When the first Fun Factory store in Taiwan opened in Tianmu two years ago, the store displayed photos of the Layaspot, a top-seller, in its window. Men caught sight of the gadget and wandered in.
“They thought it was a new cellphone and wanted to see what other high-tech electronics we had,” says Alice Chang (張春雲), the assistant manager of gicogico, which imports Fun Factory products to Taiwan.
Fun Factory does sell vibrating devices that help people make connections, but they aren’t cell phones. The stores specialize in high-quality, design-minded sex toys imported from Germany.
One of the brand’s top sellers is the Delight, which won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in 2008. The ergonomically-shaped vibrator is curved to hit the G-spot, a sensitive zone on the front wall of the vagina, has adjustable speeds and comes with a small box that doubles as a recharger.
Gicogico originally sold the Fun Factory toys online in order to gauge consumer reactions in Taiwan, where attitudes toward sex toys tend to be somewhat conservative, says Chang.
“We wanted to promote the Fun Factory brand in Asia, while giving people the chance to open their minds and find a whole new way to enjoy themselves,” she says.
As the products gained in popularity, demand for a brick-and-mortar location increased and the Tianmu store was opened in 2006. There are now three Fun Factory stores in Taiwan, including a shop in the East District near the intersection of Dunhua South (敦化南) and Zhongxiao East (忠孝東) roads. The Fun Factory stores and Web site (www.funfactory.com.tw) carry 300 products in total, including massage oils from US brand Kama Sutra, books, lingerie and costumes.
One of the Fun Factory brand’s tenets is that sex toys should not be kept under wraps. The brightly lit storefronts embrace that philosophy but are discreet enough so that shoppers do not have to worry about being gawked at while sampling some self-warming body oil or testing the vibrating speed of a Twist ’N’ Shake. All Fun Factory toys are made from silicone, which is hypoallergenic and easy to clean, and can be molded into the whimsical, brightly colored designs that are another Fun Factory trademark.
Vibrators come shaped like grinning dolphins, friendly ghosts and chubby caterpillars, which is appealing to people who may not be comfortable with having a true-to-life silicone casting of a stranger’s erect appendage in their nightstand drawers. The brand’s impish Loverings, or cock rings, have a pair of angel wings or a bright-red flame attached.
The designs serve more than an aesthetic purpose.
The caterpillar-shaped Baby Bug Minivibe “is one of our best-selling designs,” says Chang. “Women like the ridges on its body and its bumpy feet, which provide extra stimulation.”
Small vibrators like the Minivibe are particularly popular among first-time users. The speed of each toy is adjustable, from a gentle, pleasant hum to a more exciting buzz. Chang also recommends external vibrators, like the aforementioned Layaspot (NT$1,980), which is shaped to gently cup a woman’s body or the I Rub My Duckie by US company Big Teaze Toys (marked down to NT$499 for a limited time from NT$1,380), a bright yellow waterproof duck whose innocuous exterior belies its powerful vibrations.
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