Beverly Hills-Based Playboy Moves Further Into Retail and Ecommerce

Breanna De Vera

Breanna de Vera is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, studying journalism and English literature. She previously reported for the campus publications The Daily Trojan and Annenberg Media.

Beverly Hills-Based Playboy Moves Further Into Retail and Ecommerce
Photo by Max Letek on Unsplash

With Playboy's iconic magazine now gone, the Bunny company is shifting into sexual wellness and making a big bet on brick-and-mortar retail even as it amps up its ecommerce division.

Playboy Enterprises announced the $25 million purchase of the retail chain "Lovers" earlier this week. The media and lifestyle company folded its print publication last year, and went public via SPAC last month.

Playboy expects the chain to generate $45 million over the next year. Lovers has 41 locations across five states, which sell lingerie, intimacy and wellness products.

The acquisition of Lovers is a big step into the wellness space — Playboy had launched a CBD line last year, but this is the company's first acquisition after going public. On Wednesday, a day after the announcement, shares fell 4%, an even sharper drop than the overall Nasdaq slide of 2.7%.

The Beverly Hills-based company is now focused on four sectors: sexual wellness, fashion, gaming and beauty. Its bunny logo can be seen on its gaming YouTube channel, on Missguided loungewear and on its furniture collaborations with Wayfair. Playboy will also be rolling out its own branded products which will be offered at Lovers locations and online.

"Sexual wellness is still very heavy brick-and-mortar, because people can go in, get educated," said Ben Kohn, chief executive of Playboy Enterprises. "[They] can experience products by touching them and holding them. And we think that's an important distribution channel today."

According to Kohn, sexual wellness retail is still 70% in-store purchases, despite the rise in ecommerce. The company's direct-to-consumer sales helped it grow revenue by 78% for the first nine months of 2020, compared with the previous year.

But Lovers is also building out its ecommerce front. The company recently hired Kevin Diamond, former head of global ecommerce at the troubled Forever 21, as its chief digital officer.

"The sexual wellness space is something that has become mainstream over the last five years — it's a $240 billion industry today projected to grow to $400 billion by 2024," Kohn said.

Editor's note: this story has been updated to reflect the Nasdaq close.

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Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

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On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled $10 million in new funding led by LRVHealth, adding to $3 million in seed funding raised by the startup last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

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