by Phallophile Reviews
I’m so excited to interview Scott Douglas, founder of SquarePegToys®—because Scott has been creating nontoxic platinum silicone products for almost 25 years. He’s a true pioneer in the soft silicone plug/dildo market (my own first love as a sex toy reviewer!).
Scott was one of the first makers to create toys from 100% platinum silicone—and he keeps working on new projects even today at the head of SquarePegToys®. From anal stretching plugs to soft realistic dildos to textured massagers, SquarePegToys can fill any hole…as much as you want.
Phallophile Reviews (PR): I understand you started making silicone sex toys as a hobby—for fun, for yourself. And then it moved on to your friends, and bloomed even more from there? Tell me a little about SquarePegToys®’ early days.
Scott of SquarePegToys® (Scott): As late as 1997 when I made my first set of toys, the only big toys for butt play out there were made of either vinyl or vulcanized rubber, Domestic Partner and Creative Mouldings being the most popular. The trouble with them was they didn’t like grease-based lubes, and they ended up breaking a lot, or the outer layer would peel away after only a few uses sometimes. So after buying the same one 3 times, I set myself on a project to make my own toys. I was a production potter and mold maker, so I knew the technical approach, I just had to work out the method and materials.
Vixen Creations were already making 100% Platinum cured silicone toys in a studio environment in smaller sizes, so I knew there was a way to do it. Larger format toys pose their own unique challenges, and the cost of failures made them an expensive research project, but I kept at it—and remember, there weren’t any how-to videos online like there is today. About a year later I had my first collection made, which I call the “Original 8” nowadays.
I had no aspirations to start a toy business at that time, didn’t even think it possible until I started taking them to play parties and others wanted me to make copies for them too, so I started by just asking for my costs to be covered.
PR: I love that story! Can empathize because I started sex toy reviewing as a hobby—for pure fun, just to explore, followed by a desire to inform folks about quality toys. And it turned into a real job and a vocation! Speaking of history…
What was the sex toy scene like then, in the mid- to late 1990s?
Scott: Well it wasn’t anything like it is today. Truly, there were no large format silicone toys intended for ass play. It was so novel, what I was doing. It drew a lot of attention, and not always the good kind. I used to get hate email and calls in the beginning.
The climate wasn’t at all accepting as far as any anal play went, let alone for a man to do it, enjoy it, and profess it so much he actually created his own unique shapes for the explicit intent to put in his butt.
I think it was a lot for people to wrap their heads around! LOL, I mean, it still is, if I’m frank about it. But we were also in the thick of the HIV crisis with no effective treatment, so for me solo ass play was a great way to explore, but the epidemic also added stigma from inside the fetish community, as it was understood fisting and anal activities were the main way it was transmitted.
So when I proclaim myself to be a pioneer, you have to take it in the context of the time.
PR: Thank you, I think that’s really important to understand.
And you talk about starting out: Obviously, online sales weren’t so huge then. Can you tell me a little about how SquarePegToys has adapted over the last decade?
Scott: True, the internet was just opening up then, but the business was built on word of mouth from one fan to another. Even to this day I don’t advertise. My first site was actually just a /~ domain with very basic product info, but this is where the health and safety pages began too.
The Brand has always been very focused on education, sometimes I think even more so than product. Like, the product is just a nice addition, a tool to put the education to use, rather than the other way around.
But also, as I look at the site today and it’s just about the toys and the education, the intentional absence of erotic imagery might seem out of sorts for a dildo line. But in doing it this way, I can demonstrate to any person that’s exploring anal play, that they are welcome in this space.
But I’m not sure how much the Brand has changed in the last decade, rather it might be notable how much it hasn’t changed. It’s been a challenge competing on a global stage, but despite pressure from all sides to outsource production to foreign countries where labor is cheap, or use cheaper materials, I keep at it.
PR: Right, I love that inclusive attitude: you’re clear about how/why you designed each toy, but you don’t tell people (like through porn-y images) that their gender or sexual orientation isn’t the intended one for SquarePegToys.
So you said SquarePegToys is 100% US-based, as far your production team goes. And the platinum-grade silicone is US-sourced too—so you’re using materials that you can absolutely vouch for the quality and safety of. I love details, so can I ask:
What’s the production process like for a new toy: it starts with a sculpture?
Scott: I’ll see what I can share without divulging any trade secrets! Well, everything needs a mold to be cast in, and getting to the point of making the mold, I can use a few different approaches, the most common of them being a clay sculpture.
I like using clay because of the ease in which it can be manipulated. But mostly, using my hands gives me valuable insight into how the toy is going to feel going in and out, so I can get shapes I might not normally discover with just a drawing.
You won’t find a 3D printer in my studio either. The realistic toys are cast right off the live model, so I don’t have to do much to those to make them user-ready. I also might build a form with other materials like wood, PVC, polymer clay, but everything is done by hand.
I think that’s why they feel as good to hold as to play with, because they were designed by human hands. Much like how a handmade mug feels so much more comfy than a molded one.
PR: I suddenly feel the need to source out a handmade coffee mug now! (Have never tried!)
You mentioned the insights you have about a new toy while sculpting it.
After that, I’m curious: How much real-world testing is done before a new toy is released for sale?
Scott: If you’re asking if I try out my own work, the answer is an emphatic yes! In as far as I am able to, anyway. Some of my toys are developed in sizes and with intentions outside my abilities, but always with the experience of those requesting such items.
But much of the line is driven by my own desires for what I want next, like in the past 5 years or so, it’s been a lot about depth.
PR: Nice—definitely new frontiers with how *deeeep* some SquarePegToys go, the Slinks are *whoa*! Besides size, SquarePeg is so recognizable for your SuperSoft Bronze (and SuperSoft Graphite too) silicone.
Tell me more about how you started making SuperSoft silicone toys! (Hurray for comfort!)
Scott: So one of my pioneering innovations actually was the introduction of a soft silicone to adult toy production. Until 2006 everything in the line was being made in the Firmer Black formula I continue to use to this day. Toys had to be hard and black according to the way it had always been done, and that’s what consumers expected too.
But in my ongoing research with new formulas, I experimented with much softer silicones and got some amazing results in play.
The “SuperSoft” revolution has sparked a whole new generation of toy brands, and by 2008 Bad Dragon and Oxballs had arrived on the scene. The copper color I exclusively used for it was meant to immediately identify it on the shelf or online as a “SuperSoft” toy (a term coined by me and now used industry-wide). The color’s become such an identifying marker of SquarePeg that I was granted a US trademark for it a few years back. So why is it called “Bronze”? you wonder. Well, bronze just sounds warmer, more sculptural than copper.
PR: Aha!!! I have wondered that, actually—was googling images of actual bronze for a SquarePeg review background, and ended up going with an image of copper instead. (It’s shinier!)
With the SuperSoft Bronze silicone, the Egg Plugs in particular are so iconic. And such a treat for anyone who likes a filling plug, because they come in all these sizes and they’re spaced so well—amazing for moving up comfortably from one size up to the next, or just wearing around for a while. It’s hard to imagine SquarePegToys without the Eggs!
So I hear the Egg Plugs actually originated from wearable puppy dog tails?
Scott: We do have the pup community to thank for their inspiration. Before the Egg Plug shape, most all plugs were either of the trailer hitch type or a cone with abrupt angle, and I had both in my line at the time. The first puppy tail I ever made was actually with one of my spade-shaped plugs.
But with longer-term wear and the extra movement because of the tail, it was quickly obvious this wasn’t the most comfortable shape for a plug.
But even then, it wasn’t obvious that this Egg shape would be good just on its own, and it took another year and a half and many requests from pups before the Egg Plug itself was born.
PR: It always makes me really happy when a toy manufacturer responds to actual user feedback. And improves, expands, or redesigns based on real-world experience. (It’s pretty rare!)
Is that why you think SquarePegToys has been able to endure for so long (23 years now?!?), and keep growing, while other makers have come and gone?
Scott: Hmmm, I’ve never been asked that question before… Well, I think if I try to give a reason, it would be because it’s not just a brand, but a way of life, so there just isn’t the option to not make toys anymore. I mean, since I use them and still am growing and changing in my play, the line is simply an extension of that part of me.
Sharing my experiences, educating on healthy play and being a positive role model for this particular fetish are all very fulfilling in their own right. The manufacturing and sales simply complement that.
Does that make sense? How’s the expression go… “Do what you love…”
PR: *virtual high five*