Because medical kink items are not specifically for sex, it seems reasonable to think they might be available from other sources. Unfortunately, as Justin found out, this isn’t so easy. “Medical wholesalers often have large minimum order requirements or restrict sales to professionals and institutions, and even these have gaps in their ranges, which could mean placing multiple orders and paying multiple shipping charges to get a selection of supplies.”
Despite our increasingly positive attitudes toward people who have particular sexual interests, people live in fear of being found out by friends and family. For that reason, discretion is a big deal and Shawn from Foot-Fetish-Toys understands how important keeping customers' shopping habits secret is. In selling his specialty silicone toy feet, Shawn notes that those who have such a strong foot fetish are part of a circle and do try to maintain some secrecy while still fulfilling their needs. “They need a secret way to do their jobs on feet, and I offer [another] way. The best way is to find a real girl and work on her feet, but my products are the second best choice."
Shipping and Marketing Niche Sex Toys
When it comes to the business side of things, all three retailers I talked to agree that issues related to shipping are a continual concern. Shawn ensure all of this packages are as discreet as possible to maintain the sanctity of the foot fetish circle. Justin notes the cost and logistics of sending international packages and that he is transparent about costs to all customers. To deal with shipping costs, Sophia ships product directly from the manufacturers.
Another concern when starting up a niche sexuality retail site is getting the word out. To make a go of these businesses, existing fetish communities play a significant role as an already established customer base. Justin has long been involved in the fetish scene and has found the medical fetish community overwhelmingly supportive of the launch of MedFetUk. Shawn finds that many of his customers come over from other foot fetish or foot fetish hobby sites.
Sophia points out an unfair advertising situation: BuyTailPlugs cannot purchase Facebook or Google ads. Instead, she runs very successful giveaways through her site’s Instagram page. She also wields the site’s stature in the community for good. “We give 10% of our profits to RAINN, a U.S.-based charity that works with survivors of sexual violence. As a team we're interested in and care about the intersection of kink, queerness, and societal violence/oppression, and we are reasonably explicit about those politics.”
It is these connections to community that help make specialty sex retail possible. While more mainstream sites are doing good work as well, the opportunity to really connect with people who adore the products you sell makes a huge difference. Both buyers and sellers experience a relationship through shared interests. And that brings a better satisfaction to the transaction for everyone involved.