1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
Having been at Good Vibrations for over a decade, I have had the unique opportunity to help shape our industry not only through our own selection but through product development as well. My career began in sales – both on the phones & in our stores – where I interacted firsthand with our customers. It was there I learned, in addition to many other lessons, that what is perfect for one person or couple may not be ideal for the next. It was these valuable experiences, along with my growing relationships with manufacturers, that helped us to curate our store offerings & develop our own line of sex toys & natural body products which our diverse customer base could connect with. We strive to make sure that the items available to buyers (and therefore consumers) are quality options – no matter what the price. Having the a quality $20 item is just as important as having a quality $120 item.
2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?
I was able to spend 6 months traveling around the UK & parts of Europe when I was 24. Though I was part of a school program for 2 of those months, much of the remaining 4 were spent alone. I spent one day on the edge of an Isle, staring into the sea as it stared back. Others wandering the borderlands between England & Scotland looking for Abby ruins. Some days I interacted with very few people. All of it combined showed me that the world I knew was so much larger & more varied than I had previously thought. That there was so many more life experiences & realities with longer histories than what I had been taught about. This time was transformative for me & much of who I have become is due to those hours/days/weeks spent alone.
3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
With as far as our industry has come, negative attitudes towards sex, sexuality, gender & difference continue to create road blocks for our progress. Simultaneously we are seeing landmark rights being granted & striped away. In order to further de-stigmatize sexual desire & differences, our industry has to adapt & continue to find new ways to represent sexuality so that the diversity in sexuality can be viewed as the brilliantly positive thing it is.
4. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
In the realm of sex toys this last year has seen continued improvements in product packaging & branding. More & more companies are moving away from mis-leading product images, & incorrect selling points. Rather brands are coming up with unique feeling-based campaigns to sell their brands & products.
We’ve also seen some manufacturers begin to move away from using plastics in their packaging. One manufacturer even eliminated all inner packaging so that almost all of the components can be recycled. I couldn’t say this is THE most valuable change but I think it’s a large step in the right direction.
5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Sex Toys: Past, Present & Future to CatalystCon East?
To understand the present & in order to lay the foundations for the future – we have to understand the past. It’s easy to look at a sex toy & critique it. But that critique has more substance when it comes from a place of understanding it’s place in the evolution of materials, functionality, control panels, technology etc…
6. Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
When I was young my mother & I drove her van across country staying awhile in Arizona, Mexico & New Mexico where we lived on “the land” with a group of women, more than a few dogs & one other girl my age. One day my mother & the other girl’s mother went into town, leaving us alone with Lightning Elk (another woman on the land). Well… unsupervised, we ate a bunch of dog vitamins (no idea why). When Lightning Elk found out she tied us up so we couldn’t get into more trouble. And that, my friend, is my first memory of bondage play.