The British company Behind Barz brings fantasies to life – in the form of hand-made metal products such as chastity belts and bondage beds. To gain insights into the company’s activities and philosophy, EAN asked Joe Francis, the Creative Director of Behind Barz, for an interview.
Since when has Behind Barz been producing chastity belts and why have you decided to focus on this special product category?
Joe Francis: In 2013, we were approached to create a male chastity belt for a client who was unhappy with the products on the market and wanted a handcrafted belt from a skilled metal worker. We set out to design and manufacture the highest quality male chastity belt we could. The initial design was researched, built, tested, reviewed, amended and so on. This went on for over a year until we were happy with what we had created. Our client was overwhelmed with what we had made and suggested that there was a need for a product of this quality in the market.
Further development then followed to design and build our Behind Barz Complete System that would allow people of different shapes and sizes to be able to own our creation. We consulted numerous chastity aficionados and listened to issues they had encountered with other chastity devices and belts. We sent several prototypes across the world and finalised a design that was comfortable, functional and absolutely secure.
We thoroughly enjoy working with our clients; providing a service and building products that they love passionately. Quite often (although not always the case) we are approached by people who are unable to discuss their desires with family or friends so us offering a welcoming non-judgmental provision is positively life altering for those people.
You say that your Behind Barz Male Chastity Belt (BBCB) is the best product of its kind on the market today. However, there are numerous other producers in this field. What makes you so sure that yours is the number one product?
The design of our chastity belts and additional accessories appeals to men as well as women. Our premium products are for the fetish devotees or couples interested in expanding their sexual experiences with chastity. We are entirely customer focused, proactively gaining and assessing feedback and acting upon requests. Nurturing relationships and continuing to satisfy our customers is a crucial part of our business.
The data speaks for itself, the views of people who purchase our belts is that our products are of highest quality with features and benefits that can’t be matched. They can wear their Behind Barz belts for long extended periods, not just for a few hours, without any health or hygiene problems. They experience no discomfort so they can continue their normal daily routines. They can sleep in it comfortably. It’s adjustable so will still fit if weight fluctuates by a size up or down. There are no issues using the toilet and you can thoroughly wash in the shower or bath and crucially it is impossible to escape!
The concept of our brand extends far beyond just our company logo to our business’ core values and to every interaction we have with customers and suppliers. In effect, our brand creates and maintains our reputation and so reflects our customers’ experience of our organisation.
You set great store by quality. How is this quality reflected in your chastity belts?
Quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs. Our craftsmen insist on using only the finest materials and ensure the greatest of care is taken when creating each and every belt. Our brand success has to be attributed to the great quality and craftsmanship that define the Behind Barz products. A great chastity belt is one that the wearer loves to hate and hates to love.
You cannot separate the process and the human factor, therefore we believe that quality, when built into a product, generates emotions and feelings within those who have taken part in its creation. When you have made something that you are proud of, when you have produced a product that brings smiles and genuine satisfaction to your customers, then you have achieved quality. You’ll know it, they’ll know it, and each of you will thrive from it.
For a layman, steel is steel. However, you use ‘316 surgical stainless steel’. Would you mind giving us an overview of the special characteristics of this type of steel?
Our chastity belts are indeed made of medical grade 316 stainless steel which is the most hygienic as the belts can be boiled completely clean to remove any build-up of bacteria. The benefits of 316 stainless steel include a long service life that will retain an attractive, clean finish with low maintenance cost to our clients.
Technically speaking type 316 stainless steel is an austenitic chromium-nickel stainless and heat-resisting steel with superior corrosion resistance as compared to other chromium-nickel steels when exposed to many types of chemical corrosives such as sea water. Since 316 stainless steel alloy contains molybdenum bearing it has a greater resistance to chemical attack than 304. Type 316 is durable, easier-to-fabricate, clean, weld and finish. Wakey wakey!
Quality usually has its price – what’s the price range for your chastity belts?
Our handcrafted stainless steel chastity belts are made to measure, they fulfil those essential demands of orgasm and intercourse prevention, absolute security, impossible to unlock without the key, undetectable under clothing, uninterrupted wear for extended periods enabling normal life and they will last a lifetime!
Our base model starts at £495 and our Complete Systems range from £660 to £725 depending on Outer Cage type and colour specification. As our products are made by hand they can be customised to suit the wearer (or Mistress or Master). We are routinely commissioned to carry out bespoke items to accessorise our chastity range. Modifications can be undertaken to incorporate piercings, electronic devices, plug play, restraint points and many other options.
Recently, you added the ‘Bondage Beds’ to your range. What can you tell us about those?
We were commissioned last year to design and make a bondage bed, this particular client (a couple) wanted a range of equipment incorporated into the bed design to include stocks, a cage, tie points and a queening stool! They also wanted this equipment to be hidden when not in use and out of sight of their children. It was quite a task but once finished our clients told us we had exceeded their expectations and were delighted with the result. We were very proud of what we had made.
So we decided to launch a new range of handcrafted bondage beds, this was requested by clients who were familiar with the quality of our work and also from people who aren’t necessarily into chastity but love metal products and furniture! They are ideal in any environment from a master bedroom to a fabulously equipped dungeon. Using only the finest quality materials, we offer a unique bespoke design service and can custom make to suit a wide variety of requirements. Excellence, superior design and client delight are key to the quality of our beds.
How many different models can the consumers choose from?
Our quality handcrafted bondage beds are available in both Double and King Size and are fully customisable to suit a wide range of taste and style. Attachment points for suspension and restraint play are optional and can be located anywhere you choose and the beds can be finished in any colour you wish.
We like to work with clients on an individual basis and as with all of our products there are no boundaries to what we can create. Our base model design is shown on the website which features slide and hide sides to offer elegance and total discretion for the discerning Kinkster.
How does the production of beds and chastity belts differ? Are your beds also hand-made and tailored to customer requests?
There are some obvious differences in the production methods of these goods, one being the size dissimilarity of the two products and the space required for the build. But there are also many similarities as all of our products, be it a chastity belt or bondage bed, are individually made by hand and tailored to requests.
Upon launching your ‘Bondage Beds’, you also entered into a collaboration with Sheets of San Francisco. What are the specifics of this collaboration, and why are Behind Barz and Sheets of San Francisco a good match?
The guys at Sheets of San Francisco are such lovely people and their products are exceptional. By partnering with the team there, we are able to offer our bespoke beds complete with top quality fluid-proof bedding (to protect the mattress from whatever is thrown at it). Resistant to a wide range of fluids including lubes, massage oils and even for wax play. With a bed from Behind Bars and bedcovering from Sheets of San Francisco there is no better bed!
So many products in the fetish segment are made by hand and tailored to consumer wishes. What is the reason for this?
Many personal items necessitate being ‘made to measure’ so they fit perfectly and are comfortable. By tailoring to consumer wishes a person can customise a design to suit their own preferences. The more the product is tailored to customer requirements, the better the product is evaluated in terms of quality and the more the customer is satisfied. You can’t compare mass produced products to artisan created goods in terms of inspiration, quality, and attention to detail. With global, online market places, the sky is the limit for sellers desiring to reach new audiences and for buyers wanting to purchase quality handmade items outside of their local markets.
Who is the target audience for your products?
Male chastity is a lifestyle that has really caught on in popularity over the last several years and our target audience for these products has widened as a result. It includes men (irrespective of sexuality) and women who have already chosen this lifestyle and are already a part of this extensive community and also those who are considering entering male chastity. For most it is not a sudden decision nor is it taken lightly as there are still many mysteries surrounding this lifestyle. We target to open minded couples who choose chastity to help them arrange their lives in such a way that sexuality isn’t misused. For our other products to include the beds we target to all into the fetish lifestyle with a passion for metal that’s magnificently made.
How have you been marketing your products thus far? Which channels of distribution have you been using?
It was to be expected that we would have to work with people by showing them our products, letting them try the belts out and building trust. Many clients shared with us that they had experienced negative encounters in the past by spending large sums of money on belts to find they didn’t fit, were impractical to wear and some even sustained personal injuries by substandard belts.
We wanted to do everything we could to help them overcome their initial (and understandable) hesitations. We broadcast our advantages and were clear with clients from the start. We are very happy to say this has lead on to us gaining a reputation as a reliable and honest company. Word is spreading by the people who have bought and reviewed our belts. We deliver on what we say and we make our products work as intended.
We have profiles on Twitter, FetLife, Chastity Mansion, LockedMEN and Tumblr. We encourage people to get involved with the Chastity Trophy Awards. We distribute direct to clients via our website and offer workshop visits whereby people can book to come and meet the designer and look at the products in person. We also have online retailers who carry our range like UberKinky.
Are you interested in collaborations with European retailers, or do you prefer working with wholesalers and/or distributors?
We take much pleasure in working with wholesalers and distributors and, yes, certainly, we are always open to collaborations with European retailers that will prosper all involved!