EDC Wholesale have entered into a distribution agreement with Alexander Institute, and as a result, the US distributor now offers three of EDC Wholesale’s private brands on the North American market, namely Boners, Sway, and FPPR. Andre Visser, International Sales Director of EDC Wholesale, gives us all the details about the new collaboration in our interview.
Boners, Sway, and FPPR – these three EDC brands are now distributed via Alexander Institute in the United States. How did this collaboration come about?
Andre Visser: We came into contact with Meir, the owner of Alexander Institute, in the past six months and exchanged thoughts regarding our businesses and eventually discussed opportunities to work together and introduce these three brands in the USA. We are very excited about this partnership as Alexander Institute is, in my opinion, an all-round company, with great experience in the traditional and mainstream business and has managed to become a great player in both markets.
Alexander Institute is probably known best as a source of sex education products, and not so much as a distributor. Why did you pick this partner instead of a long-established big-name distributor?
We already introduced our EasyToys Fetish Collection in the USA, together with a long established big name distributor and it was a great success. To us, it makes perfect sense to cover the US market with different partners such as Alexander Institute – a very active distributor with a great customer base who is as excited as we are about our brands.
What are the five most important qualities a distributor has to bring to the table for you to consider working with them?
What we care about most at EDC Wholesale is honesty, experience, and knowledge of the market, a wide customer base, quality, and loyalty.
Why is this distribution agreement limited to the three above-mentioned EDC brands?
We thought that Sway, Boners, and FPPR are a great match for the visions and ambitions of Alexander Institute and also because we didn’t want to create an overlap of the same brands as our other US partner. This allows us to discover the US market one step at a time and to gradually expand our assortment, rather than going all-in and not having the time to adjust to the new market and different demands.
What are your expectations regarding this collaboration with Alexander Institute and the potential of these brands in the North American market?
Our expectations regarding the collaboration with Alexander Institute are very high as they are an established distributor with a great track record in the mail order business and mainstream market in the US. We trust that the traditional industry retailers will also find their way to Alexander Institute. The EDC Wholesale house brands have the potential to be outstanding in the US market due to an interesting price/quality ratio and a fresh look perfect for online and offline retailers.
How would you describe the current situation in the North American market? Is it hard for European brands to gain a foothold over there?
I certainly don’t underestimate the process of gaining a foothold in the US, but I think that everything depends on the right partnerships. Which basically comes back to the five most important qualities we look for in a partner. Alexander Institute and our other US partner have over 40 years of experience in the industry, which is extremely valuable if you want to get a foothold in this territory. We are very pleased with this partnership and confident that it will be a success as this was a conscious choice.
“I certainly don’t underestimate the process of gaining a foothold in the US, but I think that everything depends on the right partnerships.”
Is this your first foray in the North American market or are there other EDC brands that are already available in that territory?
We successfully introduced the EasyToys Fetish Collection in the US about a year ago with a highly valuable US partner. We met with several interesting parties at ANME show in July that might lead to future partnerships.
Boners, Sway, and FPPR have had their North American debut at ANME in July. How did the trade and industry respond to your brands?
The response was overwhelming, we didn’t know what to expect when we first started this venture. But we are very pleased with the first results from the show. We received positive feedback from the visitors. They took the time to look at the brands and sat down with us to talk about the products and possibilities. We are excited to see what the ripple effect will be from presenting our brands to the US industry.
Which market is next on your expansion to-do list?
First, we want to focus on stabilising the new territories and supporting our partners with introducing the brands to the retailers. Once that is up and running, we can start making new plans. We obviously already have new markets on our mind, but we need to take things one step at a time.
(The top picture shows Andre Visser (EDC Wholesale), Meir Sharony (Alexander Institute), and Lennard Honebecke (EDC Wholesale) at ANME Show in July)