Babeland 1st Visit / by Maia Kaufman

On Friday, I had my first visit to Babeland. There were some great things about the store, and some less great things about the store, but I have definitely confirmed that this is a far stretch from the route I am planning to go with my thesis.

First reactions:

  • The store itself was very bare besides the products- little design and decor, no information about the products or sexual health.
  • The staff was hit or miss; one was very helpful and welcoming, two others were kind of short and less helpful. 
  • The tester products that were out all looked very used and worn.
  • At the counter was a pamphlet with events and workshops, which sounded great, but there was only one so I couldn't take it with me.

The lack of design and written information were probably the biggest issues I noticed. I understand the idea of not wanting to make it look like a sex shop- they don't want it to feel too gendered or "sexy" (think: Victoria's Secret), or too "dirty" (think: every sex shop on Christopher Street). I feel like it rejecting all of that though, they were left with a bland and not very inviting store. I am going to go to a few more to see if this is cross the board or just this one.  

As for the lack of info, I'm not sure if that was to encourage customers to speak to the staff, but it was frustrating looking at a plethora of oddly shaped objects and not being able to figure out what they were, or how they might be the right or wrong product for me.

It's a good start for me to be able to see what I do want to pursue, and what I don't like that I can learn from. The array of products was amazing, and the designs of the products themselves were unique and often well thought out. It was very non-judgmental and it didn't feel seedy, which has been the norm in other sex shops, and is definitely something I need to strive for.