Dame Products impressively demonstrated how you launch a sex toy company in today’s market. And they know how to make quality products, too. Their Eva has turned into a big success since it was launched one year ago. In our interview, Alexandra Fine, psychologist and co-founder of Dame Products, tells us more about the development and the success of Eva.
The story of your product Eva reads like an example of how a start-up company is supposed to work: a highly successful crowdfunding campaign, a well received, unique product, and an expansion into the existing market. Were the first two years of Dame Products everything you hoped for when you started? Alexandra Fine: These last few years have really exceeded our expectations. We couldn’t believe the initial reception from the consumers. Which really helped us partner with some of the best distributors in the market. All that being said, we still feel like we are at the beginning of our journey. We have more products to make and more channels to open. We’re well on our way to releasing our next product, which we believe is another unique toy that will help us continue to stand out.
Just in case somebody doesn’t know Eva yet, could you describe your product for us? What makes it special?
Eva is very unique — it’s a hands-free couples’ vibrator that’s held in place between the labia using its two flexible wings. Its three-speed motor delivers clitoral stimulation while leaving the vagina open for penetrative sex, letting users focus on intimacy instead of fussing with a sex toy.
Most products on the erotic market are designed for women, yet no other product looks like Eva or has the same functionality. How would the market have to change, in order to produce more innovations like yours?
Better research. We got into this business because we felt that other companies were coming up with ideas and bringing them to market without actually testing anything. We were tired of ineffective shapes and confusing controls, for instance. We developed Eva with the help of tons of feedback from the real women who helped test the early prototypes, and it shows. We have to start with the customer first.
Where do you see current trends in the erotic market and which kind of products should we look out for in your opinion?
Suction seems pretty wild, and I’m interested to see where it goes. Connected apps are also interesting, as long as they give the customer valuable data. For instance, don’t just tell someone about changes in their vagina’s temperature — tell them what those changes actually mean.
How was the feedback by your customers to Eva? Did you have to make any changes to the original design?
Of course! Feedback was a huge part of our development roadmap, and it still is. We made a ton of tweaks based off our testers’ observations when we were first prototyping Eva. For example, we thought that adding a little more material to the ends of Eva’s wings would make it more comfortable. But when we tested it, the opposite was actually true! You really can’t make assumptions. You have to test, test, test.
Eva was brought to the market by crowdfunding, where you surpassed your goal by far. How important was this approach for Dame Products in terms of financing as well as marketing?
Cash flow is a huge issue for a consumer electronic start-up. Putting money down months before you’ll make it back is a major constraint on our ability to support our own growth. The public’s incredible response to Eva is much of why we’re here today.
“We got into this business because we felt that other companies were coming up with ideas and bringing them to market without actually testing anything.”
What would you say, are the biggest challenges for companies, who try to gain a foothold on the erotic market?
Money issues don’t stop with capital, like I said above. Securing lines of credit and courting investors is tricky for people in the adult business, no matter how approachable your branding is. And advertising has proven a real hassle. Many platforms won’t run our ads, and those that do have limitations that don’t allow us to engage shoppers with direct messaging.
Where should interested retailers turn to, if they want to pick up Eva for their stores?
They should see if their distribution partners already offer Eva, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
When will we see EVA 2.0? Or do you have something completely different in mind for the future?
We’re always working on improving Eva — after all, we now have tens of thousands of users happy to give us their feedback. You’ll have to wait and see what our very next product is but it isn’t Eva 2.0!