Fashion Harnesses by Gender Fluid from ThankMeNow

Fashion harnesses that fit all bodies.

Slip into something comfortable with Gender Fluid’s Fashion Chest Harness Collection, made with ultra-soft stretchy material, and share your unique style with the world.

Created to flatter all bodies and fit all gender identities, the five styles are versatile for all folks that want to have a bit of fun wearing harnesses either as a layering piece with an outfit or even just by itself.

The Billie Harness offers clean minimalist lines with a single high and wide chest strap, shoulder straps, and an x-design across the back.

The Majesty Harness offers a halter style neck, wide straps in front, and a centered three-strap design in the back.

The Mason Harness offers a single high chest strap and shoulder straps with a silver ring detail in front and a x-design in the back.

The Sugar Coated Raspberry Glitter Harness is made with delicate raspberry pink glittery straps in the front and a centered three-strap design attached to the halter neck in the back.

The Silver Lining Glitter Rainbow Harness has slim straps with silver, rainbow, and black glittered stripes. The front view offers a double strap above the chest and a single strap below. The back features a single center strap attached to the halter-style neck.

Each style is available in two sizes (S-L and L-XXL) and come packaged in a resealable premium black mylar bag with a product window on the back that can be used for storage and safekeeping.

Catering to a Diverse Customer Base With Gender-Fluid Products

The term “gender-fluid” has been buzzing around the industry lately, but what does it really mean? Gender-fluidity is essentially about removing labels that limit one’s identity and letting people be who they are. Acknowledging and using whatever pronoun a person chooses to express their gender — like she, he or they — demonstrates respect and inclusivity. But so does recognizing that some people may not identify as any gender, or else their gender identification and expression may shift in ways that seem more, well, fluid.

Letting people choose products they want for their bodies, regardless of sex, is a new concept but one that deserves attention. For so long our industry has made products specifically designated for men or women. Now, as we are designing instead for bodies and to help people fit together, gender-fluid items are starting to become their own category. Having items for men, women and gender-fluid customers creates a diverse shopping culture and experience for everyone. Inclusivity in products takes time and work, but with patience this can create such a beautiful experience on your sales floor.

Gender-fluid products allow customers to express and celebrate the full spectrum of gender identities. These products can empower customers to affirm how they want to be seen and they will be forever appreciative of that. Such items can include harnesses and packers, as well as gear such as the stylish T-shirts offered by Thank Me Now with pronouns printed on them.

So how do you incorporate these products into your current assortment? Create a new category or a new display section. These products deserve to be in the spotlight! You are not only offering a more diverse selection of toys but are also creating an environment that is inclusive of all shoppers. This doesn’t just include gender but also being body-positive and size-inclusive. End caps or front-of-store displays are an excellent way to introduce these products to your shoppers. I personally would keep these products in a high-traffic area for a few reasons: the packaging is beautiful, the products are unique and they support an important audience in your store. I don’t see this category ever going away and I expect many other brands will begin to offer selections geared towards this important audience.

What about displays? These products don’t require any special merchandising supplies outside of what you already have in your store. Work with your manufacturer to create a display that is unique to your store. Retailers, please be vocal about display needs; it truly helps manufacturers create the brand support that will make the most impact in your store. Not able to give up a full display area? That’s OK. Continue to merchandise the products in their given categories, but perhaps include a designer sticker or sign that lets the customer know how the product transcends gender stereotypes.

Pride season is coming up and this will be a great way to demonstrate to your customers that your store offers solution-oriented products for all customer needs. Work with your manufacturer or distributor on promotional supplies for Pride events or in-store promotions. What better way to let people know you have products for them than to get involved in local LGBTQIA+ events and community opportunities. Partner with manufacturers’ marketing teams to get signage that engages and educates customers at Pride events, parades or in-store events.

When it comes to gender-fluid products, the goal is to have offerings that don’t make the audience feel like they are buying a toy that’s not designed for them. With the Gender Fluid line by Thank Me Now, we’ve created lifestyle imagery with a diverse group of models so that the customers can literally see themselves using the product. Nothing feels more disheartening than buying a product that you can’t identify with. Show people you care by offering products that are diverse and unique, just like their own special selves.

If there is any industry that should support being inclusive of all gender identities, it’s the adult industry. We are in such a unique and special position to help people when they are feeling vulnerable. Use your wholesale-buying power to create diversity among your toy, lingerie and fashion items. Show your customers real people in the marketing that you display in your store. And lastly, create a store culture that does its very best to be inclusive of everyone.

Catering to a Diverse Customer Base With Gender-Fluid Products by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

Retailer Tips for Navigating Post-Valentine’s Day Sales

We spend months prepping for our favorite holiday in adult, Valentine’s Day.

It’s the culmination of weeks of buying, receiving, decorating the store, staffing, inventory management and other duties.

Now what? It’s so important to manage this transition before we start hitting Pride season and a few other holidays along the way.

Staffing

Don’t forget how hard your team has worked over the last few months. Most of your stores have been short-staffed, so a lot of your team members are wearing many hats — yourself included. Celebrate in a big way, giving everyone the credit that they deserve. Don’t think that you have a pizza party to celebrate Valentine’s Day and it’s over — you can continually celebrate those wins over the next few months. Rewarding your team for a month or two after Valentine’s Day can keep the momentum going in a big way. Have that traditional party but come up with some other fun ways to celebrate your team. If staffing allows, layer in some extra breaks, or offer coupons to leave early or a few hours of paid time off if possible. You know your team and what they like best; I’m just suggesting extending your normal celebratory period into the upcoming slow months.

Sales Contests

Use this spring and summer to work with your favorite distributors and manufacturers to set up some fun sales contests to rally those post-Valentine’s Day sales. You don’t need to have all the ideas or do the hard work. Most of us have programs in place to easily implement fun and successful store contests without a lot of work. It’s a great way to incentivize people without spending any of your own money. New products are coming out; setting up contests for associates to get their hands on those new items is a total win-win for everyone. Bingo is a fun way to implement a simple contest for prizes or cash. Set up a few spiffs on your top-sellers, and a few slower items to see if you can move some product. Remember, contests aren’t meant to be difficult or add a ton of work to your daily reporting. If tracking spiffs is difficult, pick something that works for you. You aren’t limited to a few options. As a manufacturer, we can come up with a way to support you without adding a ton to your daily workload.

Inventory Management

Now is the time to evaluate your sales floor and mix it up a bit. Freshness on the sales floor keeps your regular customers feeling like they always have something new to shop. Keep those solid top-sellers that perform well for you, but give up that bottom 20% and try some new product strategies. January typically comes with a lot of product releases, so you have options! Don’t be afraid to ask for samples to check out some of the latest and greatest. If you haven’t joined the Facebook group Pleasure Professionals Place, you should do so. It’s a great resource that you can use to learn about new products, as well as inquire how items perform for other retailers, and stay on top of new releases. It’s an excellent source to connect with product and people. XBIZ also features a lot of product reviews on new items; check out the back of the magazine or daily e-blasts for info on new releases.

Trade Shows

We are about to have our first in-person trade show this month at Altitude in Las Vegas. There is going to be hugging, and a lot of it! But there will also be so many new products to see. Think about it: there hasn’t been a live trade show product launch in over two years. Take your time and make appointments to meet with people. There are three full days to walk the show and meet with people, so you have plenty of time to do both. There are also a lot of promotions during the show, and unless you meet and speak with everyone, you won’t know what kind of deals are out there.

Store Decorating

One of the things I love most about Valentine’s Day in retail is how much people decorate and brighten their stores to celebrate the holiday. Keep this tradition going year-round. Think about how motivating and pleasant it was to see everything decorated. The Dollar Store or Amazon have such inexpensive décor to choose from. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but just to see an environment blooming with color around spring is a vivid motivator to shop more. So many toys are coming in new and fun colors, it makes a great impact when you do displays to celebrate these options.

Hopefully a few of these ideas will help resonate in your store and give you some new perspective on old ideas. There is no perfect answer in retail, but having a plan of action is the first way to accomplish big goals. Make this typical slow season one of your busiest by implementing some of these tools.

Retailer Tips for Navigating Post-Valentine’s Day Sales by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Stay Stocked With the Right Balance of New, Classic Top Sellers

The start of the new year means new products! This can be exciting, but also a big business responsibility when it comes to balancing new-release items with your tried-and-true bestsellers.

Viral sensations like the Rose Vibe have left everyone across the globe scrambling to keep them in stock. It was crazy to have so many people try to get that one specific style in, but as an industry we rallied like we usually do and made the best of the trend in all aspects of the biz, from manufacturing to retail.

New releases like the Rose Vibe are tricky because their availability is limited and therefore inconsistent, and customers that are determined to get their hands on that specific item are unlikely to want to settle for anything else. Customers that are strictly focused on one item tend to spend less than those that are looking for a product in a broader product category, like a wand or rabbit vibe.

These items are also reactionary purchases, which means that the urge to purchase comes and goes — whatever strikes the buyer’s mood. Other new releases that fall in popular categories make it easier. You know your customer base will lean towards these traditional styles and they serve as consistent crowd pleasers.

How to determine freshness?

But how long is something considered a new release and when does it become a regular item? Personally, I consider something a new release for up to eight months. The first three are typically spent regulating inventory, while the remaining months are aggressive sales on that one item.

A popular and successful item typically also has a healthy amount of marketing support and online content that can be used to keep its newness “fresh.” Once it passes the newness phase, as a buyer you must decide whether it is a bestseller that is worth taking up the space of a traditionally bestselling item that could potentially outperform it.

New versions of products count as new releases.

This is where I see some stores not keeping up and ending up with heavy inventory in one area because older versions weren’t discontinued. Newness means managing aged inventory as well.

You must maintain a balance; I suggest a 60/40 mix. Sixty percent of your inventory comes from items that you consider top sellers in each category and carry regularly, and 40% of your inventory is available for new items or new categories. Does 40% seem like a lot? Perhaps, but look at the sheer volume of new products coming out and it’s not as expansive as it seems.

manage slow sellers.

You must manage slow sellers and move them out quickly. Don’t let those items sit for a year or so and oxidize on display.

How do you decide what a slow seller is? Run a list of top-selling items over a span of time and see what the average amount sold was by dividing the quantity sold by the days you are running the report for. If a slow seller is way off the average, clear it out and try something new. It’s limiting your store sales.

Don’t just reorder.

I see a lot of stores get into a bit of a rut when it comes to ordering. Reordering is a process in and of itself, but just habitually reordering the same items without adding a lot of newness is detrimental to your sales floor or online business.

You must plan on adding in newness to your inventory selection. Maybe 60/40 isn’t realistic for your business. Try 80/20 and see if that is more comfortable for you, but either way make sure you have a plan in place regarding inventory expectations.

Evaluate and replace.

If an item goes a month without selling, then maybe it’s time to try something else. If it’s a G-spot vibe, I’m not saying discontinue it. That’s a classic category. But obviously this vibe that has sat there for a month isn’t the star you were hoping it would be.

There is a plethora of new G-spot vibes being released. This is the time to try some new releases. Same with all your other top-selling categories. Expensive items won’t sell at the same velocity as an inexpensive pocket-sized vibe, so be realistic when evaluating items. Work with your team to determine what the expectation of each item’s performance is.

People often don’t realize the time and energy spent on orders and reorders, but I see you! I’m cheering for you and the hours you spend poring over reports. I hope these tips can help with your New Year’s planning and I look forward to seeing those 2022 releases in stores soon!

How to Stay Stocked With the Right Balance of New, Classic Top Sellers by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Develop Your Brand’s Online Personality for Engagement, Success

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As online communication has become more ubiquitous, people are becoming more conscious of their online persona and reputation. Brands also strive to develop their own identity, and how they express themselves online plays a role in building positive relationships with customers. Therefore, it’s imperative to consider what image you and your business convey via the medium of digital technology.

Let’s start with some overall rules to keep in mind when utilizing Zoom for communication with your B2B partners. First, it’s hard to judge your own body language while communicating online. What we think of as professionalism may come across as a cold shoulder to some people, while overly friendly online tactics can potentially seem unprofessional. The key is to appear engaged, open to communicating and most of all, be open to feedback. It’s important to know how your audience reacts to your style of engagement. So, don’t be afraid to ask your client how you did. Third, be consistent in your presentation and with the thoughts and ideas you express. One way to get your online persona on track and consistent is to spend some time creating it.

When it comes to brainstorming big ideas such as how to develop a consistent brand voice, I like creating mood boards and then sharing those ideas with a team. It gets people engaged when they are part of the building process, which is a bonus since they likely have useful information and insights to share. Get some supplies at the dollar store or Target and put together a mood board expressing who or what you want your online personality to be. A great place for some mood board inspiration is Pinterest. It’s a free resource that has great ideas; use them to your advantage!

Once you have started to give life to your online personality, think about how you are going to develop this idea across all your online platforms. Some ideas to incorporate into your mood board:

Favorite colors

It would be great if these coordinate with your store, but don’t be afraid to start a new palette if your store doesn’t utilize a lot of color. Select a few bold colors, and a few complementary colors.

Preferred fonts: Using the same font consistently is important. Pick two at the most. Make them easy to read and keep it simple. Remember that font gets super tiny when people are viewing your stuff on their phones. Super-swirly fonts are hard to read, as is lots of cursive.

Hashtags

Start building your social media audience with some consistent hashtags. Think about hashtags that represent what your store believes in, or the work you do with your customers. Here are a few ideas that may resonate with your audience: #pleasureproducts #adultretail #pleasureboutique #sexeducation #customereducation #pleasurematters #closethepleasuregap #selfpleasure #selflove #selfcare.

Once you’ve set the tone, look and mood, here are some other steps to take that will help you maintain consistency and project the image that best represents your brand:

Online cleanup

Make a list of all the social media on which you have existing profiles. It might be time to update those online spaces with new content. Yelp is a great place to showcase your store, yet I rarely see stores that have posted their own images or showcased the beauty of their location. Don’t let your customers speak for you on such an important online venue.

Social media content

Make sure to link your Facebook to your Instagram account so you are posting on one platform but reaching both audiences, cutting your work in half . Think of creative video ideas, especially in today’s age of TikTok. Get your store noticed! Utilize your mood board as you go and allow it to become your online personality guide. Customers will start to see the consistent messaging and become more familiar with who you are and what your business has to offer.

Community

Promoting a sense of community is a huge part of maintaining an online presence. Making sure your “digital personality” is community-oriented and represents sex positivity is important because it gives customers a sense of whom they are supporting when they choose to buy from your business.

Lastly, expressing emotion is a part of digital body language and the easiest way to do that is by using emoji, hashtags and clear messaging. Try to remain consistently upbeat in your messaging, word choice, and use of emoji. If your store is passionate about work in your community or the ways you give back in your industry, share that! For example, do you work with Planned Parenthood in your community? Let your audience know by sharing your experiences and thoughts through your social media posts and stories.

Our industry is full of fascinating people, including some of the most knowledgeable retail associates I’ve ever worked with, people who are truly genuine in wanting to help customers. We work tirelessly to ensure we are trained to our full potential and that we can make a difference in customers’ lives. In other words: You don’t need to create an online personality — it’s already there. You just need the tools to share it with the world.

How to Develop Your Brand’s Online Personality for Engagement, Success by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ