I have a friend who, with her 27-year-old daughter, started a business a few years back selling sex toys.
Marketing via the party plan, kind of like Tupperware or Pampered Chef, the company has grown to the point where they now employ five other young women. They do a brisk business in bachelorette parties, but their market differentiator is that they are the sole company in our area that handles co-ed parties. They have a standing rule in place that, if any of the girls get to a booking and feel the least bit uncomfortable with the neighborhood, the client, or just the general vibe, they are to drive on past and cancel the gig. There have never been any problems.
Last summer I flirted with the idea of working for them part-time to gather material for a non-fiction book about a middle-aged woman getting into this field. I even attended a hen party with Ashley, only to realize:
a) It would take a lot of bookings to garner enough anecdotes to fill a book
b) I already had a 45+ hours a week job
c) I’m not a salesman and
d) I can’t even talk about underwear, for heaven’s sake. I could literally die of embarrassment trying to sell this stuff.
So, instead, I’ll pass on some of the stories they’ve shared with me.
The daughter rang the bell at a large brick home in one of the nicer areas of town and a gentleman came to the door. In the foyer he proceeded to explain that this party was being held by a club he belonged to. Was that a problem?
She assured him that she often handled parties for clubs.
Well, he said, their club operated according to certain by-laws and they’d like to proceed under their normal rules of operation. Was that okay?
Their policy, he said, was to meet in the nude.
Shrugging, she said, "I’m not taking my clothes off, but whatever floats your boat."
And then she followed him into the living room, where 20 people sat, naked as the day they were born.
And not one of them weighed less than 400 pounds.