“We redefined the storage category.”
How do I store my sex toys? For most consumers, this isn’t really their main concern. But seeing as these products are used in and on intimate areas of the body, it only seems logical that they be kept in an appropriate place. Enter Passion Playground and their product Joyboxx – one of the most popular options to solve this problem. We interviewed the brand’s founder and CEO, Deborah Semer, talking about the latest improvements to Joyboxx, the collaboration with designer Brian Connor, and her plans for the future of Passionate Playground.
Joyboxx has been on the market for about two years now. What have been the biggest surprises throughout this time?
Deborah Semer: We are just coming up on two years since Joyboxx started shipping to our Indiegogo supporters, US retail chain Babeland and distributor Williams Trading Company, in November 2014. Joyboxx has been available in Europe since March 2015 through Eropartner and has been picked up by all major US retailers throughout 2015. So we think of it more of 1+ solid year of sales.
Every day, I get a new surprise! So many things go sideways in a start-up from production to shipping to funding, so one pleasant surprise is that something went right and 50% of our customers are men. Joyboxx was a conscious unisex design and specifically designed to fit the Fleshlight and other large toys. We don’t know if they are buying for themselves or a partner and hope to find out through a customer survey.
The most unpredictable surprise throughout launch was how long it takes a retailer to come on board and get the sales chain knowledgeable about the many Joyboxx product features.
We redefined the storage category and created two unique products that didn’t exist in the world, so when people realise how affordable and helpful Joyboxx + Playtray is as a system, they think it’s a must have item. However, changing the existing paradigm in adult product sales, that storage should be the first thought, not the afterthought is where we are making a big push. No matter what product a consumer owns, they need a place to store it and set it and wash it and dry it.
Passionate Playground just released the Joyboxx 1.5. How is this box different from the first edition?
It is essentially the same, nothing noticeable other than the packaging and new slider lock and Playtray colours, but it is improved in performance, that’s why it’s 1.5 and not version 2.0.
- Simplified the Joyboxx packaging design to a sophisticated black with magenta and grey that will pop more from the retail shelf.
- Increased the strength of the Joyboxx “easy access” top lid, so it won’t push in with force.
- Added protruding end ribs to Playtray to help products stay put.
- Created 5 new slider lock colours and 4 new Playtray colours so customers can “Build-a-Boxx” and customise their storage system.
- Added a sealed shipping plastic bag with a child safety warning.
Brian Conner was responsible for the new design. What made him the perfect choice to design a storage system for sex toys?
Brian is a world-class designer with so many awards, he stopped counting. He’s also an awesome guitar player so he immediately fit the bill as the right designer. He easily came up with the solution to fix the top lid strength.
Brian says, “Design is about making the world better by intervening through objects. By promoting sexual health and responsible partying, the new Joyboxx line of products will have something for passions of all persuasions.” I look forward to collaborating on these.
How much did user feedback influence the design of the improved Joyboxx?
The improvements we already wanted to make were echoed by the customer feedback. For our next designs, the Stashboxx, the large Joyboxx and small one, we are conducting design surveys and gathering feedback from around the world. Anyone can sign up for our newsletter to be alerted to the official surveys.
You are offering individual Joyboxx designs for wholesalers or adult brands. Which options are available for customisation? What’s the minimum quantity for a customised box?
All of the Joyboxx 1.5 + Playtray parts can be customised with colors and possibly printed designs on the main box or top lids. The MOQ is dependent on the location and production pricing.
“Build-a-Boxx is a Joyboxx brand extension that is a physical product and a marketing campaign.”
Joyboxx is still a product like no other on the adult market – which is notorious for copy cats. How did you manage to stay unique?
Several reasons! First, great design and functions that are Patent Pending backed by a top consumer product law firm.
Second, the design is complex and the tooling a large investment.
Third, Joyboxx was created to go with and enhance all other products on the market, and supported by Phyllis Heppenstall, a legend in the industry, so I created strong relationships with manufacturers to partner with them, not be copied by them.
Fourth: Lower profits and demand – it’s not a $150 sex toy and back to the current paradigm of storage being an afterthought, the consumer doesn’t understand why it’s different than a sock drawer or that this even exists.
You are about to start a new feature called “Build-a-Boxx”. What’s that?
Build-a-Boxx is a Joyboxx brand extension that is a physical product and a marketing campaign.
- Customers can literally build their own Joyboxx by selecting the colour parts. Eventually we will expand this offering with printed designs and want to partner with fashion designers for this.
- We will make sex toy shopping easier for the customer. Every adult toy collection starts with safe storage + Playtray and then they can select from premade kits or continue to DIY and fill their Joyboxx with high quality products from our new Premier Product Partner program. This feature is being built out in phases on our website Joyboxx.com / buildaboxx.com
- Wholesalers can use the Build-a-Boxx with Joyboxx campaign to feature their own select products. We want people to start with the box and then go shopping to fill their box with toy joy.
Which companies are your currently collaborating with on the content of the box?
We have just started reaching out to manufacturers for this and are featuring a few at the Sexual Health Expo in Brooklyn, NY. Downunder Toys from Australia, Uberlube, POP Dildo to name a few.
Starting with a box, customers can build their own (basic) collection with Build-a-Box. But you will also offer some pre-filled boxes. Which products will those boxes include? Will each box have a theme?
Yes we will have pre-filled boxes with themes at different price points. Lube, cleaner, toy, mood enhancers are the core of the kits and the website shopping departments. The selected products are body-safe and high quality and we are sourcing unique and locally made products as well.
Was there a feature you would have liked to implement in the new Joyboxx, but were unable to fit in? What are your plans for Joyboxx 2.0?
Yes the great design debate was incorporating an obvious handle on the top or keeping the “easy access top compartment”. The compartment won and I’m glad it did because it makes it so easy to find condoms, batteries and other small things. The slider locking rail system is not very obvious, but it is currently where you can grab it and carry it, for Joyboxx 2.0 Brian will figure out how to have both!