May marks Masturbation Month so we decided to get a lil' sexy in Lovin HQ.
For this weeks episode of Lovin Dubliners, I met with Shawna Scott, the owner of Sex Siopa. She runs an online website that distributes sex toys all across Ireland and overseas.
The company began when Shawna moved to Ireland from Seattle and struggled to find a place to buy a sex toy. She then took it upon herself to sell body safe toys and create a business model different from the old-fashioned, dark shops that existed here in Ireland.
The company has now been running for five years and Shawna runs it by herself.
What sex toys do you sell?
All of the toys from the store are body safe, meaning they are made from non-toxic materials such as silicone, hard plastic and stainless steel.
"The most popular would be vibrators and then lubricant to go with your vibrators or dildos, or butt plugs... We' sell all of those."
She also sells strappy bondage-inspired lingerie, condoms, bondage and kink toys and cock rings.
How did you get into the business?
Shawna was in the market for her own vibrator and visited a store in her hometown in Seattle called Babeland.
"The staff knew their stuff inside out. Any questions I had, they were really helpful and good at answering and I loved the shop in general. I loved the way the toys were set up on the tables and it just felt really comfortable and it was something I wanted to recreate in Dublin because it's something I didn't see here."
Thus, Sex Siopa was born!
Is your packaging discreet?
Shawna explained that she knew a lot of people like to keep their sex toys private, so a key part of her business plan is to distribute her products in discreet packaging.
All of the products are gift wrapped and then shipped in cardboard boxes. They can be sent through An Post or Parcel Motel.
What advice do you have for someone looking to buy their first sex toy?
"I recommend starting small and working your way up."
The store sells mini vibrators that start at €25, so you won't be breaking the bank on your first purchase either.
The small vibrators are inconspicuous and have quiet motors, so they're ideal for someone who's starting out.
Do you think Irish people are comfortable talking about sex?
"I think we're getting there. I think if you give people an opportunity and a platform to talk about sex, they will."
It does depend on the person and the demographic however, she also highlighted.
Shawna has opened conversation about sex on Instagram with a weekly Instagram series called Sex Talk Sunday. This has given people a platform to share their own sex stories with her.
What's it like running your own business and living alone?
Shawna loves being self-employed and hasn't employed anyone else to the company thus far.
When I met her she had llama slippers on. She said this was a way of promoting positive mental health in her office, which she shares with two other women, also self-employed.
"Time management is the biggest challenge when it comes to working alone - It's getting that balance between whether I'm working enough or working too much."
She has reinforced this way of working ever since she had an episode from stress:
"A couple of years ago I had a nervous breakdown and had to go into counselling and go on anti-depressants."
Since then, Shawna is a lot more relaxed and has learned not to put as much pressure on herself.
What advice do you have for someone looking to learn a bit more about sex?
"I would definitely recommend keeping up with sex-positive blogs, comics, reviews and podcasts."
What advice do you have for someone looking to spice it up in the bedroom?
"Talk to your partner and try new things, even if you're not sure if it's something you'd like, go and push the boundaries and little bit and test the waters and you might discover something you didn't know."
She also recommends to watch porn together or to try to use your sex toys in a different way.
Vibrators work on men too, ya know?
We're lovin' a sex-positive Dublin and Shawna is leading the way in open discussions about sex toys, activity, consent and health.
What a queen!
Header Image: @SexSiopa