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Canadian Sexual Wellness Brands Nobü, BodiSpa Reveal Goals for Growth

Today’s most beloved pleasure products often blend the adult and mainstream worlds, marketing their sensual designs in boxes that won’t deter vanilla shoppers — or mainstream retail buyers. Canadian sister brands BodiSpa and Nobü aim to embody this vision, bringing adult fantasies to even the shyest of consumers.

Both brands are produced by BodiSpa, which was conceived in 2013 by founder Alain Elmaleh and is currently headquartered in Saint Laurent, Quebec. Elmaleh spent 40 years building his company from a video-focused enterprise into a technology-focused pleasure products maker.

Karalyne Fosty serves as creative director for both Nobü and BodiSpa. She notes that this evolution began when Elmaleh identified a need for more inclusive play products.

“Alain wanted to introduce a line of adult products that catered to a diverse range of desires, all the while integrating the latest technological advancements in the field,” she says.

Pleasure industry veterans will likely be most familiar with the Nobü brand, an affordable luxury collection that includes silicone dildos, vibrators and strokers for all genders and stimulation preferences, glass toys for penetrative play, and light-to-moderate fetish gear with an attractive, trendy aesthetic.

While you would never mistake Nobü products for anything other than sex toys, BodiSpa products serve a different purpose. While similarly wellness-focused with a luxurious feel and affordable price point, BodiSpa products are more coy about their sexual purpose, harkening back to the original marketing of Hitachi Magic Wands as “back massagers” for tired housewives.

“BodiSpa was actually established a year before Nobü as a response to societal attitudes toward pleasure products at the time,” explains Fosty. “Bodispa focuses more on holistic health and discreet marketing tactics.

“Where Nobü pushes the boundaries of play, Alain used BodiSpa as a way to infiltrate the general market, introducing ‘tamer’ toys like wands and massage oils that were sold as wellness products rather than sex toys,” she elaborates. “This move allowed the brand to reach a wider audience, making sexual health products available in spaces that were more aligned with mainstream health practices.”

Elmaleh’s company originally began as an adult video vendor in the 1980s. Armed with a background in business and a passion for entrepreneurship, he identified untapped potential in the Canadian pleasure sector.

Elmaleh went on to build his own retail empire, strategically placing Pleasures N’ Treasures stores in the East Coast region. Business rapidly expanded, and today the chain spans 15 boutique locations across Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec, while the wholesale division supplies hundreds of stores across the country.

“With the success of the stores came unique insights into market trends, so it was only natural that the next steps for the company would be geared toward product development and design,” says Fosty.

The company’s location turned out to be an ideal backdrop for success in the sexual wellness realm.

“Quebec has a very unique landscape when it comes to views concerning sexual health and wellness,” observes Fosty. “On the whole it’s considered to be more progressive and liberal compared to some other Canadian provinces.”

Fosty adds, however, that Quebec is extremely culturally diverse and its attitudes toward sexual health vary among different communities. For instance, she finds that urban areas like Montreal are proudly at the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights in Canada, with a rich history that celebrates burlesque, drag and sexual education, while rural areas can be a bit more traditional in their views.

Fosty herself is a relatively new addition to the BodiSpa and Nobü family, having arrived at the company in 2020 to create marketing content and product packaging. With a background in applied psychology and graphic applications, she admits that it would be an understatement to say she’s learned a lot in her fairly short time in the adult world.

“When I first came in, the company was in the process of rebuilding from a devastating warehouse fire that essentially wiped out their entire stock,” Fosty recalls. “After talking with the R&D team, we floated the idea of rebranding both the BodiSpa and Nobü lines to make them more reflective of what we were trying to accomplish, and I’m so incredibly proud to see how far we’ve come.”

In her new role as creative director, Fosty says, her work is much more hands-on in product development and design. She credits her team of “amazing individuals” for sharing their knowledge of the industry and helping to turn her vision for the brand into reality.

“Over the last three years, we’ve been picked up by a massive U.S. distributor, have gotten more of our products into pharmacies and most recently were nominated for an XBIZ award, and I think a lot of the success we’ve had is thanks to the cohesiveness and passion of our team,” she says warmly.

Fosty finds that working for a company with one foot in retail and the other in manufacturing has given her team a fierce advantage in knowing what to present to consumers.

“By utilizing sales data from our boutiques, we’ve positioned ourselves to always keep a pulse on the market, and can consequently almost predict how well one of our products will do in the global market based on store performance,” says Fosty. “Having access to this daily insight is super valuable when it comes to product development and has allowed us to turn over products quickly and adjust prototypes based on real-time feedback so that we always maintain a competitive edge.”

For Fosty and her dual-brand dream team, another key to staying a step ahead lies within the digital domain.

“One of our goals for 2024 is to offer more online support to our partners and clients through online training programs and accessible marketing materials,” says Fosty. “I think one of the biggest challenges we face as a smaller company is optimizing our reach when it comes to retailer support. Moving more of our resources online means that our clients can look forward to easier access to the latest information concerning our products, and 24-7 support right at their fingertips.”

Above all else, Fosty emphasizes, BodiSpa and Nobü will continue to pursue founder Elmaleh’s original vision by providing diverse, quality pleasure products to fit every sensual wellness boutique, whether brick-and-mortar or online.

“Our commitment to inclusivity continues to be woven into the fabric of our various product lines,” Fosty concludes. “Each creation is meticulously designed to resonate with a wide spectrum of users, all the while meeting the highest industry standards.”

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