With everything going on in the world and on this continent specifically, we've found it basically impossible to not spend time doing some serious reflection on our collective values and guiding principles. There's nothing like watching norms being challenged and weakened, political climates changing in a flash, and a lot of societal uncertainty to nudge one into examining one's own ideological precepts.
Frankly, as an under-resourced and generally over-extended tiny collective, we don't really have a lotta time for such reflection, but now that we're mostly over the hurdle of our impromptu web migration, we’ve decided to make some time to share a little bit about who we are, what our goals are, and where our heartfelt, earnest, and hardworking team is coming from these days.
Our mandate has always been to offer accessibly and responsibly priced / manufactured / sourced gear. This means different things to us at different times, but, some of our guiding practices and philosophies include the following:
- We only ever charge what we need to to make ends meet. Our ends are simple: pay our bills, pay our rent, and pay our wages. As a worker owned co-operative, we don’t have shareholders / absentee bosses that make it into our budget. Or Ferrari’s. Our ends can sometimes still feel expensive (we struggled to keep up with our printer contract for years until we were finally able to shake it!), but, when we look at all the things we don’t have intertwined into our business practices, we’re relieved that we aren’t passing those costs along to our vendors or our customers.
- We work to offer as many indie and local goods as we can. It’s important to us in so many ways to ensure that our community can ‘share the wealth’ as much as possible, so to speak. We know that when a dollar gets spent within our local communities, that dollar is likely to keep circulating for quite some time, which we all benefit from. Further, the folks who earn that dollar (such as the craftspeople & indie businesses we work with) are able to keep doing what they love to do. That joy radiates and spreads in unlikely yet magical ways all around us. We believe that we all should have the right to do work that honours & engages us, while also keeping us fed. Sadly there are few who are able to actualize those dreams, but, all the more reason to continually try to plant seeds to cultivate a future filled with more and more people stepping closer to realizing their dreams of owning the means of production, creating goods that are needed & beautiful, or otherwise actualizing an embodied and resonant livelihood. We believe that supporting our peers doing small scale work in their living-rooms / kitchen sinks / local warehouses results in happier, healthier & more actualized communities. Not to mention, sex toys that ‘feel good’ on a whole other level.
- We understand that this journey is one of incrementalism. Sadly, economic histories have resulted in products like vibrators not being manufactured in fair wage environments 99.99% of the time, due to the culture of exporting work and global manufacturing specialization that has been developing. We’re not such hard-nosed idealists as to say that we will *only* offer ethically manufactured goods or ethically grown & cultivated goods. We work towards a world where it will be easier & easier to offer those goods. But, we understand that unfair past and present labour practices has resulted in both global and local income and labour shortages, plus an imbalance in the means of production. We also understand that a sex store that won’t offer anything except the most pristine of goods is not one for the people, or, the times we live in. We strongly encourage folks to always, when means allow, make economic and political choices that benefit neighbours, local businesses, and local craftspeople. And, in the same breath, we will say that we will continue to carry toys that are manufactured in China. Partially because we have nothing else to offer in certain sectors of our industry. And, partially because toys that are made in China are often cheaper (thanks to artificially deflated pricing), which speaks to our intention of offering accessibly priced goods, since we are all coming to these journeys from different means.
Frankly, this can be summed up by saying we feel that “everyone does better when everyone does better.” In this imperfect world, ‘doing better’ has a massive range of meanings, but, they’re all important to us. We want to continually strive to 'do better' & offer you whatever we can to 'do better'. The work that we do for our customers & vendors is always in service of this intention. We live in complex times and we know that our journey is full of wins & losses & imperfect solutions, but, trust that we’ve felt steadfast in this goal since our founding twenty years ago.