The Italian company Persian Palm specialises in ceramic toys that are created by hand, which is rather unusual given the level of sophistication industrial mass production has reached these days. But the philosophy of Persian Palm emphasises the personal touch, and the market seems to agree, as could be seen from Persian Palm’s highly successful debut at eroFame 2016. EAN wanted to know which new projects the up-and-coming company from Tuscany has been working on since October, so we interviewed one of the two founders of Persian Palm, Eva Cincar.
EAN first introduced its readers to Persian Palm ceramic toys in September of 2016. I know you were at last year’s eroFame, but what else have you been up to in the meantime? What are the latest developments at Persian Palm? Eva: After eroFame, we participated at a few fairs in Italy, however, they were not specific fairs for the adult industry; one was a fair for women’s handcraft and another for environmentally sustainable products. Both were very interesting for us, because it was the first time that we presented our brand to Italian customers.
Our products were even displayed at Arte Fiera in Bologna, and also at the design fair in Milan, which was a very satisfying experience for us. We also finished our new website, so now Persian Palm can also be found online. We started a collaboration with different retailers in Italy, Europe, and even in the USA, with different shops that are focussing on artisan and design items.
Your ceramic toys are created by hand, which is a rarity in today’s market. How did the international adult industry respond to your products at last year’s eroFame?
Last year at eroFame, we were one of the few producers who offered something different: handmade, artistic sex toys. The visitors of eroFame were very excited, and most everybody whi visited our stand had a reaction like: “Wow! This is really different! Finally, a sex toy that should not be hidden, but can be in plain sight “….exactly what we wanted to hear! Because our goal is to produce something that can be shown without shame, an artistic ornament that also happens to be a perfectly functional sex toy.
Were you approached primarily by retailers, or did you also get in touch with distributors?
Mostly, we are working with retailers, erotic boutiques, and shops that are selling designer items. Obviously, if we can find a distributor who appreciates and understands products such as ours, we would be ready to enter into a collaboration.
Which new products have been added to your product line throughout the past months?
We have introduced some new decorations, but soon, there will also be a new line of Persian Palm sex toys; it will be a baseline collection, a bit simpler, but still in line with the philosophy that we will do not abandon! An artistic product, handmade, a bit simplified in its decorations and packaging, all in order to offer the best Persian Palm sex toys at a lower price.
Would you mind explaining the advantages of using ceramic for sex toys? Why is this material so well-suited for creating dildos, etc.?
So, let’s start from beginning: Ceramic is a material that has been used by humans in everyday life since the dawn of civilization; indeed, its discovery in the neolithic age was the beginning of civilisation as we know it today. This material has been used, with the same intensity, for 12.000 years!
Ceramic is well-suited for creating sex toys because it is a hard material and given the right shape, it helps stimulate the desired points. It is a very safe material; if it falls down, it will not break, unlike sex toys made of glass. It can be warmed up or cooled down for different sensations. The enamels and colours used in the decoration are completely safe for use – as a matter of fact, they are the same used for plates and mugs from which we eat and drink. Enamels make our sex toys completely non-porous, so they are easy to clean.
Basically, it is no different than cleaning your dishes! It is enough to just wash and dry them. Persian Palm sex toys are designed to be both, beautiful decorations that you don’t have to hide, and at the same time perfectly functional sex toy. Last but not least, there is the possibility to personalise the toys. We are able to produce sex toys with customised decorations, a possibility that only ceramic and maybe a handful of other materials allow; we can decorate our toy the way a customer wants, with images, colours, or lettering, and more and more people have been asking for these decorations. They want a truly personal item, and that item happens to be a sex toy!
There is a tangible trend in the adult industry as more and more consumers demand sustainability, resource protection, and eco-friendly production. Are your products in line with this trend?
Absolutely yes. To produce a Persian Palm sex toy, we only use clay, water, fire, and completely safe colours, without heavy metals. Even the current packaging is a box made of recycled cardboard.
The whole production is done in Tuscany, our suppliers are craftsmen and not the big industries. We are happy to involve those artisans who have been doing their job with passion for many years, using their hands and not just machines.
Do you think that hand-made products in general will benefit from this trend? Could this be something like a counter-movement to this world of industrial mass production?
Handmade products surely help the sustainability trend, but I don’t think it’s a counter-movement, it’s just one segment of the whole adult industry. The handmade product is a more personal product than a vibrator made in an industrial way.
Even if the customer buys a Persian Palm sex toy that has a standard, non-custom decoration, this customer still gets a product that is unique, because it is handmade, and it is a product on which artisans worked for hours; a product which reflects its creator’s personal touch, and we can always tell them apart by these little, unique subtleties. It is a much more personal relationship with the customer. When it comes to mass production, it is very likely that no hand ever touched the toy. That is the fundamental difference.
But again, there are two different things. Our competitor is not and will never be the mass manufacturer. We have two roads going in the same direction, but they are and will always be two different roads.
Other than the materials, what else sets your products apart from the competition?
First of all, we the don’t consider the other sex toys producers as competition but more as a resource, because we are on the same path, and surely together we can have more strength to foster our market segment. What sets us apart from other sex toys producers is, first and foremost, that our toys are art objects. Then, there is the fact that we can offer sex toys with individual decorations, and there are not many other materials that allow for this kind of personalisation. Persian Palm sex toys don’t have to be hidden but can be part of the decor.
How are your products positioned in the market? Would you say they’re in the luxury segment? A niche segment maybe?
Our product is a bit of both. It is a luxury product because it is an art object – because we use precious materials for decorations and especially because to produce them, we use the most valuable resource we have, time. But at the same time, it is a niche product because it is not a sex toy for everyone. It is for the consumer who doesn’t look just for a simple sex toy. It is for the consumer who, apart from looking for a functional sex toy, also appreciates the art, the tradition, the history, and the necessary time that went into the creation of this toy.
And who buys your products? Who is the target audience for Persian Palm toys?
Our end-customer, like I told before, is the person who can appreciate the artistic value of our products. Usually, Persian Palm sex toys are not the first sex toy they purchase, but the next step in their evolution of using sex toys.
If we are talking about retailers that carry Persian Palm, we usually work with erotic boutiques which sell specialised pleasure objects, and not just objects from mass production. In the last few months, we have seen an increasing interest in Persian Palm products from retailers who are focussing on general design and art items, not even necessarily sex toys.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Our main plan is developing the new line of Persian Palm sex toys I mentioned before, and at the moment, we are working on that. Then, we hope to return to eroFame, a fair that helped us a lot to start our adventure in the world of adult industry.