The Fifty Shades of Grey hype shows no sign of slowing down. On the contrary, demand will probably go up as the second and third film in the trilogy are lined up for next year and 2018. Therefore, trade members should be pleased to learn that Lovehoney have extended their collaboration with E L James, the best-selling author who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, which means that the company is going to launch more official Fifty Shades products over the course of the next three years. EAN spoke with Richard Longhurst (in picture on the left), co-owner of Lovehoney, about the continuation of their work with E L James, and about his plans for the Fifty Shades brand.
Congratulations on prolonging your collaboration with E L James. So can the market look forward to three more years of thrilling Fifty Shades of Grey sex toys?
Richard Longhurst: Everyone can look forward to more than three years of Fifty Shade of Grey – it is the best-known brand in pleasure products and has a permanent place in the market. The next phase starts with the new Fifty Shades Darker ranges, which launched at ANME. We’re delighted to have extended our relationship with E L James and her team. We have exciting plans for developing the brand.
The extension of your collaboration with E L James means you continue to hold the global rights to produce and market official Fifty Shades products. How important is that for Lovehoney?
It goes without saying that Fifty Shades of Grey is hugely important for us. We, along with all of our trade customers, have been rushed off our feet trying to meet the demand for this fantastic brand. The films and books have been a huge hit and have introduced sex toys and bondage to a new audience, which has benefitted the entire adult industry immensely.
A lot has been said about the impact this trilogy had, still has, and continues to have on our industry. How would you describe the influence of this brand on the sex toy market?
It’s been a fantastic boost to us and many other companies in the industry. Fifty Shades of Grey has put the erotic market on the map. As manufacturers of all official Fifty Shades of Grey pleasure products, it’s our job to help the whole industry make the most of this incredible phenomenon. We help retailers harness the full potential of Fifty Shades with in-store training, displays and posters, as well as fantastic product photography and videos for online. Many retailers experienced spikes in sales when the first movie was released. It’s a win-win situation all around.
“The coverage that the Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection has received from the mainstream media to date is phenomenal.”
Since 2012, Lovehoney has sold more than two million Fifty Shades products. Is that figure proof that Fifty Shades appeals to a much wider audience than ˈregularˈ sex toys?
We’ve seen high and unwavering demand for our Fifty Shades products for the last three years with no sign of it ending anytime soon. This is already a lot longer than most adult ranges last.
The coverage that the Fifty Shades of Grey Official Pleasure Collection has received from the mainstream media to date is phenomenal. No pleasure industry brand has ever received anything like it. It’s the biggest name in the business and it’s bridged the gap between adult and the mainstream, introducing a whole new audience to the joy of sex toys.
At ANME Show in July, Lovehoney presented two new Fifty Shades collections. First, there’s Fifty Shades Darker – The Official Pleasure Collection, and then, there’s the limited edition No Bounds collection. How are these two lines different from one another and what sets them apart from other comparable products in the market?
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 and toy kits. All items are named after quotes in the books and come in satin storage bags. 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 BDSM beginners and aficionados alike. Both collections use the highest quality materials and come with the added je ne sais quoi that only Fifty Shades of Grey can deliver. They allow fans to recreate the scenes they read in the books and see on screen – adding that Christian and Anastasia spark to any sexual scenario.
What are your plans for the Fifty Shades brand in the next few years?
We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline, most of which are top secret, but we can say that Fifty Shades of Grey is now a permanent part of the adult industry.
Richard Longhurst (Lovehoney), E L James (author of the 50 Shades of Grey novels) and Neal Slateford (Lovehoney)
The second and third Fifty Shades movies will hit theatres in February 2017 and February 2018, respectively. Do you expect that with these two blockbuster-level adaptations, demand for the official Fifty Shades products will go through the roof?
We have experienced spikes in sales at every milestone of the Fifty Shades of Grey journey. When the books first captured people’s imaginations, sales shot up. The same happened in the run up to the first movie, after the release of ‘Grey’ and now we’re seeing interest creeping up again in anticipation for the next movie.
If the events of recent years are anything to go by, the demand for Fifty Shades of Grey pleasure products will continue to be sensational.
It is highly unlikely that the Fifty Shades brand is simply put to rest after the final movie in February 2018. So why have you only renewed your collaboration with E L James for three years?
Fifty Shades of Grey has become a permanent fixture in the adult industry and we’re certain it’s here to stay. Three years is the length of our new agreement and we envisage renewing it again in three years’ time.