I usually deal with marketing managers, but when “Sex Toy Dave” Levine wanted to talk to me about building my online sex toy business, I thought, “Why, of course!”
Yes, that Sex Toy Dave, the guy with the stripper pole in his living room on The Millionaire Matchmaker and was on Megan Wants a Millionaire and Joan Rivers – How’d You Get so Rich? (Sorry, ladies. The millionaire sex toy mogul is now married with two kids.)
But good looks, celebrity cred and sex appeal aside, there were other reasons why I jumped at this chance to talk shop with Sex Toy Dave.
Dave was one of the first, if not the first, people to sell sex toys online in 1995. He originally started out selling all kinds of things from books to phone cards in a cybermall kind of site but found that sex toys were the most popular items. From there, he opened sextoy.com.
Keep in mind at that time, female-friendly sex toy shops were just starting to be a thing in suburban strip malls across America and not every woman had the nerve to shop in them, let alone risk having someone spot their minivan parked in front of one of these stores. The ability to buy a vibrator or a dildo online and having it shipped to the house was a major breakthrough, and it caught on as more people got computers and Internet access in their homes.
But having one online sex toy shop wasn’t enough for Dave. A year later, Dave started adultshopping.com, a program where people could put up their own online sex toy shops, have Dave’s company stock the products and fill and ship out the orders, and pay commissions out to the online sex toy shop owners. It was a move that enabled Dave to pay out over $12 million in commissions to people like me with online sex toy stores like A Good Woman’s Dirty Boutique. Dave also went on to open sextoyclub.com, a sex toy wholesale and drop shipping company that caters to brick and mortar sex toy stores, Amazon and eBay retailers, and people who run at-home sex toy party companies.
So you see why I wanted to pick his brain.
As fun as Dave is on TV, he’s also a fun guy to talk shop. Yes, he got into the online sex toy business at the right time to rightly declare himself as the king of sex toys. However, staying on top, especially in the online adult business world, means experimenting with new business approaches no matter how goofy they may sound … every single day.
Doing that takes a willingness to talk comfortably and casually with the people who work with and for you and say, “What are you doing?” “Here’s what you should do,” and keeping an open mind to listen to and try other people’s ideas.
Those are things Dave does well without the pretentiousness of making people feel like they have to be on their best and most stoic behavior.
Having a sense of humor like Dave helps, too.
Sure, talking about sex toys is fun, but it’s still a business. Why not make all businesses this much fun?
This post is brought to you by sextoy.com. Information and opinions about this article are genuinely my own.