Happy Birthday to Us!
We’re turning 35 this month and we’re ready to celebrate!
Our journey began thirty-five years ago with only a handful vibrators and books sold behind a counter in the Mission District of San Francisco. Our COO, Jackie Strano, who worked for us from 1992-1998 before returing a few years ago to helm the ship. She had this to say:
“The original concept was more like a university bookstore and community center where women would feel comfortable in their exploration and education. I remember when people placed their order on a piece of paper, and a clerk would go to the back and retrieve it for them. It was a far cry from the elegant boutique branding we enjoy today, but it established a unique feeling of safety, welcome, and empowerment. The original inventory of 6 items has grown to over 2,000 carefully selected quality producs.
We’ve always taken our responsibility of transforming the adult store model quite literally, and had a hand in starting many of the women-friendly adult stores that exist today. Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen explains, “Not many people know this, but over 15 years ago Good Vibrations trained people to start their own female-friendly adult stores. They received training and vendor contacts, allowing them to open their own stores to spread the vision, and some of those companies have thrived and become our colleagues and competitors. The idea, basically, was that a rising tide would float all the boats — which is exactly what has occurred.
Education has always been a cornerstone of the Good Vibrations philosophy. The goal of educating women about their bodies required educating the store staff in a level of sophistication that is still unmatched. Good Vibrations coined the term “SESA, Sex Educator/Sales Associate, and pioneered the rigorous training model. To obtain the title of SESA, staffers must go through an extensive series of classes and continuing education on all things sex-related. Good Vibrations is the only retailer in the country who requires that their staff members complete this extensive training in order to be allowed on the sales floor or on the customer service phone line.
In the 16 years that I’ve been here (that’s longer than my parents stayed married!), I’ve seen lots of changes. When I started, I was the only man working in the stores, and at the time, we just had two. Now, our staff includes people of all genders, we have six stores, and we’re going strong. And our advocacy for better sex toys and our support for start-up manufacturers had a lot to do with the explosive growth of more reliable, higher-quality toys than ever before!
We have a lot to celebrate and we want you to join us! If you’re local, our party at Bootie SF on March 10 is going to be a blast. If you’re visiting our stores, check in on Facebook on your phone and wish us happy birthday for 15% off your entire purchase. And our online birthday specials are a great way to have fun on your own. Or with a friend or two. 😉