Launch Spotlight: Interview With Nicole Leinbach, Owner and Founder of STIMULATE: A B2B Sexual Wellness Trade Show

August 29, 2023

About 18 months ago, Nicole Leinbach, founder of Retail Minded and co-founder Independent Retailers & Sellers Conference (IRSC), decided to launch her first trade show, aiming to fill a void in the retail and wholesale sexual wellness space that she saw and wanted to support. 

The sexual wellness market in the U.S. was valued at $11 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2030, according to a report by statista

On July 24 and 25, STIMULATE: A B2B Sexual Wellness Trade Show debuted in Nashville with about 200 attendees and more than 40 vendors.

While this was her first trade show launch, Leinbach is no stranger to events. She produces IRSC, a conference held twice a year at ASD Market Week, an Emerald trade show that brings together more than 40,000 attendees and 1,800 vendors in the wholesale merchandise industry. The events take place biannually in the winter and summer in Las Vegas and are listed among the top 20 of TSNN’s Top 250 Trade Shows.

TSNN caught up with Leinbach to find out more about the launch. She shared:

  • Insight into her background
  • Why she decided to launch a sexual wellness trade show now
  • How she selected Nashville
  • An inside look at the top vendors
  • Who the key buyers were at the show
  • Highlights at the event
  • The scoop on where she landed financially

Listen to our interview with Leinbach here.

Event Highlights

Education. The event featured 21 sessions, sponsored by Esquire Advertising, that supported retail and eCommerce operations, product knowledge and sexual wellness insight from industry leaders that included Senior Editor Claire McCormack from Beauty Independent, Dr. Evan Goldstein from Bespoke Surgical and Future Method and Author and Somatic Wellness Coach Pamela Madsen — to name a few.

Networking. Social experiences included a VIP media, speaker + retailer evening on Nashville’s Honky Tonk bus. Nashville music artist Aly Cutter took the stage for a two-hour STIMULATE+Afterhours experience, sponsored by Eldorado Trading Company, one of the nation's largest distributors of pleasure products and novelty goods.

Buyers. The event attracted retailers that included CVS Pharmacy, Lions Den, Hustler Hollywood, various independent stores, marketplace sellers and many more.

Exhibitors. The trade show floor featured products that support young-to-mature, head-to-toe sexual wellness — from feminine care and men’s health to pleasure products and novelty items, such as greeting cards, candles and more. Each day, the show featured three fashion product shows to highlight its vendors.

STIMULATE will return to Nashville Aug. 5-6, 2024.

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