Meet the Australian sex toy store that prioritizes inclusiveness and minimizes shame

IMAGES VIA FLOSSY
WORDS FROM JASMINE WALLIS




This Brisbane-based duo is fed up with sex toys designed for the male gaze.

An American and an aircraft mechanic walk into a Brisbane bar. No, this is not the start of a cheesy joke. Believe it or not, this is the start of a sexual wellness site, Flossy.

Meeting through their partners, Seattle expat Caroline Reis and engineer Annie Miller hit it off after realizing they could have candid conversations about masturbation, sex toys and sexual health with each other. others.


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After a ‘lousy’ experience at a sex shop in Brisbane, Caroline asked Annie if every sex toy retailer in town was full of dusty lube, moldy carpets and middle aged men handing you a bag. ashamed black on the counter. When Annie replied “Unfortunately, yes”, the two women set to work to carve out a unique female space for themselves in the sexual wellness market.

Almost a year later, the Brisbane-based e-commerce company has a range of vibrators and toys specially designed for people with vulvae. Selling brands like the American favorite Lady and the Australian pioneers Rosewell, the duo are ready to take on the local sexual wellness industry.

I sat down with the couple to discuss Flossy’s early days, the masculine gaze that plagues the sex toy industry, and the stigmas that still exist when it comes to personal pleasure.

Hi Caroline and Annie, tell me a bit about yourself!

Caroline: I moved here two years ago and have always been fascinated by reproductive health and got my doula certification. I have never considered opening a sex shop, but I am passionate about empowering people with vulvae to understand their bodies better.

Annie: I actually work as an aircraft mechanic, which is a big difference from what I’m trying to achieve with Flossy. I work in a male dominated industry and now I want to channel my more feminine side. With Flossy it’s a real passion it’s not ‘How can I make a lot of money?’ It came from a need for something in this space. I think it gives me that advantage of knowing what it’s like to be in the all-male and all-female energy.

What made you want to create Flossy?

Annie: I realized, “Why isn’t there a place like an Apple Store where you are served champagne when you walk in and it is a truly inclusive experience where there is no value?” of choc ? ” We have found that a lot of people feel the exact same way and are really excited for us.

Who is Flossy for?

Caroline: I would say Flossy is designed specifically for people who might not feel so comfortable with things related to pleasure, sex, and sex toys. We strive to be inclusive because not all people with vulva are women, but it is specially designed for people who are just starting to explore this space and [is about] bringing them the most comfortable and unashamed experience, no questions asked where to start.

What criteria must sex toys meet to meet the Flossy Standard?

Caroline: 75 percent of people with vulvae don’t reach orgasm through penetration alone and most of the vibrators we see out there are dildos and penis-like vibrators. Most people with vulvas are looking for something to stimulate their clitoris and that is what most of these toys do. These vibrators are not designed by men for the male gaze. We fell in love with companies like Lady, Maude and Unbound and I was like, “What are some really high quality, really end user focused brands?” Let’s find the best of the best products, then create such a fun and informative experience and you can ask any questions you want. ‘

We’re looking at a long-term space that’s like that. A really nice showcase that looks like Mecca, Apple and Assembly the Label, where there is a little sofa where you can bring your girlfriends and talk to a sex therapist. We kept coming back to the information, conversations and experience about them being totally unashamed and bringing the best and highly selected products.

Why do you think there is still shame and stigma associated with buying sex toys and enjoying yourself?

Caroline: It was so beautiful to see so much movement around the #MeToo movement and empowering women changing the conversation. But it’s really about deepening our understanding and our perceptions around some of these topics. It’s one thing for this empowerment movement to take place, but a lot of it comes down to exploring yourself and working deep within yourself to question when something pops up that you feel like. shame.

Annie: The more we both talk about it, the more normal it becomes. I never imagined I would be talking about this let alone starting a business and it just feels really normal to me right now and I’ve been so shy talking about sex my whole life up to this point and it is because last year i had so many normal conversations. It is part of your health and so we have to think about it and treat it as such.

Do you think the Australian sex toy industry still has a long way to go in terms of inclusiveness?

Annie: Australia is just behind on a lot of things. You can just watch who’s running the country right now and how they’re running sexual misconduct so that says a lot. The general culture of Australia in some areas does not really lean towards promoting female pleasure. The [United] States have a lot more noise, it’s more diverse. I love that Flossy and the brands we work with are also inclusive, that’s what we try to ensure as a brand is that they have the same values ​​as we do.

If you could describe Flossy in three words, what would they be?

Caroline: Accessible, inclusive and unashamed.

To manage here to discover the Flossy range.


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