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Cupid's Bedroom: Mom-and-pop sex shop taps online market
Despite the recession, business is good for a Federal Way mom-and-pop online sex shop.
James and Vicky Lee launched Cupid’s Bedroom in 2009. Through online sales, the couple has seen monthly growth in both customers and revenue.
James Lee said there’s a market for niche items such as fetish and bondage gear — stuff that people don’t feel comfortable purchasing in a store.
“Products of a sexual nature have an emotional and impulse buy mentality to it,” Lee said, noting that his business completes up to 200 orders a month. “People aren’t going to stop having sex just because the economy tanked.”
Cupid’s Bedroom stocks nearly 10,000 items in its catalog. The most popular item is the CB-6000S Male Chastity Device. Other hot sellers include the Zeus Deluxe Digital Electrosex Powerbox and the Sportsheet Bondage Bedsheet. The company also sells traditional adult novelties such as lingerie, personal lubricants and vibrators.
“The markup in the adult novelty industry is pretty good,” Lee said. “We figured that would be a rather recession-proof industry to get into.”
Lee, 26, has a background in e-commerce and Internet-related marketing projects, and considers himself a “serial entrepreneur.” For this latest venture, the couple fills online and phone orders from their Federal Way office. Cupid’s Bedroom relies on suppliers stationed in California, Virginia and Massachusetts for distribution. In 2012, the company’s owners hope to start a website that offers daily deals on adult products.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve struck gold. I think we’ve found a good market,” he said. “We’re not the huge store like Adam and Eve, but we do fairly well.”
Companies that manufacture and sell adult toys are reporting an increase in sales nationwide during the recession, according to an article on CNBC.com. However, one roadblock for adult businesses is marketing via social media. Search engines and Facebook have certain guidelines for acceptable content, although restrictions have loosened over time, Lee said. Cupid’s Bedroom relies on organic searches, rather than paid advertising, to reach customers.
On a lighter note, Lee’s foray into the adult novelty business keeps him laughing. A good salesman needs to learn about the products he sells, including the emerging field of electrosex machines, which at one time Lee had no idea they existed.
On the personal side, it didn’t take long for Lee’s family to warm up to the new business.
“It’s definitely something that’s a little bit different when your grandparents are asking ‘How’s your business doing,’ only it’s not outdoor living products anymore, it’s a dildo,” he said.
“This business is definitely not for someone who is uncomfortable talking about R-rated or X-rated things. But it’s definitely a lot more interesting than address plaques and patio heaters.”
Check it out
• To learn more about Cupid’s Bedroom, visit www.cupidsbedroom.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org (warning: website contains content intended for adults only).