During the documentary the employees of Lovehoney give us insights into the sex toy industry such as “Monday mornings are busiest maybe they’re hornier on a Monday I don’t know.” We also learn that Lovehoney sold 41km of plastic penises last year, “that’s almost a marathon” in case you couldn’t fathom that.
So forgive me for feeling a surge of identification with Andrea from the Returns department. Snapping on the rubber gloves to deal with the items that had disappointed. Le sigh love rocket, lamentations lube, and commiserations clitoral stimulator, you just weren’t good enough. Returns is a tricky subject whatever form of retail you work in but pity the sex boutique worker who has to discuss whether sir finds a replacement or credit preferable to the ineffective, warm, vibrating butt plug he has returned.
According to Andrea in Lovehoney returns (that’s not a movie sequel) most customers return items because they don’t fit. Andrea I don’t want to know. Although I am thankful they gave you an assistant to verify scent quality: “he has fun as he’s gotta sniff at all the underwear.”
It is most certainly all go at Lovehoney. They have a resident statistician, Matt, who gets very excited about who buys what and where. Sunderland, you disappoint Matt, buying the least sex toys in the country. However it seems much of the UK shares Sunderland’s reserve. Those in communications at Lovehoney often take calls asking about the discretion of the packing.
Thanks to brown paper packaging and dominant online presence Lovehoney have cornered the online sex toy market in Britain. Although they have yet to eclipse Ann Summers they have their eye on the high street, starting with Anita Roddick’s daughter Sam’s sex emporium Coco de Mer.
The deluxe sex toy market is as baffling as the mass sex toy market is smirk-worthy. Dildos made of jade with intricate dragon heads sell for hundreds of pounds. At the boutique I worked at we had a quartz dildo with a tickle feather attached, did it belong on a mantelpiece or in a bottom drawer? I really could not tell you. Glass dildos hold a fascination Lovehoney had not tapped into before; the appeal is the look, the notion of luxury and their durability when dropped from a height. Seriously. Yeah they clang a bit but not a chip on those dildos even after that shelf dusting debacle.
Whether customers can afford such luxury or just a cheap thrill Lovehoney and I can tell you what they most want to do, Monday to Sunday is talk. Little old ladies came in to the boutique just to congratulate me for being young at a time when the subject was open and such sex shops weren’t so shameful. Browsers pushed every button going and foreign exchange students tasted the different lubricants for sale.
People came in for relief about their bodies and reassurance about their sex lives. Some women bought Lelo Luna beads and told me about the baby they had just had. Or mothers came in with their daughter to treat them to their first vibrator. For every man claiming each cock ring I showed him was too small there was a woman who shuddered at each product and insinuated it was a wonder the shop assistants didn’t engulf the stools behind the till each time they sat down. Vegans came from far and wide to buy our cruelty-free harnesses and the discreet bought vibes that charged on their laptops. Old couples, young couples, straight couples, gay couples, couples who had an extra member or more were all welcome and I loved talking to all of them. But I still think lubricant is overpriced.