Representation matters. Seeing yourself reflected in your retail experience can be empowering and uplifting; just as the scarcity of products which reflect you and your values can have the opposite effect. For black people, shopping for sex toys can be an alienating and disempowering experience. Enter Black Honey Toys into the online sex toys retail arena.
Founded on New Year’s Eve 2019, Black Honey Toys describes itself as “the UK’s first adult shop that specialises in products which reflect black sexuality and skin tones”.
We recently had a chat with the folks at Black Honey Toys to learn more. Enjoy the interview!
Who are Black Honey Toys (BHT) and what do you do?
Well, Black Honey Toys isn’t your typical online sex toy store. In an industry dominated by mainstream Eurocentric standards of beauty, BHT wants to create a space where shoppers feel empowered and represented. We provide shoppers with a carefully selected inventory which reflects black sexuality and skin tones. We are championing the idea that online sex toy shops should be more racially inclusive in their store displays and product range.
Why did you choose to create the UK’s first adult shop that specialises in products which reflect black sexuality and skin tones? OR What is the inspiration behind BHT?
Black people – both singles and couples of all sexual orientations, enjoy shopping for sex toys just as much as any other group but the retail experience often leaves people feeling less valued. If you went on the homepage of any of the leading online sex toys retailers, you’d struggle to see any images of a black model or a toy which reflects a black customer. And if you did a search for “flesh tone” or “flesh-like” on any of these sites, the results you get do not apply to a black customer.
BHT wants to change that. Our mission is to provide representation for a section of shoppers who have for a long time felt undervalued and underrepresented. A 2019 survey by Accenture found that 41% of shoppers in the previous year shifted at least 10% of their business away from a retailer that does not reflect how important inclusion and diversity is to them. Ethnic minorities and younger shoppers report a higher incidence of inclusion and diversity driven switching.
For us at BHT, it’s about showing the consumer where we stand through our product range, our online store displays and our campaigns.
What defines your way of doing business?
Two guiding principles and that’s captured by our tagline – Love yourself; Love pleasure.
Love yourself – we are big believers in embracing who you are, and we want to create retail experiences which make people feel valued for who they are. We want people to feel empowered by their interactions with the BHT brand.
Love pleasure – we aim to enhance pleasure and happiness for people of all colours and shapes by providing a carefully selected range of sex toys that cater to all tastes, kinks and preferences. So whether you are a black person looking for pleasure enhancing toys which reflect your skin colour or you are of any other colour and have a particular preference for such toys, then BHT is here for you.
What has been the response so far?
The response has been incredible and it’s pleasantly surprising! We’ve received messages from a wide range of people within the UK, across mainland Europe and the US. The response we’ve received reaffirms our belief in what we are trying to achieve with BHT – to champion diversity and inclusive within the online sex toy retail space.
What are the plans for BHT going forward?
Well, there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment because of the current situation with the COVID-19 and the full impact remains unclear at the moment. But however that plays out, our customers will remain at the heart of everything we do and we will continue to innovate around bringing them the best experiences. We would also like to use this opportunity to reiterate the current medical advice – to stay home to help control the spread.
As a brand we are always looking for opportunities to partner with others who share our values and vision. So watch out for collaborations with other brands on themed sex parties and sex-positive events.
For the long term, we are also in the process of designing bespoke BHT toys. The idea is to have simple and pleasurable designs that our customers can be proud to own. Of course, they’ll come in various black skin tones – we might end up with 50 shades of Black Honey Toys.
Hello, I’m Kitten E, Education & Content Manager here at KK. I’m passionate about educating people about sex in order to remove stigmas and judgment.