Packaging — Worth the Price?

May 29th, 2014

AKA the reasons I hate bulky, “luxurious” packaging.

A box inside a box (with a bag inside!)

A box inside a box (with a bag inside!)

A few years back — man, have I been at this for a while — every review of a high-end item seemed to shout the praises of beautiful packaging. And for a while, I was pretty impressed, too. When I pure received my Pure Wand, I was impressed with the box and the layer of pink satin into which the dildo nestled. But that was almost five years ago, and I’ve since changed my tune. I think other people have, too.

Originally, luxury packaging indicated that companies were paying more attention to detail. If it was a non-porous material or made to the highest standards, it probably had to come in a big box. But this is no longer the case. In fact, some companies ship their wonderful toys simply in plastic bags. Don’t be surprised if you purchase an awesome dildo from Naughty but Nice and packaging is minimal. After all, this doesn’t effect use.

More people are coming to that realization, I think. They realize that, at the end of the day, luxury packaging doesn’t make a bad toy good. In fact, it may only increase the disappointment when you open an exquisite box to find a lackluster toy. Not only that, but it can take away from the time spent developing a luxury — or even a functional — sex toy. Years ago, people discussed Tantus’ now-defunct Alumina line. The price seemed high for dildos, and someone created a poll. The resounding answer was that more people would have purchased the products with a cheaper price tag because the company sacrificed the packaging, instead.

But packaging always makes a toy more expensive.  And perhaps that’s the point. When you charge more, you create a niche market for yourself. We’re luxury you say. Other items are just functional. Isn’t it time that people ask what’s wrong with being functional? It’s difficult not to wonder whether companies are paying too much attention to packaging and not enough to the toy itself. A pretty sex toy really isn’t worth a higher price if it doesn’t get me off. There is no exception to this rule.

Luxury packaging also irks me for a few more reasons.

  • It’s often not easily recycled or disposes off. Cardboard and bags? Most people have no problem with that. Mixed materials, PVC and other materials become harder to dispose of.
  • This sort of packaging calls attention to itself, which is less-than-discreet when it comes to recycling in community containers. Many people use these.
  • Luxury packaging is bulky, which makes it more difficult to store. Does a toy really need a big box and a storage pouch? The problem only increases when you’ve own a dozen Lelo toys or more. I’ve thrown out more boxes than toys I currently own. Seriously.
  • Bulky packaging can increase the cost of shipping.

However, this isn’t the way that everyone feels. Perhaps I am just jaded as a sex toy reviewer but some people want more companies to go the way of Lelo. Other people like boxes as storage. Still, more sex toy owners enjoy the attention to detail. Some people like them for gifts. Others find creative ways to reuse packaging.

While it certainly wouldn’t be feasible for companies to provide two sets of packaging, it isn’t impossible to create classy packaging that’s discreet but nice enough to use as a gift without sacrificing the ability to recycle it. However, the process to attract high-end consumers should come only after you have a solid product and not if the price increase will cut into your market share.

10 Comments to “Packaging — Worth the Price?”

  • Trix says:

    I agree 100%…when I received a Lelo Lyla, it really annoyed me that so much of the product was window dressing (the pouch, the brooch, the shiny box) when the pull cord broke off the vibrator within a handful of uses and the controller felt so chintzy. The conspicuousness of everything was a factor, too–I don’t have a lot of hiding space, and would have preferred something more discreet.

  • Pete James (@PeteJames12) says:

    HAHA i’ll have to admit I’m one of those suckers who enjoys the appeal of fancy packaging and little details. However, as time has progressed and I’ve accumulated more toys with my partner, there is absolutely no more room for all these BIG packages! The thrill was greatest for our first few “luxury boxed” items but I think the novelty of that is beginning to wear off. As for recycling those boxes, I like to break them into separate pieces and wedge them in a stack of newspapers, magazines, etc. when I toss them for recycling.

    • Adriana says:

      A lot of the boxes have plastics or foam or magnets glued to cardboard, which makes them way more difficult to recycle. I rarely beak it down as it.

      • Pete James (@PeteJames12) says:

        Yeah that’s true, I toss in the trash whatever parts that aren’t recyclable and use a blade to cut out those un-recyleable parts. But you’re absolutely right, it’s time consuming and takes more effort than should be necessary.

  • Zena says:

    I would appreciate a simple but well-made pouch or *compact* box for storage. Other than that, excess packaging just annoys me. Especially when it seems like it’s just being used to fancy up a mediocre products!

  • Apricot says:

    Yesss! ‘Luxury packaging doesn’t make a bad toy good’ is spot on. I’d much rather have a storage pouch anyway, I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t supply them.

  • Karen DeGraaf says:

    I HAVE ONE SILK package i love it but my daughter found it lol

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