Three years ago, sex toy company Lora DiCarlo had its Consumer Electronics Award revoked. A month after the Bend, Ore. Company won the Robotics Innovation Award, the award was canceled on the grounds that the bio-mimicry vibrator was “obscene,” “profane” and “immoral.”
Speaking this morning at TechFestNW, the founder of the company, Lora Haddock, resuscitated the incident and offered a reply.
“It’s not just a matter of sex,” Haddock said. “It’s about pursuing your sexuality and your identity, and how that influences the way you present yourself in the world.”
In her Monday morning talk, “Battle for Fairness from a Founder of Sex Tech,” Haddock and moderator Yesenia Gallardo Avilia discussed the uphill battle of trying to throw a dual stimulator sex toy at panels of sex workers. ‘middle-aged male investors who dismissed the product as a niche “woman’s problem”. (Lora DiCarlo markets her products to “people with vaginas,” not just women, as some non-binary people and trans men also have vaginas.)
Despite the brand’s success – and the fact that it was envisioned while Haddock was attending Portland State University and was carried out in partnership with the Oregon State University Department of Robotics – Lora DiCarlo currently has no investors. in Oregon.
But Haddock was hardly discouraged. Take this revoked reward, for example: In a way, it ended up working to the benefit of the company. The controversy sparked a public relations storm, sparking articles from publications like Forbes and Wired.
Clearly, the demand for what Lora DiCarlo is doing far outweighs the reluctance of button-down investors. In his speech, Haddock referred to the rapid growth of the industry: From 2017 to 2019 alone, the value of the sexual health industry nearly tripled. Last fall, the company announced model Cara Delevigne as the new co-owner and creative advisor.
Lora DiCarlo also benefited from a less discussed, but not exactly surprising, pandemic sales boom.
“Sales exploded when people were stuck at home,” Haddock says. “People were like, ‘I’m going to figure myself out.’”
At this point, Haddock seems content to leave behind anyone who rejects gender-fair sex toys as a niche market.
“I think the joke will be on them at the end of the day,” she said. “The industry will continue to grow.”