So the past few days I had the opportunity to attend the very cool Adult Novelty Expo or ANE, put on by AVN. ANE is the top industry business to business convention, where manufacturers display their products and buyers come to shop. For the time ever, Toy Reviewers and Bloggers were invited to attend the show. My new buddy, Papaya Pam from PAPAYA Toys, helped me register. I RSVP’d for the O Awards and the PAPAYA Toys After Party and I was good to go.
ANE was 2 1/2 days, from Thursday 7/7 through Saturday 7/9. It may not sound like much time, but there was a huge amount of cool stuff to fit into those 2 1/2 days. The Expo was held in Pasadena, CA at the beautiful Pasadena Convention Center. Most of the non-locals and even some of the locals were lucky and smart enough to stay right next door at the Sheraton Hotel.
I have been reviewing for toys and sensual products for just about one year now, and during that time I have “met” a great many people online. Some are people who work for retailers and manufacturers, others are reviewers/bloggers I interact with via Twitter. This was a great opportunity to meet some of these people face to face. I also had the chance to meet a whole bunch of new people, including those I have heard of but don’t really “know”.
Thursday morning I attended a seminar called, “What’s in Your Sex Toy/Lube” and learned interesting and useful information that I will be sharing in future reviews and posts. I walked the floor all day Thursday, meeting exciting people like Greg Delong, the owner of Njoy, Rianne, of Rianne S., and Steele Malone with his beautiful glass dildos.
Friday morning brought two more seminars, one on the role of bloggers/reviewers in the adult industry. Being the baby blogger that I am, it was very interesting to see things from the perspective of the more seasoned experts out there like Buck Angel (yes, we met!) and Reid Mihalko, who I finally got to see in action. Friday also brought the opportunity to meet the excellent Garnet Joyce, of MyPleasure. I’ve had an online relationship with her and it was fun to see her speak and meet her in person. I also got to meet the fabulous Shellie from Crystal Delights, who makes the most gorgeous glass toys.
Friday night was the third annual O Awards, an award show that acknowledges outstanding achievements in the industry. It was hosted by Reid Mihalko, who looked ever so scrumptious in his kilt and managed to keep things moving. I was so excited when my new friends, Pam and Chris, from PAPAYA Toys won an O Award for Outstanding Innovation! You may remember my review of PAPAYA Toys’ Candy Stick Vibrator and how much I love the very battery pack that won. Congrats again, Pam and Chris!
The O Awards After Party was hosted by Pam and Chris of PAPAYA Toys, and Reid Mihalko. They did a great job providing a fun and relaxing atmosphere where everyone could celebrate and socialize. The chocolate fountain was yummy and the gift bags were great! I am amazed the three of them were standing the next day after all that hard work they did.
Walking the floor was a great opportunity to meet people and see all the amazing products on display. Some were brand new products being introduced at ANE and some were reappearing. However, most of these toys, if I don’t have them in my possession, I have only seen online. It is one thing to look at the njoy Eleven and read its specs online. It was another experience entirely to hold it in my hand!
As I mentioned, there were some very cool brand new products available at ANE, so keep an eye out for more updates and photos, and possibly a few reviews.
I met so many wonderful people, from manufacturers to retailers to sex educators, there are too many people to mention. However, I do want to give a special shout out to @catcoaches and @minxgrrl, both lovely ladies I follow on Twitter and actually got to meet in the flesh! If only I had taken more photos!
All in all, attending ANE was an incredible experience. The manufacturers and retailers I met make up a wonderful community of open and accepting people. I could not have felt more at home. Everyone there has a strong commitment to the pleasure industry and it was wonderful to be amongst such creative, kink-friendly people.
A big thanks to AVN and Papaya Pam for this fabulous opportunity. I can’t wait until next year!