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Media Contact: Camilla Lombard
Events and Publicity Manager
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Good Vibrations Celebrates 35 Years of Pleasure
Pioneering Sex-Positive Retailer Reflects on Decades of Growth, Hosts a Month of Festivities
San Francisco, CA -- (March 1st, 2012): Good Vibrationssounds the trumpets on their thirty-fifth year with a month of parties, workshops and promotions. For the trusted San Francisco-based company that takes pride in providing accurate information on sexuality and toys for grown-ups, time flies when you are having fun.
From its humble beginnings in 1977 to its current status as a thriving business with six stores on two coasts, Good Vibrations has remained consistent to the philosophy that “pleasure is your birthright.” Originally dismayed by the lack of resources for women seeking accurate sex information and good quality sex toys, therapist Joani Blank opened the first Good Vibrations retail store in San Francisco's Mission District. This was the first friendly, "clean, well-lighted" West Coast alternative to conventional "adult" bookstores, and its formula of education, a well-trained and sex positive staff, and accessibility continues to be a winning formula to this day. The premise that pleasure is everyone's birthright gave rise to an often-imitated but never replicated business model, producing a major social shift toward healthy sexuality.
The Good Vibrations model transformed the industry and brought about a profound philosophical shift together with major changes in product development, innovation, and safety. Good Vibrations was the first retail company to design products by and for women, and introduced floor display models for customers to handle before buying. When the danger of phthalates (a plastic softener that may be linked to cancer) became known, Good Vibrations was the first adult company to remove items containing this ingredient from their inventory. More recently, the company went a step further and created the ecorotic® rating system so that customers could easily identify which products were the most sustainable, and why.
The journey began thirty-five years ago with only a handful vibrators and books sold behind a counter in the Mission District of San Francisco. “The original concept was more like a university bookstore and community center where women would feel comfortable in their exploration and education. I remember when people placed their order on a piece of paper, and a clerk would go to the back and retrieve it for them. It was a far cry from the elegant boutique branding we enjoy today, but it established a unique feeling of safety, welcome, and empowerment,” says COO Jackie Strano, who worked for Good Vibrations from 1992-1998. The original inventory of 6 items has grown to over 2,000 skus of carefully selected quality product.
Good Vibrations took its responsibility of transforming the adult store model quite literally, and had a hand in starting many of the women-friendly adult stores that exist today. Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen explains, “Not many people know this, but over 15 years ago Good Vibrations trained people to start their own female-friendly adult stores. They received training and vendor contacts, allowing them to open their own stores to spread the vision, and some of those companies have thrived and become our colleagues and competitors. The idea, basically, was that a rising tide would float all the boats -- which is exactly what has occurred.”
Education has always been a cornerstone of the Good Vibrations philosophy. The goal of educating women about their bodies required educating the store staff in a level of sophistication that is still unmatched. Good Vibrations coined the term “SESA,” Sex Educator/Sales Associate, and pioneered the rigorous training model. To obtain the title of SESA, staffers must go through an extensive series of classes and continuing education on all things sex-related. Good Vibrations is the only retailer in the country who requires that their staff members complete this extensive training in order to be allowed on the sales floor or on the customer service phone line.
Today Good Vibrations’ sex positive mission is shared through six stores, a robust online presence, and a variety of campaigns that highlight community involvement. Through their donations program, “GiVe,” Good Vibrations raises thousands of dollars each year for various nonprofit partners, and fundraisers. In addition to offering a full monthly calendar of educational workshops and events in its stores, Good Vibrations brings adult education to the community with its Offsite Sex Educator program and events like Megan Andelloux’s Study Sex College Tour, as well as with presentations by its own PhD-trained educators Dr. Charlie Glickman and Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen. Bachelorette parties get fun and informative with in-store parties and workshops, and special Mommy Playdates support a healthy sex life after children.
The healthy pursuit of pleasure will be celebrated all month long with a host of free in-store events and discounts, an opportunity to meet our founder Joani Blank (interviewed by Carol Queen at our brand-new Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland store), and a very special birthday party with Bootie SF, an internationally-renowned mashup party at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Get your groove on with Bootie’s world-famous A Plus D and special guest Robin Skouteris (Greece) and the live mashup rock band, Smash-Up Derby. Spin to win sexy prizes from the Wheel of Pleasure and feel the love from 35 years of creating a buzz. Not in San Francisco or Boston? Enjoy your very own party-in-a box with a selection of five birthday gift kits that celebrate the most important part of the journey… your pleasure!
About Good Vibrations
Good Vibrations is the San Francisco-based retailer trusted for more than three decades to provide a comfortable, safe environment for finding sex-positive products and educational materials to enhance one's sex life. Good Vibrations offers its products through its retail stores and website: www.goodvibes.com.