In its home market, Japan, the Tenga brand name is already used as a synonym for masturbators. And all the experience that the company has amassed over the course of the past 11 years, ever since it was started, has now culminated in their most advanced masturbator to date – the FLIP 0. But there’s also other news from Tenga and its daughter company iroha as well, and Tenga’s Marketing Manager, Eddie Marklew, tells us all about it in our EAN interview.
Hi, Eddie. How was the last year for Tenga? Eddie Marklew: The past year has been great for TENGA, with the introduction of several new lines such as the SVR and iroha+, and most recently the FLIP 0. Also, with our new global sales management, we have seen growth across all of our major sales territories; with only half our fiscal year behind us, our sales this year are already on target for our biggest year yet, with our current total already past fiscal 2014.
Tenga has a few new products that have already been launched or are about to be released. One of them – which is already on the market – is the FLIP 0. What makes this product different from other Tenga masturbators?
The FLIP 0 marks the launch of our latest high-end item. The product itself addresses a lot of consumer feedback of the already-well-received FLIP HOLE Series, and the new structure allows us to implement electronics in future iterations. With the experience we’ve gained in moulding technology over the last 11 years, the FLIP 0 has internal details that are unmatched in their intricacy, which provides great stimulation for the user.
The design of the Flip Hole 0 allows the implementation of electronics. What are your plans for the future of Flip Hole 0?
One of them is something many, many fans have asked for over the years, and we have ideas for a few more novel, interesting ways in which we could use our new technology, but right now I’m unable to say.
Apart from products for men, Tenga will also release a new vibrator in the lower price segment. Likewise, there will be a new vibrator under the iroha banner – the other Tenga brand. What kind of vibrators are we talking about? How do they differ from one another?
Given TENGA’s structure as a company now offering products that cover the broader range of consumer needs, we wanted to offer our take on low-cost vibrators for new consumers as well as those who aren’t looking to spend hundreds on a luxury item. As such, the “TENGA Δ Delta” and “iroha stick” are two new items – the Delta has a tip that can be used at two different angles, and the iroha will have our silicone at the tip. Both will be battery powered vibrators on sale this winter!
After the success of the Air Tech Series, Tenga has added a new product to the collection that will be presented at the upcoming eroFame. What will be new about this product?
I would call it an expansion of the series rather than an improvement on the current items – the Standard and Vacuum Compatible AIR-TECH items are wildly popular among consumers and we’re very pleased with them. The new AIR-TECH – the AIR-TECH Twist – will have a brand new mechanism inside that the user can utilise to control the strength of his sensation. It will be available in two different styles, with differing internal details for different sensations.
“TENGA will never launch a product that doesn’t follow our policy of creating products of great value.”
Apart from new products, there was also a change in personnel for Tenga in Europe. Jo Walda will take over your position for the UK and France. Why was this change necessary? What will be his responsibilities?
Jo will be taking over my responsibilities in sales for Europe, including of course the UK and France, along with Kenji, our EU Sales Manager. Our company is expanding at a rate where it is no longer viable for me to focus on both sales and marketing, so we have hired Jo who I’m certain is far more capable than me in assisting our retailers and distributors to stock and sell more TENGA and iroha items than I have been.
There have been some rumours about Tenga developing VR products. And though they may not be true at the moment, I wonder, why isn’t Tenga pursuing this path?
At the moment, the technology is still in its infancy, and while there is merit in being early to the party, we don’t believe we can provide real value for our users with what is available right now, which is mostly very gimmicky and doesn’t work when put into practice. TENGA will never launch a product that doesn’t follow our policy of creating products of great value. That said we are always keeping an eye on new technology, and have many concepts working in the background at all times.
Would you agree that the market for male-oriented toys is getting more and more competitive?
We have seen many companies take on the success of TENGA and our competitors to heart, and we always welcome healthy competition as a drive to create better products for our customers.
On that note, how important is a strong brand for Tenga? How well-known is Tenga in Europe at the moment?
It’s absolutely vital to have a coherent brand strategy as the backbone for your success. It is the guiding light that leads your product strategy but it is also this heart and soul that resonates with the consumer. People may buy a nameless item on a whim, but no one will actively go looking for such a product. In the age of information, everybody knows how to find a good brand, a good product. People are much more aware of the choices out there. That is why you need good brands, with fans and return customers.
Which measures do you take to create more awareness fo Tenga among the consumers in Europe?
We are launching our new PR strategy this year in the US, to further improve the culture of acceptance regarding male sex toys that we have been a part of for the last 11 years. Following our US launch, we will be looking into what we can do in Europe!
Which other projects can we expect from Tenga in the near future? Any new products you can tell us about?
Our medical endeavours are reaching new heights with our partnership with a medical health entity, and we will be able to make much more progress in our research into sex and sexual function. We will not only be focusing on masturbation and its benefits, but also the broader range of issues surrounding sexual wellness.