“What, dolphins are cute, everyone loves dolphins!”. I expected to hear a lot at the sex toy factory, but not this. And in general, in Fun Factory, everything turned out to be completely different from what my imagination had drawn.
In the animal world
8:45 am, awake from my flight, I’m sitting in the lobby of the Prizeotel, designed by Karim Rashid. He himself is here, standing quietly in the corner, smiling – in a cardboard incarnation in full growth.
Anika, the sales manager, comes to pick me up. Unlike me, she is fresh, cheerful and cheerful. We buy buns, a young woman says that her baby did not sleep well, talks about a decree in Germany – in general, the usual girlish chatter, as if not this person sells colorful dildos, dildos and masturbators every day. “I came to Fun Factory right after school and was the company’s first intern,” the girl admits. The local factory is a prestigious place to work, and its products are awarded not only for functionality, but also for design. In 2011, Delight, the one on the left of the page, even received the Red Dot Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the world.
Dirk Bauer, one of the founders of the company, explains to me how it turned out that sex toys also became designer things. But first, he persuades Louis the Labrador to leave the negotiation room for a long time. The dog of one of the employees wanders around the office on his own, looking with sad eyes and not letting go of a huge plush bone from his mouth. Indecent thoughts, of course, come into my head that there are toys for the beast and more fun.
“We were going to make a dolphin,” says Dirk, and sticks a small blue creature on the table, vaguely resembling a penguin, and for a marine mammal it can only be taken from a good relationship with the head of the company.
9% of Russian women are interested in toys in bed, they found out in the SEX.RF center.
18 years ago, Dirk and his friend Michael Pahl, two techies, came up with the idea of making sex toys. The first at that moment was married to a girl who worked in an intimate goods store. Among his visitors there were many lesbian couples who wanted to feel penetration during bed games, but for obvious reasons they did not really like naturalistic dildos.
And the guys sat down to draw, and then make a model out of plasticine. Alas, none of them discovered the talent of modeling, so what happened, it happened. The result was cast in silicone. “Uh-uh… Penguins are cute, everyone loves them!” – Dirk and Michael decided, and did not lose. The first few “birds” went flying, and even more silicone was purchased with the proceeds.
18 years later, the dolphin is perfected, it has a motor, and last year two million pieces rolled off the assembly line of the factory.
“All over the world, pink gadgets sell best,” Valeria Palmieri, sales director, explains to me. “This one (she points to a purple Paul & Paulina with eyes on her head) is a hit in Germany and Finland, but didn’t go to the US at all.” I wonder why this vibrator could not please the Americans. “And in Russia they love everything naturalistic. True, we are still studying the question – is it about consumers or those who make purchases for stores?
With PR manager Christy, we go to watch the production. Medium-sized hall, cleanliness and riot of colors. Liquid and hardening silicone, hot pink and light green, poured into molds and languishing in large canisters. Sex toys are, for the most part, handmade. Some employees fill metal cylinders, others assemble controllers – pens with buttons.
At the vending machine that smartly spits out chocolate dicks, Christie introduces me to Vadim. “Well, what can I tell you? It fills in here, it comes out here, ”the former compatriot is laconic. “Where are you from?” – I decide to transfer the conversation to the plane of the secular, since the erotic does not stick. “Tagil. Nizhny Tagil. Do you know this one?” – “So you are from the Urals? Me too!”. For a second it seems to me that I am in the Wait for Me program and Vadim and I, twins separated in childhood, have found each other. The tour turns into an exciting attraction.
“Here we mix silicone. It hardens quickly, so you need two solutions that harden only when they react. We fill in the form. It cools, freezes, and from here we get it … How is it? Hule! Well hey! You understand, don’t you? Shell!
My fellow countryman and I rush around the hall, and he shows me the stages of production, introduces me to Elena from Krasnodar, who sits on quality control, and finally saves special entertainment: “Well, do you want to do it yourself?”. He leads me to a table where numerous top-hatted “bosses” are already frozen (in anticipation, of course).
The forms are firmly fixed on the table, because it takes a lot of effort to pull the dildo out. I feel like dozens of eyes freeze on me. I pick up the edge – and now I have a huge trembling handsome man in my hands. “I’ll take you to the brigade,” Vadim remarks contentedly.
In addition to him and Elena, I meet Lydia. In Uzbekistan, she was the chief accountant, and when she moved with her husband to Bremen, she got a job here. Her job is to check that the device turns on, lock it, and carefully place it in the box. A respectable lady over 50 goes astray from Russian to German and back: “When I came to the factory, I brought home defective goods. He is handsome and bright. Decorated the house. The son was indignant: “I’m not against your work, but why put something in a prominent place?” From the decor of housing, we smoothly move on to politics and events in Ukraine. “We even joked: we will collect the package and send it to Putin: “Make love not war”.”
From the bright and German-style decorated halls, we set off for the lair of Michael Pahl. The second founder of the company is responsible for the technical stuffing of these fun toys. You communicate with him and immediately understand why this company has made a breakthrough in the erotic industry.
I first saw the Fun Factory pulsator in a New York sex shop. He “swinged on a swing” by the force of his own pushes. Unlike classical vibrators, it made reciprocating movements – everything is like in life.
When I ask about him, Michael’s eyes light up, he pours a handful of motors on the table, alternately plugs them in, lets Christie and me touch them and evaluate the force of the impact, waves his arms, explains something about the center of gravity, magnets and microcircuits.
Still, it is a great happiness when work brings so much pleasure and when you bring pleasure to people with your work!
Fun Factory has no problems with those who want to test new gadgets. They have a database of volunteers who send reports – whether the device is comfortable, pleasant to the eye and touch, and, most importantly, whether it satisfies.
In general, the feeling of joy reigning at the factory is contagious. For example, Karim Rashid, who designed the brand’s flagship store in Berlin, himself expressed a desire to make a toy. This is how Mr. Pink is a dildo with alluring curves. By the way, the bathroom tiles in my Bremen hotel looked like they were covered in little pink mister kicks. I doubt this is a coincidence.
I was going to a nest of vice (in a good way), but ended up in a world filled with love. “Sex feels natural to us,” Christy explains to me, “it’s like food, we just need to satisfy our hunger. But if you want a delicious lunch, then you go to the market, choose fresh products, beautifully set the table – get ready for a pleasant action. How not to agree?! Cooking together, discussing tastes, experimenting, new seasonings, reliable technology – it works in the kitchen and in bed.
Saying goodbye, Christy hands me a package. “I got you something. I noticed which toy you looked at the longest. In the box, carefully packed by Lydia, there is a dolphin cast by Vadim, invented by Dirk and Michael. Well, you know, everyone loves them.