2015 marks the tenth year since the founding of Tenga, and it also marks a remarkably busy year for the Japanese manufacturer. The Tenga team have already launched a vacuum controller for their CUP series, an innovation that will soon be complemented by the so-called Air Tech series which is compatible with the company’s re-usable masturbators. What’s more, Tenga will introduce their own cock ring and new products in the iroha line before the year is out. In our interview with Eddie Marklew, we talk about all these products, but Tenga’s Global Marketing Manager also grants us a glimpse at the new technologies the Tenga R&D department are currently exploring, and he tells us what fans of the brand can be looking forward to in 2016.
Most of the year 2015 lies behind us already. How did the year go for Tenga so far?
Eddie Marklew: It’s been a bumpy ride but our efforts in the first half of 2015 are starting to come to fruition and it’s great to see it all coming together. We’re gradually building up our EU warehouse and hope to be able to service our distributors all that much better for our products to be available to retailers across Europe; Autumn and winter 2015 will see the launch of some greatly anticipated products; and we have some fun promotions coming up for Europe starting end of this year and increasing our efforts in consumer awareness come 2016!
Before we talk about what’s ahead, which products did Tenga release most recently?
Out since September is our Vacuum Controller attachment for the CUP Series – an electronic vacuum that not only boasts stronger suction than most on the market but coupling with our CUPs makes them feel amazing at the same time!
Tenga is planning to release a couple of new products this fall. Can you give us any details about what we can expect?
We have the Vacuum Controller, along with a brand new AIR-TECH that’s compatible with the Vacuum Controller for men, a strong vibrating cock ring for couples and from the iroha brand we have three new products coming out in the form of iroha+!
One of your new products is a couples product. What makes a product a couples product, in contrast to a product only for men or women? How did you implement this into your product?
A couple’s product in its broadest definition could be anything; our TENGA EGGs make a great example as these are regularly purchased for use in partnered play. While the couple’s item we have coming up is primarily for coupled play while attached on a penis or other shaft, couple’s products in the sense of sex toys can be anything that improves the sex life of a couple – from the obvious cock rings and lubes to even coupled use of solo toys. Since all TENGA products are non-obscene they’re easy for any couple to introduce to the bedroom.
You have announced two new products for men as well. Will they be in line with the classical Tenga cups and eggs, or will we see something completely new?
The new men’s product is the AIR-TECH VC (Vacuum Controller Compatible.) This will allow fans of TENGA to use the Vacuum Controller with a reusable item to make the item more accessible to those averse to buying multiple CUPs.
Tenga’s female line iroha has always put much emphasis on well-designed products with a unique look. Will your new female oriented product be along the same lines?
Very much so. Those who have used our iroha lines agree that the new shapes make for great new ways to play, along with their unmatched feel thanks to the anti-dust, soft touch silicone. I think the world has seen enough copies of existing products, and iroha challenges the norm in exactly the same way TENGA did 10 years ago.
When will these products be launched? Can European retailers expect them in time for the Holiday season?
We are working day-and-night to make this a reality!
You have told me that the Tengas R&D department has been busy exploring the field of virtual or augmented reality. What are you working on and when will we see the results?
We’re still in very early stages, but many people have already seen our prototype with Japanese company Illusion for the VR TENGA (an item that uses the Oculus Rift, Novint Falcon feedback controller and TENGA CUPs) for VR stimulation. While this is unlikely to see a release soon, there are many technological advancements that are stimulating our R&D team to come up with innovative methods of utilising these new technologies!
Even though VR is a growing field not only for sex toys, it’s still not what I would call a mass market. When do you expect this to change?
The reaction we got from the VR TENGA was largely humorous; makes for a great awareness boost but in reality the general public are afraid of using something that involves so many peripherals. The way I see it, the near future is still in App-based innovations, until the “bulkiness” of VR/AR comes down a bit.
Teledildonics, Control apps, VR, and new methods of movement and stimulation… where will we see the biggest technological improvements of our sex lives in the near future?
The future is a mystery but a mix of all of these will make for a very interesting approach to sex and novelties I’m sure. As for their uses… let’s keep it under covers for now – we’ll let you know once we have some more concrete products!
Tenga will again have a booth at the eroFame this year. Are you going to present all your new developments to the market? What do you have in store for the visitors?
Of course! We hope to showcase the new products the most this year as many people are already aware of the brands in general. Getting a chance to touch and fiddle with these is definitely the best way you can see for yourself how these new products will work, rather than just our website pics and videos!
It seems as if masturbators are getting more popular by the day. Is that an assessment you would agree to? If yes, can Tenga benefit from this trend?
TENGA has been a large part of this movement away from the taboo of men using toys, as the pioneers of non-obscene tools to make masturbation better. We hope we can keep this trend up with even more amazing products coming in the next few months – we have a BIG new product for Spring/Summer 2016 as well so keep an eye out for that!