We have been seeing more and more products labelled sex tech that combine adult products and the latest in technology. One of the most successful of these products is Lovely, a cock ring enhanced by an app and a number of digital features. A lot has happened since it launched at the beginning of 2017 – and not just on the software front. Jakub Konik, the founder of Lovely Inc., tells us how the product developed throughout the past year, and what Lovely holds in store for us in the months to come.
It has been one year since you launched your first erotic product called Lovely, a smart cock ring. How was the first year after the launch? Jakub Konik: Despite no previous experience in the sex toy industry, we managed to reach customers from nearly 50 countries using only our website and two warehouses (one for the US and one for EU + rest of the world), plus we got our products approved by Target and Media Markt, where we’ll start selling in the coming weeks.
Besides that, we are working with mainstream brands such as Touch of Modern, the biggest male shopping club on earth, or StackCommerce, which added us as their first adult product.
We are also expanding our adult footprint thanks to partnerships with the best retailers in a given market, for example Sinful in the Nordics, Amorana & Erotikmarkt in the Switzerland or E-Kondomy & Superlove in Czech Republic and Slovakia. Now that I look at it, I have to tell you, it’s been a lot of work, but it’s great to see the results!
Could you sum up what makes Lovely special?
Lovely is not just a normal cock ring – after sex, our app provides couples with personalised suggestions for new positions, stimulation techniques, and other sex-related ideas. Couples use Lovely Tips the next time they’re having sex to diversify and enhance their sex life.
Lovely Tips were created with renowned sex educators and are based on couples’ desires and data from the Lovely sensors. These sensors analyse movement during sex to find out what kind of stimulation the couple enjoys.
Another cool feature – and a big differentiator – is that our app is showing couples how many calories they burned during sex.
Was there something you learned in the past months that you didn’t expect?
We learned how to work with big-box retailers such as Target or Media Markt, which amounts to much more effort, processes, and formalities compared to our usual channels. Also, it’s been fascinating to observe how couples use Lovely to diversify and enhance their sex life, for example which positions they prefer or what desire is the most important to them. We know this from our Lovely connected app where couples express their desires in order to fulfill them while using Lovely during sex.
What feedback have you received from your customers?
We received many thank-you emails and positive reviews, one of which appeared on a whole page in The Sun, a daily UK newspaper with a readership of two million people. We use feedback to constantly improve our app, which has led to the addition of new categories of tips for couples and simpler navigation.
Something that is different when creating a sex-tech product like Lovely, compared to a classical sex toy, is, that you can improve and adapt the software even after the product has been launched. Have you made any changes to the app or do you plan to do so in the future?
You’re right! I think Lovely is the first sex toy in the world that can be updated over-the-air, just like an iPhone or Tesla car. Thanks to that, we have improved how our button works, eliminating the button delay when you turn it on; we have made the vibration stronger by changing motor frequencies; and we have added vibrations patterns – all with a software update that any existing Lovely user could do. Thanks to that, every Lovely is getting better and better with time, and that’s something no other sex toy manufacturer can claim.
Using anonymised data collected by Lovely, you released a map showing the sexual satisfaction in the USA. What else did you learn from the data?
The anonymised data collected by Lovely is a source of reliable information on the true state of human sexuality. We are working with sexologists and doctors who are analysing this data in order to find patterns for things like the true average length of intercourse, which positions people chose, which of these are the most satisfying, and more. A cool feature is that Lovely also tracks calories burned during sex, so we’re able to tell how much of a workout sex really is.
It’s important to mention that this sex-related data is 100% anonymised and we are not able to connect it to any personal data, which we do not collect for security reasons.
What can you tell us about the future plans for Lovely?
We are working on a huge app update and two new products that will help all people enjoy great sex. Our upcoming app update will enable couples to chat with sex educators 24/7 directly from the app in order to receive tips on elevating their sex life. As for our new products, I can’t tell much, but the first one will be even more fun than Lovely and the second one will be related more to the health aspect of human sexuality.
It appears that in the current market, it is often more profitable to rely on proven technology instead of innovating. Would you agree?
This makes sense for incumbent companies with a large production scale and huge distribution network. However, we don’t want to sell products that only vibrate and are cheap to manufacture. We are aiming for much more – apart from delivering good vibes, we provide couples with an advanced, but simple to use app that helps them improve their sex life. There’s much more value in a product like Lovely compared to any other cock ring currently on the market. Customers are already realising that, and with the current pace of tech, this number will grow exponentially.
Let’s take a look into the future. How will the adult market develop within the next few years, especially with regard to sex tech?
I think much more sex-tech products and services will appear, and customers will discover more and more value in using such products and services. What’s also important is that the whole industry is getting more and more mainstream, which will open the best products to new markets. This is what we are doing with Lovely and it is already proving to be successful.
The technological development within and outside of the sex toy market never stands still. Are there any developments you think will have an impact on the adult market in the near future?
This is just a guessing game, but I think with the current advancements in VR and connected sex toys, we might see the development of VR games or worlds where virtual sex will be the main objective. This can not only lead to changes in the market itself, but also to changes in how humans have sex. I also see a lot of space for sex-related products that help people with sex-related health challenges, such as erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness. Apart from that, it’s very interesting to the see erosion of adult distribution chain – it’s too big of a guess to tell what’s going to happen, but I expect the situation to be tumultuous for the next few years.
Are you currently working with distributors? Where can retailers buy Lovely?
We are working with distributors in select countries, but the best way to buy Lovely is still to reach out directly to me at email@example.com. Lovely is very easy to add for both, for offline or online shops, and we provide premium marketing material to help every retailer sell hundreds of Lovelys in their store.