Good Vibrations’ Vendor Spotlight: Tantus
An interview with Metis, owner of Tantus!
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 Metis Black from Tantus — a woman-owned business that creates quality silicone dildos and other products.
How’d you get started? What gave you the idea?
The initial idea first appeared during after work drinks, we where discussing how design in the erotic industry was developed by men and targeted to men too. Some months later, we decided to take the risk and develop a women friendly / couple friendly brand offering sensual and erotic gifts specially designed to be shared.
What obstacles have you found along the way?
As a Bi woman, I was lucky. I was a femme who didn’t bother the old boy network which was very present in the industry in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. We were known for strap-ons and anal toys but I tried really hard to “fit” in and not make too many waves. In hindsight, I wish I’d been more confrontational: mislabeling silicone was very common by companies and I’m certain consumers were injured by this practice which continues to this day.
The biggest obstacle I experienced was educating the marketplace. I was the only company selling silicone products at industry trade shows. Cheap, “planned obsolescence” in sex toys was the industry party line, and I was making a product that cost more and would last. But it made sense to a lot of purchasers. Frankly, there were many store owners who were ambivalent about the fact that the majority of products they were selling stunk and were leaching chemicals. Good Vibration had really given me a totally different experience than the sticky floor stores that were so commonplace at the time.
What does it mean to you that you own an woman-run company?
Tantus is a team— I couldn’t have built so strong a company alone. We work as a family and everyone has a voice in how to hone our processes and designs. I’m so proud of Tantus’ employees; we have about 30 now, our diversity is very present. There is a sense of pride that Tantus has really changed the world of sexual health and we look to the future to figure out how to continue to be the revolutionaries. Our corporate culture is very strong.
Which of your products is your personal favorite?
While I love our classics: The Echo for harness play and the Ryder plug, my favorite is usually a new product about to hit. We have a special new “plug”, that also works great vaginally and is visually really fun, about to be released— its called Asteroid. Be sure to keep an eye out for it, it’s amazing.
What’s next for the future?
We are starting to diversify our line more. A few years ago we started making amazing playing, metal toys, Alumina™. In the next year we’ll be coming out with a few more lines that work, are healthy for the body, but aren’t necessarily silicone.
Thanks Metis, and keep up the great work. Find Tantus at Good Vibrations.
Stay tuned for upcoming interviews and woman-run business spotlights in future posts on Good Vibrations’ Online Magazine!