Kama Sutra founder Joseph C Bolstad passes away

Posted: August 28, 2019

Joseph C Bolstad, the founder of Kama Sutra, one of the industry’s longest established brands, passed away on 20th August 2019 at the age of 84 at his home in Westlake Village, California.

Bolstad and his business partner, the late Hal Hauser, started Kama Sutra in 1969 and the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in July. Back in the politically turbulent 1960s, Bolstad believed that in order to make the world a better place, he needed to find a way to bring people together, and he founded Kama Sutra in order to people create joyful experiences of intimacy in their lives.

The company’s very first product, Kama Sutra’s Oil of Love, was the catalyst for the romance category in the adult industry, and the company says it is popular today as when it was launched.

Speaking on the occasion of Kama Sutra’s 45th anniversary in 2014, Bolstad explained how he came up with the product: “One day in 1969 Hal and I were invited to a big party in the Hollywood hills on a Saturday night. What a party it was. Full of beautiful models, starlets, guys, girls – it was something; and of course, it was the 1960s so there was a pungent odour in the air. As the night wore on, people were raiding the kitchen cupboards for Wesson oil, olive oil or anything else that was slippery. Why – you might ask? Your guess is as good as mine.

“The next morning – late in the morning I must say – Hal and I met for coffee to review the night and get the day started and came up with an idea for a product we called Love Oil based on last night’s experiences. I immediately grasped the marketing and sociological significance of such an idea. We talked over the idea for a few hours and ended up shaking hands as partners in the new venture of developing and marketing Love Oil (Oil of Love). We were out to save the world. You must remember that this was the late 1960s and the Vietnam War was going on, there was intense unrest in the streets of America.”

Over the next 50 years, the brand evolved with the ever-changing demands of the consumer, while at the same time staying true to Bolstad’s original vision. Today, Kama Sutra boasts a collection of over 100 SKUs, all designed to embody Bolstad’s mission of bringing people together.

Bolstad grew up in Minnesota and after attending the University of Minnesota and spending two years in the military he made his way to the West Coast where he studied at the Art Center College of Design before becoming an advertising director in Los Angeles. “Art and design had always been hobbies for me,” Bolstad said, “and I was hoping that I could find a career in advertising. I decided to put my head down, work like a dog night and day and eventually, I became a fairly talented art director and designer in the Los Angeles area.”

Bolstad remained active in the company right up until the day prior to his passing. In the past decade, Kama Sutra became a family business with Bolstad’s wife, Marla Lee, as company president, and his sons Nicholas and Patrick in sales and marketing.

In his personal life, Bolstad was a talented golfer and playwright. He always loved football and mentored many youths on the local high school football team in his spare time.

“Bolstad was often described as unforgettable and one-of-a-kind,” said a Kama Sutra representative. “He was known for his sense of humour and made a lasting impact on everyone he met. He was an extremely generous, giving person who was always willing to help others, especially those who were less fortunate than he. Bolstad will be dearly missed by his family, friends and employees. Kama Sutra will honour their beloved founder’s legacy and continue Making love Better in a world that desperately needs it.”