Up close with Thao
The creative mind behind SXOhh
Growing up in Australia, Thao Luu excelled in Maths and Science and also in Art and Creative studies. She concentrated on Maths and Science and completed a Bachelor Degree in Manufacturing Engineering.
Remaining creative at heart, she studied Art, Jewelry Design and Shoe Design over the course of several years.
With a diverse educational background, Thao worked in various industries, including the Pharmaceutical industry, Research, Importing, Whitegoods and Fashion. It was while working at Toshiba that she decided to embark on a new venture in order to grow.
Soon after, Thao met her husband and in 2009 they created their first range of adult toys.
What inspired you to get involved with the sex toy industry?
Years ago, I was given a vibrator as a gift and was quite disappointed and felt that the design and functionality could be improved. I went into a few adult stores to do research and found that going into a big store with so many vibrators and toys was quite overwhelming and decided that with my background, I could come up with designs that were more elegant, powerful and female friendly.
“Creating a new product is a constant cycle of observing, listening, researching and learning, improving and going with your gut instinct.”
Are there many women in the sex toy industry?
The adult toy industry is predominantly male but that is slowly changing, as people are realizing that sales are mostly female driven. Only in recent years has there been a few new brands in the industry that have female owners or designers. The Sex Tech Industry has come a long way, but there are still very few companies that are owned and operated by women and even less with female engineers and industrial designers on their team. I believe this gives our company a competitive edge.
What three adjectives would you want your customers to associate with your products?
Quality, Powerful, Innovative.
What are the design considerations specific to sex toy design?
When designing an adult toy, one must firstly take into consideration the end desire - the ultimate orgasm and/or pleasurable sensations. This is created by the perfect combination of touch (how it feels on the skin), sensations created by motors and rhythms, ergonomics and anatomical correctness. Finally, and most importantly, the engineering of our motors to create our trademark power within this new adult toy design. This is what sets our products apart from our competitors.
What does your creative process look like?
Ideas for products come from all sorts of inspiration and at different times. I have always been moved by art, design, sculpture and color. I keep folders of images I am inspired by to look back on at a later date. Inspiration is all around us and could come from everyday products like a lipstick or toothbrush, the shape of a computer mouse or the latest gadget. It could be something as simple as looking at an existing design and saying it would be perfect if we changed this, or added this. Colors, forms and hardware for toys can take inspiration from magazines, television and fashion.
Sometimes an idea will come to me in the middle of the night or while exercising. Often, an idea will stay an idea for months or even years, waiting for some tweaking or the right timing.
Creating a new product is a constant cycle of observing, listening, researching and learning, improving and going with your gut instinct.
All my ideas start with sketches on paper, I still like to draw my designs the old fashioned way. Based on the internal mechanisms, we create by hand the initial form from art materials that can be moulded, cut, or filed into the desired shape. This is then fine tuned and interpreted into CAD drawings and a prototype made on a 3D printer or by creating a mould. The prototype is tested and improved until everyone involved agrees that it is ready to go into production. We travel frequently to our factories to ensure the final production is perfect.