When Ed Eustatia started Slagwerk Atelier, he did so because he was dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with the quality of the whips that were cheap to buy but tended to fall apart after a very short period of time. Dissatisfied with the extreme prices you had to pay if you wanted to import whips of better quality from the United States. His solution to these problems was starting his own business and creating whips that are both affordable and high-quality. In our interview, we talk about the creation of Slagwerk, about Ed’s products, and about the importance of quality in the BDSM segment.
Slagwerk Atelier manufactures “Serious Whips for Serious People”, as you say on your website. How did you get to make handmade luxury whips and what’s so serious about them?
Ed Eustatia: Slagwerk Atelier was founded in 2018 due the lack of quality BDSM gear for a reasonable price. When I searched the internet, I could not find any good quality leather whips; what I found instead were mass products from the Far East. When I decided to order a few whips from a famous website we all know, I was shocked what I actually got for my money!
Most of the products I received were made out of poor-quality, artificial dry leather and came in all fancy colours carrying an awful chemical smell. I tested those whips on a punching bag…. None of the whips survived and they fall apart in pieces. Clearly not what I was looking for! I wanted some nice and un-coloured, long-lasting leather whips.
That desire brought me to a few websites from the USA. After doing research on these websites, I found that high-quality, handmade leather whips are quite expensive and only few cost under $300.00. I talked to many people who did live a serious BDSM lifestyle and they told me the same story. A new idea was born. I would make my own whips!
I called a good friend of my, Mister Rob Strieder, who owned a 115-years old family business, Strieder Leather Trading, in Rotterdam/Bergschenhoek and talked to him about my plan of making high-quality leather whips.
He gave me a few metres of his finest Italian leather and I went home. After a few weeks I had manufactured six leather Floggers, three leather Spanking Tools made out of Dutch wood and braided Italian leather, two leather Strokers, and one Bullwhip.
I gave all of these items to a well-known dominatrix in the Netherlands who was a good friend and asked her to test them and let me know what she thought about it. After a week she came to visit me and told me that she never had used heavy duty materials like this before and asked me if I could make a few more, so I did.
After a few days, I received a phone call from her. She was doing a BDSM session in a well-known BDSM club in Holland, and the owner wanted to know where she got those whips. After telling him they were handmade by me, everything went very quickly. Many people and even shops and BDSM clubs started asking me to make them a few of these whips and Slagwerk Atelier was born. Because we take our products very seriously and because we use heavy-duty materials, we came up with the slogan ‘Serious Whips for Serious People’.
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and the team behind Slagwerk?
Before I started Slagwerk Atelier I was busy water skiing and selling speedboats, outboards, and different gear for water sports. Water sports is one of my passions, the speed and being out in nature gives me a fantastic thrill! I still own a barefoot boat and sometimes, when there is a little spare time, I hit the water with my son.
For almost six months, I ran Slagwerk Atelier by myself. After that, Slagwerk Atelier was moving more into the spotlight and the orders really started coming in, so I called in the help of my son Joshua. Together, we manufacture all the products.
What does your design process look like?
If I had to summarise the design process, I would say that we care about and listen to our users. Every design we make we give out to our testers first. They give us feedback about the products so we can fine tune our stuff. No design would leave our chop shop without their approval. Not even one!
Following this question, what do you think defines the quality of a whip?
Definitely the materials you use. We don’t use any glue or other toxic chemicals to get it all together. We only use the finest handpicked Dutch & Italian leather and all our rubber is free of toxics.
It’s not just the look and the quality that our users love about our whips. Often, we hear that it’s also the fantastic leather and rubber smell our products have. All of that, and lots of love on top give our product that extra special touch, and it gives you the feeling of a real Slagwerk Atelier whip.
You also offer to create branded whips for other companies or people. Which services do you offer exactly and what do they cost?
Correct, we do co-branding! If we decide to sell our whips in a particular shop, we give our clients the opportunity to brand the products with their own name or logo.
We only charge a very small extra fee for this service. Don’t get me wrong here… Our own logo is always on our products to make sure the customers know they are buying an original Slagwerk Atelier whip.
Can companies also order complete whip designs from you or just the branding?
We do manufacture custom designs for our clients as long that design is reasonable to work with.
Most erotic products today are mass-produced in factories in the Far East. Do you think we are seeing a counter trend right now, with manufacturers like yourself?
Definitely! More and more people are looking for higher quality gear and are willing to pay a little more money for an exclusive real leather or rubber item. For example, if you buy a €110.00 Slagwerk Atelier whip and use it twice a week for let’s say 5 years (520 times) you pay €0.21 cents per session.
For that small amount of money, you have the exclusivity of a whip that looks & works great. Now try that with a $50.00 mass product from the Far East.
Another topic that has been widely discussed recently is whether or not the acceptance of BDSM is rising and which role the Fifty Shades books played here. What is your opinion on this matter?
BDSM is definitely more accepted these days after the Fifty Shades of Grey hype. We see more people getting interested in BDSM who are not ashamed anymore to talk about it.
Kinky BDSM parties are taking place all over the country now, and they are sold out weeks, sometimes months in advance.
Where can retailers turn to if they want to sell your whips in their shops? Are you working with distributors?
We do not work with distributors. Retailers are welcome to contact us if they are interested in selling our products in their shops, but we don’t do wholesale. We want to keep our products exclusive and our quality standards high. We choose quality over quantity!
Slagwerk is a relatively young company, founded in 2018. What are your goals for the near future?
We keep on innovating and designing new products. Every Slagwerk Atelier whip is unique and made with our own hands. We keep Slagwerk Atelier a relatively small company for a reason – quality over quantity.