During this week’s episode of Small Business Saturday Philadelphia, we sat down with Fred Hoverman, owner and founder of Kink Shoppe. Located in Old City, Kink Shoppe is not your typical sex toy shop. Kink strives to promote a sex-positive, upscale shopping experience for everyone. At Kink, the goal is to make all customers feel welcomed and comfortable, both shopping and asking questions.
If you thought past Small Business Saturday features – like Mad Rex and Omkara Tattoo – were unique, wait until you read about this week’s featured business! In honor of pride month, we have connected with our friends as Kink Shoppe to bring you a special edition of Small Business Saturday.
Kink Shoppe – The Story
Fred started his career as a mechanical engineer. After years in the field and throughout many different jobs, he started to get bored and burnt out.
During this time, Fred started to consider going back to school to further his education. He started to ask himself – “If I were to go back to school, what would I want to do?”
After years of dwelling on it, Fred kept coming back to one thing – sex therapy.
Fred believed that in pursuing sex therapy, he could truly help people in their relationships and, overall, their lives. Halfway through submitting his applications for a few different masters and doctoral programs in sex education, Fred decided that he didn’t have as much time or money to devote to the program as he would like.
So – what now?
He knew that he still wanted to enhance peoples lives through sex and pleasure. So, he decided to open a high-end sex boutique. He wanted this space to make people feel comfortable in exploring their sexuality, asking questions, and learning about different products.
And that’s exactly what he did.
Kink Shoppe opened its doors seven years later, in 2012. The shop itself is a converted art gallery space. Fred aimed to keep the open, airy feeling of an art gallery in the store layout. The store also features lots of artwork on the walls, a nod to the location’s art background.
In 2017, five years after opening their doors, Kink Shoppe won Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly award for Best Unintimidating X-Rated Shop. This award was a huge deal to Fred and the shop as this is exactly what the goal was when the shop was opened.
Kink Shoppe – Getting Started
For a business like this, it is hard to get funding. Because of the industry that the shop is in, banks will not give any type of loan or support to the business.
Even though Kink Shoppe is high-end and education based, it is looped in with other businesses within the sex industry that may not be as appealing to investors.
So, if you are in this industry and need startup money, you have to rely on friends and family. Or, you can do what Fred did – peer-to-peer funding. The rest of the business’ startup money came from Fred out of pocket.
Kink Shoppe – The Products
Everything in the story is body safe. This is extremely important to the Kink team because there are toxic sex toys on the market that may be hard to spot. These toys can result in things like chemical burns and other harmful side effects.
Fred uses an array of industry sources and suggestions from industry bloggers to find products.
Everything in Kink is hand-picked and curated by Fred himself. This ensures that everything is high-quality and safe.
All of the items in shop are either made with silicone or ABS plastic – this means that the toys will not trap any dirt or harmful bacteria.
Another big part of the business for Kink Shoppe is events.
Kink hosts an array of different events throughout the year. For example, every first Friday of the month, Kink hosts First Friday Bondage demos, also referred to as “Rope Night.” This event showcases Shibari, the Japanese art of rope bondage. This event is free to attend and $5 to be tied up – the next one will be on Friday, July 5th!
Other Kink events include private birthday parties, bachelorette parties, private shopping, and other, rotating workshops.
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