The ETO Show 2016
It’s been just over a week since we returned for the ETO Show 2016 and that’s exactly how long it took to recover from this stupendous trade event. For those who haven’t heard of the Erotic Trade Only Show, it is an erotic trade show which brings the whole industry together, from Designers, Distributers, Retailers and of course, industry writers.
This year, I was given the task of hosting the ETO BlogSpot. The ETO BlogSpot was the brainchild of myself, Cara Sutra and later, Chery Kaye also known as Horny Geek Girl. The purpose of the BlogSpot is to provide a comfortable place in which industry writers and interested retailers can get together and discuss the different ways in which writing can help to grow a business. This year, we provided comfortable seating, nibbles and a few cheeky wines whilst we caught up with some (not so) old and new faces.
The Night Before the Day After
On the Saturday morning, my husband Kris and I set off nice and early in the hope of getting set up and having a little time to relax in the hotel. What I hadn’t banked on, was the lure of the first ever England match. With the promise to join me later, Kris unceremoniously dumped me at the NEC area and continued southwards to visit his brother and indulge in some pre-show frivolity.
Seeing the show from the manic set-up stage is a sight to behold. I’ve only ever seen the ETO Show as a visitor does, with polished stands and immaculate displays, but I saw first had the amount of work that is put into building the stands and displays and I was blown away. At the NEC, I caught up with Cheryl and after exchanges hugs, pleasantries and caffeine, we began the exciting task of creating the wonderful BlogSpot Stand that you all enjoyed during the show.
Afterwards, we took a little stroll around Birmingham City Centre and visited the Alternative & Burlesque Show before heading back to the hotel. As Cheryl ventured back to her hotel room, I took full advantage of the Resort Outlet Centre and literally shopped till I dropped. Feeling a tad thirsty after a hard day’s work, I visited the Sports Bar to catch up on the England match and stumbled upon the wonderful ETO Crew. With the England game about to start, celebrations were already underway as proud Welshman Dale Bradford (the editor of ETO Magazine), revelled in the first of many wins for his country.
As we delicately sipped Prosecco (hahahahahaha!) and chatted about football, work and anything but politics (which we banned) we were joined by the lovely Lizzie Oh, who treated me to an impromptu hypnotism, Miles from AmazingO, Cheryl Kaye and finally, Kris who decided that I was far better looking, and much better company than his brother.
The rest of the night was an evening of drinking, raving and generally misbehaving, as we caught up with the industry gossip and familiar faces. It was lovely to bond over a shared love or Northern Ale with Mark from Sheets of SanFransico, and chat about new developments with the lovely husband and wife duo from KinkCraft.
As we made our way back to our rooms in the early hours, it was safe to say that a good night was had by all.
The ETO Show 2016 Exhibitors
Refreshed and excited, I leapt from my bed the next morning and eagerly prepared for the day ahead. Not only was this the first day of the ETO Show 2016, but it was also the day of the awards ceremony. This year, I had been shortlisted for Best Erotic Journalist 2016 and I was absolutely honoured to be considered in this category.
But, back to the show!
Every year the ETO delivers a whole host of new and exciting sex toys, and this year really didn’t disappoint. Before the show, I took a little time to visit the incredible stands and chat with some of the exhibitors before the influx of visitors arrived.
With each stand, something different and exciting was up for grabs. Whether it was the bath filled with super slippery lubricant from Slube, the uber powerful mains operated bullet vibrators from Doxy, or the SatisfyerPro2 which was found at the Creative Conceptions stand. Not to be outdone, the award winning Jack Socket took pride of place at the EStim stand, where I was invited to ‘penetrate’ the orifice and cure my fear of electrical sex toys, and if I’m honest, it did feel pretty nice!
With lingerie being high on the agenda for me this year, I paid particular attention for the fashion show and spent some time perusing the beautiful garments on display. I chatted with an interesting man near to the KevCo exhibit who flatly refuses to shake hands. Instead, in order to prevent the spread of germs, he insists on a fist bump or a hug. Slightly annoyed by this, I gave a half-hearted fist bump and made my escape. Just buy some hand sanitiser and get a grip…. Literally!
One of the items that really stood out for me, was the Kinky Monkey Wand Harness, the Coquette CQ7083 from Blue Moon lingerie and the Dreamgirl AIS Black Faux Leather and Venice Lace Fully Boned Corset from New Temptations. They were SO pretty.
The ETO Show BlogSpot
With 50 goody bags up for grabs, it’s no wonder the BlogSpot was buzzing from the moment the ETO doors opened, till the moment they closed. Our first guest, was the wonderful Dom Strapon who was an invited guest at the AmazingO awards table and another BlogSpot volunteer. After spending some time catching up, she revealed the star of the show, lovingly referred to as ‘Dave’. Once word spread about the arrival of Dave, we were also joined the beautiful Chloe Davis, an adult model and absolute warrior who strutted around the show, posing for pictures and chatting to guests in the highest heels and without even breaking a sweat.
We were also joined by the wonderful review duo that make up the Big Gay Review. Although only one of the Dave’s is the actual writer of the blog, we loved his husband so much that we made him an honorary member of the BlogSpot. As they chatted to bloggers and helped writers feel comfortable during the two days of the show, their presence was invaluable and really contributed to the success of the stand this year.
It was wonderful to spend time with the lovely Joanne of Joanne’s Reviews and her lovely partner. Again, it was so nice to put faces to names and get to know the real people behind the pens. We were joined by Rhiannon from That’s the Spot, who kept the group enthralled as she regaled us with tales of multiple orgasms and female ejaculation. This was at the hands of the SatisfyerPro 2 and no word of a lie, there was an actual stampede to the Creative Conceptions Stand whilst we ran to have a look. Three guesses who led the way!
There were visits from a gaggle of erotic writers from Tabitha Rayne, KayJay Bee, Lucy Felthouse and the other Brit Babes. We also caught up with Adam and Monika from Godemiche, who true to character arrived in silicone splattered laboratory coats and kept everyone amused with tales of combining silicone crafting with a busy, family life.
We were later joined by a fellow journalist, Girl on The Net who chatted about her new book ‘How a Bad Girl Fell in Love’ and spent some time getting to know the others bloggers over the nibbles and wine. With a number of new business start-ups paying us a visit too, it was great to get a fresh perspective on the sex toy industry and chat about using industry writers to help boost business brands.
After a busy day, we began to pack up and got ready for the much coveted ETO Awards Show.
The ETO Awards Show 2016
This year, the ETO Awards were particularly exciting for me. For the first time, I was shortlisted for the Best Erotic Journalist 2016. Being named alongside industry greats such as Cara Sutra, Girl on the Net, Alix Fox and Emily Dubberly was a dream come true and although I knew I was facing stiff competition, it was a very proud night for me.
With AmazingO sponsoring the bloggers table, we had an incredible mix of guests to keep us entertained. With Miles from AmazingO at the head of the table, we were joined by the lively and formidable Dom StrapOn, the lovely Girl on the Net, Cheryl Kaye, Justin DeCerous, David from The Big Gay Review, Lola Sparkles, Rebecca Dakin and of course, my husband Kris. As we chatted about all things erotic, and enjoyed a 3 course meal. The dim of the lights announced the star of the 2016 ETO Award Ceremony.
Throughout the awards we made clumsy attempts to guess the winner of each award, whilst a never ending tray of Sambuca travelled around the table. The benefactors, Kris and Dom StrapOn kept the shots flowing whilst I surreptitiously fed mine to Justin and David. After all, I wanted to remember every moment AND I had to man the BlogSpot stand again in the morning.
The Best Erotic Journalist Award was won by none other than Girl on the Net, which caused a huge celebration at our table and shortly after, the fantastic Brit Pop Band stated the party. As the whole room got together to celebrate another wonderful night for the industry, Kris and I made the most of our last night alone together and headed off for room service and an early(ish) night.
One our way back, we stumbled across Alix Fox, Cheryl Smith, the organiser of Sexhibition and her husband Jay. They were having an impromptu meeting about the Sexhibition event in August and promised us that it was going to be a weekend to remember! With tickets still available, you can find all the information you need on the Sexhibiton website.
The Morning after the Night Before…
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I left the husband nursing a hangover and set off for another busy day at the BlogSpot. Awards were polished and sat proudly alongside the exhibits, whilst tired and bleary eyed exhibiters whispered a tender hello as I passed. However, by the time the ETO Visitors arrived for the day, it was all systems go for every single stand. The arrival of new guests lifted the energy and you wouldn’t believe that some of the exhibitors had only had a couple of hours sleep because everyone was buzzing.
The ETO BlogSpot Grand Prize Winner
With a grand prize totalling over £2,200, the BlogSpot Grand Prize was a selection of sex toys and treats that had been kindly donated by retailers and distributors within the adult industry. The name was to be drawn out of the jar on Monday afternoon, with the stipulation that the winner had to be present to collect the prize.
The lucky winner was a new blogger called ScrewTaboo who’d decided at the last minute to make a return to the ETO Show on the Monday because she’d enjoyed Sunday so much. She was absolutely over the moon with her brand new collection, and even had to visit the shopping outlet to buy a suitcase that was big enough to carry it all!
Products that caught my eye this year at the ETO Show 2016
Products that really stood out for me this year was the ProSatisfyer 2 from the Carnal Collection Stand, the Ruby Glow from Rocks Off, the award winning Jack Socket and the Doxy Bullet vibrator prototypes.
I actually screamed with happiness when I spotted a pink, glittery Doxy massager because everyone knows how much I love pink, sparkly sex toys. I would like to apologise to the man who leapt several feet into the air when I did this….
I also loved the Doxy attachments from up and coming brand Godemiche. Although these were just prototypes, I thought they were brilliant and I liked the bright colours. For me, I love the power of a wand and think that attachments enable users to experiments with a range of different textures and sensations without having to compromise on the power of vibration.
A Special Thank You
First of all, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Miles from AmazingO for sponsoring a table at the ETO Awards this year, and inviting Bloggers and Industry writers to join him. As a lot of you know, the seats are expensive, and it meant so much to me to sit at a table with people from the industry who I love and respect. It was equally lovely to share a table with a fellow writer and watch her celebrate her award, so thank you Miles and well done Girl on the Net!
For those reading, if you haven’t shopped at AmazingO yet, you must be mad! It’s cheap as chips and they have a huge collection of products to choose from.
Secondly, although she couldn’t be at the show this year, Cara was still an integral part of the ETO Show 2016 BlogSpot exhibit and did most of the back ground work. This involved sourcing prizes, contacting advertisers, marketing and creating the banners – to name a few of the tasks involved. This was a mammoth task and the exhibition was a successful as it was because of her hard work.
Thirdly, thanks to everyone who visited, shared, tweeted and blogged about the stand. It was great to catch up and even better to see you all networking!
Until next year!