Happy Birthday We Vibe!
It was 10 years ago this month that Standard Innovation debuted the very first We Vibe toy. It was the culmination of more than five years of work on the part of company founders Melody and Bruce Murison. It may seem cliche to say that they revolutionized the sex toy industry but I believe that's exactly what they did.
The changes spurred by the introduction of the we vibe took hold so fast and had such far-reaching effect that I think many people take for granted the way things are today. I have been involved in this industry for 18 years and I've seen the changes first hand. Here are some of the things we can thank Bruce and Melody Murison for.
Small, independent toy makers companies. Previous to the introduction of the We Vibe, there were some smaller toy manufacturers but most of them made only non-motorized toys. They also had small production levels which meant that they weren't taken on by distributors. That made it hard for people even to find out about them, much less purchase them. Developing a vibrating toy with an innovative design was an extremely expensive endeavor so most designers sold their ideas to big companies. The big companies feel safer with things they already know so often they wouldn't produce these innovative toys, they just bought the rights to ward off competition. This meant we rarely saw something truly new in the world of sex toys. Bruce and Melody wanted to bring the We Vibe onto the market themselves. They raised half a million dollars to pay for the research, testing and prototypes they would need to make it happen. We Vibe went on to become one of the best selling toys ever made - inspiring independent designers to follow their example and even the big toy companies to take more risks with producing new and innovative designs. Now, with the advent of crowd-funding and new technologies that make producing prototypes faster and cheaper, we've seen many very small companies take off, providing us with designs that we were unlikely to make it to market 10 years ago.
Marketing directly to consumer. Before the We Vibe, sex toys were rarely talked about in mainstream media. Ads for toys were confined to industry trade papers. Even toy review blogs and forums were quite new. New toys were marketed only to distributors and distributors marketed them directly to retailers. The Murisons did not come from the sex toy world and so they treated the marketing of their product like other commercial products. They got the We Vibe mentioned in articles in mainstream magazines like Chatelaine and Cosmopolitan - even on big mainstream TV shows like Oprah. They got the We Vibe included in the gift bags given to the Oscar presenters - and got a lot of press coverage for it. They did not rely on distributors to get the word to retailers, they went right to the consumer and created a demand that retailers then wanted to fill. This has been a huge boon to retailers as it created an entirely new market of people who never would have thought of buying a toy or going into a sex shop. Stories about sex toys are commonplace in mainstream magazines and tv shows now, but 10 years ago it was unusual. We Vibe was one of the first to do it.
Continual innovation. We Vibe took a page from Apple's book and decided to continually create new and better version of their toys. Sure, this ensures that they continue to sell toys, even to people who already have the earlier versions, but it also means more and more innovation and better and better toys coming into the market. Before We Vibe, Fun Factory was the only company to create new generations of their previous toys. The big four North American companies created toys and let them remain as they were for 30 years and more. Now, generation 2, 3's and 7's are a common thing even among the big four.
We are thankful to Bruce and Melody for taking the huge risk to invest so much of their own time and money to create that first We Vibe 10 years ago. In doing so, they didn't just bring a new toy onto the market, they changed the whole industry. We are proud that this game-changing company is Canadian.
In celebration of We Vibe's 10th anniversary, we are having a We Vibe event. Beginning today, until April 27, tweet us @travtickletrunk or comment on our facebook page, and tell us your favorite We Vibe toy, or the toy you'd like to try. We'll enter you to win a We Vibe Sync, Nova, or Touch - your choice. Plus, when you buy any We Vibe toy at the store, from April 21 to April 27, you'll get a reusable We Vibe tote bag and a $10 Tickle Trunk gift card.