections: The Fifty Shades Darker The Official Pleasure Collection and the Fifty Shades Darker No Bounds Collection. Sabrina Earnshaw (Sales Manager), Kate Hodgson-Egan (International Sales Manager), and Jim Primrose (International Sales Manager) tell us more about the products and the franchise in our interview.


 

The next Fifty Shades film will hit theatres on Valentine’s Day 2017. What are your expectations?
Kate Hodgson-Egan: We’re expecting Fifty Shades Darker to be even steamier and anticipate a huge boom in sales once viewers see the increasingly sophisticated products which Ana and Christian use to bring their sex games to life.

What leads Lovehoney to the assumption that the second movie will have a similar impact as the first one?
Sabrina Earnshaw: Given Fifty Shades of Grey was the highest grossing adult movie of all time, we were of course expecting continued interest from our clients. However, the reaction from the Trade has been even more incredible this time; we have recorded larger pre-orders on Darker and the original collection is also benefitting with orders from distributors and retailers at their highest to date.

Fifty Shades of Grey

This being a sequel, one might argue that only existing fans of Fifty Shades will go see it. Will the movie even attract a new audience?
Jim Primrose: Fifty Shades of Grey truly reinvented the BDSM category and professional retailers using it as their signpost brand have seen significant increase growth in their customer base. Experimentation is deemed more acceptable as a result of Fifty Shades and people’s recognition and trust in the brand will guarantee new customers.

Fifty Shades of Grey blurred the line between the adult world and the mainstream world. The sequel might kick off a similar wave of interest in sex toys, etc., but will it follow the same path or are there indications that this time around, it might provide new impulses?
Sabrina: To be honest, we feel that we’re moving away from a genuine mainstream Fifty Shades explosion in terms of sex toys and BDSM products. However, we have added a number of lines which will add some spice to the category. For instance, the Fifty Shades of Grey Weekend Collection helped mainstream retailers to increase category sales.

In time for the movie’s release, Lovehoney launches Fifty Shades Darker The Official Pleasure Collection and the Fifty Shades Darker No Bounds Collection. What should retailers know about these collections?
Jim: Importantly, retailers should know that this is the only official pleasure collection endorsed by E L James. The Fifty Shades Darker The Official Pleasure Collection consists of 13 high-quality pleasure products, ranging from luxury rechargeable vibrators to sleek glass and steel toys, and three couples’ bondage kits.

The No Bounds Collection comprises 10 limited edition bondage pieces inspired by the Fifty Shades Darker story, each handcrafted from top-quality leather and perfect for those wanting to explore BDSM beginners as well as experts wanting some sleek new pieces to add to their collections.

Both ranges were created with Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James, who personally approved every item. Visit www.lovehoneytrade.com for all of the up to date news and brand information.

“Fifty Shades of Grey truly reinvented the BDSM category and professional retailers using it as their signpost brand have seen significant increase growth in their customer base.” – Jim Primrose

In advance of the new products’ launch, you have interviewed 1,200 consumers who own the Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection. What was the purpose of this survey, and what results did it yield?
Kate: We commissioned a survey of 1,200 Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection customers to analyse the impact of the movie on their purchasing habits and excitement about the release of Fifty Shades Darker.

A massive three-quarters of those questioned said that they had tried bondage for the first time after seeing the film, prompting them to search out bondage items to purchase, with spanking paddles being the first thing they buy. Almost half (49%) have become more experimental and over a quarter (27%) are enjoying sex more.
Respondents said that their sex lives had improved due to seeing the movie, with 88% adopting dominant and submissive roles in their sex play. The most popular bondage activity enjoyed by couples was spanking (73%), followed by tying each other up (72.5%), wearing blindfolds (72%) and role play (43%).

You presented the new Fifty Shades collections at eroFame. How did the international trade respond to these new products?
Jim: Response from international trade was fantastic. There was a unanimous vote of confidence from everyone who viewed the new products. Customers loved everything from the packaging, the quality and the pricing.

Do you support the trade with POS materials for the Fifty Shades Darker collections?
Jim: Yes, we do. It is critical to ensure that retailers stay ‘on brand’ to maximise the impact of their displays. Lovehoney actively supports retailers with in-house staff training; anyone interested should make contact with us without delay. All details can be found on www.lovehoneytrade.com

It is still some time until the movie’s release, but when should retailers start presenting the official products in their stores? Also, do you have some advice for the trade on how to harness people’s interest in the movie?
Sabrina: Fifty Shades is not all about the movie, it is a brand in it’s own right. Given this, retailers stock the collections as part of their core offering. Smart retailers are already gearing up for the ‘Movie Madness’ and creating displays in store now, with plans for larger displays in the run up to Fifty Shades Darker’s release.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Are there plans for other Fifty Shades Darker-inspired products or product lines?
Kate: Watch this space… We are blessed to work with real innovators at Lovehoney who bring to life the ideas of E L James. With the release of the third ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ movie set for Valentine’s 2018, it’s likely that there will be lots more to look forward to.

How are Fifty Shades fans different from other consumers buying adult products?
Kate: They are not hugely different, really. They have hidden desires and secret fantasies as we all do. Fifty Shades has helped fans to openly discuss and explore new areas without feeling guilty or embarrassed. Fifty Shades products are competitively prices with the brand offering an added bonus and gauge of quality.

What will happen once the credits have rolled on the third Fifty Shades film, probably sometime in 2017? What will remain of the Fifty Shades brand after that? Will it persist?
Sabrina: The third ‘Freed’ movie will keep fans interested for some time and will also bring in more users around the time of the film’s release in February 2018.
The Fifty Shades brand will certainly persist. It has given ordinary people an introduction into the world of BDSM and is the only brand that has made this journey more acceptable and accessible for mainstream consumers who wouldn’t ordinarily visit an adult store. Our most successful retailers use Fifty Shades of Grey as their signpost brand to attract new consumers into adult stores across the globe.

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