Passionfruit – The Sensuality Shop

By on November 10, 2015

Passionfruit The Sensuality Shop
Established : 1998
Head Office : 404 Bridge Rd, Richmond, Victoria, 3121
Staff : Michelle, Emily & Victoria
Stores : 1

What does a typical day at Passionfruit look like ?
Lots of cleaning of surfaces! And serving customers of course. Most of our customers require a lot of attention, whether it’s trying things on in the changing room and finding the perfect outfit or learning about what might be the best toy/lube/book/gift to suit their needs. So we might have quiet days where there are not loads of customers but each one usually takes time. We’ll be checking for internet orders too and answering emails, writing newsletters, keeping the website up to date, searching for new products and keeping up with our social media. And finding the perfect coffee.

What are some of the best things Passionfruit has done?
We have built up a great relationship with the medical community of Victoria. We liaise with them about the sexual issues that arise after a cancer diagnosis and other health issues and how best to employ adult products to help maintain intimacy and pleasure in relationships. There is so little information about how sex toys can improve your health and wellbeing and therefore your happiness. This is by far the most rewarding aspect of our work and one we’re very proud of.

What have been some of your best moments?
• Those everyday customers who are just so grateful to have found us!
• We’re publicity whores. Seeing ourselves in the media is our guilty pleasure.
• Staff meetings are a highlight. Coffee, pastry, champagne and lots of sharing of information and learning new stuff. We are a great team.

What are a few of the key variables in order of importance to ensure the best chance of success in adult retail?
1. Know your products
2. Staff training
3. Knowing your market and marketing to it
4. Customer Service
5. Determination and perseverance

What makes a great store location?
It differs for every business but for us it’s discretion and visibility. Not an easy mix. I would say that a perfect location is one of the most difficult things to achieve.

Do you target a specific customer demographic?
We target the over 30 professional woman. And the younger lingerie lover.

What makes a great adult retail staff member?
One who is passionate about your brand.

What do staff most love about their jobs?
They love the business of sex. What makes it great. How to make it greater. They are constantly learning and researching and giving their input about how to improve what we do. And they love helping customers enrich their lives and deepen their sexuality. It’s a fantastic job.

What do staff most often complain about?
Annoying customers (mostly blokes) who give too much information and think we actually want to know, a) how big their dick is and b), why a woman would need a vibrator anyway.

How often would you change a store layout or re-merchandise?
Every week.

How important is new product or product selection in a store?
Product selection is paramount.

What trends have you observed in adult pleasure products?
When I first began to look at toys almost twenty years ago, they were all marketed to men and yet they were (mostly) for women. The fact that toys are now primarily targeting the female market is far and away the biggest change in the industry. Thankfully that has translated into better packaging, design, function and aesthetics. How do you keep informed about adult pleasure products? We read a lot of reviews and pester our distributors/sales managers a lot. We read industry magazines and scour the internet for the latest and most interesting products.

What makes a successful product?
Design, function, beauty, simplicity, quality, strength, integrity. And good back up from the maker/supplier is vital. A good product is reinforced by training from the supplier, testers, stands, a good returns policy, quick delivery, availability and the ability to listen to the consumer and test the market. When the maker and distributor of a good product supports its suppliers – and listens to them, the product is more successful.
What have been some of the best selling items of all time? Lelo and We Vibe products. Although if we get any more of those We-Vibe Touch’s returned I’m going to ditch them forever.

If we look at your adult retail business 5 years ago versus now, what changes did you see and how have you responded to them?
We have found that it’s important to have a strong social media presence. Giving your business a voice and identity is crucial. Retail in general has suffered and it is harder than ever to get customers through the door. We spend a lot more time refining our social media presence and our website. We have to be a lot more creative in finding ways to reach our customers in a saturated, global market. We have to be better than 5 years ago. We keep refining our niche and being diligent in how we maintain it. How do you view the trend toward online shopping and the changing role of the physical shop? As much as we lament the death of the shopping strip, it’s exciting to be surviving in a crazy, changing industry and being part of the emergence of a new one. Physical stores as well as virtual stores have to be better and better in order to lure a customer who has the world at their finger tips. That means we all get better products and better service. Hard but good.

How have you responding to the rise in ecommerce sales?
We try to reflect our physical store as best we can on to our virtual one. Bricks and mortar gives customers peace of mind and reassurance that your business is reliable. We try to keep products on the website up to date, which is time consuming, and fine tune the mechanics of the site to make it easy to navigate. There’s a lot more to be done. How would you view the market for adult pleasure product in Australia, in general?

Are there any challenges particular to operating in Australia?
Australian consumers are pretty savvy and like to do their research. They’re well informed and inhale good quality information. If there are particular challenges to operating a business in Australia as opposed to elsewhere, I’m not aware of them. There’s always a way around. That’s why it’s a challenge.

What advice could you give someone intending to start in adult retail today?
It’s tempting to say DON’T DO IT! You need to have so many skills – marketing, media, e-commerce, retail, customer service, product knowledge, industry awareness…the list is endless.If you’re not passionate with a capital P, don’t do it.

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