Biird presents Obii, a sex toy that defies the traditional design conventions
The design and general look of sex toys has changed quite a bit over the course of the past few years, but when you think of a vibrator, you still have a very specific shape in mind, and the same is true for many other toy categories. Obii challenges these design conventions in fascinating ways, which can already be gleaned from the fact that the sex toy can do double duty as a bedside lamp. Andrea and Evi, the founders of Biird (www.biird.com) outline their inspiration and their expectations for Obii in our EAN interview.
How did you get the idea to ‘cross’ a sex toy with a bedside lamp?
Andrea: Collectively as a group, we have over 20 years of experience in the sex toy world, so it’s safe to say we know the industry pretty well and sadly that also includes knowing all the barriers that the industry has had to face. We wanted to create a product that was first and foremost about delivering pleasure, something beautiful and powerful, but we also wanted to address restrictions that are placed on the industry and have some fun with it.
Evi: I grew up in Indonesia where the culture frowns upon sex toys, so I know intimately the extreme side of sex toy repression. I moved away when I was 20 and when I first started working in the industry, I knew I wanted to do something to challenge the way many view sex and pleasure.
Our product needed to bring pleasure (obviously) but also, we wanted it to catch your eye, but maybe not catch the attention of unwanted eyes… So, after years of research, thinking, and exploring our options, we had our ‘lightbulb’ moment. Combining a toy with an ‘every day’ object would give us the exact angle we needed to shake up the system.
So how did the lamp come about? Well, it’s nice to set the mood and that’s how the idea sparked. Whether you look at it and think of it as a stress light or mood lamp, it’s certainly intriguing and can be displayed proudly on any nightstand, living room side table, or wherever your heart desires!
How difficult was it to realise this idea?
Andrea: Despite working in the industry for so long and knowing the restrictions placed on the industry, it still surprised us how difficult it was to actually bring Obii to life. We always knew we wanted to combat the restrictions placed on the industry, however, it was these very restrictions that made bringing Obii to market difficult.
From shipping partners pulling out from our deals to general advertising restrictions, to even our newswire being incredibly censored to the point that we dropped it, we’ve had hurdles to overcome at every step. Definitely ironic, however it was the very issue we wanted to address, and we knew if we got it right, Obii would be a force to be reckoned with.
Before you founded your company or developed your first product, did you consider the current range of sex toys? What did you notice? What was missing?
Evi: We always have our eye on the market and new product developments, it really is a love for us! Like every person, we each have our own preferences and therefore noticed different gaps in the market or things that we thought were missing. For example, there aren’t many ‘squishy’ toys out there that are beautiful and powerful, so I wanted to incorporate this into Obii’s design.
Similarly, we noticed a lot of toys only have ‘one area’ that is for pleasure use. We think that’s a total waste! Obii’s entire body can be flipped, squeezed, squashed and used entirely in addition to clitoral suction.
Andrea: We also know a common complaint with the industry is a lot of toys only come in black, purple or hot pink with not much deviation between this. We wanted to offer something a little different with Obii and have had great feedback so far on the range.
What vision or mission are you following with Obii, your first product? Why this special design?
Andrea: We want to challenge the world. We know the sex toy industry has grown at a phenomenal rate over the last decade and more people are now willing to own a toy in comparison to a few decades ago. The appetite for toys is there. But why still the restrictions? Why can’t we advertise pleasure objects on Facebook or Twitter? Why do countries still ban the import of toys? We know there are many issues that are intertwined with this and feed into each other, but we think with Obii we are making one small step in the right direction. Free the sex toy!
We live in the 21st century and the acceptance of sex toys has been growing for years – why do you think it is important that a sex toy is not immediately recognisable as such?
Evi: We don’t believe that sex toys shouldn’t be recognisable because they’re sex toys. We think it’s more that tastes and interests have changed in recent years. As the industry becomes more mainstream, and more people are discovering that it isn’t ‘scary’ to buy a toy online or walk into a shop, it’s given sex toy manufacturers the opportunity to be more creative and cater to all those different tastes. It’s important to cater to those who are totally unapologetic for their sex lives, but likewise, it’s also important to have toys out there that suit people who prefer to be a bit more discreet. Different strokes for different folks is what we say!
In 2019, you won a Red Dot Design Award. What does this award mean to you? Is it a confirmation of your mission to dissolve the taboo surrounding sex toys?
Andrea: Winning a Red Dot Design Award was a very proud moment for us. It shows that thinking outside of the box works. It’s certainly a step in the right direction towards dissolving taboos, however we believe our journey is far from over and we have some exciting plans for the future.
Obii is multifunctional. What functions does Obii have in a) its use as a bedside lamp and b) as a sex toy?
Andrea: As the lamp, Obii can either help set the mood if you’re looking to get down with yourself or a partner, it can be used to help alleviate stress or simply it can be used to create ambiance and be aesthetically pleasing. The lamp also acts as Obii’s wireless charging base.
Evi: On the other hand, or in your best hand… ahem… Obii is a clitoral massager and vibrator – it is essentially two toys in one. It uses pressure wave technology to create suction on the clitoris without coming into contact with your skin. Instead of conventional vibrations that focus stimulation on the external nerve endings, Obii’s suction pad generates pressure waves that resonate deep into the internal structure of the clitoris. As a vibrator, Obii’s entire textured body can be used to fully stimulate the clitoris. It has three vibration settings ranging from a teasing murmur to a satisfying pulse. It also has a handy travel lock feature so not to buzz when you’re least expecting it.
What other advantages does Obii have apart from its functionality?
Evi: Probably the best advantage that we haven’t touched on yet is Obii’s squishy material. The best way to describe the ‘squishiness’ would be a marshmallow. This adds yet another dimension to Obii which makes it so incredibly fun to play with.
Andrea: It’s made from silicone, an ideal body-safe material for sex toys that’s free of phthalates and BPA meaning you can masturbate with peace of mind! It’s also IPx6 waterproof so you can get it wet and wash it with soapy water or toy cleaner without any worries. And all that squish just adds to its appeal…it is a very cute looking toy.
What can you tell us about Obii’s pricing?
Andrea: Currently, we’re offering a special summer launch price of $89/€78 via biird.co.
Who is the target group for Obii?
Andrea: Obii is for anyone with a clitoris who likes pulse and vibration stimulation. Couples, singles, partners looking to buy a present, and really anyone in-between. We don’t discriminate at Biird and would never turn away a willing customer!
What does this target group demand from your product? Which are the factors that determine if a product thrives or bombs in today’s marketplace? Design? Functionality? Materials? Shape? Technology? Target audience & demand? Pricing?
Evi: Sex toy consumers are savvy, they expect and demand safe products, so the material has to be obviously body-safe and top quality. Long gone (thankfully) are the days of limited choice, phallic-shaped dildos made of questionable materials. Consumers are more open, they talk to friends, they research online and they expect a good price to quality ratio. They are not afraid to pay money for a product that is going to deliver. So, it’s important to make sure consumers can find out information about the product. It’s not like buying a pair of shoes, you can’t just try it on for size, so it’s important to develop a product that factors in the many different shapes the clitoris can be, and try and help people understand what exactly they are buying to try and help them visualise the type of feel the product will have. Will it be soft to touch? Will it be deep and rumbly? The more information the consumer can have, the more informed their purchase can be.
How has your product been received by the industry, retail, and consumers so far?
Andrea: We’ve received really positive feedback from customers so far. People are really engaging with us and having fun – they understand what we’re trying to achieve. Officially, they’ve joined the club. We had one woman joke with us that she wasn’t sure exactly what she bought and however would her husband cope, only to quickly follow up with a winking face. It sent hearts racing in Biird headquarters but interactions like this make us realise that we’ve got it right. People like the joke and the tongue in cheek message.
What can you tell us about your distribution channels? Where can the consumers buy Obii?
Andrea: At the moment, Obii is available on biird.co. We’re looking into other options and will be exploring these in the future so stay tuned.
Can you see Obii being sold via mainstream channels as well as the traditional erotic market?
Evi: We don’t want to keep this Biird caged so we’re open to all opportunities.
Are you interested in talking to wholesalers, distributors and/or retailers?
Evi: Absolutely. We can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your plans going forward with Biird? Will Obii remain the only product for the time being?
Andrea: This is only the beginning of the journey for Biird. We have plans for other products in the pipeline and think people are going to be very excited. We’ve officially released Obii from it’s Biird cage and can’t wait to see what heights we can soar to.