Twenty-four-year-old BDSM and fetish gear manufacturer The Stockroom is reporting a surge in business inspired by “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
"In recent weeks, we've received literally hundreds of calls thanks to this book," Stockroom President Mike Herman said. "About 90 percent of them are middle-aged 'soccer mom' types who never imagined themselves calling a fetish sex toy company.”
The Stockroom offers advice for BDSM beginners making their first purchase. Blindfolds, Herman says, are a safe, simple, yet profound way to begin.
"Take away that one sense, and others are immediately heightened,” he said. “We are happy to see how brave and eager many women are to try some more advanced toys and deeper experiences," Herman says. "We start out discussing blindfolds, and within minutes we're talking about more esoteric topics, like bondage gear, whips, electrical stimulation, and chastity play."
Since the 1980s, Stockroom has built its reputation not just on whips, restraints and fetish clothing but also on education and community building. The Stockroom University series of workshops and lectures covers such topics as Bondage 101, Flogging, or Electrical Play.
According to Midori, a sex educator who teaches Stockroom University classes, many newcomers turn to the Internet for instruction, but "there's such a glut, including some terrible information." To spot the bad advice, Midori lists the basic things to watch for: "Does it seem like practical, reality-based information for people who lead actual lives in the real world? If it seems too absolute or too rigid, or lacks compassion, then it's probably garbage. And always remember that this is about pleasure and play, and everybody must respect everybody's humanity."
Stockroom also fulfills its commitment to education and community building via contributions to assorted organizations and causes, and its stewardship of Daedalus Publishing, which specializes primarily in non-fiction books by authors who address the philosophies, ethics and how-to aspects of alternative sexuality.
Stockroom founder Joel Tucker started the company in 1988 as a 21-year-old college student.
“Regardless of the taboos,” Tucker says, “I knew that an otherwise normal, sane person could be attracted to this form of eroticism, because I had these interests myself. I found a small community of people in Los Angeles who pursued these interests in safe, healthy ways. I saw a need for a company that could provide quality, affordable gear with intelligence and discretion, and so I created it.” ...
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