Vuki Ltd introduced sex toys in Rwanda to enable transparent acquisition of related products that were already in use without license.
In an exclusive interview with IGIHE, the management of Vuki Ltd explained that they launched a shop in Rwanda to help people struggling to find quality sex toys.
“We knew such products were already available in Kigali, but illegally. We wanted to regularize it in order to make sure these products meet international standards for security and health of customers. We also understood that there was a demand for adult’s toys, which is why we decided to open this business and to launch Vuki Ltd,” explains one of the managers.
Following the penetration into Rwanda’s market, and getting licensed by Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Vuki Ltd expressed delight to have been welcomed smoothly.
“Since we launched Vuki Ltd, we have not received any bad feedback from the Rwandan Market. Of course, you can imagine the atmosphere when we have opened our goods at the Custom! And when communicating with people during the process of market’s approvals, they were rather smiling and assisting.”
Vuki Ltd has a wide range of products including ’Lingerie’, or women’s underwear. They are manufactured locally and Vuki Ltd considers it a great contribution to boosting ‘Made in Rwanda’ program. Vuki Ltd has developed partnership with a company dubbed ‘IsLo Collection’ to manufacture those garments.
According to the management, Vuki Ltd has expended much effort to produce some of products in Rwanda.
“Indeed we have launched this new category in December 2020 together with our local partner Islo. We wanted to promote made in Rwanda products and this local brand that produce high quality fashion clothes. This is why we have launched a new lingerie collection. This allows us with creativity to make products with local partner. By the way, the lingerie of this collection is custom tailored. Basically once you place your order we produce the model with the required size and deliver it within 24 hours.”
As you visit the online shop, a disclaimer appears suddenly restricting visits by minors below the age of 18. The website appears in dominant black color, seemingly, a dark room with insufficient light.
Products displayed on the platform are classified into six categories: toys, lubricants, oil massage, aphrodisiac, wellness and lingerie.
As per product’s catalogue; Toys are the shop’s main market and the product’s category which is the more demanded by women and men while Lubricants are used mainly to solve frigidity and dryness problems.
Aphrodisiac is sold for the purpose of solving some problems of sexual desire; Oil massage is meant to enhance foreplay preliminaries and bring intense arousal of the couple.
Wellness products are particularly dedicated to women, among other cups which are used as a permanent solution for periods. These include products enabling women to urinate with a standing position.
Lingerie is there to bring colour in a relationship and stimulate the desire both of men and women.
Women are major clients at Vuki Ltd
Majority of clients at Vuki Ltd are women. It is not the exclusivity of Rwanda because women occupy large global clientele due to the fact that most of toys are made for them or used on their bodies.
Vuki Ltd asserts women represent at least 60% of it clientele.
“Basically, the highest proportion of our customers are women. We estimate they represent 60% of our customers even if you don’t need to precise your gender when you want to order our products. A large part of our selling is gifts for anniversary or any other occasion. For example, Valentine’s Day goes with higher demand usually.”
During Coronavirus pandemic which saw many countries imposing lockdown, the sales in sex toys increased exponentially especially between January and March last year.
For instance Italy is reported to have increased sales by 60%, France by 40%, Canada by 135%, United States by 75% while Hong Kong and Australia grew sales by 71% and 31% respectively.
Vuki has revealed that sales also flourished on Rwanda’s during lockdown.
“Indeed, we have noticed increased sells during the lock-down; sadly we had to increase the delivery rates during this lock-down but we are still operating for the happiness of our customer. It is true that being locked home can be difficult for many couples and our products can also help to maintain a good relationship,” explains the company’s management.
Vuki Ltd has highlighted that the business doesn’t dilute Rwanda’s culture noting that Rwandans have had enough sexual knowledge dating back from colonization era.
“Actually there is no really limited sexual knowledge in the Rwandan culture, but an important place for it in the traditions. This limitation has come with the colonization. The idea is not to import practices which are outside the Rwandan culture but rather promote couple’s communication, stability and flourishing,” asserts Vuki Ltd.
The management says, it is committed to respecting everyone’s privacy which prompted to dodge mass media campaign lest some clients feel offended.
To date, Vuki doesn’t have any physical office and operates exclusively through an e-commerce platform.
The company plans to explore some possibilities like having a partnership with pharmacies as dealers of its products.
The management says, the company looks forward to partner with more Rwanda companies to promote local products.
“We are looking into to increasing Made in Rwanda products, building new partnerships with Rwandan producers, in a short term, and of course, preparing Valentine’s Day.”
Sex and culture in contemporary Rwanda
Beliefs or social norms might be a constraint to openly visit the shop selling products stimulating sexual desire but interested individuals should not be condemned for their rights to visit or use them given that sexuality is a God-given passion.
Not so coincidentally, sexual relations and related practices have been areas of concern for long in Rwandan traditions. Perhaps, you might have got the wind of ‘labia stretching’ locally known as ‘Gukuna’ or ‘Gukazanura’ (a tradition involving father in law to taste how sweet the new daughter-in-law is sexually gratifying) in Rwanda’s traditional culture. Have you ever wondered why or when such traditions ended? This is a small portion of a wide range of practices transpiring from sex-related traditions in Rwanda that are rarely discussed in public but etched on many people’s hearts and implicitly or explicitly reflected through their deeds.
To this end, implicit allusion to sexual relations that also manifests in artistic works, has been a vast topic of discussion that created mixed reactions among Rwandans. Such artistic creations especially in the music industry have been attracting public attention that artistes have been actively taking heed on the topic to draw closer to public attention. For instance, ‘Rwagihuta’, is one of songs that earned Massamba Intore great fame of legendary ranking.
Releasing songs alluding to sexual relations is gradually coming of age that super star artistes are making it an optimal choice. If you are an entertainment fan, you might know them better but I recommend you to listen to ‘Saa moya’ by Bruce Melodie, ‘Ifarasi’ by Davis D, ‘Igare’ by Mico the Best to be on common ground. These songs have been brought to limelight and convey implicit message that everyone interprets her/her way. So, Vuki’s presence with products stimulating sexual desire is not an odd to Rwandans’ debated topics.
’Sextoys’ turning traders into millionaires
At global level, sex toys have increasingly become basic products especially in developed countries in a sense that they help spouses and unmarried people to continue enjoying sexual relations in the absence of a partner.
Figures on frequently searched words, show that ‘sex toys’ are mostly searched in countries including Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Netherlands. In the meantime, China and India as the world’s most populated countries record the highest number of people using sex toys.
Tracy’s Dog, a company selling sex toys recently conducted a survey to respondents from different countries. 62% of respondents owned sex toys while 57% of the rest planned to buy sex toys in case a lockdown is imposed.
47% of respondents are from the United States of America, 32% are from Europe, 13% are from Asia, while 8% are from Australia.
In brief, several reasons have provided ground for increased users of sex toys. These include reduced price due to increased manufacturers including China producing 70% of the world’s sex toys.
Besides mass production, the quality and sophisticated technology made with these smoothened toys to help individuals reach orgasm is another reason that draw sex toys market on peak.
As a result, sex toy traders have been reaping big, and expect bigger returns in the future. For instance, the value of sex toys market was valued at over US$ 25 billion in 2018, increased to over US$ 26.6% billion in 2019 and over US$ 30$ billion in 2020. The market is estimated at US$ 48.2 billion in 2027.
There are no official sources showing the current status of sex toys trade on African continent, because many countries (excluding South Africa and few others) don’t authorize the use of sex toys due to cultural constraints and beliefs against such practices. However, sex toys are present on the continent.
Continuous use of such toys secretly might lead to several health risks and damage body parts over the application of substandard toys.