The Queen has honoured Britain’s biggest sex toy brand with a top award.
Lovehoney has received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for outstanding continuous growth in overseas sales over the last six years.
Since 2015, overseas sales have grown from £12 million to £56 million, an overall rise of 365 per cent from the Bath-based company.
The award – described as ‘the highest accolade for business success’ – allows LoveHoney to use the Queen’s Award emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for five years as a symbol of quality and success.
The company first received the award for boosting British exports in 2015, and co-owners Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford met the Queen, Prince Philip and other senior royals at a Buckingham Palace reception.
The Queen has honoured Britain’s biggest sex toy brand with a top award. Lovehoney has received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for outstanding continuous growth in overseas sales over the last six years. Her Majesty is pictured in London in February
However, the meet and greet may not go ahead this year as garden parties are still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemuc.
Debbie Bond, LoveHoney’s chief commercial officer, said: ‘We are thrilled to have received official recognition from the Queen.
‘Her Majesty has been a wonderful supporter of Lovehoney as we have grown into being the world’s leading sexual wellness brand.
‘Royal patronage will help us to create more jobs at our Bath headquarters and in our international offices and spread the sexual happiness message globally.
‘The Queen is the UK’s greatest trade ambassador and royal approval shows again how mainstream shoppers and retail outlets are embracing sexual wellness products as never before and appreciating their importance in improving overall well-being – a particularly important message as we come out of lockdown after a stressful year living with the pandemic.’
The company first received the award for boosting British exports in 2015, and co-owners Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford (pictured outside Buckingham Palace) met the Queen, Prince Philip and other senior royals at a Buckingham Palace reception
In the very first month of they launched, they sold just three products, but by the end of that year they were selling 1,000 every month, making £37,000
LoveHoney is the UK’s biggest online adult retailer and has eight other websites globally including US, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, EU, Canada and New Zealand. It has a global customer base of 2.2million people and a 300-strong workforce.
They are responsible for one in three sex toys sold in the UK – with one of their most popular being the ‘Great American Challenge’, a 32-inch dildo.
LoveHoney’s global expansion was boosted by winning the official licence to make all official Fifty Shades of Grey pleasure products.
It has created several ranges with E L James, author of the trilogy, including new collections to celebrate the books’ 10th birthday this year.
‘It was such a blindingly obvious thing to do,’ explained Slateford. ‘There’s this massive best-selling book with loads of sex toys in it and obviously, it has got to be good to get the license to do sex toys based on the book.’
Having approached author E.L James for approval, Lovehoney launched its 50 Shades range, which includes a spanking paddle, riding crop and love balls, in 2012 and recouped the initial investment within four months of the launch.
They also partnered with Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James for a sex toy range
Longhurst and Slateford started LoveHoney from a spare bedroom in 2002 with an initial investment of £9,000.
The former technology journalists identified a gap in the market for non-seedy sex toys for women, and in the very first month of they launched, they sold just three products, but by the end of that year they were selling 1,000 every month, making £37,000.
‘Quite early on we realised that the sex toy world has got quite a bad reputation, and it has also got a pornographic history. A lot of the companies when we first started they were all porn merchants turned sex toys,’ Richard previously told Channel 4.
The pair claim their great customer service is crucial to their success, says Richard: ‘Customer care is massive, so you’ve got to reassure them that if anything goes wrong or you choose the wrong thing that everything is alright and we’ll sort it out.
‘We have a 365 days return policy no quibbles. Even if you have used your Great American Challenge, we would have taken it back and given you a refund. That is unique from any business anywhere in the world.’
Despite the success of LoveHoney, Longhurst admitted it took a long time for him to pluck up the courage to tell his mother what he was doing.
‘I didn’t know how she was going to react so I kept it quiet from her for a bit,’ he said.