For years the Dutch distributor EDC Wholesale has had its eyes set on expansion. Now the company is among the biggest in the market and distributing some of the most important and bestselling brands in the ever-growing sex toy and pleasure market. So what makes them tick and what is their secret?
Eric Idema is the founder and CEO of EDC Wholesale, one of the biggest distributors for pleasure products in Europe. He says: »Our company is young and dynamic, constantly developing and looking for new opportunities.«
He is open to admit that in the beginning, he didn’t think about his company becoming a major player. »I opened an online shop from my attic, selling sex toys I stored in my wardrobe closet. It started with the thought, ‘How far will this take me?’«
That little operation quickly escalated and more place was needed. Idema had to rent more storage space. In the years to come, he had to move his fast-growing company four times. He finally settled in Veendam. The company has now a storage of 8,000 square meters, enough space for the 35,000 articles currently in stock.
Idema said: »I started small and could only dream of becoming CEO of an international company. I never expected we would be where we are today in only 10 years time.«
Today EDC Wholesale is stocking and distributing some of the most important manufacturers in the business: long established household brands like CalExotics, Doc Johnson, and Pipedream but also the much hyped and up-and-coming lifestyle brands like LELO and We-Vibe.
Idema keeps his eyes on the detail. To him the human factor is key: »We value personal contact with our customers. Meeting each other in person cannot be replaced by online communication. That is why Andre Visser, our international sales director, and his team dedicate a lot of their time to visiting customers. Our entire team is trained to be resourceful to work with any customer and solve any problem.«
One of the main differences between EDC Wholesale and his competitors is that the company is not strictly focussing on B2B. »Consumer feedback has had a big influence on the company and our product development.«
The company makes sure that retail customers get advance treatment wherever possible. »It’s a different approach, but in considering the experience from the end user, we really understood the needs of our B2B customers and were able to serve them in the best way possible.«
EDC Wholesale is equipped with an in-house sexologist. The company sexpert is responsible for keeping up and ahead of trends in the pleasure market, especially when it comes to sexual health and lifestyle aspects. EDC created a consumer website called EasyToys.com to interact with customers and to provide education on sex and sexual health.
Idema stresses the importance of the EDC-sexpert: »Our sexologist talks about subjects that might need more explanation and educates readers on our products. Her goal is to provide content that enriches people’s sex lives and helps to solve issues that will lead our consumers to feel even more satisfied with our sex toys.«
Several sex toy brands created by EDC have their roots in this in-depth knowledge of consumer’s needs and desires. The brands Easy Toys, Sway Vibes, Sinner Gear and My Magic Wand for example offer EDC produced sex toys that have quickly become one of the biggest income streams for the company.
Idema said: »Because we know the market demands and the target audience, we are now specialized in niche markets. We have taken on some very special niche products and started developing our own brand.«
The biggest success story so far is the creation of Easy Toy’s Fetish Collection. The kinky products are so successful that EDC struck an exclusive partnership for the distribution of the fetish products with Eldorado, one of the biggest distributors in the US.
Idema said: »We have high expectations regarding this line. We are very excited about this new partnership and couldn’t wish for a better U.S. partner to start this new venture.«
And the company shows no sign of slowing down. While Idema just recently unveiled a new product line at the eroFame his developers are already on an ambitious route:
»We are excitedly anticipating the launch of four new collections, designed by our in-house team. We can’t wait to see how these collections will be received by the public.«
Idema knows that this expansion is made possible by the remarkable boom in his industry. Consumers worldwide are spending more and more on sexual health and pleasure products. He said: »[They] are more accepted, easily accessible, and no longer bound to age, as we see more and more curious youngsters using pleasure products.«
For his part, he seems to be convinced that the growth of the industry is a macro trend and won’t slow down either. Societies and attitudes towards sex have changed. So he keeps on investing on where his money already is: »The demand for high-quality, diverse and affordable products will continue to grow. We see a bright future for the pleasure industry.«