“Everyone has a butt, so I wanted this to appeal to everyone!”

A new collection of three butt plugs – that doesn’t necessary sound very special. But what if this collection marked a collaboration between Alicia Sinclair, the founder of b-vibe, and Zoe Ligon, one the of the best-known influencers of the industry who also owns Spectrum Boutique? Well, that does sound very special. It also sounds like a line of well-designed products worth keeping an eye on. Obviously, EAN was chomping at the bit to learn more about the new b-vibe x Zoe Ligon Textured Collection, which wholesalers can order as of January. So, naturally, we asked the two women for an interview, and they told us how their unique collaboration took shape.

Alicia and Zoë, you joined forces to design the latest butt plugs for b-Vibe. Could you tell us how this cooperation came about?
Alicia Sinclair: It’s always been important to me that I work with people who inspire me to think in new ways about sexuality and specifically about sex toys. I wanted to collaborate with someone who could add a layer of their own into the b-Vibe colIection. Because I loved the Sex Stuff series and have been a fan of Zoe’s social media accounts, artwork, and writing for years, it felt like a natural fit. 

Zoe’s work, while mission-based like my own, attracts a different audience and has look and feel quite different than my approach.  On a personal level her experience and use of sex toys is also different than my own- which was part of the appeal of working together. We combined our two different personal and work experiences into a collection of plugs that uniquely represented us, as designers and educators together. 

What are the mutual characteristics that you or your companies, b-Vibe and Spectrum Boutique, have in common?
Alicia: Both b-Vibe and Spectrum are woman-founded brands with an emphasis on inclusivity, sex-positive education, social acceptance of sex toy use, and body-safe materials.  We’re both visible representatives of our companies and have spent our entire professional lives in the adult industry.  To be honest, I’m surprised we had not worked together sooner. 

Zoë Ligon: b-Vibe is one of the few companies that provides educational materials along with their products – and that’s incredibly important, especially with anal play! Just like with the Spectrum Journal and b-Vibe’s education section, we both believe in being pleasure-positive while providing free access to sex education. We also both think that body safe materials and quality products are important – inexpensive toys can be great for those just getting into the world of toys, but paying a little bit more for a higher quality product means it will last longer, which means you create less waste, and it also means that the people involved in the creation of the product are being paid better wages.

The three plugs in the Textured Collection are inspired by fruit

Why did you choose to create butt plugs instead instead of other products, say, a wand massager?
Alicia: We both really connected on the idea of a butt plug collection and felt that the most opportunity for innovation was in the b-Vibe collection.  It felt really natural to create the Texture Collection. 

Cooperation only makes sense if both sides complement each other. What are the individual strengths in this case, and how do they manifest themselves in the final product?
Zoë: I have no experience with motorised sex toy design and manufacturing whatsoever, and I know it’s incredibly difficult to dive into toy design without a strong relationship with a trusted team. Alicia brought all her years of expertise in the industry. along with a fabulous team, and I just brought the concepts and fresh ideas! Sometimes, we end up working in our own lanes and bubbles for so long that the second we team up, new ideas are birthed.

As the name suggests, the new Texture Plugs add texture to the existing b-Vibe line, which has featured only smooth plugs so far. Could you tell us about the new products in more details? How many are there and how do they differ from each other?
Zoë: The existing b-Vibe plugs all have smooth surfaces and follow the traditional plug silhouette or torpedo shape of the Snug Plugs. I have previously had a few lower-quality textured butt toys that really blew me away anally — the texture makes the insertion process its own separately orgasmic experience. I wanted to improve upon the textures I like — making them gentler rather than scrape-y feeling — and also put them into beautiful, unique colours. They come in three sizes; the smallest is covered in bumps, the middle size has a more intense rope-like texture, and the largest is ribbed. They each massage the sphincter and rectum in different ways which increase with intensity as you go up in size. The nuance of how each one feels is something best experienced rather than described… but sometimes texture makes me finish before I’ve even inserted the plug all the way to be honest!

Why add texture? What does this feature offer to users that other plugs don’t?
Alicia: There are over 4000 nerve endings in the anal sphincter (just as many as the head of the penis and half as many as the clitoris).  Essentially there is tons of pleasure potential and aside from our Rimming Plug, none of our products were designed to specifically pleasure this area.  With three different textures to play with, there is a fun selection process and opportunity to try each of them.  What I personally love most is that these plugs are so multi-use; They can be fully inserted, but their intended use is much like anal beads- to massage the anal sphincter.  These are also quite fun to use vaginally.

The Bump, Swirl, and Twist butt plugs are available in several different sizes

Did you have a specific target audience in mind when creating these plugs?
Zoë: Everyone has a butt, so I wanted this to appeal to everyone! While the smallest plug could absolutely work as an intro plug, I saw these as being a collection for people who are looking to add a little extra pizzazz to butt-time, so it’s also perfect for advanced players.

I noticed that Zoë’s name is not only mentioned in the product name, but that a photo and statement of hers are printed on the packaging. What role does Zoë’s reputation and personality play in marketing Textured Plugs?
Alicia:  I think that Zoe’s personality as a social media influencer, artist, and star of Sex Stuff makes her an icon, specifically for millennials.  As a person quite well known in US, and there being relatively few people like her in our space, it is her reputation and personality that makes folks feel more comfortable and open to trying a sex toy such as our Texture Plugs. 

Now, a more general question: What are the prerequisites for such a cooperation to work in the erotic market and appeal to customers?
Zoë: I think that all b-Vibe releases are a home run. They’re a trusted brand that makes it easy to create something appealing! As a sex educator, I am constantly recommending products by other brands and people, so to finally put my name on something is an exciting draw. The novelty of my design ideas and b-Vibe’s trusted reputation made me feel quite confident leading up to this release!

Could you see yourself engaging in further collaborations with each other in the future? What would that look like?
Alicia: There is definitely more to come, with cooperation in different areas already in the works.  Since Zoe and I connect on many aspects of our business, and we truly enjoyed the process of collaborating (and becoming lifelong friends) this is surely one of many collabs that will be forthcoming. 

Zoë: I would absolutely adore that! We have collaborated in other, smaller ways previously (COTR’s Cowgirl was featured in an episode of my series Sex Stuff) so I know we have more collaborations between us in the future. Whether it’s design or content creation, I’m here for it!