Time flies when your day job involves hotel hopping and sex toy shopping! A single year in this big-yet-small industry hardly does justice to all the places I still have to travel and customers I want to meet. Having worked in adult novelty retail for 2.5 years before coming to Pipedream, I was well-prepared to become a pleasure product specialist. Traveling across the country places me in front of all different kinds of audiences with no more knowledge of the novelty industry than what they’ve seen on retailer shelves. To outsiders, we’re a strange, confusing crowd, but in reality, we’re pretty regular ladies and gents (that just so happen to work with sex toys for a living!)
1. There is no such thing as NSFW (almost!)
If you reviewed the history on the browser of any given pleasure industry employee, you’d be surprised… or not. Contrary to the biggest misconception about working for an adult novelty company, we don’t stare at erotic photographs all day, but a browser history of nudity and realistic dildos isn’t going to get you fired from the Pipedream office. Your Not-Safe-For-Work is our work! For those in the Art and Marketing Departments, working with images related to various topics in sexuality is all in a day’s duties. However, we do still treat the office as a work space. If our PR Manager is re-blogging nudes, chances are likely that she’s adding in a great article on body acceptance alongside the photos.
2. Our office is more fun than your office… but it’s still an office.
From personal experience, I can tell you that inputting SKU numbers and prices into an Excel sheet is just as pain-staking and boring with sex toys as it is with office supplies. However, at least I can giggle at the dinosaur holding a Basix dong on the desk of the Senior VP of Operations while I do it. Yes, this is, fortunately and unfortunately, still a job. The grunt work doesn’t change, but the atmosphere makes it much more fun than doing the same kind of mundane tasks in a suit-and-tie environment. Our industry is rife with folks who want to change the landscape of sexual discovery, but there are also plenty of people who are happy to leave on Friday and not think about vibrators again until Monday morning. Even if commuting to the PD office is nothing more than a way to earn a living, I can’t imagine a better place for your 9-5!
3. People are normal.
The personal lives of pleasure industry employees are a seductive mystery to outsiders. Are we unable to function in the bedroom without the help of something buzzy? Do we require prospective romantic partners to cite a heavy interest in S&M? And just what goes on at those elusive staff “product trainings”? To quote an industry colleague, “It’s just sales.” Our presentations are definitely more fun to attend than your average corporate meeting, but our work and personal lives don’t always intersect. You’re more likely to find a weekending Pipedreamer checking out an art gallery or attending her son’s baseball game than decked out in shiny PVC at a goth club fetish party. Our comfort with adult toys means we’re a pretty fun bunch of open-minded individuals, but those “product trainings,” are not, in fact, giant orgies, and there isn’t a massive swingers event at the end of every trade show. And now the proverbial bubble has been burst!
4. Keep your reputation in check.
Though companies are raking in mainstream-level profits, this is still a niche industry. You’re bound to see the same faces at every trade show, customer event, and staff training, for better or for worse. Working in adult novelty can be a bit like returning to high school, but now that you’re an adult, you (hopefully!) have more ability to take control of your reputation. There are plenty of opportunities to make close friends, impress industry figureheads, and prove that it only takes 2 drinks to turn into a drunken mess, sometimes all at the same banquet table. When I’m out with customers and fellow vendors after-hours, I practice a form of relaxed professionalism. I’m welcoming and friendly to everyone I meet, but I never forget the reason for my trip: to work.
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