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April 27, 2017

Boneyard Toys: An Edgier Brother to Channel 1's Rascal Brand

This article originally ran as the cover story of the April 2017 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition. Last year, Rob Reimer was on an airplane flipping through the in-flight magazine. He came across an article about the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas—a museum that has all the classic Vegas strip signs displayed. “It’s so retro, uninhibited, in your face, and it just clicked: Boneyard. Of course, I went to visit the ‘motherland’ when I was in Vegas for the AVN Novelty Expo in January. It was over-the-top fantastic: Fuck you, look at me now. Exactly how I envisioned it to be.” (Above, Reimer at the expo in 2017.) The epiphany for the name led to Channel 1 Releasing’s Boneyard Toys, which Chi Chi LaRue calls “Rascal’s dirty little brother … I love the edginess!” Reimer previously worked with the company as its marketing manager, and returned as its CMO last year. “I had been chatting with my former employer Channel 1 Releasing about eventually doing something with them, and the timing was just right. I’m a huge rock-n-roll fan and musician, I play drums, so I always had a thing for that style: skulls, tattoos, leather, chains. So I thought, ‘Why not incorporate that into the branding of the new line?’” Reimer stresses that he didn’t want to do a gay-specific brand, instead offering something that appeals to every guy (or girl) no matter their preference, “and the guys at Channel 1 agreed. And skulls are so popular now, so it kind of just came together.” They started off with a standard silicone cock ring in five sizes—but branded them with metric system sizing instead of the imperial system. “We wanted to do something different … our customers in Europe, Australia and Canada are really appreciating that we are not only acknowledging them, but thinking about them in the actual design of the product.” They are sold individually or in a five-ring pack. “Everything came together so quickly, and the reception has been outstanding. Better than I ever imagined it to be. Anyone can sell a cock ring—there are so many out there—but I think the branding of a product is what really makes something stand out from the thousands of other options available. People really have had a genuinely positive reaction to our packaging, and the tagline ‘Bone for Life,’ which is this funny line that came out of nowhere. But people really love it.” The line has grown to feature a collection of dildos and plugs (most in black), ball and cock straps and more. And this year, the Skwert won the 2017 AVN Novelty Expo “O” Award for Outstanding Accessory. The patented “anytime-anywhere” douche has a five-hole silicone nozzle and features two different threaded adapters that fit most water/beverage bottles. The kit also comes with a hose adapter, so it can be used with a shower hose nozzle. “Lots of guys—and girls—have been in that predicament when traveling or visiting a friend when an unexpected situation pops us, and you forgot to bring your douche/enema kit. So you try and find the closest thing that resembles a douche, and lots of us have tried the old water bottle trick. Well, that works to a point, but you can’t really get that deep clean you really need before anal sex,” Reimer says. “So I talked to [CEO and co-founder] Rob Novinger about it and he loved the concept, so he helped source the factories and researched the different thread types around the world. That actually was the most difficult part because there are so many different thread types. So we found the two most common, and then we had to figure out how to use these with a silicone nozzle. So we worked with the factory and came up with a plastic rib lock neck that you can interchange with the silicone nozzle, and it works perfectly …it also saves space, and you also don’t have a huge douche bulb in your suitcase in case TSA does an unexpected bag check.” Reimer notes they will be doing different things with the product, possibly expanding the line and introducing new features. “There are so many possibilities, we are really excited. Sales so far have been through the roof … the common theme I hear from customers at trade shows is, ‘We want something different.’ Skwert is very different. It hasn’t been done before, and it serves a functional purpose that makes life easier for the user.” Reimer says that the most successful products provide a solution to an everyday problem that people are experiencing around the world. “So when coming up with new concept for a product, rather than just coming up with, say, a better butt plug, I think it’s best to think of a problem and come up with a solution to that problem. That’s exactly how I approached Skwert, and people are relating to it.” The newest items in the Boneyard family are the silicone cock and ball straps. “As far as we know, we are first to market with this concept. We knew we wanted to do some kind of snap ring, and most of them are leather or neoprene, which are great—but we wanted to do something different. Rob Novinger actually came up with the idea and said, ‘Why can’t we do this with silicone?’ It was a no-brainer. The hard part was finding the correct snaps that were durable enough to stay in place without pulling through when you were unsnapping them. So that took a while to find the perfect snap.” They showed the prototypes to the experts at Mr S in San Francisco, who suggested using black snaps instead of silver to give an updated, modern look. “Especially with the yellow and red, we think it’s a home run. The silicone also has no sharp edges or seams, and it has the perfect amount of stretch that makes them extremely comfortable. Obviously, the silicone makes for a much more durable and hygienic product versus neoprene and leather.” As for branding, Reimer says that a lot of other male-specific lines have their own mascots, whether it’s a pig, dog or an ox, “which they all market brilliantly. Obviously, we weren’t going to use one of those, and I had never seen the skull as the brand mascot, so we went with that.” They supply headers for stores that want to create their own Boneyard section, but other stores merchandise by category—so especially with the Skwert, “we are encouraging stores to have a few water bottles with the nozzle attached at the point of sale, which really clicks when the consumer sees it.” And it will be clicking across the globe. C1R attended the ARExpo road show in October and exhibited in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. “We decided to sign an exclusive with LonBrook, who is more of a boutique distributor, which for a new brand like Boneyard, I think, is essential. I’ve known [founder] Michael Bassett for years when he was with CalVista and I was with Perfect Fit. I’ve made about five trips to Adultex and their road shows, and it was a great learning experience. I think that for a new brand, you can get lost in the shuffle a little bit with the big boys. So with LonBrook, we really are able to work together much more closely and develop and grow both of our brands together. He is an expert in the Australian market and has so much valuable knowledge about the industry, it’s really a perfect marriage for both of us.”

 
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