Standard Innovation Corp. has spent the past few weeks gearing up to its biggest sales climax of the year: Valentine’s Day.
© Supplied photo
Lorraine Byerley, Standard Innovation's vice-president of marketing.
The local technology company, which produces a line of vibrators for couples and individuals, says it is on track to continue growing its revenues by double-digit percentages and plans to hire eight additional staff by the end of its fiscal year in June.
We-Vibe, the company’s first product, is now in its third generation. More than two million units have been sold through adult stores as well as London Drugs and Rexall Pharma Plus pharmacies across the country.
Standard Innovation has a staff of professional engineers and industrial designers to work on its product line, and has spent more than $1 million on research and development since it was founded in 2004.
That number will quickly increase, according to vice-president of marketing Lorraine Byerley. In 2011, Standard Innovation brought its R&D team in-house instead of contracting work out. Currently, seven staff members out of the company’s 35 work on R&D at the office on Morrison Drive.
“We always joke and say you might be surprised at how normal we are here,” said Leanne Zahalan, the company’s director of human resources.
Although the product line is risqué, the advertising and imagery used to promote it is clean and appropriate.
“My thinking has been, we use technology to enhance every other aspect of our lives,” said Ms. Byerley. “Why not use it to make our sex lives better?”
After the launch of We-Vibe, the company conducted market research to determine how to follow up on its success. The team found that some women were using the product – which is meant to be used by a couple – on their own.
That’s why it developed the Thrill by We-Vibe for females only. As of now, the company is not working on a male-only line as there are many established brands in that field, said Ms. Byerley.
“Our goal in life is to remain innovative,” she said. “We don’t need competition, we want to come up with concepts that don’t have any rivals. We haven’t found that yet in the male market, but if it comes, we’ll take it.”
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January, Standard Innovation became the first sexual health company to be asked to speak at the technology conference. The company brought along its Thrill vibrator for women and entered it in a contest called Last Gadget Standing where new technology launched at the conference is ranked by a panel of judges.
Standard Innovation made it to the semi-finals out of thousands of entries.
“Only two of the judges were women. Next year, we’ll have to make sure that more of the judges are potential users,” Ms. Byerley quipped.
The company’s Ottawa office was 4,100 square feet in 2010 and has grown to 10,000 square feet on the third floor of 1130 Morrison Dr.
“We laugh because the office is now a c-shape just like our We-Vibe products,” said Ms. Zahalan.