Vendor Spotlight: LGBT-Owned Adult Company M2M
An interview with Jim & Chuck, owners of M2M!
Good Vibrations was founded in 1977 by Joani Blank and to this day continues to be woman-focused and queer-friendly. The executive and top level management team is all woman-run, many of whom have been with the company for 20 years! From Chief Operating Officer Jackie Strano and Chief Cultural Officer and Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, to our Purchasing Manager Coyote Days, who corresponds with many new companies entering the adult novelty industry, Good Vibrations supports women and queer folks in leadership positions.
Many of our vendors are LGBT-owned businesses and we’ll be spotlighting these extraordinary companies in a series of interviews with the people who make it happen.
This interview by Coyote Days profiles Chuck and Jim from M2M — a gay-owned business that creates exciting sex toys for the gay community, and everyone!
How’d you get started? What gave you the idea?
Our business came about as a happy accident. I was desperately trying to escape the restaurant/nightclub industry and Jim had his own business as a distributor of health-care supplies (Professional Health-care Supply – PHS). I started making really elaborate Christmas wreathes and centerpieces, etc. (I have always been handy with a glue gun!) Jim took some of my pieces to a little gay pride store that had opened in Phoenix to see if they would sell them on consignment. The owner happily accepted the pieces but told Jim that what he really needed was rainbow stuff. At the time there was not much available and the two biggest companies had really high prices. So, armed with his wish list, we went to a local bead store for supplies. Our first catalog was nothing more than a color snap shot of all our items on my dining room table stapled to a piece of paper. In the beginning we would go into stores with our entire product line in a small fanny pack to see if they would buy from us. Well, that little venture turned into the biggest gay pride distributorship in the world with over 5000 SKU’s and account on every continent (except Antarctica). About seven years ago we started seeing a decline in the pride business and decided that we needed to diversify. After visiting many of our stores we noticed that almost all of them had at least a small adult section. We also noticed that there was nothing packaged or merchandised specifically to gay men and that is when M2M was born. Since then we have add the Fresh and Heart to Heart brands as well as Gaysentials and With Attitude but our gay market is the most special to us.
What obstacles have you found along the way?
Our biggest obstacle was our naivete in the beginning. We gave terms to anybody thinking gay people won’t take advantage of others in the community. Am sorry to say we were very wrong on that account. We have been scammed every way you can possibly think of and then a few more. It was very eye opening but I guess there are a bad folks in all communities. I was also quite taken back by the amount of homophobia in the adult industry when we first debuted M2M. I think to this day we have a little bit of a negative whammy on our heads in the industry. We could have put the heterosexual line out first and made more money but we really wanted to do something for our gay community.
What does it mean to you that you own an LGBT-run company?
First and foremost it gives me and my employees the safest and most comfortable environment to be out and open and proud. I enjoy giving back to the community and we donate to literally hundreds of small pride groups (high schools, colleges, etc) all around the country. Quite often we help organizations with parade throws, etc.
Which of your products is your personal favorite?
Hard to pick a personal favorite product but I would say our M2M product line is the one I am proudest of.
What’s next for the future?
Well, we are still trying very hard to build our brands. We seem to have gotten a nice core business going and with a little more in sales we should be able to do some much needed marketing and advertising. We would like to be corporate sponsors at pride and other LGBT events throughout the country — not just for the publicity but to aid the organizations too.
Stay tuned for upcoming interviews and LGBT-run business spotlights in future posts on Good Vibrations’ Online Magazine!