Miguel Capilla is the CCO of Fleshlight International SL, and in our EAN interview, he tells us about the expectations and plans his company has for 2017. As far as new products are concerned, he teases new additions to the Fleshlight Girls Signature Collection as well as a smaller, more compact product version. Furthermore, Europe will get to enjoy ‘Turbo’, a new innovation that is already available in the USA.
Let’s start with a brief summary of the past year: Was 2016 the year of male toys or wasn’t it?
Miguel Capilla: Of course it was. The best evidence is the sales records that we are beating continuously in the last months. Men are realising little by little that there’s nothing shameful about enjoying a good masturbation with a sex toy. With each and every day passing, it becomes more and more socially acceptable and mainstream. With this background, we can say that 2016 has been an awesome year for Fleshlight International SL, as we were consolidated as worldwide leader in Male masturbators one more year. We have sold more than 400.000 male masturbators last year in Europe and forecasts for 2017 are even better.
Are you happy with Fleshlight’s results for 2016?
We’re really proud of the numbers we have achieved. Our overall sales have climbed by 20% in comparison with 2015 and by 45% compared with 2014 and we expect good growth prospects for 2017 since our numbers kept climbing. Since 2010, when the European headquarters was established in Spain, Fleshlight has been continually expanding. Production, distribution and orders through our website have also increased. Our company has experienced explosive growth in recent years due to a very good level of acceptance within the market of our male masturbators, because of its high-quality material and the realistic sensation they provide to men. On top of that, we have been releasing new products almost every single month during 2016, and our launching schedule for 2017 is full of new products.
How would you describe the current situation in the segment for male products, and what needs to happen in 2017 so these products can realise their full potential?
The driving forces which has helped the Fleshlight success are firstly, the openness and society evolution in the recent years. We no longer (as a whole) believe that taking care of yourself is either an offense or unhealthy. And secondly, the excellent quality of the Fleshlight products, plus an extensive customer service and a good distribution network. Despite the ongoing stigma, male sex toy sales have risen by 1,000 per cent in the past 10 years and from Fleshlight we really want to help to sustain this growth.
“The driving forces which has helped the Fleshlight success are firstly, the openness and society evolution in the recent years.”
As these products become more popular, more companies are drawn to this category, i.e. there is more competition. Does that affect you or is Fleshlight pretty much impervious to competition at this point?
We’re aware of the fierce competition in our sector and also that counterfeits are spreading worldwide unfortunately. To keep our position as the number one selling male sex toy in the world over them, we provide high quality patented products, know-how, extensive customer service and a good distribution network. I think that we can take advantage of this trend as our company is well established in the market and clients and customers trust on our brand. Besides this, we’re very proud to say that Fleshlight has become a generic term for male toys and this is our best letter of introduction. This was achieved thanks to the hard work of the Fleshlight team during the last 20 years. Hight quality controls, an awesome marketing policy and our tireless fight against fakes in recent times enables us to establish ourselves as benchmark in the male sex toys sector.
You kicked off the new year with two new products (Jenna Haze Obsession & Tori Black Torrid), continuing the shift from the Fleshlight Girls Line to the Fleshlight Girls Signature Collection. How many other new products can we expect in this Signature Collection?
After years of only offering our Fleshlight Girls product line with the ‘Lotus’ sleeve texture across our entire Fleshlight Girls portfolio in wholesale, the Fleshlight Girls Signature Collection features customised textures for each Fleshlight Girl. So the most popular Fleshlight Girls have been selected in order to their currently ‘Lotus’ texture be replaced by new exclusive and unique texture for each of them. We started with Stoya Destroya and Nicole Aniston Fit in Q4 2016. The two new girls who have joined these amazing launchings are Jenna Haze Obsession & Tori Black Torrid, who have been released on January 6th. On February 1st, we are going to release Riley Reid Utopia & Alexis Texas Outlaw, and every month hereinafter new releases have been scheduled. Lisa Ann, Teagan Presley, Nikki Benz, etc. and other current Fleshlight Girls, but also new signings like Dillion Harper or Romi Rain.
Why was this transformation from Girls Line to Signature collection necessary, and why did wholesalers only carry the ‘Lotus’ sleeve models of the Fleshlight Girls products up until now?
We have always taken great strides in taking note of our wholesale customers’ needs and making changes to empower them. So after years being asked for unique textures for the Fleshlight Girls, we decided to change our production strategy in order to respond to our wholesalers‘ needs. We have been producing during years just the Lotus texture for the Fleshlight Girls due to strategic decisions related with the production of this range. Choosing a unique texture (Lotus) for the girls was determined as the more efficient way to manufacture the Fleshlight Girls range. However, we have a duty to our clients, so we decided to make an extra effort and adapt our production strategy. The project has been well planned and organised so every month new girls with their unique textures are going to be launched.
“We have always taken great strides in taking note of our wholesale customers’ needs and making changes to empower them.”
How have the distributors and retailers responded to this change?
Our main distributors and wholesalers were informed about this change during last eroFame, and they were really happy to hear about the new strategy. We even received hugs from some of them, so you can imagine how glad they were. They had great expectations and after Stoya Destroya and Nicole Aniston Fit launching, I can see that they have been achieved.
Which other new products will Fleshlight present to the market over the course of the year?
The market has been demanding smaller and cheaper versions of our classic Fleshlight during the last years, so we decided to launch the Fleshlight GO and the amazing QuickShot. The Fleshlight GO is one of our top selling products now… but the Quickshot… this has been our best launch ever! We sold more than 6.000 units in just one month (just in Europe). This is why our Research and Development Department have been working in new smaller and more compact versions for 2017. The aim is to retain customers with a new product and increase market rates attracting more people within our target audience as customers. So a new product called Turbo has just been launched in the US. There are 2 versions with 2 different inner textures each and they’re expected to be released over here by the end of March or middle April… so stay tuned!!!
Will your collaboration with Kiiroo continue in its current form?
Yes, it will. For instance, we just attended AVN show in the US together. Kiiroo is working with advanced technology including haptics and telepresence, whilst we have international experience, superior materials, and an ever-growing fanbase. With this powerful combination of expertise and the partnership of two leading companies, a massive advance in the social lives of online users is guaranteed.
Available from February 1: Riley Reid Utopia
Are there plans for other team-ups in the sex tech segment? How much potential do you see in this product category?
As far as I know, not in 2017. Such decisions are made by our main office in the US. Regarding the potential of this product category, I think that technological environment and virtual reality sex toys are a fact nowadays. Kiiroo was a pioneer and a perfect partner. Thanks to companies like Kiiroo, electronic stimulation is being applied so people can implement sex at a distance and in real time, using a platform located on the web, through the use of electronic devices wirelessly connected via the worldwide web. It sounded crazy some years ago, didn’t it?
Will there be any changes as far as the collaboration with your European distribution partners is concerned or will you stick with your current distribution strategy?
Our distribution net is well established in Europe and we would like to maintain the same strategy as this has brought great benefits both, Fleshlight and distributors. Most part of our company incomes come from wholesalers and distribution companies, so we could say that our strategic partnerships with the biggest European distributors are vital for our interests in Europe. Anyway, we cannot forget that the market is constantly changing and then we must be ready for the coming trends.
The erosion of the traditional supply chain (producer – distributors/wholesaler – retailer) continues. Are you worried about this development?
We are not very worried about this, as fortunately, Fleshlight future is clearly positive. As I said before, we are aware of the changes in the market, but we trust in our capacity to not only adapt ourselves to these changes, but also anticipate them. We are sure that the coming years will bring us great agreements, the opening up of new markets, and also an improvement of the relationship with our current distributors and wholesalers. Fleshlight loves becoming a special partner for its distributors and wholesalers, so our relationship should be established on the basis of trust and confidence (even if the numbers have to be good as well). It is easier to work in this way and it is proved that this usually brings more benefits.