A: It's basically eroticizing things that are not traditionally erotic. Fetish clothing means anything that's form fitting, tight, constricting or producing sensations in the wearer or viewer.
Q: Fetish became Passional in 2004. Why?
A: In 2004, corsets became more mainstream, but they weren't something you could buy at Macy's and you still can't. We were selling them as bridal wear to a select few people. We changed the name basically because we were being excluded from certain marketing avenues such as the Bridal Expo.
Q: Your customers?
A: Initially, they were people from the fetish community who were interested in quality clothing and fetish sexuality products. Our core audience is the fetish and LGBT communities, sophisticated shoppers and sexually adventurous couples.
Q: The biz model?
A: We sell mostly through our store. Our online site exists basically to bring people to the store. I would say 75 percent of business is in-store, 15 percent is community trade shows and 10 percent is online.
Q: What are the most popular selling items?
A: In Passional, corsets are hands down the best [sellers], although some of the men's underwear and kilts sell well. We offer a great range of sizes and have a lot of plus-size customers of all genders. We sell five corsets a day and they usually start at $100. Our best corset is a steel-boned garment with multiple panels that is tailored to nip the waist in a couple of inches.
A: Vibrators are the best sellers by far. We warrant all battery-operated products for 90 days. We sell 100 a week. The price ranges from $10 to $200.
Q: What differentiates you from other similar stores?
A: Our "brand" is sexual intelligence. We don't sell novelties but tools to improve your sexual health, relationships and explore your fantasies. We also train our staff to educate customers. We have a classroom on the third floor for sex-ed programming and discussion groups.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: We sell close to $1 million a year and employ 12 people.
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