The distribution segment of the erotic market is highly competitive, but there are still new companies ready to carve out their own niche and make a name for themselves with ambitious ideas and concepts. Take Intimate Distribution, for example. Tim Faber, who started the company in 2017, tells us what you need to make it in the distribution business as the new guy on the block.
Before we go in-depth on your company, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself. For instance, how did you get into the industry, and what did you do before?
Tim Faber: My name is Tim, born and raised in the Netherlands. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, I learned about doing business from an early age. Having started my career as a business owner in health and fitness in 2013, I joined the adult industry in early 2016, setting up my own business, Intimate Distribution, the following year.
When did you start Intimate Distribution, and what was your motivation to take this step?
Having worked for a global company in the adult industry for over a year, one day I looked around and felt a need to become more agile and stay abreast of new trends. This sparked an ambition to set up Intimate Distribution in 2017.
The distribution business is fiercely competitive in the erotic industry, with lots of players vying for the trade’s affection. Why did you decide to get into this market segment?
To enter into a saturated market as an entrepreneur, you have to have some form of affection for what you are selling, and more importantly for those who you are selling to. I’ve first got into the erotic industry while working for an international distribution company. I travelled a lot and I learned about this industry and its many different forms, in different countries and cultures. And I believe the international aspect and diversity of the clientele creates lots of business opportunities ready to be exploited, despite of how over-crowded the market seems.
What do you do differently from your competitors? What sets Intimate Distribution apart?
It’s easy to be different, but difficult to be different and better. We’re a young, dynamic, and agile company looking to carry exclusive products in our portfolio. Not just as order items but to have them in stock, ready for instant delivery. By anticipating the market, providing personal service, and being able to deliver exclusive products within an acceptable timeframe, we aim to position Intimate Distribution as a first-rate supplier.
“By anticipating the market, providing personal service, and being able to deliver exclusive products within an acceptable timeframe, we aim to position Intimate Distribution as a first-rate supplier.”
How has the industry responded to Intimate Distribution thus far? Have your expectations been met?
I go above and beyond to make my customers happy, be it going door to door in Amsterdam shops or flying to Russia for a one-hour customer visit. It’s important to know and see the customers as we do business. I believe, it’s why we have such a good relationship with them, and any complaints are dealt with immediately. I’m quite confident the people I work with get what they are looking for in a distribution partner.
Would you mind giving us an overview of the products and brands that are available from Intimate Distribution?
We’re proud to have been part of building the Lola Toys and Indeep brands. They are by far the most successful ones in our portfolio. Beside these brands, we offer a wide range of drugstore and toy articles. You can find them all at www.intimatedistribution.com.
How do you pick the products for your assortment? Which boxes do brands and products have to tick for you to pick them up?
I believe there are two moments of truth. First moment of truth is packaging – that determines whether a product goes off the shelf or whether it stays on the shelf. The second moment of truth has to do with the quality and functionality of the product. Although we don’t like to stay mainstream, there are basic quality aspects that you need to meet for products to make their way into people’s homes. What we look for in products are features such as medically approved silicone or rechargeability.
Several brands are available exclusively from Intimate Distribution. How important is exclusive distribution for you with regards to standing out from the competition?
Carrying an exclusive brand portfolio is a way of creating an identity for your business. It forces you to focus on these brands, approach the right customers and create long-lasting business relationships. I believe that, in the long run, the latter is what will set a company – like Intimate Distribution – apart from its competitors.
These days, the product range is just one element of many that determine a distributor’s success. What can you tell us about your service and logistics?
We’re a young, dynamic, and agile company looking to carry exclusive products in our portfolio. Not just as order items, but to have them in stock, ready for instant delivery.
Who are your customers? Do you mainly work with retailers in the erotic market, or do you also have customers in the mainstream market?
We currently distribute to wholesalers, specialist retailers, and web-shops all over Europe, including several customers in the mainstream market. It’s a growing marketplace, and we’ve decided to create an offering tailored specifically to those customers.
The traditional supply chain of producer-wholesaler/distributor-retailer is coming apart in many European countries: Producers sell directly to the consumers, distributors launch their own brands, retailers act as wholesalers, etc. How do you feel about this development?
I believe it’s an inevitable development that can be seen in many industries, across many countries. Free movement of goods, information age 2.0, and colossal web shops have shaken up business structures and will continue to do so for years to come. I believe it’s a swim or sink situation, and the only way to survive is to adapt. We’ve recently changed our long-term strategy to turn these challenges into opportunities for the future.
What are your plans for this year and beyond?
2019 is gearing up to be a big year for us. We’re working hard to keep up with orders coming in and maintaining our level of service. We will expand our portfolio, adding exciting new brands. Finally, to close a gap in our portfolio, we’re also preparing to launch our own line of products later this year.