Defining ‘Wellness’ in the Pleasure Products Industry

If you look around the media (and our industry!) these days, there’s a word you’ve probably noticed coming up repeatedly in reference to a whole bevy of different things. That word? Wellness.

So, what does “wellness” really mean? What is it? How is it used (and sometimes misused) in marketing? How can our industry make a positive impact on it? Buckle in because we are going to cover all of that and more! Get ready to get to know wellness pretty well!

But really, what is wellness?

This can be a complex question, especially when the answer varies based on who is giving it. A doctor, an educator, an activist, and a manufacturer might all define it differently. But in the simplest terms, wellness is about looking beyond basic health to an overall sense of well-being — emotional and mental, especially.

But be careful not to conflate wellness with healthy! Health is relative and often defined by unrealistic and biased standards rooted in white supremacy, fatphobia, sexism and transphobia. And while wellness can include practices and products designed to support physical, emotional and mental well-being, experiencing “wellness” is not dependent on outside purchases. Wellness in marketing and manufacturing Before we talk about how wellness can be successfully addressed in marketing and manufacturing, let’s take a moment to look at how it is often misused. Like with anything that gets a bit of buzz around it, wellness can sometimes be inappropriately used to pressure consumers into buying unnecessary and often expensive products that may hold no benefits whatsoever.

For manufacturers who wish to serve consumers on their quest for wellness, it’s important to offer products that are beneficial in terms of physical, mental and emotional well-being — but also to price those products accessibly and to advertise their benefits clearly and transparently without exaggerating or over-stating their benefits. Evidence-based advertising is ideal, though evidence is not always available because many of these topics are under-researched. Following these introductory ethical steps can help your company benefit from promoting wellness while also potentially becoming a trusted source in a sea of snake oil.

Pleasure-inclusive wellness

Because wellness is so closely associated with health, it can be stripped of the fun and exciting parts of the wellness journey — like experiencing pleasure. Avoid this! At Blush, we believe that pleasure, joy and fun are vital to well-being and thus must be part of the wellness conversation. Cultivating pleasure in our lives is beneficial to mental and emotional health and is a basic human right often stifled or shamed out of us! In a world that often devalues pleasure and fun, the adult retail industry can help keep the wellness conversation well-rounded by validating pleasure practices. True wellness should always be pleasure-inclusive.

Adult retail and wellness

Because pleasure is such an important part of the wellness conversation, it is valuable for adult stores to provide consumers with products that support a variety of wellness practices and meet people where they’re at in their life. Pleasure products can be a great way to match pleasure with well-being and give shoppers something to complement their current wellness journeys — or even get them started!

Inspired by users with specific sexual health needs, sexual wellness products like dilator sets are inspired by a desire to offer options for cancer patients and are made for anyone looking to support their vaginas with gentle and gradual opening and stretching. Kegel training products can help users relax their pelvic muscles and enhance sexual experiences. Toys with thoughtful touches like a long handle that is firm and easy to grip for users with arthritis, carpal tunnel and other dexterity limitations.

Not only is it important for adult retailers and manufacturers to offer products that support shoppers’ pleasure and wellness needs, but they also need to make these products as accessible as possible — meaning quality construction at wallet-friendly prices.

In addition to offering specific products that support the wellness needs of a variety of consumers, adult retail manufacturers need to make those products accessible which means offering quality products at wallet-friendly prices.

Centering pleasure in the wellness conversation — and keeping it transparent, ethical and realistic — can help shoppers feel supported and trusting as they explore the brands and products available to them. Adult stores and their hardworking staff are often shoppers’ go-to (or even exclusive) source of information and recommendations, and by tapping into that need and addressing it effectively, you will likely reap the benefits for years to come.

Defining ‘Wellness’ in the Pleasure Products Industry by Verna Meng originally appeared in XBIZ

Wellness Palm Sense Double Rumble Tech Motor Handheld Massager by Blush

The Wellness Palm Sense Vibe turns your hand into a strong, 10-function massager using the powerful Rumble Tech motor.

The finger fin slips easily between your fingers for a firm grasp and accessibility during use. Press the smooth, cushy silicone vibe body against your most sensitive zones for powerful massaging using the two powerful motors and dual massaging points.

UltraSilk smooth and made of Puria Platinum-cured silicone, this toy is silky, body-safe and phthalate free. As with all products and/or materials at Blush it has been 3rd party lab tested to meet or exceed REACH and Prop65 safety compliance directives. It’s your body. Be mindful of what you put in it.

The USB rechargeable Palm Sense is Palm Sense is IPX7 waterproof for fun in & out of the water and easy cleanup.

Features:

  • Handheld body massager
  • Finger fin for accessibility and better grasp
  • Two powerful Rumble Tech motors
  • 10 Powerful and rumbly vibration modes
  • Pure platinum cured Puria silicone
  • Ultrasilk smooth
  • Tested ipx7 submersible waterproof
  • Magnetic USB rechargeable – charging cable included
  • 1 Year warranty provided by Blush
  • Pure platinum-cured Puria silicone
  • 3.75” x 2” x 2.5”

How to Maximize the Impact of Adult Retail Staff Training

We all know that the adult retail landscape is constantly shifting, evolving and expanding, regularly leaving retailers to wonder what they could be doing better or how they can cultivate and maintain a competitive advantage.

The answer, however, may be easier than you think. There’s one surefire way to ensure your establishment shifts and grows along with the industry, and that is investing in consistent trainings for your staff.

Your store’s staff can be its superpower if you take the steps necessary to keep them knowledgeable, both about what you sell and how to create the experience consumers crave.

The right trainings can help build your reputation, boost your bottom line, and take your establishment from just a store to a sought-after retail destination. With that in mind, let’s talk about the impact and importance of providing ongoing training for your adult retail staff — what it means, the purposes it serves, and where you can find the kind of training that will set your store apart.

WHAT IS RETAIL TRAINING?

Retail training is focused on providing sales staff and management access to skills and knowledge that have been proven to create positive customer experiences and boost sales, including but not limited to:

  • Product features and benefits
  • Brand knowledge and expertise
  • Merchandising and display tools
  • Assisting customers in a manner that is both efficient and welcoming
  • Communication and answering questions
  • Maintaining in-store cleanliness and safety
  • Cross-sales, upselling and closing sales

The goal of retail training is to cultivate and nurture a staff of personable, knowledgeable sales associates. Having a staff of well-trained associates can not only increase your sales but also create the kinds of positive customer experiences that make for repeat business, loyal relationships and referrals.

EXAMPLES OF RETAIL TRAINING

There are several training categories that retailers can focus on to optimize their sales associate fleet — everything from new associate onboarding, floor sales and safety, to brand knowledge, pleasure, sex education and more.

Ideally, retail trainings should help sales associates develop skills so they can feel confident on the floor while benefiting from information and knowledge that can improve customer experiences.

However, many stores stop at product knowledge. This is understandable, of course, because some of the most accessible retail trainings come from product manufacturers themselves. It takes a bit more research, but seeking out training opportunities that focus on more than just product details can give your staff a well-rounded experience and access to even more tools to use on the job.

For example, Blush has created a multifaceted retail education initiative called Blush U to help retailers stay up to date on product knowledge while also accessing sexual wellness and pleasure education from our in-house sex educator, Tawny Seren. Other companies offer these kinds of trainings too. You just need to look and ask around for them!

TRAINING YOUR TEAM

When it comes to providing quality training that effectively addresses the product knowledge piece of the equation, one of the best assets available may be the manufacturers you work with.

Blush U offers easily accessible online training sessions, including prerecorded and live assets as well as education sessions, webinars and more. Because our live workshops are hosted by our in-house sex educator, training attendees also can ask direct questions and get even more information about the subjects they’re curious about.

This kind of training not only gives your employees the opportunity to ask questions and learn new information in a comfortable environment, but it can also help you provide your customers with the ultimate shopping experience. Additionally, it can serve as valuable team-building time as staff members work together to stay in the know about new products while earning together.

This type of multifaceted training benefits brands and retailers alike. When you work with manufacturers that demonstrate a dedication to working with retailers in this mutually beneficial way, you will ultimately be able to provide better service to everyone who walks through your door.

When you provide your staff with the trainings they need for an optimal customer experience, you will see results not just in sales numbers. The service your associates can provide when they are up to date on what each brand offers — and how to incorporate education and knowledge into the sales conversation — will pay off in customer loyalty, referrals and overall brand recognition for your establishment.

If you want your store to be the best it can be, take advantage of the trainings available to you because, in this case, knowledge truly is power.

How to Maximize the Impact of Adult Retail Staff Training by Verna Meng originally appeared in XBIZ

Blush U: Experiencing Blended Orgasms Mixed with Understanding the Anatomy and Blended Orgasms

About this event

Join Tawney Seren as she educates on the importance of understanding the anatomy of the body and what a blended orgasm is. Explore different Blush intimacy products like the Lush Victoria or Hop Oh Bunny! that can assist in the achievement of a blended orgasm – solo or with a partner. You will also learn how to answer questions and be able to direct your customers to the product that assists them best.

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What to Know About PVC in Pleasure Products Manufacturing

The adult retail industry has come a long way when it comes to product quality. In the span of the last decade, we’ve seen manufacturers grow more aware of what materials make for high-quality toys and, in response, move away from using lower-quality materials that led to the greasy, melty, smelly dildos of years gone by.

Consumers have also become savvier when it comes to shopping for toys. They know that some materials are “good,” and others can be “bad,” which informs their buying decisions. But as we manufacturers know, it’s not as simple as “good” and “bad” — and what if the materials that are often deemed “bad” got that reputation from misinformation and misunderstanding?

Today we’re going to talk about one such material: PVC. We’ll look at what it is, why it developed such a bad rep, and how companies like Blush are working to create PVC toys that are body-safe, high-quality and accessible to the masses.

WHAT EXACTLY IS PVC?

PVC is an abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride, the third-most-produced plastic in the world. In the adult industry, PVC can be found in many pleasure products, including dildos and anal plugs.

PVC is incredibly versatile and can be used to make hard plastic and softer realistic toys. Its durability allows a well-manufactured PVC dildo to last decades. It is also the least expensive material, which allows the sex toys made with it to be priced well below their higher-end counterparts.

WHY DOES PVC GET SUCH A BAD RAP?

There is a lot of misinformation online about PVC. Some of it stems from how PVC products were produced in the distant past. PVC used to be synonymous with phthalate-ridden products that leaked an oily substance through their packaging and smelled like a cheap shower curtain. With a reputation like that, it’s no wonder people think PVC is bad!

WHAT HAS CHANGED ABOUT PVC?

In recent years, as we have learned more about material safety and consumers have been more vocal about material preferences, companies like ours have worked to find ways to create PVC formulations that are rid of the unpleasant features that people have come to associate with the material. Nowadays, PVC is used to create a wide array of high-quality body-safe products — adult and non-adult products alike.

That said, many of the old beliefs about PVC live on, so let’s take a moment to bust some of the most pervasive PVC myths.

Myth: All PVC products contain phthalates.

Fact: Phthalates can be found in some plasticizers used to make PVC, making the material softer and more malleable. To ensure that products are indeed phthalate-free, manufacturers can obtain lab testing certificates that address the European Union’s REACH safety requirements and California’s Prop 65 requirements as part of their onboarding of raw materials vendors. Third-party lab testing can confirm that safety and quality are maintained after undergoing the various manufacturing processes. This ensures the final product meets or exceeds the standards set by the various government product safety agencies.

Myth: PVC products are porous.

Fact: We do not want to speak for other industries, but in the industry of making plastic “toys” — from children’s toys like collectible dolls, figurines, and bath toys to “toys” for grown-ups — PVC is without a doubt non-porous, even after it is softened by plasticizers.

Myth: PVC toys are low-quality.

Fact: You might be surprised to learn how broadly defined the term “quality” is in this industry, and it’s often a subjective measurement made by salespeople, buyers and end users. Some even associate a higher price with higher quality — not accurate!

The material alone isn’t what makes a product low- or high-quality. You’ll find low-quality silicone products on store shelves with $100-plus price tags and higher-quality silicone products with $50 price tags. There are high-quality PVC products with $30 price tags and lower-quality PVC products with $60 price tags, too.

What makes a product “high-quality” is fit and finish that reflects price point and overall value for the features and benefits it provides. For us, “high-quality” also includes maintaining strict quality control at the factory level, transparency with materials sourcing and testing, value to the end user and overall function. Does the product do what the package says it will? Will its components function and last for as long as is reasonable for its production cost and price point? Are we meeting demand without alienating shoppers with lower budgets? Everyone deserves access to quality pleasure products, and we know how to create quality at various price points, including using materials like PVC.

RELIABLE MEASURES OF QUALITY

First, feel in relation to how smooth a product is. PVC has a lot of drag, which is the most significant factor that can make a product feel lower-quality than other soft plastic products. However, once lubricated, PVC feels just as slippery as any other product. And remember: TPE Is only smooth because corn starch is added to it, and silicone is only smooth when a silicone-based coating is applied to the product.

Second, feel in relation to durometer. PVC can be made to be as firm and almost as soft as any other soft plastic.

Third, smell. There is a minimal smell to PVC, but it does smell like plastic. Be wary of products that use a synthetic fragrance to mask this “natural” plastic smell because the chemicals in such fragrances are known carcinogens.

And fourth, durability. PVC is by far more durable than TPE. It will melt at a lower temperature than silicone but has comparable tear resistance. As you can see, PVC offers the most value compared to any other soft plastic while giving up very little in quality.

PVC AND YOUR SHOPPERS

For retailers, knowing the truth about PVC can help expand your store’s selection. PVC is used to create some of Blush’s most popular product lines and some shoppers’ favorite items. The affordability of PVC toys makes these popular toys accessible to shoppers who otherwise might not be able to afford them. Armed with the truth about modern-day PVC, you will be able to assuage consumers’ concerns about the material.

So, there you have it. What you’ve heard about PVC isn’t the whole truth, and it’s essential to avoid the blanket statements that so often circulate about sex toy materials. Affordability is crucial, and people can’t always budget for $100-plus silicone that may or may not satisfy their desires! When made with intention and transparency, PVC is an affordable and versatile material that can give you and your shoppers a whole lot more accessible, body-safe options.

What to Know About PVC in Pleasure Products Manufacturing by Eric Lee originally appeared in XBIZ

M For Men Storm Moaning Masturbator with Suction and Milking Action by Blush

The M for Men Storm is loaded with fun!

This ribbed masturbator cup has an array of pleasurable textures inside that massage and tease.

Cycle through 7 powerful vibration functions and a one-touch suction effect that tightens and releases around you for optimal pleasure. The feeling is like getting your rod thoroughly milked.

The internal cup is detachable for easy cleaning and the cap can be put on for protection and discreet storage.

Plug in the included headphones into the headphone jack and listen to the realistic moans!

M for Men masturbators are soft, flexible, and filled with sensational textures. Made of premium TPE, Storm is body-safe, fragrance-free, and phthalate-free. Built to Last.

As with all products and/or materials at Blush it has been 3rd party lab tested to meet or exceed REACH and Prop65 safety compliance directives. It’s your body. Be mindful of what you put in it.

Features:

  • Automatic masturbator
  • One-touch milking effect that tightens and releases feels incredible
  • 7 modes of vibrations and squeezing gives for variety of experiences
  • Erotic realistic moans and included headphones to entice your fantasies.
  • USB rechargeable
  • Ultra-soft squishy sleeve is lined with various ticklers to intensify orgasm.
  • Detachable for easy cleaning
  • Cap for protection and discreet storage
  • ABS and TPE
  • 11.25” (5.5” insertable) x 4.25”

How to Hone Leadership in Adult Retail Businesses

Leadership skills. People talk about them often, but do we really know what they look like in practice? With adult retail competition at an all-time high and the market more crowded than ever, leadership skills can make or break a company. In today’s economic and social landscape, which leadership skills keep businesses happy, healthy and profitable, and which ones no longer apply? In this column, we’re going to talk about the leadership skills that can make a business — especially an adult business — a lasting success. Here are some things to bear in mind if you want to keep your company healthy and profitable.

No surprise to anyone, the adult industry comes with some unique challenges that make strong leadership vital. From navigating stigma, judgment, red tape, censorship to staying aware of disreputable business practices you might encounter along the way, there are many things to bear in mind if you want to keep your company healthy and profitable.

Maintaining a fluid and affirming office culture is essential, whether it be an in-person space or a digital “office” utilizing conferencing and project management software. This “new normal” hybrid work environment necessitates a more creative and flexible form of leadership that, for many of us, has required a revamp — and in some cases, a total overhaul — of our existing executive skills. I have found that, especially now, fairness and kindness have become cornerstones of our internal business. Consequently, most of our employees feel driven to succeed and achieve in their roles. Several have been with the company for more than a decade!

To do their best work, people need air. Every person is unique! That’s why it is essential for adult business leaders to not only invest time, energy and money in recruiting talented individuals, but also to give them space to meet their potential without micromanaging. Some companies rule with an iron fist, always looking over their employees’ shoulders, but I don’t believe that’s effective. I recommend that leaders cultivate a management practice that includes freedom and space, and conserving energy by offering help only when it is requested. This can ensure that we have the correct and proper information before acting and get to know our talented staff so we can be clear on how best to work with them.

We encourage innovation and want everyone in the company to learn, grow and blossom as they do their jobs. While not everyone is comfortable serving as a leader, everyone can learn new leadership skills and hone existing ones to take their career and company to the next level. Continuing education is one way to do this. I participated in Harvard’s prestigious Owner/ President Management Program, a transformative learning experience designed to boost leadership skills and help take participants’ businesses to a higher level of success. It was there that I was able to develop a deeper understanding of operations and greater insight into driving operational excellence, and it was a game changer for me. Sometimes we’re so focused on staff education that we forget that business leaders need professional development and support, too!

Beyond ensuring that your operation keeps moving like a well-oiled machine, strong leadership can help you attract and retain talented employees who are willing to learn, grow and succeed with you. This is especially vital in the current job market. Each day we see headlines lamenting the struggle many employers are facing trying to attract and keep employees, and the high numbers of workers leaving jobs where they feel stifled and under-appreciated. Right now, it is clearer than ever that high turnover and employee disconnect can be the demise of any company. It is vital that business leaders understand that owning a company or serving as upper management is not just about making big sales and a high salary or achieving international name recognition; it’s about working with people, valuing them, and maintaining exchange. That means living wages, benefits where applicable, and remembering that every staff member and every role at the company should be considered “essential.”

I often draw from my personal experiences, like immigrating to the U.S. when I was 14, working as a translator for cross-cultural businesses, and building a company from the ground up with my partner in life and business. These personal experiences gave me an education that I could never find in a formal institution, and they’ve given me what I hope is a valuable perspective on what really matters in a work environment. However, I’d also like to recommend two books that have really helped me hone my leadership skills, and I hope you find them helpful, too: “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey” by Ken Blanchard and “The Ideal Team Player” by Patrick Lencioni.

No surprise to anyone, the adult industry comes with some unique challenges that make strong leadership vital. From navigating stigma, judgment, red tape and censorship to staying aware of disreputable business practices you might encounter along the way, there are many things to bear in mind if you want to keep your company healthy and profitable. That’s why leading an adult company, especially one with a large staff, takes talent, time and patience. At Blush, we know firsthand the power of strong leadership, good relationships and healthy office culture. Businesses live and die based on the conduct of their leaders, so knowing how to lead with intelligence and savvy can be the key to keeping your business healthy for years to come.

How to Hone Leadership in Adult Retail Businesses by Verna Meng originally appeared in XBIZ