Interview Series: Joe Vela of Dame Products

Interview Series: Joe Vela of Dame Products

Welcome back to our interview series - this week we are featuring our friend Joe Vela.  Joe is the founder of Emojibator...a vibrator company that makes vibes that looks like EMOJIS!!!  Emojibator has since been acquired by our good friends at Dame Products, and Joe is now their Director of Sales.

Who the hell are ya and how the heck did you end up in the sex toy space? 

My name is Joe Vela and I founded Emojibator when I had the idea for the eggplant emoji vibrator. I had left my job in digital marketing as a 26-year-old to be a full-time musician and tour with my band, but quickly realized that I still needed to make money. I wrote down 100 of my best ideas over 10 days and the one that stuck was the eggplant emoji vibrator. When I launched months later, it went viral. Thus, my company was born. I am now the Sales Director at Dame following the acquisition of my company last year.

What is your non-sexual turn on?

Confidence… and paperback books.

Are you a water-based or an oil-based fan?

Water-based, but I cannot deny the pleasure of a slippery silicone- or oil-based lube, just gets a little greasier.

Why do you do what you do? What keeps you going?

This job allows me to make the world a better place, one orgasm at a time. But seriously, I feel blessed to have a job where I can bring people happiness and be at the forefront of a movement to destigmatize and un-shame an unrightfully censored category. 

How do you define pleasure?

A feeling of satisfaction, enjoyment, or happiness.

What do you wish more people knew about the industry you’re in?

Sexual wellness is ubiquitous and plays a role in every human life. It should be treated as a health necessity.

We are proud leaders in the sexual health & wellness space. It’s an industry that is finally getting a lot of attention. What is something you’ve learned about sexual health in the last 18 months?

I was watching The Principles of Pleasure on Netflix and was disturbed to hear that the most frequently asked sex ed question is “should sex hurt?” Obviously, the answer is No and sex education has majorly failed young adults.

As a white male, in an industry with more & more female leaders entering the conversation, how do you use your privilege for good?

I try to raise people up that are less fortunate than me, regardless of gender, race, social, or financial status. I’m almost always available for free advice.

What has been your proudest moment in your career to date?

It was probably the viral moment the Eggplant Emojibator had which included stories by Cosmopolitan, inclusion in New York Magazine, a Twitter Moment, and a post by Lil’ Jon. Close second is being acquired by Dame. 

What does work-life balance look like to you in this fast-paced environment? 

It means prioritizing my time for family and friends, exercise, personal growth, and travel. I like being productive and I don’t mind working nights and weekends, but if it’s a beautiful sunny day or there’s a great concert in the park, or I just want to have lunch with a friend, I am going to do it.

Any advice for folks looking to enter the sexual health & wellness space?

I wish I knew how hard it would be to break into mainstream channels including advertising, media, and retail. It’s really hard to be discovered in an industry that is constantly censored and stigmatized. I was naïve to all of these challenges, but they have probably scared some people off from this category, which means if you are hard-working and creative, there is an opportunity. Since founding Emojibator in 2016, the global sex toy industry has doubled in size and I predict it will double in size again over the next 5-10 years.


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