As the subject of sex becomes less taboo in Malaysian conversations, we are seeing more and more organizations using social media to have open discussions.
When it comes to sex education in Malaysia, I only ever hear things about how to practice safe sex, like “always use a condom” or “X birth control options for women”.
While it’s great that we’re becoming more and more open to this issue as a society, Lith and Adam felt that there should be more normalizing healthy conversations about sex, especially about pleasure.
Knowing what your body likes and exploring what gives you pleasure was how they envisioned their platform, and in mid-November 2020, Erosu came to life.
A good mix of customers
Erosu is an online sex toy store on Instagram operated part-time by Lith and Adam.
You can find a variety of vibrators, dildos, plugs, sleeves, etc. on their site, and each of their toys has its own name.
Alston, her bestseller (left) along with some of her vibrators / Image Credit: Erosu
“We believe that sex toys have no gender and that anyone can use toys however they want as long as they do not harm themselves or others. However, our products are now more popular with vulva havers, ”they shared on their Instagram.
“So far, the majority of our customers have been young audiences between 18 and 30. Race and gender, it’s been a good balance too,” Lith told the Vulcan Post.
On their Instagram page, you can see that not only do they sell sex toys, but they also regularly share sex with their followers.
One thing that I found interesting about the site was its highlights in the story where they posted anonymous unpleasant or memorable sexual experiences and fantasies from their followers. Everything that is shared is done with the consent of their followers.
Since the anonymity of their customers is a top priority, you can expect to receive discreet packaging from them when purchasing their products. There won’t be any labels from your brand or any other sex toy company on it.
Lith and Adam and their discreet packaging (right) / Photo credit: Erosu
Run an online sex shop in M’sia
“We registered our sexual health products business with SSM with ease and it was also locally approved. The only red tape we have faced in our business is advertising as we cannot promote our brand on Facebook / Instagram, ”explained Lith.
Because of the strict regulations Facebook and Instagram put into sex toy advertising, they only rely on word of mouth for Erosu.
Facebook’s advertising policy for adult toys and services does not allow ads to advertise the sale or use of adult products or services, other than family planning and birth control ads.
Facebook’s advertising policy for toys and services for adults in 2021
In other words, advertising for adult products can only be approved for safety, not for pleasure. This makes sense as to why it is difficult for Erosu to come by.
However, it is much easier to advertise on Google as Malaysia prohibits adult ads, but not ads that are not suitable for families. These are ads that involve the sale of sex toys.
“We’re still learning what’s okay and what’s not, but we’re not discouraged and we’d love to hire content creators in the future to help bring our brand to market,” said Lith.
Hiring content creators would actually help lighten the burden they face as Lith and Adam are still doing everything themselves.
“We are overwhelmed when we try to control and manage the volume of our orders. We are responsible for everything from internal inventory to day-to-day operations, ”said Lith.
“Meetings, discussions, planning and warehousing, website management, social media content creation, design, and more.”
One issue they are currently facing is the premature replenishment of their products as they underestimated the time it took their stocks to sell off, hence the blank-looking website, Lith said.
Despite the obstacles they faced while trying to advertise, Lith told the Vulcan Post that they had their first RM 10,000 in sales in less than a month since mid-November 2020.
Curating their products
The tricky thing about sex toys is that you can’t return them if they’re not right for you. And due to how personal sex toys are to the users, a bad experience with a sex toy can affect a customer’s confidence in the brand. Hence, curating a range of sex toys can work up a bit of a sweat.
The shelf of good vibes / Photo credit: Erosu
Lith admits that because we are all built differently and enjoy different things, there is no such thing as the best toy, and they make this clear from the start when their customers ask for recommendations.
“If our customer finds that the product they have purchased does not suit them, we cannot issue a refund or exchange unless it is a defective product.”
“We encourage them to use it differently, maybe use it on their partner or give it to their close friends as a gift after they’ve thoroughly disinfected it, of course,” said Lith.
Erosus products are now being imported from the USA and China. Most of what they sell has been tested by them or mentioned by other adult toy sellers.
Get real with M’s attitude towards sex
“No matter how much we want to normalize self-pleasure and buy pleasure products, we understand that it is still a big taboo subject for many people.”
“We respect how most would still prefer the privacy of online shopping instead of the risk of being seen by people in real life buying something from an adult store,” explained Lith when I asked about her plans asked to open a physical store.
Hence, her focus now is on further normalizing the conversation and empowering people who are ready to explore and embrace their sexuality on their social media platform.
- You can find out more about Erosu here.
- You can read about other startups we’ve written here.
Selected image source: Lith, co-founder of Erosu