Pipedream has been very busy these past months. For one, the US company launched a number of products, such as Her Ultimate Pleasure from Fantasy for Her, new dolls in the Ultimate Fantasy Dolls collection, and a new version of the King Cock Dildos made from superior materials. Moreover, they introduced support strategies such as the “Never Out Top Sellers” programme and additional customer support for trade members. In our interview with Kristin Calzada, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, we learn more about these latest activities, and we also talk about the next steps that will guide the Pipedream brand on its way into the future.
The final quarter of 2019 has begun. How satisfied is Pipedream with the results of this year so far?
Kristin Calzada: Pipedream has had one of its best years yet! We see this continuing through the end of 2019 and definitely into 2020. We release products every quarter, which allows us to be strategic and intentional with product innovation and development. We continue to listen to reviews and comments from our end consumers, making updates and improvements when needed, and our marketing team has introduced marketing suites, POPs, and tester units to give customers even more support on the sales floor.
How has the market evolved this past year from your point of view? What were the most noticeable changes?
The market for sex toys and pleasure products has grown exponentially and we have noticed people are more aware and conscious of adult toys not only as a concept, but also a part of health and happiness. This has expanded opportunity for people of all experience levels to explore what kinds of products and services could become a part of their self-care routines without the shame or embarrassment that these products once carried. It’s been a beautiful shift to witness!
A lot has happened at Pipedream in the past twelve months as well. What were the most important developments?
There have been a lot of exciting highlights this year for Pipedream. Most notably was the release of Her Ultimate Pleasure from Fantasy for Her – after influencers around the globe posted rave reviews of this unique oral sex simulator, the product became a viral sensation and the item continues to fly off shelves! We are airfreighting Her Ultimate Pleasure to keep up with demand, which we know will build even more as we get closer to the holiday season and Valentine’s Day 2020.
Another highlight was the announcement of King Cock’s new upgraded Real Deal formula, giving customers an even better version of the best-selling realistic dildos, along with the grand opening of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Mexico. We’re able to keep up with demand while maintaining the pricing and quality that Pipedream customers expect.
We’re also quite excited about the success of the Never Out Top Sellers (NOTS) program, launched earlier this year. This allows customers access to our Top 250 best sellers with confidence that they’ll always be available and ready to ship, since we guarantee to be 100% in-stock on all NOTS items.
Ultimate Fantasy Dolls continue to be a huge hit with media and customers (our Kitty doll was featured in the recent Seth Rogan comedy smash “Good Boys”) and 2019 saw two new dolls launched to market. Earlier this year we introduced Mia, our curviest doll to-date (123 lbs/56 kg with large breasts) and we are launching Mandy now at eroFame. Mandy is our most petite doll — weighing just 72 lbs (33 kg) with an athletic build, lightweight frame, and perky C-cup breast size. An important element of the Ultimate Fantasy Doll design process is that these are not “off the shelf” dolls. Our development team works for months to get the sculpts just right, which is why consumers will always see unique faces and body shapes on our dolls. This also allows us to capture important details, like the sun-kissed freckles on Mandy’s face.
How are these changes reflected in your product releases?
Pipedream has built more marketing into each product release, giving customers access to signage and promotional materials to help communicate our messaging while boosting sales. For instance, our King Cock relaunch including a marketing suite filled with interactive materials that incentivised store staff to participate in a way that felt fun and easy, and we made sure there were testers and a POP display available right away.
And as with the rest of our product releases, our attention to consumer demand, customer request, and trend-forecasting impacts the products we develop and how we choose to launch them to market.
“Pipedream has built more marketing into each product release, giving customers access to signage and promotional materials to help communicate our messaging while boosting sales.”
It seems that we are witnessing a small comeback of exclusive distribution deals. What is Pipedream’s view on exclusive deals? How would you describe your distribution strategy for the European market?
The decision to do (or not do) exclusive contracts is up to the manufacturer and distributor as they determine what’s right for their individual businesses. Pipedream’s distribution strategy is global – we work to support our international distribution partners to sell and market our products in the best way possible, and we’ve been successful through consistently strong sales numbers, robust marketing support, and friendly customer support.
Following up on the previous question: How important is the European market for Pipedream at present?
Pipedream is a global company, so the European market is an essential part of our success! We love working with our European customers and having opportunities to meet with them every year in-person at trade events like eroFame.
Being a global company, where do you currently see the biggest growth opportunities for your company and the erotic market?
We look at the adult market from a global perspective and maximise each region’s sales and marketing according to what we know our audience responds to. This, of course, always includes offering strong sales support, strategic marketing initiatives, and innovative products that people love!
What challenges do you see for the erotic market and how is Pipedream preparing for them?
Our main challenge is finding new successful ways to educate the end-user on product usage. We have been successful with increased in-store trainings, adding and updating instruction manuals, offering dedicated customer support, and providing testers and POPs that allow shoppers to touch, feel, and experience the product before they buy.
What can you tell us about plans and projects Pipedream wants to realise in the upcoming months?
Our plan for the next year is to continue improving all aspects of our business, which means more product innovation, developing strong go-to-market strategies and support campaigns, making data-driven decisions, and providing in-store education tools to help store staff while helping consumers make informed buying decisions.