Maeglin Harmsen

“The ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection is all about value for money.”

Fifty Shades Darker, the second movie based on the Fifty Shades trilogy, will hit theatres on Valentine’s Day. There is every indication that it will create quite a stir, and (hopefully) the adult market will also be able to benefit from the hype. But in order to respond to the expected demand, trade members need the right products. That’s why Scala Playhouse put together a collection of Fifty Shades-inspired products that include everything fans of the second film may need. Scala also bundled up several products in a more romantic ‘Valentine’s Day’ selection, geared towards consumers who are looking for that special lovers’ day gift. In our interview, Maeglin Harmsen from Scala’s marketing and communication department tells us everything you need to know about these new collections.


It’s still a few months away, but Valentine’s Day 2017 and the next instalment of Fifty Shades are fast approaching. What are Scala Playhouse’s expectations on the return of this juggernaut franchise?
Maeglin Harmsen: We definitely expect an increased demand in 50 Shades-inspired products. Did you know that the movie trailer for Fifty Shades Darker – the upcoming instalment – was the ‘most watched trailer’ in 24 hours ever? It was viewed 114 million times in just one day, breaking the previous record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Even though opinions about the first movie have been mixed – some people love it, some hate it – you can’t deny that everybody still wants to see it. The fact that the books are turned into films has only broadened the audience – and therefore the potential target group – for BDSM and fetish products, meaning this is the perfect time to stock up on these 50 Shades-inspired products from Scala Playhouse and prepare for the next wave of the hype to hit in February.

No matter how much of an impact the next Fifty Shades movie has at the box office, everybody wants to be prepared. Is that the reason why Scala is now offering the ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ collection?
Absolutely, that is exactly the reason. Preparation is key in assuring you have the right stock at the right time to profit from the 50 Shades hype. As there is so much choice in BDSM-inspired novelties, our special ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection helps retailers source out the best value products for their own assortment.

Mr Greys Darker Choice
Scala want to help the trade benefit from the next wave of Fifty Shades hype

What makes the products in this collection special?
The ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection is all about value for money. As we said, there is so much choice in kinky products in our industry, our selection will help guide retailers to products that truly are worth their price tag. The selection has been carefully comprised by our expert team, highlighting items from our own and third-party brands that will definitely give consumers a 50 Shades experience.

How do you decide whether a product from Scala’s comprehensive range of private and third-party brands fits into this collection? Which criteria do you apply?
We have based the ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection on a variety of criteria, the main one being value for money in a variety of price ranges. Other factors we’ve taken into account are colours, product types, packaging and also creating a great mix of own and third-party brands. We’re confident our selection will provide plenty of naughty inspiration for retailers to select their favourite brands and items, enabling them to provide their consumers with the ultimate, best value for money choice in kinky pleasure providers.

It is to be expected that the next Fifty Shades film will get many “newcomers” interested in BDSM and adult products in general. But of course, you have to take it slow with people who are new to this world. Does that mean that you can’t get too kinky with your products so as not to overwhelm these newbies?
In our ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection we’ve included options for both beginners and advanced consumers. The list includes a number of items that are more suited for consumers who’ve already experimented with BDSM-play, but also contains items to introduce beginners to the pleasures of kinky fun. We’ve noticed that ‘newbies’ or beginners to this genre are still quite adventurous. The whole idea of the ’50 Shades’ hype is that consumers are more interested in exploring their boundaries and we’ve therefore selected the best products for them to do this in a safe, comfortable, and pleasurable way. The selection is quite extensive when it comes to product types, but limited when it comes to the toys included in each category; this to create an organised overview and really highlight the best products instead of providing too much choice. We hope retailers can use the ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection as a guide, introducing them to the right products, without having to browse endlessly through a massive assortment. Effective, straightforward, and rational.

“In our ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ selection we’ve included options for both beginners and advanced consumers.”

In an official press release, Scala emphasised the exceptional price-performance ratio of the products in this collection. Would you mind telling us more about that?
Of course! Each company in the adult novelties industry tries to find a way to incorporate the hype into its marketing activities and has its own approach to the hype. When we researched this subject, we found that although there are many ‘50 Shades’ lists and selections, almost none focus on the best value for money balance. We’ve therefore decided to carefully comb through our assortment to find products that truly are worth and exceed what you pay for them; matching premium quality and design with attractive pricing that makes them affordable to all. We’re confident that if your consumers try these items, they’ll be so impressed by the value for money that they will keep coming back to your store for more.

Will Scala support the trade with POS materials for the ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ collection?
As we’ve selected items from our existing assortment, we’ve already got existing POS materials for these items available. This isn’t 50 Shades themed, but will still draw your consumers’ attention. If you do require some additional ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ themed POS-options, our marketing and artwork departments are more than happy to create some custom-made materials specifically for your store. So, do not hesitate to contact us and share your POS-desires with our expert team.

Couples are a big audience for the adult industry, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for togetherness and special, exciting experiences. However, not every couple will feel inspired to tie each other up, etc. after seeing Fifty Shades Darker. Is that the group you are catering to with your ‘Valentine’s Day Collection’?
That is exactly why we’ve created our special romantic Valentine’s Day selection. At Scala Playhouse we truly believe we have something for everyone, meaning that only highlighting the kink side of our assortment wouldn’t do our brands and products justice. The ‘Valentine’s Day’ selection includes products from our own and third-party brands that have a gentler, softer touch; capturing a ‘vanilla’ target-group that is more about rose petals and massage lotions than whips and cuffs.

“At Scala Playhouse we truly believe we have something for everyone.”

What products are part of the new collection?
It’s not a collection, but a selection. The ‘Valentine’s Day’ selection includes a great variety of items associated with romance, ranging from sweet rose petals you can spread on the bed to a list of quality massage oils and abstract, non-intimidating toys. The selection is mostly centred on the colours red, pink, and purple; echoing the colours of love in its lovely products. We’ve also included some of our favourite romance-themed gift sets, which are a great choice for consumers who want to try it all for one, attractive price.

Will consumers find more products from Scala’s private brands such as TOYJOY in this Valentine’s Day Collection, or does it also include third-party pleasure givers?
The ‘Valentine’s Day’ selection includes a great mix of our own and third-party brands, striking a great balance between different products and pricings.

Many product collections are tied to certain themes, seasons, events, etc. How did you make sure your products fit the Valentine’s Day theme?
We made a list of criteria that we associate with Valentine’s Day gifts and used that to make our selection. These criteria include questions such as ‘Can couples use the product together?’, ‘Does the colour match Valentine’s Day?’, ‘Is this a gift we’d like to receive from our partner?’ We have also looked at other factors such as pricing to make sure the selection includes products in each price point, from basic to high-end, to make sure it offers a right toy for each budget.

Mr Grey
The ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ collection caters to all fans of adult products, newcomers and aficionados alike

Valentine’s Day is traditionally a time when consumers become more adventurous, which can also result in a visit to an adult store and the purchase of an adult product? What does the retail trade (brick and mortar/online) have to do to tap into the potential of Valentine’s Day?
It’s all about making a visit to your store attractive, regardless if that is online or in a physical store. By creating interesting, playful, and eye-catching Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns for your store, you can invite your target-group to come and find their perfect gift-idea in your store. Find a method that matches your company values and get creative! If our customers need any help tapping into their own potential to profit from Valentine’s Day, they are more than welcome to contact us for advice and help. After all, if our customers thrive, we thrive; making it a win-win situation for all.

We already mentioned the newcomers who try adult products due to Fifty Shades. How important is a comprehensive product range and a fair price-quality ratio to appeal to this group?
Very important. For consumers who are taking their first steps in the world of BDSM and 50 Shades-inspired pleasure, it is important to create a selection that offers them value for money choices, suited to a smaller budget. As a lot of kinky novelties are in the higher price-points, it can be daunting for newbies to BDSM to spend a lot on a product they might not like. Therefore the ‘Mr. Grey’s Darker Choice’ includes a variety of budget-friendly, best value for money options that allow consumers to experiment and discover their preferences; inviting them back to your store to buy new, high-end versions of the toys they loved most. We felt this selection was still missing in the world of adult novelties.