The name, LELO, is synonymous with quality, luxury and advanced technology. We are proud to feature their products in our catalog because like us, body-safe quality is their priority. We talked with LELO's Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Thomson, to learn more about how they develop the next generation of sexual wellness devices.
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How did LELO get its name?
LELO originally stood for Luxury Erotic Lifestyle Objects, but now it means so much more. It’s the pinnacle in the pleasure products industry for high-quality designs that last for years, helping to enhance healthy, more vibrant relationships. It also has the same kind of symmetry as our product design does, and that reflection is important. It’s the kind of name that feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. That really appealed to us.
What is the appeal of your product?
LELO’s primary appeal is that our pleasure objects are completely design-led, from start to finish. They’re every bit as beautiful to behold as they are to use. They’re unique in that way.
What differentiates your products from those of your competitors?
Our heritage of luxury and quality sets us apart. Customers, even those unfamiliar with the kinds of products we offer, can easily spot that ours are more considered, more premium and of higher quality than anything else on the market. That’s also why they’re by far the most searched for and recommended in the industry, bar none.
Adult toys have gone much more mainstream. We see them everywhere from Walmart and Target to Rite-Aid and of course on Amazon. How has mainstream acceptance affected your business and how you develop products?
It’s actually the other way around: LELO brought adult toys to the mainstream, and as a result was already perfectly place to capitalize on that. Our pleasure products broke ground wherever they went: they were the first in many mainstream outlets, and that paved the way for others to follow.
Because of increased demand, markets tend to see more counterfeit products available. Have you seen a lot of cheaper knock-offs particularly from overseas?
Following the trend of the whole tech industry, pleasure products are also subject to counterfeiting and copying. It’s currently not at crisis level as it is in other sectors, but big name brands like LELO are particularly susceptible. We take it very seriously: not only are we keen to protect our reputation, but we also want to ensure customers have the best possible experience. It’s an intimate product, after all. There needs to be trust and extensive quality and safety checks applied.
Besides wider acceptance, how has industry changed in last 10 years? 20 years?
The quality is improving all the time, and new innovations in the wider environment have benefitted us too. Technology from smartphone interfaces and connectivity is showing great potential. Access to real, useful product information on the internet is also revolutionizing the way pleasure products are perceived and discussed. For a popular brand like LELO, that invests in product development and quality, we could not be happier with this increased openness. Moreover, a lot of the larger adult brands are more open, better organized and more trustworthy than 20 years ago. It’s still not perfect in some cases, but the future looks bright.
How do your products enhance customers' experiences?
LELO allows the customer to express their sensuality in ways they might not have expected. Our pleasure products encourage people to learn the limits of the pleasure, to learn their bodies and their sensations. Overall we enhance every facet of a customer’s life in one way or another. LELO is not about a one-time experience, we’re about the whole lifestyle.
What would you like customers to know about your products and company that marketing materials might not adequately communicate?
That we are real, passionate people. That our collective experience is measure in hundreds of years. That we love what we do, and we hope they love it too.
What are three products in your line that you think do not get enough recognition?
Our Pleasure Sets are individually designed to offer a whole experience in a beautiful box. The Adore Me set, the Dare Me set and the Indulge Me sets are all specifically designed and stunningly packaged. They make the perfect gifts, and every couple would benefit from owning one.
Who is your target market?
There is no definitive target as such. Each individual pleasure product may be more suitable for a different group, but there’s no singular archetype of a LELO customer. The age range is between 18 and 70 and the amount of female and male shoppers is split 50/50, so there really is no one target market. They have their different tastes of course, but our portfolio has been built to accommodate that.
The adult toy industry is largely unregulated from a medical perspective so there are some manufacturers who market their use of "body safe" and "medical grade" materials (e.g. the industry has moved from rubber, to PVC to Silicone among others). Do you think the industry would benefit from more regulation and oversight when it comes to materials? Does your business encounter stricter regulations and more oversight in other countries?
Anything that helps establish trust between the customer and the manufacturers can only be a good thing. LELO invests heavily in external certifications, far more than other brands, because ultimately positive experiences mean happy customers. If other brands did the same it would really help push the quality of the products we make forwards. It would represent a real advance for the industry as a whole.
What criteria do you use in selecting your materials?
The first and biggest consideration is whether it’s certified body safe. It doesn’t matter how good a material feels, if there’s even a suspicion that it’s not 100% body-friendly, it won’t be considered any further and we use world-renowned testing bodies such as SGS and Intertak to validate these for every product released.
Other than that, texture, firmness and tactility are all considered, as well as the material’s performance with lubricants.
How do you test/evaluate your products?
We have a team of internal product development testers and external experts who we rely on to consult on certain aspects of the product’s design. They follow the same format each and every time so the evaluation of prototypes is consistent.
Do you sell internationally? If so, how do foreign markets compare?
Yes, in every major market, as you would expect if you know LELO.
Product popularity varies market by market, as sexual trends themselves tend to be different by geography, as proven by our world cup of sex and the LELO Global Sex Survey.
Our company believes that enjoyable sexual activity is important to healthy adult lifestyle regardless of physical disability. One group of consumers whom we are trying to serve are the physically challenged. What kinds of products do you offer or recommend which can help those with physical disabilities reconnect with partners?
That’s an important perspective. Our SenseMotion™ products are specifically designed to reduce as much as possible the amount of interaction a product requires. It’s certainly worth exploring what they have to offer.
Other than that, there are charities and manufacturers out there who are specifically dedicated to providing bespoke pleasure products to enhance the sex lives of those with physical disabilities.
Customers (okay me really) are curious as to how you do product research. How do you develop products? Are there focus groups? Are there online discussion groups?
LELO products usually come from an internal creative thinktank and our extensive group of product testers – loyal customers who come back to LELO time and time again.. And social media helps to provide very honest, real-time feedback on ideas and products: that’s a huge free focus group right there.
Do you use market trends?
Yes, we have a suite of software designed to track and report on market trends, plus a team who conduct the manual side of that kind of work.
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