Everybody is different – people have different body sizes, different body shapes, different preferences, etc. With this in mind, Australian company Design Her Vibes started thinking about a sex toy that could be put together by the consumers according to their individual needs and wishes. We wanted to know what this product will look like, which challenges have accompanied its development, and when we can expect it on store shelves. Tim Hutchinson, founder of Design Her Vibes, answers our questions in this EAN interview.
Design Her Vibes want to give everybody the opportunity to create a vibrator that exactly fits their needs. How do you want to achieve this? Tim Hutchison: DHV have set out to achieve this by creating a modular adult toy that consists of various head, shaft and base attachments and accessories. These attachments come in assorted shapes, sizes and textures and by simply adding the attachments you desire, you can create the toy that you have long been searching for.
How did you come up with this idea and what were the challenges you had to overcome during the design process?
I have always been interested in sex and relationships. My initial interest was in designing sex toys for men as I felt that the market was mainly catering for women. Whilst conducting some research, I stumbled across an article which discussed the “not every shoe fits every foot” concept and the fact that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. This gave me food for thought and from there the idea was born to create a sex toy that could be individually customised.
The challenge with this product was how we were going to make all the pieces fit together whilst still ensuring that we could get power to the various components. The solution to this problem was to create a removable battery/power unit. Some of the other challenges were finding engineers to work with as there is still a large stigma attached to sex toys and the sex industry – we all enjoy sex but nobody wants to admit it. A lot of companies are too scared of potential brand damage. The other major challenge has been sourcing funding for this project. Due to the variety of attachments the costs to bring this product to life are quite significant as there are so many different moulds that need to be made.
Which attachments do you have planned, and could I really combine each piece with any other piece?
There are currently around 30 attachments in the range allowing the consumer to build a multitude of variations, from a small vibrator to a large long vibrator or even a double ended vibrator/dildo or strap-on. Our ideal is to launch with all the attachments we have designed thus far however it is very much dependent on the success of our fund/capital raising.
There are obviously a couple of limitations when connecting the pieces but with a little imagination the possibilities are almost endless. In fact, we managed to build a sword-like toy!
Currently, a lot of design work goes into ensuring that vibrators are easy to use. How will you make sure that the customisation options aren’t achieved at the expense of usability?
No-one wants to use a vibrator/dildo that is clunky and difficult to manipulate, so ease of use has always been at the forefront of our design process. With this in mind, we built in the following features:
Easy to attach screw thread on each attachment – one turn on each attachment locks it into place;
Removable battery for quick, easy and discreet charging;
Magnetic on/off switch with a battery saving feature;
Wireless remote control to change the vibrating patterns and intensity.
Vibration strength is another keystone for a successful vibrator. How did you make sure that the vibrations reach all the right spots?
The length of the DHV can be customised whether your preference is for it to be longer or shorter. With this in mind, we included 2 powerful vibrators in each removable vibrating unit (one vibrator at each end), to ensure that there is a consistent, powerful vibration through the entire length of the toy and not just at the tip.
What can you tell us about the team behind DHV? Do you have previous experience in manufacturing sex toys?
The team at DHV is as follows: Tim, that’s me. I am the founder and brain child behind DHV. I’m an artist (sketching erotic nudes) in my spare time and I have always believed that everyone should experience the world’s most natural high and the best sexual experiences. DHV has been my passion for the last 2 years and I am determined to bring this product to market allowing people to enjoy the alone or couples time at an affordable price.
Dallys is a Co-Founder and my wife and is responsible for pushing me to develop the DHV product. Without her DHV would still be floating around in my brain. She has had to endure many a night of listening to design ideas, road blocks and solutions. She is also responsible for ensuring that the mumbo jumbo you are reading through now makes sense and is formatted correctly, yep she is also responsible for the admin side of things. Simon is one of the directors at DHV and has played a large role in assisting with research, funding and design concepts. Craig has been involved in the adult industry for 15+ years and was a director of one of Australia’s top online adult sex stores. He is my mentor and has been a backer of DHV since its inception. Steve has been instrumental in sourcing our manufacturers and managing this relationship. He will also be involved with the supply chain and logistics aspects of DHV.
The manufacturer of DHV has produced some of the world’s top-selling sex toys that can be found in stores today. Adhering to the highest quality standards means that DHV brings you a sex toy of the highest quality. This is our first attempt at manufacturing and it has been a steep learning curve. We have a portfolio of unique adult products that we will be working on which we would like to see come to market over the coming months/years.
One concern when putting together my own vibrator could be that germs take hold in the gaps and inside of the attachments. Must the users be particularly careful in this regard when using your toy?
Precautions should always be taken when using sex toys and cleanliness should always be front of mind. The DHV range of toys has been designed so that the attachments are easy to clean. We have used 100% medical grade silicone which can withstand temperatures of up to 160 degrees ensuring any germs that may be lurking around are killed. The attachments can be easily cleaned either by submersing them in freshly boiled water or alternatively placing them into the dishwasher for a thorough cleanse. The attachments are 100% waterproof once connected and locked into place which also ensures that germs are not able to penetrate the toy during use.
How far along are your plans right now? When can we expect to see the first products in stores?
We currently have the working go-to-market prototype, which needs a couple of minor final adjustments. Currently, our biggest hurdle is the production cost. We are hoping to have a round of capital raising during the next couple of months and, if successful, we plan to be in stores during the second quarter of 2017.
Your product is still in development, but can you maybe give us a price estimation? And are you looking for distribution partners at this point?
The DHV range is expected to retail at US$119 for a complete beginners’ set comprising of 1 base, 1 shaft and 1 head attachment as well as a vibrating rechargeable battery unit and wireless remote control. Additional attachments are expected to retail at around US$30, allowing you to customise and create a new experience at a very low price point.
DHV will look to use a distribution model as this is certainly the quickest way to market.
You will start a crowdfunding campaign to let your ideas become reality. How can retailers support you if they think that the DHV would be a good addition to their portfolio?
DHV tested the waters with a launch on Indiegogo but had some major problems with our marketing/PR company which failed to drive traffic to our campaign and grow visibility of the product. We have started to grow awareness through social media platforms and our website and will run another crowd funding campaign once we have adjusted our marketing. We hope to launch on Kickstarter (if they approve the content) or alternatively will relaunch on Indiegogo before the end of 2016. The pricing on this campaign will be substantially discounted as we are not aiming to make a profit through the campaign but rather are hoping to raise enough money to be able to cover the manufacturing cost to simply get this product out into the market.
If anyone is interested in getting into bed with us (pun intended) and help us to bring DHV to life, they can contact us via our website or the crowdfunding campaign. The best support for the campaign is simply to make a purchase or by telling your friends about us. The success of any crowd funding campaign is being able to drive enough backers to it and this can only be done by making the product go viral (in a good way of course)!