CRAVING GOOD DESIGN
Crave Innovations uses Onshape to make women’s adult toys safer and more stylish
Crave creates luxury sex toys that more resemble works of art than stereotypical novelty items.
Industry: Consumer Products
Industry: Consumer Products
The big reason we chose Onshape is that we can have 4 or 5 engineers working on the same project in the same space. PDM is such a burden. You have to check files in and out and there is a lot of friction," he adds. "We want our design process to be as fluid as possible.
Michael Topolovac, Crave Innovations
When you’re in the luxury adult sex toy business, you can expect a lot of nervous giggling and bad puns about "generating buzz." But for Crave Innovations founder Michael Topolovac, the marketing challenge doesn’t end there.
"For many years this category only existed in the novelty space," he says. "It was all about the tee-hee bachelorette party experience with lots of bunny rabbits and smiley faces. We’re moving it to a more modern artistic space, where the design is appreciated like it is with a fitness accessory or mobile phone."
"If you look on Amazon.com, at any given time there will be between 100,000 to 200,000 SKUs in their health and wellness section. And almost everything is very phallic or cutesy, not modern and thoughtful."
Founded in 2009, San Francisco-based Crave does all of its design and prototyping on site. Unlike most of the industry, it makes its products with hypoallergenic silicone – widely used by medical device companies – instead of cheap soft plastics that contain phthalates, which have raised various health concerns about disrupting hormones.
Seeking to streamline their design process, the company now uses Onshape, a new professional-grade, cloud-based CAD platform that facilitates engineering and design collaboration on any device or any browser.
CAD Collaboration in Real Time
"We're not afraid to take design risks" Topolovac says. "We’ll build 20-30 prototypes of products that consumers think was mass produced and we can prove a concept of design in a weekend."
"The big reason we chose Onshape is that we can have 4 or 5 engineers working on the same project in the same space. The old way was sharing files with Dropbox. PDM is such a burden. You have to check files in and out and there is a lot of friction," he adds. "We want our design process to be as fluid as possible"
Crave’s bond with its customers has generated significant praise in the business press. Fortune Magazine recently noted that the company’s USB-charged Duet vibrator "is the first crowdfunded sex toy ever." More than 900 microinvestors gave Crave over $100,000 to launch the product, nearly 700% more than the designers were originally seeking.
The influential Cult of Mac blog recently asked if the Duet might become the “new iPod.” The product was developed as a result of customer comments regarding the hassle of carrying around AA batteries or a charger and a cord.
When working on new designs, Topolovac says he feels more secure using CAD that’s especially built for the cloud. "I like Dropbox, but it’s just not designed as a global CAD vault. Onshape just feels a lot safer. It’s like if I kept all my money in a mattress in a bad neighborhood or I chose to put it in the bank."
Convenience of Full-Cloud CAD
"I also love having everything in the cloud because all updates are automatic and I don’t have to spend time doing software upgrades, I can spend my time designing products," he adds. "Traditional CAD is very cumbersome. I was hoping that someone would do this."
Always aiming to make adult toys less cumbersome and less taboo, Crave regularly solicits feedback at "Build-a-Vibe" workshops where customers learn how to assemble their own devices. Although most of these events are held at adult boutiques, Crave recently hosted one at the more mainstream California Academy of Sciences Museum.
"It’s a sexier version of Build-a-Bear and it’s a destination experience for a couple who may not otherwise engage in this conversation,"" Topolovac explains. "Part of what we are doing is bringing design to a category where it has largely been void in support of an experience that can be a pretty important part of our lives. And more generally speaking, we aspire to create more space and opportunity for the exploration of sexuality, intimacy and pleasure."