The well-established Kama Sutra brand is seeking to reposition itself in the European market. To that end, they have set up a sales and marketing team dedicated solely to that market, operating from the Netherlands where the company also has its European logistics centre. The goal is to boost and expand the appeal of the sensual body care brand in custom-tailored ways. Joyce Mallo, who is in charge of marketing and communication at Kama Sutra Europe, talked with EAN about the company’s plans.
Kama Sutra Europe has officially taken up business in November. What has the response from the adult market been like?
Joyce Mallo: Over the last year, we reinvented Kama Sutra, we did a complete rebranding. Opening our European branch was part of the strategy and the response has been great. After more than 47 years in business, retailers are familiar with high quality and unique Kama Sutra products. For this reason, many retailers are happy that a no. 1 brand is relaunched. It creates more variety on their shelves and the end-consumer has something to choose again.
How is the company structured? Is it a European subsidiary of the US company, or is it an independent business entity that distributes the Kama Sutra brand in Europe?
Kama Sutra Europe is the European branch of Kama Sutra Inc., we have our dedicated European sales and marketing-team. Of course, we also have our own warehouse that guarantees fast delivery of our entire range of products.
How long did it take to set up the company? How much time was invested in negotiations with Kama Sutra USA?
To set up the company didn’t take long. But that doesn’t count for the relaunch of Kama Sutra; we’ve completely ‘reinvented’ the brand. In the last years, our American team did a careful rebranding. In order to clean up the market, we didn’t deliver to anyone in Europe for nine months. This was a good way to clean up the market and start with a blank sheet.
What exactly are the tasks and goals of Kama Sutra Europe?
We never lost our original purpose which was established in 1969: to help bring couples together by bringing intimacy into their lives. Kama Sutra has accomplished this original purpose and proudly continues to Make love better®. We want to reach the end-consumer by creating careful growth and a controlled distribution network with local wholesale and retail companies. We’ve set up a training programme to instruct every professional who works with Kama Sutra. Only with well-trained partners can we exceed customers’ expectations every time.
Will there be a focus on certain markets, and if so, which markets?
The European branch is responsible for the entire European market. At this moment, our main focus is to create a dedicated wholesale network over Europe. This means that we will work with one or two wholesale companies in every country.
Kama Sutra is a long-established brand in the adult market, but it has never had a massive presence in Europe. Why is that, and what will Kama Sutra Europe do to change that?
Kama Sutra always had most of its focus on the USA, our home market. Europe never was a big part in this strategy. However, there were successful partnerships in the past, otherwise the brand wouldn’t be well-known. Kama Sutra as a company had its struggles in the past and we’ve learned from them. It is not easy to keep the focus of one team on the USA market and on the other continents at the same time. This is the reason why Kama Sutra has chosen to go for a dedicated branch with a warehouse based in Europe.
Will Kama Sutra Europe be doing business directly with the trade, or will there also be collaborations with distributors and wholesalers?
Yes, we’re creating a wholesale network all over Europe.
What types of support does Kama Sutra offer to its partners in the retail and wholesale trade?
Most importantly: We support our clients with excellent service, training, and merchandising.
What are the strong points of the brand?
Kama Sutra was the first brand that made kissable body care products with irresistible flavours and exciting sensations, but above all: it’s a true story consumers want to buy. Kama Sutra has a history full of love, which I think most people desire to have. The concept is ‘making love better’, and it’s at the heart of every product. Making love better® doesn’t just mean nights in the bedroom with a partner. It’s also about making love towards yourself better; some products are perfect to pamper yourself.
How big is the product range at the moment?
Kama Sutra has twenty-one products, and most products come in multiple flavours. The collection is divided into four sections: ‘Massage and Spa’, ‘Intimacy’, ‘Foreplay’, and ‘Travel Kits and Gift Sets’. The ‘Massage and Spa’ section contains all sorts of massage products, a shaving cream, and a luxurious bath salt. The ‘Intimacy’ section contains an intensifying gel and a water based lubricant. The ‘Foreplay’ section contains a kissable body powder, kissable pleasure balm, and the first product Kama Sutra created: the oil of love – a kissable body oil. The last section contains all sorts of gift sets and travel k its which are easy to carry around.
Is there a difference between the US product range and the product line-up for the European market?
No, the line is the same.
Given the many competing brands in the body care segment, what are your expectations as Kama Sutra Europe enters this contested market?
Our expectations are high, a long history and a well-known brand name as Kama Sutra make our products perfect for the adult market. We stand far above many competitors when it comes to quality or safety. Believe me when I say that developing body care products is not easy, there are many requirements that differ from country to country. We’ve been in business for a long time and we’ve a lot of knowledge on this. All the research and development, manufacturing, quality control, and testing take place in the USA. Every single item carries the Made in USA symbol.
Wellness, wellbeing, sexual health, etc. – will the Kama Sutra brand benefit from these trends?
Yes, of course, our products fit in well with these trends so we’ll automatically benefit from them.
What are the next steps for Kama Sutra Europe?
Becoming a leading sensual body care brand in Europe.