Patrick Giebel

“What matters is that the consumer trusts the product.“

Consumer awareness has changed a lot over the course of time. Long gone are the days when nobody cared about things such as ingredients, resource protection, production conditions, etc. Today, many consumers base their purchasing decision on these things. But is that also the case in the adult market? Patrick Giebel, CFO & Quality Management Representative at pjur, answered this question – and many others – in our interview.


 

More and more consumers want to live and shop responsibly. Nowadays, factors such as ingredients/materials and production conditions are playing a big role when consumers decide whether or not to buy a product. But is that also the case in the adult market?
Patrick Giebel: Yes, definitely! Everybody who understands the importance of sustainability wants to use products that reflect this, for instance products that are free of harmful substances. This audience is constantly growing, across all age groups and across all markets, from cosmetics to textiles and also the adult market.

This trend has emerged in other markets long before it gained momentum in the adult world. Why is our industry lagging behind the rest of the pack?
Yes, this trend has been around for several years – but also in the adult industry. For instance, we developed the pjur med line back in 2010. This product line has a clear focus on organic and nature-identical ingredients, and it has been very popular ever since its launch, especially among women. In 2013, we launched pjur Woman Nude, which is completely free of additives, and last year, we followed that up with pjur med VEGAN glide, a product that does not contain any ingredients of animal origin. So you could say that pjur has been catering to this trend for many years, launching a variety of products in this category for both, men and women.

Does the increasing interest in sexual wellness and sexual health also lead to increasing demand for ‘safe’ products?
Sure. Sexual wellness and sexual health are topics that everybody is interested in nowadays. Whether you’re single, dating, or married – you don’t just use any product on your intimate area. Also, the media continue to create awareness for sexual wellbeing and its importance, regardless of sexual preferences or situation. The older generation in particular has been discovering new and wonderful facets of their sexuality these past years. pjur has the perfect products to cater to this development, and we are more than happy that demand for these products is constantly increasing.

Sexual wellness and sexual health are topics that everybody is interested in nowadays.“

From the very beginning, pjur has banked on quality. Still, did the aforementioned trend lead to any changes in your concept?
As I stated before, we’ve already been catering to this trend for some years, and over the course of time, we have introduced more and more products that are free of additives or only include skin-friendly substances. So this trend didn’t really lead to changes in our concept. Rather, it has made us confident that we are on the right track. Thanks to the philosophy we have followed since day one – to create quality and perfectly safe products – we are well prepared for the future. For instance, pjur Original and pjur Woman – our longest-standing top-sellers – meet the same standard of quality as our latest products, and they are still as popular as ever among our customers.

The number of vegetarians and vegans is constantly growing. Is that a group with great potential for the adult industry and for pjur in particular?
Definitely, yes. We have added an all-vegan product to our range with pjur med VEGAN glide, and of course, it wasn’t tested on animals, either. We are seeing great demand for such products, also in the adult market. There aren’t many companies in this segment that can offer such products while maintaining the quality and lubricating properties of regular glides.

How does a consumer pick a lubricant these days? Which factors influence his decision? For instance, how important is the brand?
What matters is that the consumer trusts the product. Having a great reputation helps, but in order to make a name for yourself, you need to satisfy the consumers time and time again. That is a big advantage for us because we have been active in this market for more than 20 years and all our products offer great quality. Other factors that influence the purchasing decision are advertising and recognisable key visuals such as our yellow dot. This way, the consumers know immediately where to go when they enter a shop for the first time. As for advertising, we believe that less is more. You won’t find much bare skin in pjur ads, instead we go for an emotional approach, and often, there are also things that make the consumers smile. That is a better fit for our quality brand, as our customers have confirmed numerous times. pjur is a brand that people are comfortable talking about, and consequently they are also comfortable buying our products.

Quality is never cheap. Are the consumers in the adult market willing and ready to reach deeper into their pockets for a product of superior quality?
Fortunately, yes! Quality products such as the pjur lubricants can’t be produced cheaply. Quality controls during production alone are quite costly, but because we make that kind of investment, we can guarantee that our products are perfectly safe. Consequently, the consumers are ready to pay a fair price for this kind of quality. And since you only need a few drops of our lubricants, these products can be used for a longer period of time. Looking at it that way, pjur is not really much more expensive than the type of lubricant that is empty after two weeks because you don’t have to buy another one so quickly.

Quality products such as the pjur lubricants can’t be produced cheaply.

How can the trade benefit from the trends we addressed at the beginning of this interview?
The biggest benefit for the trade is obviously additional sales. Many customers who would never have considered shopping in an adult store or online shop see that there are products in this market now which live up to their standards, so they open up to this option. What’s important is that the stores go along with this development. They need to be inviting to new customers, not scaring them off. This means: bright sales floor instead of dark interior, clearly divided into categories so everybody will find what they are looking for. That is the key to success.

How should the trade present their products and which information do they need to have to be able to give advice to, and ultimately win over the consumers?
Yes, apart from what I said before, the professional expertise of the shop owners and sales personnel is also vital. At pjur, we offer product training courses during which our sales team also talks about the ingredients since this is a very important aspect. The sales staff needs to know the various advantages and disadvantages of the products in this segment, and they need to be able to explain to the consumer why a more expensive product offers greater sustainability than the cheaper alternative.

Sustainability, ecological compatibility, fair trade, organic ingredients, top quality – these terms are used to advertise a great many products in the adult market. Then, there are also various seals of quality, labels, etc. Isn’t this extremely confusing for the consumers?
Well, usually, the consumers only see what they want to see. And yes, every producer advertises their product using the labels and test results he scored for this formulations. So the most important thing for the trade is to present the products in an appealing fashion on a clearly arranged store shelf.

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