The average Pinoy is often incapable of candidly talking about sex, so you're sure that breaching the topic of sex toys is going to be even more awkward. That didn't stop Edrich* from signing up for his first job as a graphic designer to shill dildos though. Like most odd jobs, it started with an internet posting that wasn't exactly 100% transparent with the position's responsibilities. However, when you're hungry for a first paycheck like he was, working in a small condo with dick device samples on the shelves probably doesn't sound too bad—still, we had to ask what the vibe of working with vibrators was really like.
*not his real name
How did you end up in a sex toy company?
I was fresh from college and millennial af so I was on a job search website every day and I was spam clicking applications that suited my skillset and interests. Their opening was for a graphic designer and the company was branded as a tech startup—right up my alley. But in retrospect, I should have been keen on them being sketchy. Tech can mean hundreds of things and so can startup. Among all the applications I sent through the website, they were the first to respond. I scheduled an interview and that's when they revealed the whole "we're gonna be selling sex toys on Amazon" part of "startup." To be fair, they weren't solely selling sex toys, but it just happened to be what sold the best and the CEO felt it was a good entry point into Amazon selling.
So that didn't scare you off?
No. The interview happened on a Monday. Friday night I got a call and was offered the job, I said yes [it was a rush to get a job] and the next week I was already working. They admitted I was the first interviewee and they never saw any other prospect for the week of interviewing.
Was it a big operation?
In the office, there were four of us total: CEO, a writer who wrote fake reviews, a multimedia artist for social media, ads, branding, and another guy who was close with the boss but I never knew what his official title was.
What was it like dealing with dildos and other kinky products?
I was desensitized really quick—you kind of had to be. I wouldn't say it was fun, but more of interesting. Every now and then, we would just burst out laughing at the office because of how absurd our conversations were going. Imagine having a really serious meeting about how to brand sex toys. The way our office was set up was that we were in a small condo. We had a shelf with some of them for samples and photoshoots but the real warehouse that contained them all was in China. On our end we just designed and the guys over in China would execute.
None of the feel-good goods are proudly Pinoy then?
Yes. Basically, it was stuff from China rebranded as US and UK brands to sell to white people. They would think it's western and buy them while avoiding Chinese brands on Amazon, not realizing it's the same thing. We just operated here—penetrating borders is how I'd say it.
Did it pay well? How long did you last?
Basic starting salary was P20,000. Minus tax so like P17,000, give or take. I stayed less than six months. I jumped ship just a few months before they closed.
Did the sex toy industry have a crisis ?
I wouldn't know, but my best guess was that they got eaten up by the giant companies that sell on Amazon. My boss (he was half-Filipino and half-British, by the way) was the most hardworking dude I've ever worked with. We had products on page one of Amazon because of him and we were just a small company. It sucks that they closed. I feel so bad for him.
Did you learn anything from working with sex toys all day?
I basically had to immerse myself in the world of sex as a woman. In order to sell the products, I had to gain a deep an understanding as possible—so I was constantly on reddit threads reading about women complaining about what their partners don't do for them and using that to my advantage. It was a sudden influx of information and skills that I’d later realize every guy should know. As a designer and copywriter, it was a cool weapon to have. For example, "my partner lasts just 2 mins smh?" Ad: “8 HOURS BATTERY LIFE. 8 HOURS OF PLEASURE.”
All the shit I learned from research kept my girlfriend really happy in bed—as a person, those few months transformed me from "meh" to "holy fuck" (but not literally a holy fuck). At this point, I suggest every guy stop imitating those Pornhub videos and start getting on the really candid and, honestly, realistic like amateur stuff. I really do feel like I'm some kind of sex guru because of it. I thought art school taught me a lot. I was wrong.
Would you go back into the sex toy industry then?
I'd say I wouldn't work there again. I don't see professional growth in the industry, but that was one of the best "bahala na" decisions I've ever made. Years later it's still a story for drinks, interviews, and family gatherings.