Over the course of the past years, the adult industry has proven that sex toys and elegant design are not mutually exclusive. Take Crave, for example: The team have been putting great emphasis on quality design ever since the company was started, and they haven’t lost their touch: Recently, they presented their latest toy, a vibrator called Wink+. EAN wanted to know more about this product and about the principles that guide Crave when they develop new toys, so we asked Michael Topolovac, the CEO and co-founder of Crave, for an interview.
Wink+ is the latest vibrator from Crave. What sets this vibrator apart from the rest of what we see in today’s market?
Michael Topolovac: The Wink+ is a designer vibrator; there’s a visual element to it, an aesthetic appeal, that isn’t common in the current market. It’s also made entirely of metal, which gives it a luxury look, weight, and feel. It’s incredibly strong and quiet for its size.
How long did it take to develop the idea into a finished product? What trends and developments had an influence on the product development?
It took about one year from concept and development to the final product. That includes months of testing in the field. This is part of our standard process where we gather feedback and listen to users through the development process. It definitely aids in determining a lot of details on the “finished” product.
Many people today are more open about sexuality and sex toys than ever before. Why does Crave put so much emphasis on being discreet?
Our key concept is actually an unapologetic approach to sexuality and sex toys, and we talk about discretion in that context. We’re making an object that doesn’t scream “SEX TOY” the way people traditionally understand those products, because if you step back and really look at what the object should be to support the experience, it ends up looking nothing like a traditional toy.
This empowers the user to interact and encounter that object as they wish. We look at discretion not necessarily as a feature, but as a happy consequence of good design. It’s not meant to hide anything, it’s simply that the shape of the object, the materials used, all of that emerges in a way where it looks like a modern product. We’re designing things that don’t need to hide; in fact, it’s meant to be out in plain sight without shame or stigma. These look like any other modern objects, which consequently alleviates the taboo because it no longer lives in a different world.
The Wink+ is available in three finishes: silver, rose gold, or gunmetal
Wink+ is at least partially made of metal – like all Crave products. Why did you choose metal even through silicone seems to be the go-to material for most adult products?
We do love our metal. Though it is more expensive and drives the cost, it makes for a better product. Its durability and longevity make it a truly high-quality product, something deserving the luxury label. We also find it transmits sensation better, so there’s a practical physical element as well. We do use silicone on almost all of our products in tandem with the metal. We recognize that silicone has its rightful place in this industry, especially among the luxury brands. But really, we’re striving to combine the greatest features from each to best support the experience for the user.
What target audience is this product aimed at?
Much of the market is novelty, but we’re unrelated to that market. We’re not in the realm of novelty toys; we consider ours to be modern products. Our target audience is the global community of women seeking quality pleasure objects.
In which price range can the new product be found?
The MSRP for the United States is $79; the price range will vary depending on region/country.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for retailers wanting to sell your new product? How can the product be presented in a visually pleasing manner?
Knowledge of the vibrator’s detail-oriented features and functions makes it an easy sell, and we have Sales Guides and Training Videos coming soon to help support retailers in that endeavour. We also manufacture POPs that display our product on an acrylic stand, with a live unit securely attached via tether to deter theft. This puts the product directly in the customer’s hands, which is another great way to sell them.
We’ve seen folks try to sell under glass but – as pretty as it looks – it doesn’t move product well unless you have devoted employees who are curating a specific guest experience. And often times end-users are simply afraid to ask, so our POPs allow them to interact with our products in their own way and space. We’re currently working on the best solution to getting those displays to brick-and-mortar retails abroad so they have access to these merchandising resources.
The Wink+ boasts five different variations and a wave pattern
Which distributors and wholesalers will carry your new product? And most importantly: when?
We do have distribution through most of Europe via our partner EroPartner, and can support companies directly for certain regions. We plan to have the Wink+ available to international markets by the end of Q2.
All Crave products focus on elegance and design. Are there general guidelines you follow when creating new toys? What should customers expect from modern sex toy design?
This is sort of simple, and complex. When we approach designing something new, we start on a fundamental level. What experience is the user seeking to enhance or explore? What kind of interaction do they want to have, and how can we best support that? We also want our objects to fit seamlessly into the users’ lifestyle; something that will feel like any other modern product in their life.
On the customer front, you can expect better support and a more enriched experience from a more modern design. It creates opportunities for a different kind of experience than is typically associated with traditional sex toy design.
What are Crave’s plans for the near future? Will we see more Crave products this year?
As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on unreleased products, but suffice it to say we are keeping busy on a number of new additions to the line.