With the adult novelty industry set to be worth over US$15 billion annually worldwide, it is understandable why so many entrepreneurs want to cash in on the sex-toy business.
Evolving enormously in the last decade, driven by an influence of cultural values and the anonymity of the Internet, sex-toy outlets have shifted from retail shops serving the secret crowd, to online sites catering to every whim and pleasure.
Getting ready to launch "Jamaica's first dildo line, 876 Bamboo", sexual wellness, businesswoman Sade Buckeridge told The Gleaner why she started her own business and plans to launch Jamaica's first adult toy.
"I started Fetish Secretz after returning from exploring various retail outlets and visiting a number of toy stores overseas. Recognising that Jamaica did not have an equivalent - the shops did not have a large variety and were very drab - I quickly realised I could provide a pleasurable space for catering to customers' needs," Buckridge said.
Revealing that she purchased her first toy at age 13 in a shop called Pleasure Chest in New York, she continued, "I have always been very opened-minded, very spontaneous and adventurous. Always willing to try and search out new things. I like to take risks; it breaks you or makes you either way. So I took the risk to go into the adult toy industry."
An admirer of Mark Cuban, entrepreneur/investor/owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Buckridge said, "For my business partner Nicole Hemmings and I, being businesswomen has always been an aspect in our lives. We are both very entrepreneurial, always looking for the best business adventures, especially in Jamaica. After exploring sex toys, we decided we wanted to go full force in this industry because there is a lot of money to be made. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and growing fast."
Aiming to promote "good sexual health and wellness" to all customers, the Kingstonian and managing director describes her main customers.
"Women! Women! Women! All females, ranging from housewives to corporate women, 21 years old to 50-plus. Single, married or divorced. They all want to improve their sex lives, one way or another."
Sourcing all products directly from American manufacturers, including having a warehouse storage in Miami for some of-their more materially sensitive products, the former St Hugh's High School student said: "At Fetish Secretz, we sell vibrators for clitoral and G spot stimulation; dildos ranging from five to 16 inches; vibrators in all different intensity and colours, which include flesh, mulatto, brown and black. We have everything for bondage, such as handcuffs, leg cuffs, blindfolds, whips, paddles, tapes, lotions, potions, massage oil lubricants; different types of condoms - ribbed, twisted, spiral and flavoured. We also sell lingerie and different types of edibles - plus toy cleaners. This is very important. We promote the health side of using all toys."
Buckeridge added, "All our products are phthalate-free. This is very important because this stops infection. We purchase the best products for our customers."
Fetish Secretz also offers private parties. "We do a lot of 'passion parties', catering both to the heterosexual and the LGBT community - separately, so all partygoers can feel comfortable. The 'passion parties' all have different themes promoting new toys. We also have a sexologist panel to discuss sexual wellness and health, introducing sex toys into your relationship, catering, both for Christians and non-Christians. There are Christians who believe they should not be having sex, or if they do, they should not be using sex toys. So we always try to cater for everyone," Buckridge said.
"We also organise showers. Brides-to-be can either engage us to set up and organise their parties or they can purchase what they would like and we will deliver."
Dispelling the biggest myths about men, women and sex, Buckeridge said: "They say men are intimidated by vibrators, which is so untrue. Forty per cent of women actually use a battery-operated 'body' with their partner, which we call 'bob', meaning a battery-operated buddy. This proves that many men enjoy the pleasure of vibration.
One myth for women is that many don't think they have a G spot. We all have one, we have the A spot the U spot, the O spot and the cul-de-sac; it's all about knowing your body and what it wants. If a woman knows her body, then she can teach her partner to satisfy and please her."
The biggest challenge since launching was that no bank would give them a point-of-sale swipe card machine, purely because of the content and nature of the business. "We initially lost so many sales because we could not accept card as payment. However, once we got our machine, sales boomed immediately. Thank God for Sagicor, who came to our rescue and believed in our business plan."
Located at Shop #8, Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa, 39 Lady Musgrave Road, New Kingston, the store is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; or go to fetishsecretz.com or call:631-7189/448-0276/447-9662