Who is the velvet-voiced man behind Sliquid lubricants and why does he care so much about making products formulated for women's safety? How did Dean come to start this business and what was the inspiration to create a lubricant?

Who is the velvet-voiced man behind Sliquid lubricants and why does he care so much about making products formulated for women's safety? How did Dean come to start this business and what was the inspiration to create a lubricant?

Interview with Founder and President of Sliquid - Dean Elliott

August 6, 2009

Want to learn more about a man who has been a voiceover personality for Atlantic Records, WWF, Volvo and so many more? I bet you’re wondering how that relates to lube. Well, it’s been a circuitous path for this man! Put simply, Dean is a guy who, in addition to voicework, had experience in EMT services and a curiosity for human anatomy, which helped him to take an issue that his wife was having with lubes and turn it into his own business. After 911 when ad agencies were struggling to keep their doors open, and voicework was hard to find, Sliquid was born ... Necessity is the mother of invention. Dean then decided to formulate a dedicated line of glycerin free lubricants for women with sensitivities and for the health conscious consumer. So, what makes Sliquid stand out from other natural and body friendly products? And what body products can we expect to see from Sliquid in the future?

  • Carrie Ann Carrie Ann 2 users seconded this question.

    I'm really curious and excited about the botanically infused bath line; can you tell us more about that?

    The same great formulations we use for Sliquid Splash and Smooth will have the added benefits of our certified organic botanical blends, and will be in a more earth friendly package. Scents are still being blended, so no official word yet.
  • Delete My Account Delete My Account 2 users seconded this question.

    Sliquid is a great name for your brand. Where did it come from? Was it pure inspiration, a conversation, or did you hire an agency?

    Pure inspiration. My wife and I were at dinner with some friends from the Bay area, when I asked them their preference for the better name between two finalists - Dermalube or Ultraglide. As the words came out of my mouth, I realized that an intimate lubricant shouldn't sound so dry and clinical. I was looking for the best way to describe a "slick liquid". I knew instantly "sliquid" was the perfect name. I excused myself from the table, headed home, and began the process of trademarking the name and buying the domain.
  • NuMe NuMe 2 users seconded this question.

    Are you still doing voicework? Are the people in that business aware of your Sliquid's business? If so, how has their response been?

    Yes, I still do voice work, although not as often as I once did. For six and a half years, I worked weekly as the legal voice of Volvo. I still have clients such as the World Combat League, Volvo radio, and miscellaneous promos and trailers. A handful of my voice clients are privy to my life as Mr. Sliquid (and love the gift baskets).
  • Liz2 Liz2 2 users seconded this question.

    I am always looking for the one lube that takes care of all my needs. I have too many lubes now but find myself using Maximus for almost everything. A lube that performs like silicone w/o negative reactions on silicone toys and w/o glycerin would be awesome!

    Our answer to Maximus is Sliquid Sassy, Sliquid Organics Natural Gel, or Ride H2O. Our point of difference is that we have eliminated propylene glycol and parabens from our formulations. They are water based lubricants, so they are perfect for your silicone toys, and they are super thick so they stay in place.
  • Carrie Ann Carrie Ann 3 users seconded this question.

    Besides winning the O award, what was the best moment/thing to happen at the AVN show?

    Lunch with Eden Fantasys Smile

    Victoria (host): "Awww! How did I know you would say that?! Well, thank you. We truly enjoyed lunch with you too . You're great company, Dean!"

  • spicywife spicywife 3 users seconded this question.

    I was excited when I saw the Sliquid Organics line but then I read the ingredients. It has both flax seeds and sunflower seeds, which I am allergic to. Have you ever considered using other less allergenic ingredients? Both flax and sunflower, mostly the latter, are increasing as an allergen. I've seen some companies that use hemp oil and I wonder if avocado oil would be applicable.

    Botanical ingredients are not for everyone, and we realize that, which is why our original line will maintain its very simple and hypoallergenic formulation. For a lubricant, we don't recommend using hemp, as it is an anti-humectant, which works against the lubricating process... As for avacados, I think I'll keep them in my Cobb salad. Smile
  • Liz Liz 4 users seconded this question.

    Your company has already demonstrated a commitment to body-safe products for health-conscious customers and those with material sensitivies; what inspired you to take it a step further with Sliquid Organics?

    After becoming a father 2 years ago, I realized the importance of becoming a more sustainable / accountable company (and individual!). Recycling at the office wasn't enough, and since we were already working on reducing our carbon footprint with more easily recyclable packaging, we realized that adding body beneficial organic ingredients would increase our commitment to maintaining our status as the most natural intimate product line available.
  • NuMe NuMe 4 users seconded this question.

    I know one problem that frustrates many of us is that silicone lubes are the incompatibility with silicone toys. Anything in the works, or any ideas, on a lube similar to a silicone one that will work with these toys without the drawbacks of water based lubes?

    There are a handful of silicone toy manufacturers like Tantus, Fun Factory, and Lelo who are making toys with platinum grade silicone, which CAN be used with our silicone lubricants. We do, however, recommend reading manufacturers specs for individual product information.
  • Avery Dragon Avery Dragon 4 users seconded this question.

    At one of my previous company meetings, you were there explaining your products and sharing your lines. During that, I was able to get a bottle of Ride Wild Lemongrass shave creme, it's definitely a scent that has to grown on you, but I have come to love. Aside from this scent and natural, have you considered extending the scents in this line of products?

    Thank you for your love affair with Ride Razor, it is a great product which we our entire staff uses. Never say never, but we have had such great feedback from our current formulations that we have no current plans for new scents.

  • Avery Dragon Avery Dragon 4 users seconded this question.

    At my work, I've noticed that I keep referring your products over most others 8/10 times. The only time times I seem to look at other companies is when my customers are looking for more variety in flavor or a good anal specific lubricant. Have you considered expanding your line of flavors? Or have you considered creating an anal lubricant? (Preferably muscle relaxing, not numbing)

    Actually, there is a new Swirl flavor in the works slated for first quarter 2010 (Pink Lemonade). Although we offer formulations designed for anal play (Sassy or Ride H2O), we believe that any relaxant or desensitizer could prove problematic by masking your body's natural reaction to damage (pain).
  • Avery Dragon Avery Dragon 4 users seconded this question.

    Ride, your male line, which has definitely won me and my male customers over is rather small. Now, I do understand that your company was created to be there for women, but has there been consideration to expand Ride at all? At least creating a male package for the lubricants that already exist would work.

    Although Ride lube is packaged for men, it is formulated with the same female friendly ingredients as our other lines. We took the two most popular formulations (from our male customers) and rebranded them for the Ride line. In focus groups, we found men weren't big fans of flavors or warming formulations. There is talk of repackaging Silk for the Ride line.
  • Carrie Ann Carrie Ann 5 users seconded this question.

    So many products are claiming to be organic these days. Can you tell us a little bit about the difference between those claims and your certified organic ingredients?

    Sliquid does not claim to be a 100% organic lubricant. It would be impossible to keep a 100% organic lubricant (or any product for that matter) on the shelf longer than a few days. Although companies are not required to list ingredients comprising less than 1%, we list everything, so our consumers know exactly what they are using. We less than one half of 1% of a non toxic, synthetic additive to help move our plant cellulose, and an equal amount of a newer school preservative to help reduce the chance of bacteria being introduced to the product. Sliquid Organics is a natural lubricant line, infused with certified organic botanical extracts which are body beneficial; restoring, relaxing, and soothing your delicate tissues. Anyone claiming to be 100% organic is simply not being truthful.

    Victoria (host): "This was an excellent question - and an excellent answer! You make a great point about shelf life. Thanks for putting it so plainly!"

  • Red Red 5 users seconded this question.

    And finally: Any plans for a oily lube in the future? I am a huge fan on greasy lubes (for appropriate applications, of course), but so many "options" on the market are kinda nasty.

    No, absolutely not. Our lubes are formulated for women, and the use of oils for many women can wreak havoc when used internally. We do, however, have a fabulous pharmaceutical grade, hypoallergenic silicone blend, which offers many of the benfits of an oil based lube without the potential complications. Plus, oil based lubricants are not latex compatible - again, safety first.
  • NuMe NuMe 5 users seconded this question.

    What other types of products do you have in the works for people with sensitive skin?

    Since they've become so popular. Have you considered making a body safe massage candle?

    Sliquid formulates fantastic bath and body products for women with sensitivities. First, Sliquid Splash - a gentle feminine wash, formulated from sea salt and coconut oils to be used as an external cleanser, replacing traditional soap and water, which can shift a woman's pH. It is pH balanced neutral, and in keeping with our tradition, always glycerine and paraben free. Second, Sliquid Smooth - a lanolin free (derived from sheep skin oils), luxurious all body, intimate shave lotion, formulated with mango and shea butters, vitamin E and aloe vera. We are also currently developing a line of botanically infused massage oils (not to be used as a lubricant!) derived from macadamia nut, coconut, sunflower and sweet almond oils.
  • Liz Liz 5 users seconded this question.

    Sliquid Silk is my go-to lube because of its versatility. How did you come up with the idea for a water/silicone hybrid lubricant?

    While Sliquid was still based in NYC, we came across a product that had similar ingredients, though it still contained Propylene Glycol (PEG). We loved the silky consistency and the extra longevity without the messy cleanup of a straight silicone lubricant. We reformulated without the use of Propylene Glycol (synthetic glycerine) or parabens.
  • Red Red 6 users seconded this question.

    As a lube making company, how do you stay abreast of new information about the negatives of potential lube ingredients? What makes you say "OK, we need to use something else because this stuff is no good"? (You don't use Parabens, for example, while other lube makers still do).

    We have been working with a fabulous chemist since day one, who is very in tune with the green movement, so we are always looking for new trends in safer and more natural ingredients. Once we heard parabens were being linked to cervical cancer, we set out to find a better, safer alternative.
  • Britni TheVadgeWig Britni TheVadgeWig 10 users seconded this question.

    Most products designed for women's health and safety are usually the result of women trying to make a product that's better for them in an area where few or none exist. What was it that motivated you, a man, to want to cater to women in this way?

    My wife had sensitivities to glycerin based lubricants, and at the time, there really wasn't any alternative. So when we set out to create a more female friendly product, we decided to create a full product line revolving around the glycerine free mantra.
  • Red Red 10 users seconded this question.

    You once told me Sliquid was "one of the first two lubricant manufacturers that formulated glycerin free from the get-go". What made you start out this way, even though the industry standard was glycerin at the time?

    We were the first, and are still the only lubricant manufacturer that creates an entirely glycerine & paraben free product line. We wanted to offer health conscious consumers a major point of difference, and by using plant cellulose (which we derive from cotton fiber) we were able eliminate the use of glycerine as a thickening agent.
  • Victoria Victoria 3 users seconded this question.

    What was your reception in the industry when you first started? Was it a tough first year or did you already have connections?

    In the beginning, there were many people who weren't as receptive as I thought they should have been. Im a New York City kid, through and through, and if I thought someone was condescending or discouraging, or just being rude, I'd call them out on it, and I quickly learned who was family and who wasn't. All in all, most of the people in this industry are great folks with big hearts.
  • Victoria Victoria 3 users seconded this question.

    Do you foresee Sliquid growing and being a family business that you pass on to your kids? Do you have any family members that work with you?

    I think my wife has higher aspirations for her children - a physician, a New York Yankee, etc... although my eldest is only 2, so I still have time to work on her.
  • Sir Sir 4 users seconded this question.

    Sliquid's a great company for those trying to be more environmentally conscientious and healthy in every aspect of their life. I'm wondering which line of products you released, or thought of, first: the lubricants, or the bath gel? I also wanted to know what places carry your bath gels and lubricants, if any.

    Everything started with the Sliquid H2O formula, and as for lubricants, we still formulate around that original blend. Splash, our feminine wash was actually a request by one of our largest customers. We had no idea that it would become as successful as it has. Smooth was just a natural addition to the Splash line. The bath and body line can be found anywhere from specialty boutiques to Meijer Supermarkets in the midwest.
  • Victoria Victoria 4 users seconded this question.

    I know, from a little birdie, that you have worked as the Lead Medic / Head of Security / Logistics Consultant for: Temptation Island, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, High School Reunion, Big Fat Fiance, Joe Millionaire, Trading Spouses, Spring Break the Movie, Trista's & Ryan's Wedding Special, Paradise Hotel, Playing it Straight , Road Rules, Forever Eden and more.... So, I am, of course, wondering - what was the craziest thing that ever happened on a movie or TV show set / location? And don't worry, we won't tell anyone where we heard it!

    First, let me guess, that little birdie may have been me. It's true, and I have seen it all, from impromptu threesomes on Paradise Hotel when they thought no one was watching (we had hundreds of lipstick cameras hidden inside of all sorts of things), to complete meltdowns, lies, betrayals, and even living through Hurricane Keith in 2000, a category 4 that leveled San Pedro in northern Belize.
  • Judy Cole Judy Cole 4 users seconded this question.

    A lot of people have that "Aha!" moment where they come up with a great idea for a new product—sex or otherwise—but few actually ever make it to the market, much less enjoy the success you are currently experiencing. How did you get from the inspiration to the reality, and do you have any tips for other would-be sex entrepreneurs who want to launch a product line?

    For us, I knew it was a needed addition to the lubricant sector, and with hard work, a good chemist, and a little charm, there was no way I would let it fail. Luckily, because of my other careers, I was able to self-fund Sliquid, so sleeping nights was a little easier. As far as launching a product in the sexual well being category, consult as many open minded friends, family, and colleagues who you know will give you honest feedback, as opposed to false encouragement. If you see a void, take a chance.
  • Judy Cole Judy Cole 5 users seconded this question.

    Your brand was inspired by your wife and is by and for women, and yet you are "the public face" of Sliquid.Smile
    Who are some of the women who play important roles in your company and what do they do?

    My wife has been in the mainstream consumer products industry for nearly 20 years, and feels that helping behind the scenes would avoid any conflict of interest with the very visible brands she works with. In addition to my wife, there are many women behind Sliquid, including key roles such as... our filler, our PR/media consultant (MM Media), our CFO, and the various clients who have acted as consultants on many of the products we have on the market.
  • Delete My Account Delete My Account 6 users seconded this question.

    Everyone is aware that the economy is still struggling to rebound. Has this affected the way you do business? Has the economic woes impacted your sourcing opportunities for ingredients or how you produce your product? How can you combat negative effects of the current climate without sacrificing the ideals you started with?

    Although our raw material costs have become higher, we have NOT passed along those costs to our consumers. Our pricing is fair for both Sliquid and our clients. As far as the economy affecting our industry, knock wood, we have been very fortunate as sales have continued to rise along with our reputation.

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About Founder and President of Sliquid - Dean Elliott

Company: Sliquid, LLC
Occupation: Founder of Sliquid, LLC
Achievements: Impregnating my wife (twice!), Creating an outstanding product line of lubes, lotions, and potions. AVN O Award winner.
Current Project: Training for a half marathon. Designing a botanically infused bath and body line.
Statement: Created by sensitive women, for sensible women.
Publications: Cosmo August 2009, "Getting Off" - Jayme Waxman, "The Art of Oral Sex" - Ian & Alicia Denchasey, Tango July 2007, various blogs (too many to list).
Education: BFA @ NYU, 1991
Age: 40+
Editor’s note: Dean is such a friendly, down to earth, and interesting guy. I truly enjoyed spending time with him this summer and am so happy to learn more about him through the community interview.

Host

Victoria

Victoria knows sex toys & adult products, their ardent lovers & makers. She's Eden's Marketing Director, helps wrangle the Review Program, outreach, the company Twitter and is your faithful Editrix. She also raises kids, reads a lot, loves music and kitties, writes a bit and snuggles with the Yeti.

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