It’s usually a good sign when we see a new product and think “Surely this has been done before…” That’s because the best ideas tend to be the ones which seem so obvious in hindsight. Playdoor is a peepshow toy for couples. The polyester and spandex panel, which features a number of strategically placed zips, attaches to a lightweight aluminium frame that fits just about every internal door frame.
Playdoor has been created by Steve Buchanan [pictured above], a Gulf War veteran who left the British Army as a Regimental Sergeant Major after 23 years of service to Queen and country. He became interested in the world of adult toy development after thumbing through a catalogue in 2007 and being fascinated by the diversity of products on offer. He saw the potential for growth in the industry and wanted to be a part of it.
“At the time my self-imposed challenge was to create a toy that was couples-focused and unique,” Steve explains. “Additionally, the product had to have an ‘upsell’ strategy that could easily target new and existing customers. The sex toy industry caters for practically every fetish, fantasy and sexual orientation. Most of the product ideas I thought of were eventually discovered somewhere online but once I had decided on a toy for couples, it was easier to find what was missing. At the time, in my opinion, the market was single user-focused. Men had their toys and women had theirs too. The focus has changed in recent years – I think We-Vibe was a game changer. More importantly, it brought couples together with the same toy and Playdoor brings couples together in a way that has never been done before. There is a market for Playdoor and from the feedback I have received, not least from a major brand, the future for the product looks good.”
When asked how many versions of Playdoor he trialled during the development process, Steve says: “Too many to mention. From what seemed like a very simple toy to design, finding the correct material was crucial. The zips and openings are carefully positioned to accommodate any height. From tall to small, Playdoor fits all. Playdoor has one peephole and three vertical zips at different heights. The best way to describe their position and use is simple: peep, tease, please and play.”
For those who would like ‘permission’ to act out their fantasies, or who might be too embarrassed to ask for what they want, Playdoor comes with 20 Playcards which give the product an element of roleplaying. The Playcards suggest interactions for the couple to explore using their Playdoor, such as surpriseme, nibbleme, vibeme, and lickme.
The frame and Playpanel can widen from 650mm to 850mm (a difference of just under 8”), allowing it to be used in almost every size door frame. Once assembled the toy fits securely inside the frame, without using screws or brackets, and if couples are having a naughty weekend away, they can take their Playdoor with them. Unlike some equipment, Steve says the product is very easy to set up and dismantle after use: “Playdoor can be ready to use within two minutes of opening the handy sized travel bag,” he says. “A little less time than it takes to put on some new sexy underwear, fully fashioned stockings, a six strap suspender belt and killer heels.”
And he adds that it is very robust when installed, regardless of what’s taking place: “The Playdoor frame butts up against the inner door frame, making it impossible to push through. It has been carefully designed so that couples can go at their own playful or racy pace.”
Steve estimates Playdoor has cost him around £85k to develop, which includes patenting the product. “In summary, the patent would prevent another product being placed inside a door frame or opening as a game apparatus, and especially, but not exclusively, to apparatus for use in sexual foreplay,” Steve says. “Using upper or lower supports or a temporary frame by means of bracket mounted, telescopically extensible under the influence of a spring or holding in place by friction. All Playpanel materials are covered. All openings, slits, peepholes, zips, temporary fastenings, Velcro, press studs, non-toothed plastic slide fasteners and game cards. Including loops for vibrating bullets or vibrators.”
Playdoor has been tried by a number of testers, all of whom wanted to purchase the final product. Steve says Playdoor will sell for £89.99 and he thinks it will be the perfect product for retailers to display in-store: “I pop into retailers every chance I get. I visualise a Playdoor set up inside their stores and can imagine couples interacting with the product in a way that’s very difficult to do with most other toys.”
When asked who he thinks will buy the product, Steve says: “I anticipate the demographic to be 30-55 year old heterosexual couples. I think it will have a broad appeal whether users are exhibitionists, voyeurs, soft swingers or simply couples who want to have fun with a new and exciting toy. Playdoor will empower the user because the zips can only be opened from one side. It naturally extends foreplay, builds anticipation and creates desire. Extraordinary heightening of the senses kicks in and intensifies any touching enjoyment. And yes you can have full blown nookie too.”
Playdoor is currently at the pre-production stage and Steve is looking for investment to enable full production to begin. This could be from a distributor prepared to pay upfront for an initial order or it could be from an investor or partner taking equity in the business. He has already pitched to one of the biggest names in adult retail and received an encouraging response: “I was invited to Ann Summers to give them a presentation. They loved the product and said it was unique. I have been asked to contact them again when I have confirmed cost prices and lead times.”
Playdoor could be on sale before Christmas and Steve has ambitious plans to develop the brand into a family of products: “This is the exciting stuff,” he says. “Following on from Playdoor the consumer will be able to purchase separate Playpanels. New artistic designs with vibrant images that celebrate key dates in the calendar such as Valentine’s and Christmas. Essentially you could have Playdoor and several other Playpanels. This versatility opens up a wider audience to reach the gay/bi and BDSM market. Therefore, the family of products will include Gaydoor and Dommedoor.”
And if an investor or partner does not emerge?
“Failure is not an option and I will not let a fantastic opportunity go to waste,” Steve says. “Nothing in life is easy, especially bringing a new product to market. Having thought of the idea, designed it, patented it, produced prototypes, branded it, sourced manufacturers and arrived at the pre-production stage, I’d be bonkers to give up now.”
Interested parties are invited to contact Steve via firstname.lastname@example.org