Loving Love Dolls
By Morgan Panzino
Love Dolls are at the top end of big ticket items in the adult world and usually are a once-or-twice in a lifetime purchase. Due to the high cost, maintenance needed, and variety of models available, it is important that you and your staff hone a breadth of knowledge about these kinds of products to increase sales and cater to this relevant category.
Most people aren’t going to pay a few thousand dollars for a sex toy – unless they understand what makes them truly special. That means they need a confident and aware sales support person to help them narrow down their needs and see how a love doll might be the perfect solution. And shoppers are savvy; they can tell when a staff member is phoning it in or making it up as they go. Have staff learn as much as possible about the features and benefits of a high-end love doll so they can answer the finer questions. This knowledge may make or break a deal.
Let’s start with learning the terminology relating to sex dolls, in case it comes up:
- iDollator – A person attracted to dolls. They form relationships with them and treat them the same as they would a biological partner.
- Dollification – Using a biological partner and objectifying them as a doll
- Synthetik – An artificial love doll or robot
- Organik – A biological person
- Gynoid – A female gendered love doll or robot
- Android – A male gendered love doll or robot
- Robosexual – A person attracted to robots
- ASFR – Alt Sexual Fetish Robot. People into this fetish sometimes refer to themselves as technosexuals.
- Dutch Wives – One of the first known love dolls, invented to provide companionship and sexual gratification to Dutch sailors during long voyages in the 1700s.
Love Doll Specifics
Dolls of this caliber are hyper-realistic. They come with wigs, repair kits, sometimes with removable genitals, and a broad manner of customization. The majority of demand is for female-gendered dolls, but there is a growing market for male dolls, as well. One of the industry’s only available male dolls is from NextGen, named Dorian, and is available exclusively from SexToyDistruting.com. Dorian comes with a detachable penis, several wigs, and an inner armature that allows him to be posed and positioned. Dolls like those from NextGen feel real due to the special skin-like material, formulated to mimic the feel of human skin, and its strong inner skeleton. Dolls of this quality can be deceptively heavy, weighing anywhere between 70 pounds to 120 pounds, and rightfully so – they’re literally life size.
Love dolls are not impulse items and often require thought and consideration before a shopper decides to take one home, so it’s essential that staff know the ins and outs and features of these high-ticket items.
- Cost: There’s a reason why dolls like NextGen are priced at this level. They are made with a durable bone-like structure encased in soft, malleable skin-like material and engineered to look and feel like human body parts. And, frankly, they do! Their interior orifice tunnels – most often the anus, vagina and mouth – are textured to feel lifelike and feature ridges and curves just like the real things. Male dolls most often feature mouth and anus orifices and are equipped with strong and ever-erect penises. Dolls like Dorian from NextGen are boosted with a detachable penis to enjoy on its own or allow users to attach other harness-compatible insertables in its place. Creating realistic love dolls is no small feat!
- Maintenance: Always be ready to answer questions – or provide important information – about how to care for larger realistics and love dolls. Recommend water plungers or even enema bulbs to make it easy to clean the products after use, and always recommend lubricants and renewing powders that keep these kinds of materials in peak condition. When in doubt about how to care, ask your distributor or the manufacturer directly for help or recommendations.
- Skin tone: If a customer has a specific skin color in mind, be sure to check availability before starting a sales pitch. Not all dolls come in all colors and not all shoppers are looking or the same love doll look.
- Personalization: Some people want scars, freckles, beauty marks or even tattoos on their dolls. Check with the manufacturer for the possibility of customization, as not all of them do. Shoppers also can be reminded that once they purchase their love doll, they can customize them on their own with the physical features that bring them even closer to the user’s ultimate fantasy.
Don’t forget upsells! There are many ways to add-on to a doll sale while increasing the likelihood of repeat customers.
- Lube: Lube is a must, of course, but always read the manufacturer’s recommendations, as most realistic materials are compatible only with water-based lube. Check with manufacturers before advising customers on what lube to use and make sure they take home enough to keep their dolls’ multiple orifices slick and pleasurable.
- Clothes: Most dolls don’t come with outfits, so be sure to recommend that shoppers peruse lingerie sections for something nice for their new doll to wear. If you have a display doll in store, merchandise it next to costume choices in the doll’s size.
- Shoes: Variety is the spice of life, especially for foot fetishists. For those stores with a footwear section, be sure to send shoppers over to pick something special for their new doll.
- Wigs: Most of the NextGen Ultra Premium Dolls come with several wigs for a different look. You can also add-on accessories like hats, barrettes, bows, headbands, and more.
- Genitalia: Most love dolls come with built-in genitalia in the form of ridged tunnels, but others have unique attachments. Male dolls like Dorian from NextGen are compatible with any harness-compatible dildo, so recommend shoppers pick one or two additional dildos to offer variations in length, width, and even curvature.
- Powder: Most high-end love dolls or large-scale masturbators will benefit from some kind of renewal powder to maintain a smooth and dry surface texture. Upsell love dolls with any powder that comes with traditional strokers to assure your customer’s new doll stays in tip top shape long term.
Staying on Top
- The love doll market varies in price and quality level; prices can range from $1,000 to $20,000 (or more) depending on the level of craftsmanship, materials, and personalization available. Pay attention to competition and keep prices on par. Visiting iDollator groups online on networks like FetLife.com can help you stay aware of trends and other wants and concerns that love doll fans are vocal about online.
- It is important to note that this is a niche and high-ticket item, so love dolls should not be displayed just like any old sex toy. If you are fortunate enough to have a display model, keep it in a glass case away from dust and lint, and only let serious buyers handle it directly. Having catalogues or a computer will let shoppers see their options without having to come in contact with the doll itself and, if possible, ask for a sample of the doll’s skin from the manufacturer (there often is spare material on the cutting room floor that can be provided) so people can physically feel how realistic it is.
- Odds are, stores won’t have much physical stock. Sex dolls take up a lot of space, and when space is tight, it’s perfectly acceptable to display one unit and have someone handy to talk to shoppers about the rest of the line. They should also be able to easily access information on what they can special order. Some stores even allow people to make payments on these items. Remember: if you allow shoppers to pay over time, the doll doesn’t leave the store until it’s paid in full.
- Sex dolls are a fascinating and unique niche item that some customers will have an extraordinary bond with. Because they are anthropomorphized to look like humans, it is easy for many iDollators to treat this object as though it were a biological person. They need variety for their synthetik partner, and any support or assistance you can provide to help foster this fantasy can create a lifelong customer who will keep coming back.