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March 12, 2018

I built a vibrator at SXSW

by John_A

Crave is trying to open up the conversation about female sexual pleasure. The company sells beautifully designed vibrators in a range of styles, from the $60, stainless steel Bullet to the $150 Duet, a discreet and powerful vibe packed with a variety of pulsing combinations. There’s even the Vesper, a slim, stainless steel vibrator that dangles from a delicate chain and doubles as a necklace — “designed for beautiful experiences in public and private,” as Crave describes it.

At SXSW, Crave hosted a workshop where participants had a chance to build their own vibrators, specifically the Duet. The experience was entirely unique, engaging, informative and personal, even when surrounded by a table of strangers. The mix of genders at our table — that was myself and Engadget Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low — was split evenly between women and men, though that hasn’t always been the case with Crave workshops over the years.

Crave’s Jack Morocco said they saw more men than ever before at this year’s Build-A-Vibe sessions, and it’s been a welcome evolution of the brand. Part of the workshop involves a quick history of female sex toys, covering the restrictions and societal pressures women have faced for centuries when it comes to personal pleasure. Just like the workshop itself, it’s a message designed for both women and men — anyone interested in learning more about the modern history of sex.

Actually building the Duet requires just the right amount of elbow grease and hardware skills, making the process satisfying rather than frustrating. Two screws, silicone grease, a USB-tipped battery, vibrating prongs, a silicone sleeve (in three colors!) and a few waterproofing pieces are just about all it takes to put the Duet together. Morocco led our group with a series of large printed images demonstrating each step — and a bit of light-hearted innuendo to make the entire experience relaxed and informative.

That tone is important as Crave’s business expands. At SXSW, the company announced the Build-A-Vibe tour that will take the show on the road, travelling across the US in a refurbished 1961 Airstream trailer. Crave wants to bring vibrator-building and open conversation to people wherever they are, whether at weddings, college campuses, trade shows or local events. It’s $99 per person to build a vibrator in the Airstream factory, which is a pretty sweet deal considering the Duet itself retails for $150.

Catch up on the latest news from SXSW 2018 right here.

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