Q&A: pjur Group CEO Alexander Giebel Shares Global Plans
LOS ANGELES — Despite a very healthy global pleasure products industry and a consumer heavy market constantly clamoring for new products, not many companies can legitimately boast a distribution network that encompasses nearly 50 countries. But Luxembourg-based pjur Group can.
The XBIZ 2014 Sex Lubricant Company of the Year award winning company just this year has inked a deal with Wham Pictures, S.A. to bring its products to Mexico; closed distro deals with longstanding customer, CZ Trade for the U.K. and Male-HQ for Singapore; as well as opening pjur Group Australia Pty Ltd., a customer service and training center for its retail customers and consumers. Pjur was also on hand at the Vendor’s Show in Moscow.
But pjur’s success is not only based on its international reach. The company makes a point of improving its products to stay ahead of the competition as one of its hallmarks while still supporting sexual health. Sales partner Bebo Switzerland recently presented Pjur med products to medical specialists at Switzerland's Interlaken gynecology congress.
Add to that its constant media exposure at nearly every trade show, along with a stream of media announcements and coverage by major outlets, and pjur stands as one of the most compelling pleasure product companies in the market today.
XBIZ was curious as to what else pjur plans and asked CEO Alexander Giebel to share some thoughts on the company’s current state and strategy for the near future.
XBIZ: The pjur Group has been expanding globally in recent months. Is this part of a strategy or just opportunity?
ALEXANDER GIEBEL: We definitely pursue a certain strategy at pjur. The pjur group has prepared itself intensively for the expansion in certain markets and regions within the last years. Obtaining corresponding distribution permissions and registration in different countries around the world as well as creating structures for great service and sales support has been one of our main projects.
XBIZ: Are newer markets like Russia growing quickly? If so, why?
GIEBEL: Russia is a rapidly growing market that has entailed a regular doubling of our turnover and business in this county. Even during the current political crisis and the corresponding problems with exchange rates and other things, the Russian market reacts with a great demand on our products. pjur has become a famous and popular brand in this country and is in demand of many people. People in newer markets become more open with erotic subjects and that is one of the reasons why those markets grow so quickly. As we offer high quality products that people are seeking, we naturally profit in the newer markets all over the world.
XBIZ: You’ve recently completed a deal in Singapore. Is South East Asia another hotbed?
GIEBEL: Asia is one of the markets we focus on and we ‘re seeing growing success. That was also the reason why we opened our new office in Hong Kong with a separate sales director especially for this region. Our deal in Singapore has been one of the great successes of our pjur Asia office. We are in the registration process with the Thai FDA right now, which will be completed soon, and our products are already available in the mainstream as well as in the adult market of Taiwan, Japan and many other countries in this region. We look forward to focus our work and to strengthen our performance in Asia as this really is a hotbed for us.
XBIZ: How key was the appointment of Ralph Ehses as head of global sales? What will he be doing to expand pjur internationally?
GIEBEL: The appointment of Ralph was a big step for us and really important to sustain support of the development of new business lines and related global-level strategic planning. Ralph will focus on further establishing pjur in the mainstream market around the world, coordinating the Australian market together with our new service center pjur group Australia, and developing strategies to advance the brand pjur globally for example with our partners pjur USA or pjur Asia.
XBIZ: The health and sexual wellness segment of the industry is burgeoning. What part will/is pjur playing in this area?
GIEBEL: pjur has worked on fulfilling all registrations from global health authorities and is now one of the few lubricant companies around the world in this unique position so that we can sell and advertise our products globally. The pjur med line with its natural and nature-identical ingredients is our “crowd puller” in the health segment and is highly successful in this market. Many doctors and sex therapists around the world recommend those products to their patients, which is great for us, and a fantastic confirmation of our work. To underline this, we will launch a new pjur med website in September that will rewrite the rules in this segment.
Based on pjur group’s many years of experience by successfully developing and marketing lubricants of medical grade made in Germany, we established the Sexual Health Care & Wellbeing division as a new department at pjur group Luxembourg Headquarters. Our mission is to provide services, information and products on an international level to health care professionals and medical experts such as gynecologists, breast care nurses, sexologists and others. Our overall goal is to help women who suffer from vaginal dryness due to several reasons and show them options to get back to an enjoyable sex life.
XBIZ: Who will spearhead this effort?
GIEBEL: Katrin Kühnrich as senior coordinator will be responsible to further develop the cooperation with sexual therapists and doctors around the world and to create successfully working networks between parties. This is a very important and promising step for pjur.
XBIZ: What are your top five global products?
GIEBEL: Our five top products globally are our pjur Original of course, but also pjur Back Door Relaxing Anal Glide, pjur Woman, pjur med Premium Glide and pjur superhero Spray.
XBIZ: Where do you see growth in 2015?
GIEBEL: There will be further growth in 2015 by stringently pursuing similar goals as we’ve achieved in the last months and years. This means we will still focus on our current markets but also on new ones, and we’re planning some great campaigns and actions with our partners and customers around the world.
XBIZ: How does pjur differ from similar companies?
GIEBEL: pjur is one of the few global players whose products can be found in at least 50 countries, and we live by the same principles all over the world: This means, our products are always made in Germany, always without taste and odor, always dermatological tested and they do have the same look wherever you go on this planet. So, our basic ideas haven’t changed since we’ve launched the first product. This trustworthy overall package is a proof of our quality and makes us different from other companies.
XBIZ: What are pjur’s long-range plans?
GIEBEL: We maintain our philosophy to be a strong and reliable partner who is focused on innovative premium products that are approved and authorized for distribution. In the future, we will further develop our market share in the different international markets strategically.
XBIZ: Any plans for a U.S.-based operation or new deals?
GIEBEL: pjur is the only European lubricant company with official registrations from the FDA and is even ahead of the competition with many companies from U.S. This way, we offer marketability for our American distribution partners. We will further develop those advantages in the U.S. market in 2015.