The rich advertiser, the Vogue publisher and the big bet on sex toys
Karlson and Jamie, her fashion wholesaler husband, have quietly invested in small Australian retail businesses in recent years, including Stacey Surfboards in Queensland.
In this case, the numbers in the bottom row caught their attention; Lingerie sales hit $ 40 billion worldwide in 2016 – Australia accounting for $ 1.9 billion of those sales – according to UK analysts at the Hewson Group. Their 2013 report, “Women, Sex and Shopping,” indicates that 100 million women own sex toys and intend to continue buying them.
He also speculates that the sex toy industry could be worth $ 25 billion by 2022.
“My mother [Rhonda Wyllie] I was a little shocked when I told her we were funding this, “laughs Karlson.” I said, ‘Mom, you don’t have to be an end user to support something. We have invested in surfboards, but we don’t surf. “
Karlson adds with a hint of envy: “Young women today are so liberated. . “
And in there close the gap in the market.
Clements joined the company this year, where Hili created Porte-à-Vie in 2015. The idea was a beautifully presented online shopping site for women and their partners to shop in privacy for the good stuff. of life ; from silk kimonos, French hosiery and indented lace teddy bears to satin bras, lace handcuffs, plus 50 different models of vibrators, priced at $ 30 to $ 600, including “Crave”, which is worn like a pendant necklace in silver, yellow or rose gold, priced from $ 100 to $ 300.
“The low-key shopping environment and the beautifully curated range of local and international labels are our main points of difference,” says Clements. “Women want a tasteful and relaxed environment in which to select their lingerie and intimate accessories. want to.”
Clements and Hili credit popular culture – like Sex in the citythe famous episode ‘The Rabbit’ from 1998 (when Charlotte becomes addicted to a Vibratex Rabbit Habit vibrator), and Fifty shades of GreyThe most recent attempts to glamorize slightly unorthodox bedroom antics using masks and the like – as being instrumental in changing attitudes towards the use of female-safe intimate accessories, from naughty to nice, not to mention the high profile health benefits.
“When I thought of it a few years ago as a business idea, I kept noticing that things were changing: you could even buy vibrators from Priceline! Hili said, adding that “For most women, these toys are now about tapping into good feelings and well-being. Old attitudes have changed.”
This is Clements’ first foray into business since she left Vogue Australia in 2012 after 27 years with the title, including 13 years as an editor. Another big fashion hitter, David Bush, who was the former Head of Fashion at David Jones (where he worked for almost 25 years before leaving in 2012 was appointed director of Porte-à-Vie.
Since the Karlsons provided a cash injection to the company a few months ago, the Porte-à-Vie range has grown and the website has been given a makeover with a decadent campaign by Australian photographer Pierre Toussaint .
The new e-commerce site will go live on December 6, just in time for Santa to pack stocking stuffers. But no laughing please.