Empire Labs (aka Clone-a-Willy and Clone-a-Pussy) have been friends and supporters of Project Object from the beginning. It was a no-brainer friendship since we both call Portland home and believe in sexual empowerment.
This month, they made our DIY Sex Robot class become more accessible for all women and non-binary people in the Portland-area. We interviewed with them about issues they care about and how self love take many forms.
Tell us a little bit about Empire Labs.
Empire Labs was formed in the San Francisco Bay area back in 1996. (We've been all about dicks since ’96.) There, we manufactured highly customized, body safe, skin-like materials primarily for medical and prosthetic use. Our product was completely unique, and our reputation as creators of amazingly lifelike, simple-to-use molding and casting compounds quickly grew just by word of mouth. It wasn’t long before we struck a deal with Hollywood, with our moldings used for horror flicks and special effects scenes. In 1997, realistic penis replicas of varying shapes and sizes were needed for an independent film. The first DIY Willy kits were born, and they were such a hit on set that we created a retail version. We now proudly call Portland, Oregon home.
Clone-A-Willy and Clone-A-Pussy kits are sold all over the world, the instructions translated into multiple languages. Our products have been reviewed and endorsed by countless sex toy columnists and connoisseurs, featured on multiple TV shows, and even made an appearance in a major motion picture. Empire Labs has turned what was once an expensive, complicated, and exclusive process into an easy, affordable, and fun line of products that anyone can do.
What issue(s) are you passionate about?
Our mission is to create unique, affordable, and high-quality products that will not only last over the years, but provide our customers with a fun and memorable experience. We support sexual health causes by getting involved with the local community and beyond. Our aim is to inspire body positivity and open up the conversation surrounding sexuality.
What is something you wish people knew about Clone-A-Willy?
Our products allow for a lot of creativity and are not only limited to penises and vulvas. The kits can be used to mold any non-porous object. Customers have molded everything from fruits and veggies to action figures! This really opens up the options for non-binary but still sexually suggestive replicas.
What kind of impact do you believe Clone-A-Willy/Clone-A-Pussy has had on people?
Our hope is that our kits allow people to explore their own as well as each others bodies in a creative and unique way that inspires self love and body acceptance as well as opening up a dialogue around how we can further these explorations as individuals and communities!
What is your favorite customer story?
I once helped a local man reconstruct a finger that had been cut off years before. He had invented a way to strap a prosthetic finger to his hand and make it movable, but hadn’t yet found one to his liking. I sold him our kit and he made a copy of his son's finger. He called me back a month or so later and said that he could play the piano again. I thought that was pretty remarkable.
Favorite part about having Portland as home-base:
We are surrounded by creative thinkers and open minds. Portland is growing into more of a “big city” every day, and along with that expansion comes new ideas and fresh faces. Our city is home to so many the talented artists, creators, and brands. We collaborate as often as possible! It’s one of our favorite ways to get a new perspective on old ideas.
What are your next steps?
We have some pretty exciting new products coming out this fall that we are currently preparing to launch! We are also looking to travel more, and create a more expansive presence domestically and internationally. We are navigating our current social and political climate the best we can, and still have a lot of room to grow. We are always looking to become more inclusive and promote self love in the most thoughtful yet lighthearted way we can!
- Tags: Interviews