“Companies know that INTIMI EXPO is synonymous with good business.”

When the very first INTIMI EXPO took place in 2015, ten exhibitors presented their products to the Brazilian trade audience.  On March 27, 2020, INTIMI EXPO will take place for the sixth time, and within this short period of time, the number of exhibitors has quintupled. Now, that’s what you call growth. Moreover, the event is expected to draw an audience of up to 10,000 visitors from all over the world, as Susi Guedes tells us. In our interview with the founder and organiser of the show, she also brings us up to date on the current developments in the Brazilian market.

INTIMI Expo will open its gates to the south American erotic market for the sixth time in 2020. Before we talk about this latest instalment, could you tell us how it all started? Why did you decide to launch an erotic fair in Sao Paulo back then?
Susi Guedes: In 2020, we will have the 6th INTIMI EXPO, and it is very interesting to look at the event’s trajectory because it makes you realise how much we have grown and evolved.

In addition to my event company, I’m also a fashion journalist, and I have a publisher; and one of my publications was a lingerie magazine. Because of the magazine, we came to be sought after by erotic companies that wanted to advertise; as they had great success with these ads, a bond of credibility and friendship was created, and then these same companies came to us suggesting that we do an Intimate and Sensual Business Fair, as there were none in Brazil and Latin America ( B2C fairs only).

I spent about one year researching the market and in view of the good prospects, I decided to create INTIMI EXPO. Since we didn’t want to be just another fair, I analysed every detail and used my feminine sensibilities to make sure this would be a different kind of show with regard to the aesthetics of booths and the pavilion, the service and atmosphere. These details were fundamental to the success of INTIMI.

From the first edition in 2015 to the upcoming edition in 2020, there have been six years of hard work and growth. We doubled in size and increased the number of exhibitors by three.

In addition to Brazilian companies, we also have participants from around the world who are of worldwide relevance, participating with their own booths or through their local representatives – companies such as: Satisfyer, Fun Factory, WeVibe, Tenga, Adrien Lastic, Pretty Love, Zalo, Sense Max, and many others who have participated in previous editions, or who have confirmed participation in 2020.

In the first year, we had just over 10 exhibitors, and around 2,000 visitors, in 2019 there were 7,200 visitors and 35 exhibitors, and the forecast for 2020 is 10,000 buyers and 50 exhibitors. On these three days of the event, 4 to 6 months’ worth of production or imports will be sold.

The organisers expect to welcome up to 10,000 visitors at the 2020 event

Could you explain the concept of the show to us? What can visitors and exhibitors look forward to when attending Intimi Expo?
Companies know that INTIMI EXPO is synonymous with good business. Manufacturers and importers are preparing all year round to serve customers from all over the country, and also from neighbouring countries in Latin America who visit the Fair to update and renew their stocks.

We are not a common fair, we innovate in offering an extensive programme of lectures, with themes focusing on business, social networking, customer service, sexuality, relationships, training, legislation, customer loyalty, financial management, and several others that help participants develop their business. In addition, we have parades, exhibitions, dance classes, collaborations with health NGOs, and many activities that are attractive to the audience.

INTIMI is created and realised by me, a woman. My team is also almost exclusively made up of women; this makes us a little different from most other fairs, as there is always a feminine viewpoint, and there is no vulgarity, no explicit attractions. We even have a place to address social problems such as violence against women, information on STD prevention, and we encourage female entrepreneurship (which often takes women out of risk situations). These and other elements make INTIMI a unique fair.

Our exhibitors invest a lot of time and effort in creating beautiful, functional and cosy spaces where they receive their clients, and as a result we have one of the most beautiful and pleasant fairs in the world.

How many exhibitors do you expect next March in Sao Paulo?
We will have around 50 exhibitors, with booths ranging from 12 to 200 m², and over 120 brands represented.

Which segments of the market make up the majority of your exhibitors and visitors?
Companies from the fields of Sensual Cosmetics, Sex Toys, Lingerie, Health and Wellness, receive distributors, shopkeepers and door to door dealers at their booths. In Brazil, we have a large volume of independent retailers who visit people at home; among the Brazilian public, there is still has a bit of a taboo about visiting sex shops, and many prefer this kind of personalised service. These dealers (mostly women) help a lot in moving the market and need to be understood and serviced differently.

Lectures and presentations are part and parcel of the INTIMI Expo programme

Is INTIMI Expo predominantly a Brazilian affair, or are there lots of international participants?
There is still a predominance of Brazilian companies, but we are moving towards a balance between Brazilian and foreign brands. Many foreign brands have already participated with their own booths, or as part of the booth of their representatives in Brazil.

INTIMI takes place in Sao Paulo, which is not only the biggest city in Brazil, but also the country’s most important centre for finance and business. Why did you choose this city as the base for the show?
Sao Paulo is really the most important city in Latin America when it comes to business and given my experience of over 20 years as director of an events company, I understand the city well. Location, infrastructure, and manpower were also important criteria, besides Sao Paolo offers great tourism options for those visiting the city during the Fair.

What does the city have to offer besides the INTIMI Expo?
Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world. We have culture, gastronomy, parties, parks, and many leisure options. The Brazilians in general are a warm and kind people; and all who come to INTIMI, will have the opportunity to – on top of doing good business – visit a city that blends history with avant-garde, tradition with modernity. They are all welcome!

What are the advantages of presenting products at INTIMI? Why should no manufacturer miss out on this show?
Brazil and Latin America in general, despite having a very liberal image, still carry many taboos regarding sexuality, and the consumption of erotic products is still very limited in relation to population size. We are the market with the greatest growth potential, and one of the largest populations in the world. To be part of this growth is a very smart business strategy.

But we must warn anyone who wants to conquer the Brazilian Market, for unfortunately we are a country with very strict laws regarding product certification, our taxes are very high, and as yet, there is not really a tradition of using erotic products. You must be prepared to understand and find solutions to these questions.

Many companies do not even try to come to Brazil because they focus only on the problems they will face. And those problems definitely exist, so I always warn everyone; but historically, only the companies that face challenges grow, and those that have faced the challenge of conquering the erotic market in Brazil and in Latin America, have had good results.

For those who want to sell here, looking for a good partner in Brazil is essential and as we are a still young market, Brazilian companies are also adapting to these changes, finding partners and finding solutions depending on demand.

Generally speaking, in any segment, participation in fairs is an opportunity for brand growth and brand-building. In this sense, INTIMI is the best option for companies in the sensual market.

Sex toy use in Brazil has grown considerably in recent years

What can you tell us about the prices for the booths at the show?
The average investment is similar to other fairs in this segment worldwide, but with extra benefits related to the growing market, and the exchange rate is also favourable to foreign currencies.

Is there a programme structuring the show or is the focus of the event exclusively on exhibitor-visitor interaction?
There is extensive parallel programming within the fair itself in order to promote knowledge, training, and networking.

How would you sum up the current situation of the erotic market in Brazil? Which trends and developments have the greatest effect on the marketplace right now?
The Brazilian erotic market is different from other countries in several ways, some beneficial, others not so much. Taxes and legislation make it difficult for companies to act. But those willing to invest and commit to the market have had great results. Growth has been constant, progressive and intense.

The widespread use of erotic products in Brazil is still a recent development, with most of the growth having taken place in the past two decades, and in the last 6 or 7 years, this consumption has increased greatly, due to information, the erosion of taboos, and movies and successful series linked to the subject, which have piqued the curiosity of the general public and helped in this growth.

The stigma of shady shops, associated with pornography and poor service, is fading, as is this kind of store itself. Now, sex shops are getting more sophisticated, some are themed, some retailers also have events in their stores.

Younger audiences like to consume erotic products, older people are opening up to new possibilities, and understand that erotic products can be great allies for sex and well-being.

In addition, door-to-door dealers are an impressive phenomenon – there are thousands of them. Some work exclusively by meeting with friends, via social networks, YouTube channels, and groups on Whatsapp; others use the sale of erotic products as an income supplement, and with the high unemployment rate in the country, many women have found a great job and income option in this segment.

There are no official figures, but we have been doing some informal research at our event, and we have seen increasing numbers of independent visitors, retailers, and retailers.

Final consumption is mostly female, but things are beginning to balance out, and men are less embarrassed to buy erotic products. BDSM-related products still have achieved a limited level of acceptance, and consumption among LGBT audiences has also evolved. Cosmetics have long been the best-selling products, but sex toys have been catching up, and the growth in vibrator sales has grown exponentially.

Keeping the show going for so long isn’t easy. How will you celebrate this event?
Organising and hosting such an event is really very difficult, but it is also enjoyable. We have established ourselves as the largest and most important fair for this segment in Latin America, and companies recognise this status, investing in well-designed booths, bringing content and information to the visitors, and launching modern and engaging products at each edition of INTIMI. The fair is a year-round event, visitors are looking forward to going to INTIMI and that makes us happy and proud as we feel we make a difference. We will not have any special celebration, my team and I are dedicated to make a fair that brings results and joy to all, and so far, it has worked out great. But I promise to think of a very special celebration for when we turn 10, and you and the EAN readers are all invited!