Good Vibrations’ Vendor Spotlight: ASLAN Leather
An interview with Carrie, owner of ASLAN Leather!
Good Vibrations was founded in 1977 by Joani Blank and to this day continues to be woman-focused. The executive and top level management team is all woman-run, many of whom have been with the company for 20 years! From Chief Operating Officer Jackie Strano and Chief Cultural Officer and Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, to our Purchasing Manager Coyote Days, who corresponds with many new companies entering the adult novelty industry, Good Vibrations supports women in leadership positions.
Many of our vendors are queer-owned businesses and we’ll be spotlighting these extraordinary companies in a series of interviews with the women who make it happen.
This interview by Coyote Days profiles Carrie from ASLAN Leather, a DIY trans-owned business that creates strap-on harnesses and other BDSM products for a variety of genders.
How’d you get started? What gave you the idea?
I began making strap-on harnesses back in the early 90’s when I developed a persistent desire to penetrate my lover at the time with a strap-on harness after seeing one in the pages of On Our Backs Magazine. I was anxious to try strap-on sex and managed to find a leather harness to buy while attending MichFest in 1990. The first time a strapped it on and saw myself in the mirror was a pivotal point in my sexuality. When I finally set up a date and tested the harness it broke during mid-thrust! The next morning I was determined to create a strap-on harness that would be comfortable to wear and strong enough to perform when the action got heavy. My first harness design, the ASLAN Leather Jock, was a huge success, word spread quickly in my community that I was making leather strap-ons and bondage gear and in 1992 I began producing and distributing my designs for my newly formed company ASLAN Leather.
What obstacles have you found along the way?
The obstacles I encountered through the growth of ASLAN, were getting the bank to recognize ASLAN as a legit business, keeping all of my production domestic and finding kink-positive staff who are capable of producing product that meet the high standards that ASLAN customers have come to expect. Imitation may be a compliment but it does make things difficult when I encounter cheap knock offs of my designs being sold in both wholesale and retail sectors. Thankfully my customer base is wide and loyal and ASLAN quality is second to none.
What does it mean to you that you own an LGBT-run company?
My identity as the owner of ASLAN Leather has always been an integral part of my personal gender expression , as my gender identity evolved from dyke to genderqueer to transman my sexuality demanded the need for new harnesses and gear to compliment my desires. Thankfully there are many people of various gender expressions and sexual orientations who also share similar desires and benefit from the products that I design and produce. As a photographer I have been blessed with the ability to portray individuals from the LGBTQQ and kink community who represent a wide range of bodies and gender expressions, by displaying these images in my advertising I am providing positive sexy representations of Queer, Kinky Trans and LGBQ people and that makes me very proud.
Which of your products is your personal favorite?
I am really excited about my new Simple vegan harness. I wanted to create a vegan version of the Commando that would be machine washable so I altered the design slightly and used nylon webbing and plastic fasteners. I am really pleased with the comfort and versatility of the Simple harness and I think it looks super hot in action. When cleaning time rolls around just toss it in the washing machine.
With all the great features of my classic Commando, the Simple design is easy to adjust can be worn as a two strap or one strap and it can be used as an anal plug harness.
The woven nylon straps wear very comfortably and make it great choice for anyone who is wanting to try strap on sex, the Simple harness is also an excellent choice for transmen who want to pack a hard cock.
What’s next for the future?
Since February 2011, ASLAN has been producing Switch queer porn play parties at a very luxurious sex club here in Toronto.
The queer porn play party concept is based on taking the intimacy of porn as a private experience and making it public by projecting clips from queer porn around the venue, and producing and sometimes performing in a live Kink porn shoot. Queer porn stars Jiz Lee, Courtney Trouble, James Darling, Jezebel Valentine, Drew DeVeaux, and Sophia St James among others have all contributed to the hot scenes at Switch. Switch Live Hometown Hotties featuring Jezebel Valentine and Malcolm xxx recently won an Honorable mention Feminist Porn award see it on my new queer porn site HouseofSwitch.com. My plans for the future include producing a compilation video of all the Switch live shoots, producing short SFW and NSFW videos on the use of ASLAN harnesses and BDSM toys and taking photos of hot kinky queers for ASLAN and House of Switch and as always designing new harnesses and bondage toys to meet the erotic kinky desires of my customers and myself.
Thanks Carrie and keep up the great work. Find ASLAN Harness’s Jaguar Harness at Good Vibrations.
Stay tuned for upcoming interviews and queer-run business spotlights in future posts on Good Vibrations’ Online Magazine!