Tag Archive for Colleen Godin

Tales From The Road: Work Hard. Shenanigan Harder.

“Work hard, play hard.” There’s no more fitting place for this old mantra than the pleasure products industry. Fitting in some casual hang-time with your customers and fellow vendors isn’t just a post-trade show option; it’s practically a requirement! I have yet to attend a single event that didn’t involve an after-hours fancy dinner, cocktail party, or other sort of fun activity. Despite our under-eye bags and sore feet, everyone manages to zip downstairs to the hotel lobby to await the evening’s activities.

Capture

Good eats and good times are how this industry gives back to its customers and brings them closer as friends. Quality time develops our relationships beyond sales numbers, which is just one of the perks of working in a tight-knit business that functions more like a community. There is rarely a dull moment in our laid-back atmosphere. Once we’ve shut down our event booths for the day, shenanigans are bound to happen somewhere!

Capture3

During my last trip to the Philadelphia area, our distributor customer took the entire collective of retailers and manufacturers to a local bowling alley. Though I had only planned on a quick pop-in with my co-worker, we were quickly whisked to an alley to play a round with some vendor friends. A fellow sales rep, disgusted by the thought of putting on those always-lovely, musty shoes, refused to lace up for her turn on the lane. My co-worker followed, repulsed by the 70′s color scheme and thousands of prior bowlers who had donned the shoes. In my tired, post-event state, I decided to rebel and follow my shoe-less bowling team’s lead. The staff were less than pleased. We spent the rest of the game trying to avoid the alley’s employee spies, which we called the “Shoe Sheriff,” the “Bowl Patrol,” and another, less savory name I won’t mention here. At one point, one of our team members even jokingly tried to bribe an alley staff member with $50 to turn a blind eye to our rebellious team. Instead of just playing a typical round, our bowling night turned into a hilarious game of “Dodge The Shoe Guys” as we roared with laughter every time another player got in trouble for wearing street shoes. The evening ended when one of the more humored staff members decided to allow me one last shot at the pins before he pulled the plug on our shenanigans.

Capture2

 As far as misbehaving on the job goes, refusing to wear bowling shoes is probably my worst offense yet, but at least I avoided having permanently-smelly feet at the trade show the following morning.

Behind the Toys: 4 Things I Learned During My 1st Year in the Pleasure Products Industry

Time flies when your day job involves hotel hopping and sex toy shopping! A single year in this big-yet-small industry hardly does justice to all the places I still have to travel and customers I want to meet. Having worked in adult novelty retail for 2.5 years before coming to Pipedream, I was well-prepared to become a pleasure product specialist. Traveling across the country places me in front of all different kinds of audiences with no more knowledge of the novelty industry than what they’ve seen on retailer shelves. To outsiders, we’re a strange, confusing crowd, but in reality, we’re pretty regular ladies and gents (that just so happen to work with sex toys for a living!)

16964610889_ac59d9911b_z (2)

1. There is no such thing as NSFW (almost!)

If you reviewed the history on the browser of any given pleasure industry employee, you’d be surprised… or not. Contrary to the biggest misconception about working for an adult novelty company, we don’t stare at erotic photographs all day, but a browser history of nudity and realistic dildos isn’t going to get you fired from the Pipedream office. Your Not-Safe-For-Work is our work! For those in the Art and Marketing Departments, working with images related to various topics in sexuality is all in a day’s duties. However, we do still treat the office as a work space. If our PR Manager is re-blogging nudes, chances are likely that she’s adding in a great article on body acceptance alongside the photos.

17124841506_7ebeba763b_z (2)

2. Our office is more fun than your office… but it’s still an office.

From personal experience, I can tell you that inputting SKU numbers and prices into an Excel sheet is just as pain-staking and boring with sex toys as it is with office supplies. However, at least I can giggle at the dinosaur holding a Basix dong on the desk of the Senior VP of Operations while I do it. Yes, this is, fortunately and unfortunately, still a job. The grunt work doesn’t change, but the atmosphere makes it much more fun than doing the same kind of mundane tasks in a suit-and-tie environment. Our industry is rife with folks who want to change the landscape of sexual discovery, but there are also plenty of people who are happy to leave on Friday and not think about vibrators again until Monday morning. Even if commuting to the PD office is nothing more than a way to earn a living, I can’t imagine a better place for your 9-5!

 17159121005_b95161b170_z (2)

3. People are normal.

The personal lives of pleasure industry employees are a seductive mystery to outsiders. Are we unable to function in the bedroom without the help of something buzzy? Do we require prospective romantic partners to cite a heavy interest in S&M? And just what goes on at those elusive staff “product trainings”? To quote an industry colleague, “It’s just sales.” Our presentations are definitely more fun to attend than your average corporate meeting, but our work and personal lives don’t always intersect. You’re more likely to find a weekending Pipedreamer checking out an art gallery or attending her son’s baseball game than decked out in shiny PVC at a goth club fetish party. Our comfort with adult toys means we’re a pretty fun bunch of open-minded individuals, but those “product trainings,” are not, in fact, giant orgies, and there isn’t a massive swingers event at the end of every trade show. And now the proverbial bubble has been burst!

 16528369744_f9832fb472_z (2)

4. Keep your reputation in check.

Though companies are raking in mainstream-level profits, this is still a niche industry. You’re bound to see the same faces at every trade show, customer event, and staff training, for better or for worse. Working in adult novelty can be a bit like returning to high school, but now that you’re an adult, you (hopefully!) have more ability to take control of your reputation. There are plenty of opportunities to make close friends, impress industry figureheads, and prove that it only takes 2 drinks to turn into a drunken mess, sometimes all at the same banquet table. When I’m out with customers and fellow vendors after-hours, I practice a form of relaxed professionalism. I’m welcoming and friendly to everyone I meet, but I never forget the reason for my trip: to work.

Check out more behind-the-scenes posts: 

Tales From The Road: Adventures in Austin

Austin, Texas is one of my favorite places to visit. The neighborhood bars recall the feel of a college house party, albeit turned down a notch for the 30-something crowd. Tasty vegan restaurants, vintage shops, and artsy nooks promise friendly hipsters, tattoo collectors, and funky types with interesting back stories on how Austin became home. The abundance of food trucks and the nightly mass exodus of bats from the Congress Avenue Bridge round out this liberal bubble in the middle of America’s most red state. Far from being the first to write about the city, this Texas niche lives up to the travel blog hype and then some, depending on whatever festivities are happening during your visit.

IMG_2474

My visit to Austin was centered around training a local store chain that was new to Pipedream’s training program. The most rewarding part of my job is interacting with our customers, especially those whose shops haven’t yet been paid a visit by the Pipedream Fairy (read: me!). New trainees are my favorite. They’re hungry for the kind of behind-the-scenes insight that only a manufacturer can provide. (I’m sure the goody bags in tow in my rental car aren’t a hindrance, either.) The goal of visiting retailers is to make a real connection with the staff. It’s my job to change their vision of “Pipedream” from a faceless Los Angeles company into that of a friendly, enthusiastic bringer-of-knowledge-and-goody-bags. At the end of the day, everyone goes home happy with a Fetish Fantasy handcuff coffee mug and a better understanding of how to sell our pleasure products.

IMG_2471

Curious about the traffic commotion to which I arrived, I was directed to the SXSW (South By Southwest) festival by some of my staff trainees. Though familiar with the event, I had no clue it would coincide with my trip. I only had an hour to wander the crowded streets, but in that short time, I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t in New Orleans. Musicians played all genres of music on every corner while creatively-dressed bar hoppers danced in the blockaded streets. Unwilling to leave Austin without a food truck dinner, I grabbed a delicious, portable spinach pie and hoped that I made it back to my rental car ahead of the meter maid (and I did).

Before letting me leave, though, the city decided to throw me the most random occurrence of any business trip to date. Out of the thousands of artists and concert-goers I passed on my way out, one of them happened to be a former high school classmate that I hadn’t seen in TEN years. This wasn’t just someone from math class. He and I spent countless hours rehearsing for musicals, recitals, and choir concerts as part of our school’s music and drama program, and he dated one of my best girl friends during our time as fellow arts geeks. To make this exchange of smiles even more serendipitous, said best girl friend passed away in an accident only months earlier, giving me goosebumps as I imagined her planning this meeting from wherever she was watching. After wishing him the best of luck on his folk band’s SXSW debut, we parted ways as I reflected on the unplanned-yet-planned weirdness that a life on the road always brings. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

IMG_2463

 

Tales From The Road: Picturesque Plan-O-Gramming

When I visit a new city for some face time with a retailer, I’m hoping to arrive to two types of pleasant views: a well Plan-O-Grammed store, and some gorgeous natural backdrops to accompany my drive. What do adult novelty merchandising displays and mountains have in common? Absolutely nothing, unless you’re a nature lover who also happens to interface with adult retailers for a living!

IMG_2449

Last Fall, I was greeted with the best of both worlds when I arrived in Reno, Nevada. My customer could not have followed our suggested Plan-O-Grams more beautifully in his boutique-style shops. During the downtime between the staff trainings and consumer events we set up, he suggested that I take a drive up to nearby Lake Tahoe. I was in business trip heaven! My office was thrilled with the results of my customer visit, and I got to take in some of the most stunning views of the Reno area.

IMG_1622

The Plan-O-Grammer, for those who aren’t familiar, is our custom software that aids us in designing product layout on a wall within a store to best increase sales. It’s a typical concept to those in retail – visual merchandising, really – but it’s especially important for adult novelty manufacturers. Everyone has grown up knowing popular brands of clothing and food, but how many can name the company that makes his or her favorite adult toy? This is where a Plan-O-Gram comes in. Stores that strategically place product in an easily navigable way are helping their customers develop brand recognition and understand their needs. The mass amount of toy manufacturers and brand lines can make purchasing a headache for some people. Plan-O-Grammed displays group toys by company and product line, displaying cohesive packaging that will stick in consumer minds. When a boutique client requests a strap-on-compatible rubber dong, they can now easily be directed to the slat wall section that holds the entire line of Pipedream’s Basix Rubber Works. When retailers Plan-O-Gram, it’s a win-win for everyone in the chain of supply and demand.

IMG_1563

After admiring the walls of my customer’s stores, I headed out to his suggested drive up to North Lake Tahoe. Fitting nature into my daily duties is a huge perk of traveling for a living. The incredible beauty of my surroundings leaves me refreshed when I have to get back on the clock. Taking a breather, regardless of how small, is the best way to stay sane while living out of hotel rooms. It’s easy to get so caught up in the industrial world of a career that one forgets the importance of little sips of leisure. If you can’t fit a long break into your work schedule, steal away into the woods in-between luncheons and meetings. Trust me, the effort you’ll be able to show those future Plan-O-Grams might just depend on it.

Check out the photos from my mid-trip excursion to Lake Tahoe:

iSex: Pipedream Takes On Teledildonics

Teledildonics: I doubt Alexander Graham Bell was expecting that one. Now that we’re all carrying mini computers around in our purses and pockets, it’s only logical that the next step in telecommunications would involve diversifying options for phone sex. Teledildonics, or cyberdildonics, involves the use of computers to remotely control sex toys. This unification of pleasure products and t-comm has drawn interest from the tech community, leading mainstream designers, engineers, and other bright minds into the niche to create something unique and brainy.

 pd1053-19

We launched our iSex range at the January 2015 ANME trade show, making this concept more accessible to the average adult toy enthusiast. Though not technically within the realm of true telecom-toy integration, iSex is a great introduction to a new category with a lot of growth potential. These pearly-white classics cannot be controlled remotely, but they were created with computers in mind. All 9 pieces in the collection are USB-powered – and I mean powered not rechargeable. These little guys don’t require batteries or hours on a charging station. Just plug them in to start the vibrations and unplug them when you’re finished. No more embarrassing buzzing in your suitcase for travelers, either! iSex vibes are even TSA-friendly, and you’ll never have to figure out those confusing travel lock options included on most tech toys.

pd1052-19_5_3

 Aside from iSex’s obvious tech tie-in, Pipedream kept things clean, simple, and user-friendly. The line sticks to tried-and-true favorites, like bullets, massage kits, and beads. The ABS plastic material is non-porous, meaning bacteria have nowhere to grow on these body-safe toys. The simplicity of the pieces makes them perfect for beginners while adding a novel touch for adult boutique veterans.

pd1059-19_5_1

The future of pleasure products is limited by physics alone. Though teledildonics started as a sort of one-off trend, the growing number of designers and engineers behind the movement are changing the landscape of adult novelty. Not only is the bar being raised for manufacturers, but the niche itself is crossing into mainstream attention, and Pipedream is no stranger to shaking things up with every new release. If there is one thing of which PD product developers never tire, it’s growing to stay ahead of the game.

Life as a Corporate Gypsy: My Own Personal Pipedream

As Pipedream’s resident road warrior, I happily accept a lifestyle either loved or loathed by my peers. I spend countless hours in airports, weeks in hotels, and endless hours traversing the country in rental cars. To some, all the money in the world couldn’t possibly compensate for a few nights away from home, but for me, travel keeps life exciting and fresh.

chicago

The purpose of racking up all those airline miles is to present Pipedream to a national audience. While on the road, I work with retailers and distributors to foster brand recognition, coordinate events, and educate sales staff on the ins-and-outs of our product lines. From target markets to pleasure product materials to body understanding, I’m responsible for sending our customers away with a plethora of knowledge. Though increasing numbers is an obvious end goal, I aim for each presentation to contain more than just a sales pitch. The best part of my job is inspiring passion for sensual health and wellness.

training

Life on the road is nothing and everything that one might expect. Roaming brand new cities filled with wonderful places to eat, beautiful natural sights, and smiling customers keeps my spirits high and thirsty for my next business trip. There are, of course, the missed flight connections, lost luggage, and other perils of travel, but that’s why life on the road is the best kind of teacher. The more you leave, the more you can learn.

yosemite

Check back frequently to follow my coast-to-coast adventures. I’m headed to Austin and San Antonio this week so stay tuned to find out whether everything really is that big in Texas. You can keep up with me amidst my trips on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Kink Therapy for the Shockingly Vanilla

pd3723-00When you’re an eccentric individual and a sex toy enthusiast, stereotypes are a familiar, amusing, and occasionally annoying occurrence. Most outsiders and even close friends assume that the whips and chains, glass dildos and lifelike faux penises I use in my educational presentations come from my own bedroom. Contrary to what may seem obvious, my enthusiasm for adult toys goes beyond what I choose to bring into my personal life. Preaching the gospel of vibrators, lubes, and FantaFlesh is about helping others find their spark. It doesn’t matter that I’ll never have the applicable equipment to use the RotoBator or that giant ball gags aren’t on my wish list. When I teach others about toys, I carry my exuberance to every item regardless of how much I may or may not enjoy having a particular toy in my own collection.

Pipedream’s Shock Therapy line had crossed my path a few times while working in adult novelty retail. I’d bring the various pieces to the attention of customers who were looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, but I never really gave the products much thought beyond my sales pitch. Though I recently began working exclusively for Pipedream, the line still seemed like something I’d probably never have to touch with the batteries in place. Imagine my surprise when I viewed the toy roster for my first employee product training and found that I would not only have to speak knowledgeably about these torture devices, but I would have to demonstrate them before a group of trainees.

To say that I dislike pain is an understatement. I run screaming in the other direction from anything that could possibly be physically painful. With that said, consider how, with some coaxing from one of our sales reps, I am now a confident fan of Pipedream’s Shock Therapy products. Touching the metal of the Pleasure Probe or donning the Luv Gloves went from terrifying to fun in a matter of minutes. At first, the shock felt a little like touching a door knob in winter, better known as “static electricity,” but don’t let that description scare you. Once I overcame my fear and kept a handle on the conductive surfaces, the shock felt more like a vibrating pulse, albeit with an edge. The intensity of the shock and the quickness of the pulses can be changed with the flick of a switch, press of a button, or turn of the dial depending on which Shock Therapy product you’ve got zappin’.

pd3723-10_02This tiny device isn’t necessarily meant to punish a submissive lover, though it can certainly be used that way. The electricity causes the contacted muscles to contract, much in the same way that certain parts of the body experience contractions at the peak of sexual activity. After building up a lot of senseless fear over this rather delightful toy, the take-away from my experience is this: If I can do it, then so can you! And as for my first employee product training session featuring a live shock demonstration? The Shock line was a hit!

Colleen Godin is Pipedream’s Event and Training Representative and can be contacted via email at colleen@pipedreamproducts.com.