Times have changed.
Today there are dozens of small and medium size sex toy manufacturers around the world that started out with an idea, a desire to make money, and a belief that they could give people pleasure or at least help them help themselves to pleasure. The sex toy industry is changing rapidly, and with the right set of skills and in some cases enough money to get it started, the barriers to getting your idea to market have never been lower.
Step 1: Do Some ResearchPeople often assume that the sex toy industry is a creative wasteland where people cash in without even trying. There was a time when this was true, but no more. There is a history to the industry and there are particular ways that the industry talks about itself, its products and its customers. Even if you think you know everything you need to know about sex toys, if you haven't done some research you probably need to know more. If you think that you've got a truly revolutionary sex toy you'd better be sure it isn't something that's already on the market.
Step 2: Ask Yourself What You WantAre you mostly interested in a creative project? Do you want to make a job for yourself, start a business, and try to make a living as a sex toy maker? Is your goal more about giving people pleasure and less about money? Having an idea for a sex toy is great, but if you want to "do something" with that idea it's best if you set some goals for yourself first. There are all sorts of ways of turning your idea into a thing that exists in the world. You need to decide if you really only want to make one, or maybe a dozen for your closest friends, or if you're hoping to have one of your sex toys in every bedside table in the country.
Step 3: Take an Inventory of What You've GotIf you're reading this then you probably have your idea. But an idea, even a brilliant idea that is genuinely innovative, isn't enough. Do you have experience starting a business? Do you know how to market yourself and your product? Do you have capital to invest? It's good to dream (it's essential for entrepreneurs) but you also need to be realistic. Assess your resources and take that into account when you decide the best way to move forward. No matter how great your idea is, if you can't pull it off no one is ever going to get to try it.
- What do you want to make?
- Why you want to make it?
- Why you are the person to get it done?
- How will you know when you've succeeded?
Step 4: Pick Your PathOne of the reasons it's hard for most people to figure out how to turn their sex toy invention into a business is that there isn't a lot of industry infrastructure, and so there's no clear path to bringing your product to market. The good news is that there's still a lot of room for innovation and for people to do it their own way, and get it done. Here are X of the main ways people move forward with their sex toy inventions.
If you're entrepreneurial and have the time, energy, money, and interest in doing it all on your own, there is no question that the sex toy industry has room for many new companies, and it is possible to start relatively small and grow at a manageable pace. You'll need capital both for the manufacturing and the marketing, but thanks to sex toy bloggers and the mainstream media's acceptance of sex toys as a suitable topic for discussion, it's possible to take your product and your case to the people in a way that can translate into direct sales, and interest from retailers and distributors.
There are many sex toy distributors (companies that don't make toys but sell to on and off line retailers, and sometimes have their own retail operations on the side). Distributors are interested in developing exclusive deals with manufacturers and if you have a sex toy and you're willing to put the money up to have it manufactured, you might choose to partner with a distributor who will take care of sales and distribution. They should be able to advise you on the manufacturing end as well. Just be sure the distributor has a good understanding of the market and has reach into the market. In this industry (as in most) people often misrepresent their ability to get your product into stores nationally and internationally. Get referrals, do your research, and be careful before signing any exclusive deals that could eventually make it harder for you to get your product to the people you believe will buy it.
This is the least likely option, but as the retail sex toy industry grows, retailers are looking for new ways to make money and to distinguish themselves from their competition. One notable example of this is the web based LoveHoney's Design a Sex Toy Contest. The retailer runs the contest and the winning product may be manufactured, with the designer keeping some of the profits as I understand it. This is how the Sqweelfound its way to market.
When You Have an Invention You Want to Take to Market
It's possible to start with an idea for a sex toy and with a lot of planning, work, and some financial investment, make your sex toy invention a reality. As the sex toy industry becomes more sophisticated the opportunities for small and mid-sized companies increase. You need to start with research, make the right connections through networking, and understand the manufacturing, distribution, and retailing of sex toys, whether or not you plan on being the one to do some or all of those tasks.