OneUp Innovations Founder Louis Friedman ‘Liberates’ Brands With Clever Approach

As niche and specialized as the pleasure industry may be, some of our best-known brands don’t just succeed because their founders know sex; they triumph because they also know business.

Louis Friedman, founder and CEO of OneUp Innovations, can pivot between the respective worlds of adult and mainstream products like a pro — which is exactly what he is. We all know Friedman as the brains behind Liberator, a brand that’s arguably the originator of soft, affordable sex furniture. Friedman, however, knows how to flip a pillow regardless of his audience.

“Adjusting to life with the threat of COVID was all about staying home, working remotely and playing outdoors,” Friedman reflects. “These conditions allowed all of our brands to flourish as the need for intimacy enhancements, home furnishings, children’s play systems and comfy outdoor furniture grew substantially.”

Friedman is talking about his trifecta of consumer product families: Liberator sex furniture and positioning pillows; Jaxx, a lifestyle brand of bean bags and convertible furniture; and Avana, which creates sleep support aids and stylish comfort furniture with a holistic aesthetic.

Though Friedman’s approach to his newer, mainstream brands is always purposeful, their creation happened almost by accident.

“Most pleasure product manufacturers work with materials like plastics, motors and electronics, whereas Liberator’s mediums are polyurethane foam, fabric, wood and vacuum compression. Our other brands evolved as a byproduct of Liberator manufacturing,” explains Friedman.

“As Liberator sales grow, so does our waste stream of foam trim,” says Friedman. “This prompted us to make the eco-friendly decision to repurpose our foam and fabric trim to create products for other sectors through Jaxx and Avana.”

Imagine handing your collection of Liberator wedges to your 8-year-old nephew, or letting your fashionable, Gen Z niece design Liberator’s next sex pillow, and you’ve got the Jaxx brand in a nutshell. Adult industry veterans will instantly recognize the familiar shapes of Jaxx’s furniture and pillow play sets for kids, and the brand’s modern take on lounge bean bags for the whole family.

The difference is, of course, all in the marketing and product exteriors. Kids can create princess playhouses with the Jaxx Zipline PlayScape Castle Gate or space stations with the Jaxx Zipline PlayScape Convertible Kids Couch. Adults and families can relax in style on a giant Jaxx Lounger bean bag, outfitted in faux fox fur, or play video games from the comfort of a full-body Jaxx Arlo Indoor Bean Bag Lounger.

Similarly, Friedman tells XBIZ Premiere that Avana is also born of Liberator designs. Friedman explains that the Avana comfort brand specializes in assistive products for relaxation, rejuvenation and top-of-bed therapy. Targeting adult consumers with a “luxury” marketing approach, Avana features orthopedic memory foam support pillows, slanted pillows and mattress toppers for acid reflux relief, and the unique Uno Snuggle pillow for side sleeping, smartphone scrolling and traveling.

Again, Avana’s designs will garner sly smiles and maybe a giggle or two from adult product salespeople, as those in the know will recognize exactly what kind of activities these pillows were originally designed to encourage.

Friedman says adjusting the sails from sexy to subdued came naturally to his team and was further prompted by the quick, clever changes required to survive during COVID.

“[The pandemic] was chaotic for every company out there regarding supply shortages and health scares, and ours was no exception,” says Friedman. “Challenges aside, the pandemic resulted in some of our best sales years yet. Not only did those in quarantine come to Liberator to enhance their days and nights, but we were also able to pivot into creating masks and gowns to support local hospitals thanks to the diversity that being a vertically integrated U.S. manufacturer allows us.”

Thankfully for us in the adults-only sector, Friedman is far from refocusing his efforts on his mainstream brands alone. He’s got plenty of ideas and new designs to keep Liberator at the forefront of pleasure innovation.

“Liberator has already started rolling out new plush fabric offerings on some of our most coveted items,” he reveals. “In terms of future goals, we plan to produce more erotic home items that seamlessly transition from furnishings to fuel for heightened passion.”

Keeping up with sex toy trends, products like the Humphrey sex toy pillow and the Wanda Magic Wand toy mount have grown in popularity with solos and couples alike, allowing for seamless integration of vibrators and dongs into pillow play.

Liberator will additionally follow the ecoconscious movement in manufacturing and shipping, which will coincidentally help retailers by temporarily shrinking the brand’s larger products to better fit small shelves.

“We’ve expanded our sustainability efforts a lot in recent years, taking a ‘size matters’ approach to all aspects of the business,” says Friedman.

“Utilizing vacuum compression to reduce our product and packaging sizes has played an enormous role in both our success and our limited carbon footprint,” he explains. “Now Liberator products fit perfectly on standard retail POP displays and are convenient for easy carryout and low-cost UPS ecommerce.”

As Friedman consistently demonstrates through the actions of his business, responsibility lies at the heart of his personal and professional values. Though his team may be eager to return to travel and sales trainings, for the foreseeable future they’ll be staying put safely behind computer screens.

“We love participating in the adult space and conversing with others in the industry, but feel that the most responsible way to do so right now is virtually,” concludes Friedman on Liberator’s plans for 2022.

OneUp Innovations Founder Louis Friedman ‘Liberates’ Brands With Clever Approach by Colleen Godin originally appeared in XBIZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.