by Mikey Rox
Most little boys dream of becoming a firefighter, a doctor or a lawyer – fulfilling some type of traditional occupation – when they grow up, and Eyal Feldman was no different.
“I wanted to be a history teacher,” says the Israeli-born California transplant, before revealing the reason he chose not to pursue a path in secondary education. “I thought that I would be involved in sexual controversy with some hot male student, a la ‘Notes on a Scandal,’ and that wouldn’t be fun to go through. Plus, I found out how much teachers are paid, so business was a more lucrative option.”Lucrative, indeed. As founder of Boy Butter Personal Lubricant, Feldman, 32, has financed a house on Fire Island, vacations around the world, and the continued growth of his brand, which includes Boy Butter Original; H2O; Extreme; and Bonerz, a 100 percent natural male enhancement product, among other water- and oil-based lubricant lines.
Feldman, who graduated with a degree in history from the University of California San Diego, didn’t invent Boy Butter, however. The original formula, which consists primarily of coconut oil and an organic silicon blend, has existed since 1983 when it was created as a long-lasting Crisco alternative – which Feldman says was used as a popular lubricant among gay men back then – that washed off with water. Identifying a “hole in the market,” as he so cheekily puts it, he negotiated with the manufacturers of the long-shelved lube, called Shaft – which was nixed not long after its invention due to latex compatibility issues – to sell it under his own moniker.
“[I] paid them to private label the product into my Boy Butter packaging and sold it as my own new product, which is totally commonplace in my industry and others,” says Feldman. “Once I was sufficiently large enough, I could manufacture Boy Butter on my own with our own lab, bring production costs down and develop different lines of product, like our You’ll Never Know It Isn’t Boy Butter, which we actually did invent and which is the first stable water-based and latex-safe cream lubricant on the market.”
But Boy Butter’s success didn’t come overnight. Feldman says he worked full-time at Nasty Pig Inc. – a gay clothing company – and saved his money for years before launching the brand. In 2002, an initial $5,000 investment helped him secure the formula from the Shaft manufacturers, and three years later, when he became a manufacturer of the product, he went to the only financial institution brave enough to loan him the hefty lump of cash he needed to expand: the Bank of Mom and Dad.
“When I became a manufacturer, it took a $100,000 loan from my parents, who believed in me and my product,” he says. “It has been a fruitful endeavor ever since for me and my parents.”
Today, the business is stronger than ever, with new products – and a new target market – slated for rollout this year. Primarily marketed to gay men, Boy Butter hopes to win over the straight female consumer with a “For Girls” line, which will be launched in a 5-ounce EZ-Pump and packaged in bubblegum pink.
“A gay man’s best friend can often times be a straight woman,” says Feldman. “When she hears about how great [Boy Butter] is, she buys some for herself based on the fact that it is a cute product that really helps people enjoy sex better. This new line, our first meant exclusively for women, should open us up to a wider female audience and the straight male audience.”
Of course, while Boy Butter continues to reach new heights, it hasn’t just been a boon for Feldman’s bottom line. It’s also led to personal fulfillment, including meeting his partner of five years.
“My husband and I met at Krave, the gay club in Las Vegas,” says Feldman. “I was there for a trade show; he was there for a board meeting for his company. Our eyes locked and 15 minutes later we were in a cab to his hotel room. The first two years we [dated] long distance – he was in New York City and I was in Los Angeles. Three years ago I moved in with him in NYC and we live happily ever after, with two kitties and a mortgage.”
And you can bet that Boy Butter plays an important role for the pair – not only as a business but also in the bedroom.
“I’m not just president and CEO [of the brand]; I’m also head of the research department,” Feldman quips.
“Quality management is important, so I need to try out the products that I sell to customers. Aside from creating them, using them is the best part!”
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and writer and principal of Paper Rox Scissors, a media and marketing company in New York City, He can be reached at www.paperroxscissors.com.