When Justin Sayne looks back on 2016, he will likely remember it as a year in which his Arizona-based company, Justin Sayne Leather, grew by leaps and bounds. Important new hires joined the company, Sayne quadrupled his presence at adult trade shows, and he is expanding into new areas such as erection pills. On top of all that, Justin Sayne Leather — which manufactures its own leather attire and BDSM toys — was nominated for BDSM Pleasure Products Company of the Year and Boutique Pleasure Products Company of the Year in the 2017 XBIZ Awards.
Sayne partly attributes his company’s growth in 2016 to some new faces, including general manager Carla L. Brimhall and Clint Strunk, director of sales and marketing. Sayne also brought publicist Tiffany Plunkett on board to help push his brand forward.
Brimhall, who joined Justin Sayne Leather as an investor in March 2016 and is now a co-owner, has a very mainstream background: she spent 12 years at Hearst Publications and was a managing editor at Car and Driver Magazine. Sayne said that going from editing Car and Driver to marketing whips, floggers, slappers, restraints and fetish attire to BDSM players was a major change for Brimhall, and he is impressed with how quickly she has adapted to his business.
“Carla came in as an investor,” Sayne told XBIZ. “I explained to her that I needed manpower more than I needed money, and what I got was an investment and full-time work. I mean, Carla picked up the torch. Coming from the vanilla side into Justin Sayne Leather, there was a learning curve. But Carla’s not thin-skinned when it comes to what we’re doing. She’s very strong-willed. So sometimes, she has to find out about the dark side by herself — which is fine. Carla has taken it like a champ. We’re proud of her. And you can see the difference since she came along. Carla has done everything from creating banners to posting on social media to working with us at trade shows to pushing a broom.”
With Brimhall, Strunk and Plunkett now on board promoting his brand, Sayne has a lot in store for 2017.
Increasing Justin Sayne Leather’s presence at adult industry trade shows has been a high priority for the company, which went from attending about five or six per year in the past to attending more than 20 in 2016.
Sayne looks forward to featuring his company’s new line of motorcycle attire, including chaps and vests, at trade shows in 2017. And the fact that so many BDSM enthusiasts appreciate the leather motorcycle look is not lost on him.
“We’re extremely, extremely impressed with the look of the vests and the chaps,” Sayne asserted. “The motorcycle world is giving me a really good response. It’s technically motorcycle gear, but it crosses over really well with the fetish guys. It’s a crossover.”
Another factor in Justin Sayne Leather’s growth, according to Sayne, is the high quality of leather the company has been obtaining in recent months.
“At this point, I have a lot more of the materials that I’m getting,” Sayne noted. “And I’m able to get a lot more designs out of them. We’ve been able to get a lot of different leathers at the same outlet from Africa. So that’s really broadening our horizon.”
Youth outreach, according to Sayne, will be vital to his company in 2017. Sayne, himself a Generation X-er, stressed that Millennials are not old enough to remember a time when BDSM was not mainstream — and that makes them quite receptive to his products.
“The truth of the matter is: these kids coming out of college have had cell phones in their hands since they were toddlers,” Sayne observed. “They’ve been on the Internet their whole lives, and they’ve been able to Google anything having to do with BDSM. I’m seeing more customers at these conventions under 25, and the bulk of them female. Think about that: females under 25 buying an alligator whip, females under 25 dropping $500, $600, $700 for hardcore fetish toys. What are they going to be buying when they’re 35? They aren’t slowing down, and it’s just a matter of putting something in their hands.”
Sayne continued: “The older folks — the more experienced fetish players — have had their toy bags together for years. They look; they appreciate what we’re doing. But unless they see something they just have to have, they aren’t as quick to buy. The younger generation are the ones buying.”
The Justin Sayne Leather brand has grown to the point that Sayne is now using it to market products other than fetish attire and BDSM items, and another product he looks forward to exhibiting at trade shows in 2017 is an erection pill named Insanity. Sayne will have a lot of on his plate in 2017, and he likes the fact that his company is not only building its clientele in North America, but in other parts of the world as well.
“At this point,” Sayne asserted, “Justin Sayne Leather is all the way from Phoenix to Maryland to Hong Kong. And we’re just thrilled.”