It is certainly unusual that a company, after dedicating 47 years to one product category, suddenly decides to take on an all-new market segment. But Kama Sutra did exactly that, and the results of this venture is RHYTHM, their very own sex toy line. David Braff, the Vice President of Kama Sutra, presents the new brand in our EAN interview, and apart from the products, we also talked about the company’s motivation to enter the sex toy market, the potential of RHYTHM, and other conceivable brand extensions.
Rhythm, Kama Sutra’s new line of vibrators, will have its European premiere at eroFame. Seeing as ‘Making love Better’ is Kama Sutra’s official motto, adding a line of vibrators seems logical. Still, I’d like to know: Why exactly did you decide to take this step into a whole new product segment?
David Braff: As the industry and consumer sensitivities have changed, so have our views on what is needed to achieve our motto of ‘Making love Better.” After 47 years of innovating new body products, we recognised the need to expand our selection and offer more. Intimate massagers are the logical choice. Ultimately, we are taking a holistic view on what is needed to enhance a more intimate and passionate lifestyle.
What can you tell us about the new products? What sets them apart from the competition? How do they stick out in terms of functionality, materials, etc.?
To begin, we have the Kama Sutra heritage; but, we also had the ability to utilise a lot of market research to create the best line possible. So, as power was the most requested feature, we made big efforts (and investment) to ensure RHYTHM is powerful. Being Kama Sutra, there is also an emphasis on style, quality ingredients and support to ensure the experience customers expect from us.
What price segment are you going for with the Rhythm products?
We like to think of ourselves as an affordable luxury. We are not looking to be the most expensive, but rather offer the best value that gives the customer the quality they deserve at a price they can afford.
These five products make up the starting line-up of RHYTHM
Could you give us some information about your packaging concept?
In keeping with the historical Kama Sutra aesthetic, we really focused on high-end packaging that is consistent with our branding. The company founder, Joseph Bolstad, was a creative director who graduated from the prestigious Art Center College of Design and continues to have a huge impact on the look and feel of every package to this day. Ultimately, we want to give the consumer the luxurious experience they desire.
How long did the process take, from the initial idea to the first finished toy? And which trends and developments had an impact on the creation of these products?
We toyed with the idea in late 2015 and then decided in early 2016 to move forward with a test concept of RHYTHM. Luckily, we already began market research and only needed to adjust our existing designs to user feedback. There was not much time but our product development experience spanning 47 years greatly assisted efforts to quickly create an impressive debut line.
How many products are there in the collection right now, and do you already have plans to add more?
To stay true to our Kama Sutra heritage, RHYTHM is initiated with a stunning collection of 5 personal massagers that are named after Indian dances. The meaning of each dance is then coupled with the purpose of the toy. The response to RHYTHM is so positive that we will certainly look to develop the collection further – of course, only if it makes sense and stays true to our mission.
Which target audience do you want to cater to with Rhythm?
We want to attract everyone looking for pleasure instruments – new and experienced. We believe that RHYTHM offers something for everyone.
“The sheer shock alone of seeing us doing something different after 47 years in the industry was sensational.”
Which prerequisites do you have to fulfil to satisfy the wishes of this target audience?
I think consumers are looking for products that offer options. Functionality is big. In addition to being powerful, the RHYTHM line offers products that are multi-use. Some with bendable features that allow the toy to conform and be versatile, while another offers a variety of attachments.
Rhythm was first introduced to the trade and industry at AVN Show in July. How was the feedback from the visitors of the show?
The reaction was overwhelming positive. Of course, the sheer shock alone of seeing us doing something different after 47 years in the industry was sensational. The general consensus was that we created a quality toy line that perfectly reflects the Kama Sutra brand heritage that started in 1969.
„RHYTHM will be in Europe and ready for order fulfilment in late September.“
The market for vibrators seems near the point of saturation. How do you want to position Rhythm in this market, and what role does the Kama Sutra brand name play in the presentation of the line?
Anything can be claimed to be at the point of saturation; but, a quality, trusted, branded product of any sort has a place in the global marketplace. We are focused on our business and truly believe that RHYTHM provides exciting new ways to explore and enjoy yourself and your partner.
Which distributors and wholesalers will offer Rhythm in Europe? And when can retailers get their hands on these products?
We are pleased that at this time Rimba agreed to be our exclusive distributor in Europe. RHYTHM will be in Europe and ready for order fulfilment in late September.
Would it be conceivable to expand the Kama Sutra brand even further and add more new product segments (for instance lingerie)?
Given the positive response to RHYTHM and other ideas presented to trusted partners around the world, we think the possibilities are truly endless. Of course, only ideas that pass our rigorous requirements will be developed. The last 47 years have been incredible and we are even more excited about the next 47 years of Making love Better!
The brand image of Kama Sutra is based on high-quality massage oils, lubricants, care products, etc. Does the addition of new product categories not increase the danger of watering down the brand image?
Actually, we think it’s quite the contrary. Providing quality products across diverse yet complimentary product categories will only enhance the overall experience that is desired.