Good Vibrations Vendor Spotlight: Susan from Cal Exotics
An interview with Susan!
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 and women-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 Susan from Cal Exotics — a woman-run business that creates quality sex toys designed for women.
How’d you get started? What gave you the idea?
When I was the General Manager for CPLC, a distribution company, I became frustrated with the selection of toys that were made for women. They were often boring colors, black and ivory, and didn’t offer many features or functions for women. Having a Masters degree in Business Administration, and being a woman, meant that I intuitively understood that products that were made for woman, should also be designed by women to be successful.
Sex toys were often found at the back of adult book and video stores. These places were primarily patronized by men, yet the products were clearly intended for women. I decided that colorful, feminine products were what the market needed. Instead of packaging that depicted a sexy model, I decided we needed imagery that was pleasing to a woman.
That was the inspiration for California Exotic Novelties. I decided I wanted to create a company that was in-tune with, and created products for, the primary target demographic: women and couples.
What obstacles have you found along the way?
I don’t face obstacles, I face opportunities. When confronted with a challenge I look for the solutions that offer the greatest benefits.
That’s why when many of the gentlemen in the industry—which was somewhat like an “old boys’ club” when I started out—laughed at me, I didn’t see an obstacle. They didn’t think my pink and purple colors and female-friendly packaging would sell, but I went ahead and made them anyway.
That was eighteen years ago and today California Exotic Novelties is the most prolific sex toy company in the world. We have 3,500 products on the market, not counting our private label items. Today we not only make products designed for women and couples, but truly offer something for everyone.
What does it mean to you that you own an woman-run company?
It means that I get to work with the most amazing, talented women in the pleasure product industry every day. We collaborate on each and every new item and product line. We pay attention to feed-back from focus groups so that we can produce products that women want. It also means paying attention to detail, and delivering a quality product that is second to none. The materials, the motors, the technology we put into our products is simply the top of the line. As a woman I understand how important it is for the consumer to know she can trust her pleasure product. We never skimp on quality, and our incredibly low defective rate proves it.
Which of your products is your personal favorite?
All of them! With a personal hand in the development of each and every item we produce, it is hard to pick just one. If forced to, I would have to say the Jack Rabbit. One of our first, and most-popular items, the Jack Rabbit is something women know and ask for by name. It has had many incarnations over the years, including the Original Jack Rabbit, My First Jack Rabbit, the Impulse Jack Rabbit, the Rechargeable Jack Rabbit, the Waterproof Jack Rabbit, the Platinum Collection Jack Rabbit, the First Time Jack Rabbit, the Silicone Jack Rabbit, the Thrusting Jack Rabbit, and the newest additions… the Triple Motor Silicone Jack Rabbit and the Black Label Anniversary Edition Jack Rabbit.
What’s next for the future?
Innovation is ingrained in our corporate culture. We constantly look for new technologies and follow trends to create the most unique and sought-after products on the market. Our latest release includes the luxurious Body & Soul Collection. It encourages women to embrace their sexuality as it is part of their entire being—their entire body and soul. Several of the items feature a designer, iridescent Satin Finish that is beautiful and incredibly soft to the touch.
Stay tuned for upcoming interviews and woman-run business spotlights in future posts on Good Vibrations’ Online Magazine!