Erotic Trade Only: ETO Magazine, Show & Awards Info
ETO stands for Erotic Trade Only, a journalistic business with a passion for reporting neutrally on the various happenings in the adult industry. This independent company, founded and based in the UK, is extremely popular in the adult trade and it’s easy to see why. Their harmonious team works extremely hard to deliver helpful advice and marketing opportunities to adult businesses. The erotictradeonly.com website and accompanying printed magazine provides support and advertising for various online services and websites, sex-related e-commerce, bricks and mortar retailers, product distributors/wholesalers and event organisers.
The business was launched back in 2003 and is committed to remaining entirely independent while serving as a valuable reference and offering exposure to new and veteran adult businesses.
The ETO Show (a trade expo) and ETO Awards (adult-industry specific awards) were launched in 2005, usually taking place together as a joined event through set dates each year. This is usually between spring and early summer. In 2017 the trade show had a break, with organisers using the time to look into the future of both the show and related awards ceremony. Both have since returned with a renewed energy and focus.
Dale Bradford and Lee Schofield are familiar names from the team, working as editor and publisher for the ETO magazine and website. Jonathan Kirk is the organiser of the ETO Show. Contact details can be found on the relevant websites as well as in the magazine.
As mentioned earlier, the website address is erotictradeonly dot com. Early 2019 saw the launch of a newly-designed website which is modern, sleek, fully optimised and easy to navigate.
The team ensure their finger is always on the pulse of what’s new and hot in the adult trade, updating the site regularly with related updates. You’ll find details of product launches, notable company appointments, upcoming events and trade shows plus much more.
There are opportunities for the trade to advertise on the ETO website, as well as a link to the latest edition of ETO Magazine.
This glossy printed magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication. 4,500 copies are mailed out during the first week of every month, and a previous reader survey revealed total readership to be about 12,000.
ETO Magazine provides subscribers with a monthly insight into what’s new and what’s coming next in the adult trade, with product spotlights, event reports, a multitude of news columns and interviews with big names in the industry. The mag is also available to read through the Erotic Trade Only website.
I’ve enjoyed being a columnist for ETO Magazine over the years, and found them fantastic and reliable to work with.
The ETO Show is a B2B trade show where both newly launched and established adult businesses can exhibit under one roof, meeting potential customers and clients as well as making valuable connections with others in the industry.
Running over two days, the ETO Show is a safe and productive space filled with positive adult industry representatives sharing a common interest and focus. Exhibitors hire the space size and type of their choice, arranging inviting and attention-grabbing stands which will be alluring to visitors and potential business connections.
The show is free to visit for those in the trade. You need to register your intentions to visit beforehand, including giving details of which part of the trade you’re in, so that the team can ensure the show remains 100% trade only. This is not a consumer event. There are plentiful other advantages to visiting; often there are goody bags filled with samples, free gifts and informative flyers and business cards, you’ll be able to enter various giveaways, there has been a lingerie and fetish wear catwalk show in previous years as well as models demonstrating various apparel and BDSM gear walking the floor throughout the show.
In the past this trade event was held at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. In 2020, the ETO Show is being held at Ricoh Arena in Coventry, UK (15th and 16th of March). Get the latest information at the official website, etoshow.com.
A new element of the ETO Show was introduced in 2015: BlogSpot. Along with Mel MacFarlane of Voluptasse, I worked hard to create this space at the show which was welcoming to sex bloggers and writers in the industry. Previously there hadn’t been any element of the show specifically for this often-undervalued sector of the adult trade.
Erotic Trade Only very generously provided the floor space for us at no extra cost, enabling us to provide this appealing area for sex bloggers and writers. Businesses were able to sponsor the BlogSpot area by purchasing advertising space on the rollerbanners which formed an integral part of the stand’s décor.
During the 2015 and 2016 run of BlogSpot at the ETO Show, bloggers were invited to take one of the well-stocked goody bags filled with samples and gifts from a multitude of adult retailers. Visitors to the stand could leave their business card to enter the BlogSpot giveaway – the 2016 haul reaching a grand total of over £2,000 retail value.
Sadly, BlogSpot ended after its two-year run due to time constraints, with it having a huge impact on our personal and business commitments elsewhere.
The ETO Awards are always hotly anticipated and extremely exciting. The complete independence of Erotic Trade Only in the adult sector ensures that the award nominations and winners are selected fairly and without bias.
Throughout the years since their launch in 2003, the ETO Awards haven’t been afraid to evolve and adapt along with the industry at large. Categories have been revised, the physical award has been remodelled, but the sense of achievement and recognition from nominees and winners has remained unchanged.
The presentation of the awards is usually on one evening of the ETO Show, at a location specifically hired for the event. There are welcome drinks, a lavish multi-course dinner, the presentation of the awards with music and dancing into the small hours afterwards. This black-tie event is extremely sumptuous, very popular in the trade and provides guests with years of happy memories and amusing anecdotes to share.
I’m very proud and grateful to have won four ETO Awards of my own: Best Erotic Journalist in 2013, 2014 and 2015, then Best Erotic Writer in 2017.
I’ve attended several ETO Shows and I’ve always had a thoroughly good time. It’s great to meet up with industry friends –and make new ones, too. Learning about what’s new in the adult industry, first hand when you can see and touch the products, is fantastic. You really feel like you’re at the fore-front of the industry, witnessing the emergence of future bestsellers and spotting this year’s trends.
Due to personal commitments I haven’t been able to visit every year, but I always love seeing the buzz about the show and awards on the Erotic Trade Only website and their social media. You can also read a full write-up of the show and catch all the award winners in the ETO Magazine published after the annual event.
Adult Trade Shows: 10 Top Tips
1. Plan your visit.
If you arrive and head in with no idea of the layout, who you want to meet or what you want to see, chances are you’ll wander about in a daze without being productive or making those valuable connections. Find information online before you go, print off/bookmark the layout of the stands in case there isn’t a map provided, make a list of who you want to visit and where you can find them.
2. Arrive early.
This gives you plenty of time to make your way around the event before close, plus it’s likely to be quieter when it first starts. This means you can make a beeline for the stands you really want to see, and have undisturbed discussions with the reps of your choice.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
You will do SO MUCH WALKING, honestly. Please, please, wear comfortable shoes. Nothing worse than trying to look radiant and positive, and have productive business meets, while your feet are in absolute agony.
4. Take a large bag.
You’ll likely go home/back to your hotel after the event with all kinds of stuff, so make sure you’re prepared by taking a bag big enough to fit absolutely tons in. A rucksack is better as it’s easier to carry, with weight distributed evenly across both shoulders. I’ve even seen people at trade expos wheeling little cases behind them!
5. Take notes.
If you’re anything like me, your memory just ain’t what it used to be. Take notes in the form that’s best for you – whether on a phone app or with good old pen and paper. Just don’t lose them in the excitement of everything.
6. Accept all business cards and flyers.
If you’re not sure, take it anyway. You’ll have time to properly ponder your info pile later on, and sort through which ones you’ll keep. Combine this tip with the note-making one; jotting a few notes about the product or business on the related card or flyer will be an invaluable aide-memoire once you’re back in the office.
7. Take loads of photos.
Another way to make sure you don’t forget small points or highlights is to take plenty of photographs –if you’re allowed, that is.
Be aware of people in your pics; some events don’t allow photos of staff and/or visitors, while others have colour-coded stickers for those who don’t consent to photographs. Certain types of visitor may be discouraged from taking pics of product lines if a competitive aspect is detected. If you’re not sure, ask!
8. Keep hydrated.
Don’t forget to keep hydrated –and yes, I mean with water and non-alcoholic beverages through the day rather than opting for booze. It’s sensible to save that for after the event (or at a certain awards show…)
9. Fuel up.
You’re not you when you’re hungry, so ensure you’re on top form by making the most of any available food stands and outlets at the trade event. Feed your brain, feed your creativity and negotiating skills, feed your business. Simples.
10. Relish the opportunity.
Finally: enjoy it! A lot of hard work and preparation goes into organising and hosting a popular, well-attended and successful trade show. Realise the potential from your visit, make the most of your time there and delight in the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and industry-specific businesses face-to-face.
Find out more about ETO (Erotic Trade Only) at the official website, including links to various social media channels and contact details for the team. You can find out more about this year’s show & awards, and how to register your attendance at etoshow.com.