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January 23, 2016

AVN Show Keynote 'Sex Toy Dave': 'Know Your Customer'

LAS VEGAS—Dave “Sex Toy Dave” Levine delivered the keynote speech this year for the AVN Adult Entertainment and AVN Novelty expos, and repeatedly reminded attendees of one thing: Your health is more important than anything. Levine is the owner and president of CNV.com Inc., the parent company of AdultShopping.com and SexToy.com, one of the largest distributors of adult products not he internet. He has been in the adult industry for more than 20 years. Levine—who opened his Internet Virtual Mall Shop in January of 1995—peppered his speech Friday with breaks where he asked audience members to drink water, stand up and breathe and stand up and stretch and move around. In between those reminders to be aware of your body and balance your work with taking care of yourself, he talked about his history in the industry, his reputation as “Sex Toy Dave” and his thoughts on where the industry is headed. “Nothing in life is difficult,” he noted at the beginning of the speech. “The only hard part is finding which easy thing to do.” For Levine, he said when he learned of the internet, he decided he wanted in. He approached various vendors, and asked for them to directly ship their products to his customers while also selling to him at wholesale prices. Many agreed, and he opened his virtual mall online. He quickly noticed the leading store was the one that sold sex toys, so he concentrated his efforts there. “I bought the SexToy.com domain for $70,” he said. “But I didn’t buy SexToys.com because I didn’t want to spend another $70.” His business grew exponentially and today he works with more than 30 warehouses stocked with more than 30,000 products. His overhead costs are almost non-existent: He does not own any of the warehouses, nor does he have to stock any of the products himself, and his employees all work from home. “I have some employees who have been with me for 20 years who I have never met in person,” he said with a chuckle. The key, he said, is to work with all the tools available to you. Google, he noted, offers free services from email to Google Docs, Google Hangouts, Google Analytics, Goggle Slides and much more. And once you have your company under control, he said, is to know your customer, which he admitted is not always easy. Surveys help, he said, as do questioning customers in person. Compiling that data can help with direct marketing for your product, whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, content producer and the like. Levine also touched on the increasing acceptance of adult materials by mainstream consumers and retailers alike. “The big companies are coming,” he said, and he showed a slide of Fifty Shades of Grey sex toys on an end cap in a Target. “It’s a sign that the industry is becoming more mainstream and getting bigger. And that can mean bigger competition, but also bigger opportunities.”

 
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