For the first time ever, Blue Ox Designs, the world-renowned creators of the Oxballs and hünkyjunk brands, will have their own booth at eroFame. Ryan Fraga, Director of Sales & Operations of Blue Ox designs, brings EAN up to date on the company’s preparations and expectations.
Oxballs will be present at the eroFame this year with your own stand for the first time. Why did you decide to take this step? Ryan Fraga: The European market has always been such a strong marketplace for Oxballs, we have such a fan base already there. Coming to eroFame for us, is about getting connected to our retailers who have helped build our success outside of the USA. Our goal is a strong connection for our incredible service and support for our partners in Europe. For 2019 we launched our new brand hünkyjunk, the brand is already winning awards in the USA, it’s clean, modern, and stylish premium men’s toys – it is perfect for the European market and we really want to fully showcase this range.
In previous years, you always supported your distributors at eroFame. What’s the difference to have your own booth?
Exhibiting at eroFame is about supporting our distributors. Many retailers in Europe buy through our distribution network for many reasons: ease of access without importing, speed of delivery, language barriers…these reasons won’t change, and we want retailers to continue to buy our products where they are getting the best service and support.
Being present at eroFame will give us a direct dialogue with our retailers so that we can hear what challenges and successes they are experiencing with our brand, so that we can continue to grow in a direction that is successful for European retail. Retailers ultimately are the boots on the ground building our business, and we want to make sure we hear directly from them and that retailers know they can communicate with us.
What will be the focus of your first appearance at eroFame? Does your new hünkyjunk line get most of the limelight?
Our overall exhibit will be about the breadth of product Oxballs brands creates and offers in Europe, including showcasing the new hünkyjunk line. Our distributors represent fantastic range of Oxballs products; we want to show our scope of premium men’s toys at the show.
Hünkyjunk is such a match for more mainstream retailers in Europe, it just looks cool and fresh, it looks new, so we’re showing the entire line of products including new hünkyjunk products. While hünkyjunk is a concise curated offering of our best ideas interpreted in an all-new way–given that it is so new, it isn’t going to be overshadowed by Oxballs. It’s a bold brand, and both brands show well and have strong appeal for wholesale and to the retail customers.
Can you give us a few insights into your preparations? How much time and effort is going into this trade show appearance?
We have a lot of experience in trade events. However, I will admit that more time is being spent on designing and preparing for the eroFame. The show is a space where most exhibits are simply more elaborate and skilfully designed. We are spending the time to create a space that matches the environment of the eroFame’s modern event space and other exhibits.
What are your expectations for the 10th eroFame?
We hope to make many connections with retailers who have been purchasing our goods and supporting our business for years. We also want to introduce new retailers to hünkyjunk and show pieces in Oxballs that retailers have maybe never seen in person, our product lines are much bigger than you might imagine. The feedback we get listening to our customers has so much value; we learn so much at trade shows.
What were your impressions of eroFame in recent years?
eroFame is a smart, vibrant show; it has been so exciting to see our brands represented there over the years surrounded by so many other great brands. eroFame attracts a diverse customer base we really like to connect with.
“eroFame attracts a diverse customer base we really like to connect with.”
What difference do you see between eroFame and trade fairs in the USA?
Every show we attend is chosen because of its reach, the customers it attracts, the location and yes, the value. eroFame is honestly the best way to reach a diverse customer range in in Europe and beyond, something many shows in the USA can’t do.
How important is the European business for Oxballs?
Extremely. Our brands and product variety are so vast it is important to reach a wide variety of customers. Oxballs makes toys that appeal to so many types of men and couples; we also make fetish-based toys that are the niche customer we need to seek out. Hünkyjunk have wider mass appeal, it is sold in the fetish-based leather stores and the more general shops that appeal to all sorts of men, women and couples.
In some ways Europe drives style that filters back to the USA, many toys we make have a bigger following in Europe than in the USA.
You work with distributors in Europe. Who are they? Where can the trade buy your products?
Our distribution footprint consists of Dusedo, ABS, Mr. B, Dark-Ink, and Eropartner.
These partners represent a network of hand-picked suppliers who support a range of types of retailers as well as locations. We have been careful to keep our footprint small so that we can maintain healthy strategies that support retailers who invest in our products.