Taboo Intimacy

By on February 9, 2016

‘Where Fantasy Meets Reality’ ™, Established: 2012, Founder: Melina Macdonald, Head Office: Melbourne, Australia, Staff: 12, Website:

We define our place in the market as not being the generic experience, therefor we are not homogenised. We offer an exclusive experience and our business values are reflected in our products.

How did Taboo Intimacy start?
I became single after 11 years of marriage and decided I wanted to get my own inner sparkle back. I started researching the industry and I found there were plenty of products, but not enough transparent education for those who felt uncomfortable walking into a retail outlet. So I created ‘Love & Indulgence’, an online educational platform and shop and decided to buck the system by putting my face, talking to the consumer, smack bang on my website landing page! To top it off, I created a focus message based on ‘connection’ through intimacy, communication, trust and respect, instead of that guaranteed orgasm that the industry promotes.

The official launch of my own brand, ‘Taboo Intimacy’, was always the goal and background project for the last 3 years. This business needed careful research to create a complete experience, which I was able to do at numerous women’s events and through focus groups. Launched in conjunction with the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, Taboo Intimacy is now Australia’s first complete boxset of ‘Intimacy’ products providing a guided, full sensory experience. The focus of my business was to always help enhance relationships, bring back connection and lower the divorce rate for years to come.

What defines your range?
We have two product ranges
1) Gift Tin range – that is purse friendly and specifically designed towards the female market with three complimentary products offering different experiences.

2) Gift Box range – specifically designed as the ultimate total 5 sensory experience whether that be to spice it up, play dress-ups or reconnect.

What makes Taboo Intimacy boxes unique?
Taboo Intimacy boxes are designed to excite all ‘five’ of the senses. All of the items and literature in the boxes have been researched and selected to give customers the tools for an intimate and fun night. We are not just selling a box of sex toys, but a complete experience to bring consumers closer together.

What are some of the best things Taboo Intimacy has been able to do?
Inform, educate and empower the consumer. It doesn’t get any better than that.

What have been some of your best moments?
Removing the stigma for women to purchase condoms. 40% of the condom market is women. We have predominately designed a Gift Tin that is not only focused on women for the packaging, but it also contains a condom and lubricant therefore gives the women a safe sexual experience with the condom, and an empowering pleasurable sexual experience with the lubricant. We have had good customer feedback on the product range so we know we are heading in the right direction.

I have also loved being able to give lectures and seminars and have people walk away educated for the first time on intimacy products.

Does Taboo Intimacy target a specific customer demographic? How would you define your customer base?
Intelligent, educated women who want a better sexual experience and connection with herself and her partner.

Taboo Intimacy markets towards women and couples striving for a better experience regardless of age.

What proportion of your sales is repeat business vs. new business?
We pride ourselves on the fact that 75% of our business is repeat business as we are constantly respectful and helpful to our customer. We offer them the journey and go with them on their own personal journey, and because of this, they feel empowered and come back.

How important is training?
Our staff have a holistic approach so they aren’t just trained on the products but on the psyche of relationships and women.

What makes a great adult staff member?
When we are looking to place our product in a retailer we look for these 3 key things in a staff member:
– Personal presentation
– Product knowledge
– And a great customer experience as our brand is all about this great customer experience

What do you love most about your job?
Educating the public and meeting new wholesalers and suppliers. I am constantly striving to achieve better by learning and growing myself daily.

How has the industry changed in the last 5 years vs. now?
5 years ago the business had a real male gaze. Now the industry has realised that females are more empowered and affluent and can afford these products. The industry does, however, need to present a more respectful and inclusive image to women.

How often do you look for new products?
Every 3 months I look at what is in stock, what is in development, and what is new in Australia. I am constantly researching what is new and changing on a global scale and how I can introduce the best of the best here to my customer base.

What trends has Taboo Intimacy observed in your adult pleasure product research?
The consumer responds really well to intelligent packaging, clear branding and respectful and tasteful products. We conducted many focus groups over a 3-year timeframe that assisted in the chosen products, pricing and presentation.

What makes the Taboo Intimacy boxsets so successful?
Each boxset has a different ‘experience’ complete with the 5 senses. It is designed with the best individual product (not necessarily the best brand name) to complement each other. We don’t just throw a bunch of products in a box and sell it as a bundle; our company goes the next step to help the consumer have that experience chosen with carefully researched and languaged documentation included. This documentation guides the customer through their chosen experience, and then we add our Taboo Playcards to have an additional 5 experiences with their chosen boxset. For those boxsets that are more designed for those couples needing to re-connect after children, we then have a Couple’s Questionnaire to complete together and open the conversation around intimacy. Counsellors and coaches were brought in to assist with this process. Our boxsets help people introduce something NEW into their relationship and removes rejection with its structure.

What variables make your products the best product in store?
We have been successful because of the respectful and classic design matched with quality products.

Consumers are self-conscious to go into bricks and mortar stores because of the embarrassment and intimidation. However the problem online, is the complete abundance of product and the consumer’s difficulty to find the right product for them. So our online business aims to bridge the gap where we offer courses to educate and empower the consumer so when they go to make their purchase whether online or in-store, they feel confident to do so.
What promotional activity do you engage in?
Our promotional activities in the online space are strongly connected to our online courses, YouTube clips and our educational information. Offline we offer more traditional promotional offers which are linked to your traditional trading events such as Valentines Day and Christmas promotions.

How do you create awareness for your brand?
We believe that by educating and empowering our consumer we will ultimately rise above our competitors and create a strong brand loyalty because we are focused on our consumer having the best experience of both our product and our service and their intimate relationships. 

How do you view the trend toward online shopping and the changing role of the physical store?
Because we are so focused on educating & empowering the online space we do see a strong future for the physical stores, however they need to represent themselves in a respectful, non-sleazy manner. Store owners should realize that the physical appearance of their stores has a direct impact on the consumer and that is directly related to sales.

What makes you excited about your business?
I love the fact that everyday we add something exciting, not just for our direct customers but also for our dedicated affiliates. We have launched online courses on Dating, Sex, Love & Relationships for people who want more in their lives. With the launch of Intimacy TV, we go deep into these topics but with a real, raw and authentic version never seen before. We cover sensitive topics with a finesse that brings comfort to the viewer as we discuss these as if we are sitting in your lounge room with you. Best of all our affiliates can finally offer more to their customer and make a great residual income from it.

So what’s in store with Taboo Intimacy for the next 2 years?
I am excited to say we have a future line of products in the pipework that our suppliers will love. Filling that gap in the market with beautiful lace robes carefully designed to be one size fits all, multi use lace sashes and lace masks and more. We have spent years with our focus groups making sure we design and manufacture to what the public actually desire. Expansion into international markets with our hotel line of intimacy products is also on the cards so watch this space.

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