Mar 112014
 

It’s no secret that SheVibe is my favorite online sex shop. Launched in 2006, they are perhaps best known for their gorgeous, ever-changing comic-inspired art — but there’s even more awesomeness beneath the surface. Aside from the obviously good stuff like cheap US shipping, discreet billing, and award nominations, SheVibe goes above and beyond to provide a superior sex toy shopping experience.

Here are five reasons why I love SheVibe that, notably, have nothing to do with the fact that they are sponsoring me at CatalystCon, made me into a superhero, created a landing page of my favorite toys, and like to call me “Piphy Pants.” I also asked them for the inside scoop on their day-to-day operations — and got some juicy stories along the way.

1. The selection.

SheVibe's selection rules, just like this comic for fantasy dildos

This should always come first, and at SheVibe, it really does. I am constantly amazed by their knack for stocking both big manufacturers as well as smaller, indie brands that other shops barely touch (VampHappy Valley, New York Toy Collective, BS AtelierFucking Sculptures) — with more being added all the time.

Unlike some other shops, they don’t cherry-pick which toys to carry from companies like Vixen, NobEssence, Leaf, LELO, Tenga, JopenTantus, and Liberator. And when it comes to the big manufacturers, they carry the stuff that doesn’t suck horribly, like inexpensive silicone toys in Doc Johnson’s Platinum line and Pipedream’s Fetish Fantasy Elite line. Often I’ll be editing an old review, trying to find a shop to link to, and SheVibe will be the only reputable place that still carries the toy.

Plus, they have a really impressive selection of double-ended dildos, wands and attachmentsgaffs and breast formsglass dildos that range from cheap to expensivetoy storage, EVERY attachment and kit for the Eroscillatorpackers, and lube. And if something’s being discontinued, SheVibe is likely to have at least a few kicking around that can be snatched up.

The peeps at SheVibe are also highly suggestible — it is not uncommon for me to prod them to add a certain product, and they will do it without question. Maybe I’m just intimidating, but that is rad.

THOR: I think our biggest takeaway is to always remain open-minded. Many times products that we can’t imagine anyone buying end up selling like mad. Some people want a low cost vibe — even if it only holds up for one crazy weekend. We try to provide a selection that spans the experience levels as well as the adventurous nature of our clients.

SANDRA: We’ve worked really hard on this, realizing a long time ago that since sex toys are not a “one size fits all” item. We try to avoid repetitive products especially with the larger manufacturers. Our real joy comes from supporting the smaller, artisan vendors. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s so rewarding to give someone a shot and see their work & products catch on. We warehouse about 85% of our selection, sourcing the bulk items from a couple of trusted distributors who take really good care of us.

2. The prices customer service.

SheVibe's customer service is top-notch

SheVibe’s prices are very good, and that is what initially drew me to their site years ago. I found out why when Sandra explained the history of the company. Now, SheVibe’s prices may not be jaw-dropping — but they are fair. Fair to the companies that make the toys, and fair to customers. What really sets them apart now is their dedication to incredible customer service.

SANDRA: This was a really hard business to break into and initially we were very focused on low, low prices. Back in the day when Google Shopping was friendly to adult businesses, it was an all-out war. We would set a price and then a “cookie cutter” site would undercut our price — the back and forth became insane.

Initially when the Google Shopping feature went away, we panicked a little, but then we realized that what we were doing had its own merit and value. We have a great, unique site, fantastic customer service and we do everything with the utmost integrity in mind — there was no need to “compete” with other sites. We have a pricing formula we use for the mass produced items and we adhere to MAP when the manufacturer requires it. If there are no pricing requirements, we set a fair price and that’s that.

Thankfully, a lot of the cookie cutters have disappeared and many manufacturers have regained control over their pricing so the playing field has become much more level.

THOR: I think things really caught fire for us when we stopped looking at what other online retailers were doing and just decided to pay attention to the needs of our customers. We set fair prices and then go above and beyond to make sure people get what they’ve paid for and what they’ve come to expect from SheVibe.

We answer customer inquiries every waking hour — literally. We’ve been known to handle customer inquiries on Christmas Day. What people want more than anything is to be taken care of and to be listened to. A great shopping experience, products that the retailer stands behind, relevant and accurate information and fast, reliable, inexpensive shipping. Cost is always a factor, but clients are willing to spend money that gives them incredible return on investment.

3. The sales.

SheVibe always has sales and deals

GURL, SheVibe’s sales are so good I’ve broken my own rule about not spamming people and written posts about them! They often have month-long sales as well as “flash sales” during the weekends, where you can get 10-30% off certain brands and products.

SANDRA: This is a relatively new thing for us — just in the past few years. When all of our prices were low we couldn’t afford to offer sales. Believe it or not, this didn’t play as well with the customer. Consumers are suspicious of super low pricing (as they should be). It’s never good to undervalue a product — and sometimes that product is your business. You have to build the cost of daily operations into your pricing otherwise it becomes much more difficult to do the right thing by the customer when something goes wrong.

When considering what products to put on sale, we try to mix it up a bit. We include sought after items that are usually offered at a higher price point (as long as there is no MAP requirement), as well as passing along whatever savings our distributors may be offering that month.

4. The people behind the scenes.

Alex, Thor, Sandra, and Keith of SheVibe

SheVibe is run by Alex (artist), Thor (webmaster), Sandra (day-to-day operations and written content), and Keith (page design). I met them all at my first ever Catalyst, where Sandra bought me a cranberry vodka, completely unprompted, during the opening keynote. As if I needed more reasons to love her.

You can find the crew on social media — TwitterTumblrInstagram, Facebook — where they are always posting fun and silly things. They work together like a well-oiled machine — and had a lot of nice things to say about each other! This is the highly truncated version…

SANDRA: This is my favorite thing to talk about; US! Ha-ha. Thor and I conceived the business around 2004. We knew we wanted to appeal to female energies and our first concept was along the lines of a goddess theme. One day while we were working on our logo, it hit us: superheroes! The whole genre had really begun to take hold in Hollywood and we felt the world could use some intelligent, powerful, sexually self-possessed females. That was it, we just knew it.

Literally within a week, Alex and Keith were dropped into our laps by the Universe and the four of us immediately jelled. It’s been an amazing working relationship ever since.

ALEX: A friend of ours who worked for Thor in his prior business said he was looking for an artist and a graphic designer. Keith and I looked at each other and said, “Hey that’s us!” We met with Thor and Sandy and hit it off right from the get go.

SANDRA: Alex is an amazing artist, I feel so privileged to witness the entire process, to be able to describe something to him and see him make it come to life. Keith is not only an extremely talented graphic designer with an insane knowledge of every font & effect you can imagine, he is also freakin’ hilarious and can pretty much accurately imitate anyone within seconds of meeting them. Thor is an incredible code writer, it’s a language he inherently understands. He is completely self-taught which impresses the hell out of me.

THOR: Full disclosure: Sandra is my wife, so I’ve got some bias — but this woman is a whirlwind. She’s a wordsmith and has given SheVibe its virtual voice from day one. She’s also the operational juggernaut at our warehouse in upstate New York, establishing protocol and procedures to organize all levels of our business. More important than this, she’s our number one people person. Plus she’s really hot and curvy — so there’s that too.

KEITH: Like the classic 80’s cartoon Voltron, each of us come together to form the killer robot we call “SheVibe”. Sandra forms the head! Besides being the voice of SheVibe, Sandra takes on everything from customer service to purchasing — and every space in between. Alex & Keith form the arms! Alex’s talent explodes on every page, filling them with sexy imagery and hilarious comics that span every product category. I bring it all together with vast technical knowledge and graphic prowess to create a beautiful website. Thor forms the legs! The foundation that we all stand on that allows us to blossom into the bad ass website we are.

5. The art.

Drawing on a box I received from SheVibe

There’s no denying you’re shopping at SheVibe — everywhere you turn, there is eye-popping art. It’s kind of like finding easter eggs all over the site — I discovered the glorious anal health comic while writing this. Artist Alex is basically a prodigy; sometimes you get a box in the mail and he has drawn all over it, like it’s no big thang.

ALEX: It’s a collaborative thing that we do when it comes to the art. When we go into our process of creating concepts, it’s really a sight to be seen. The creative juices flow when we’re all sitting around brainstorming ideas until all four of us yell “That’s the one!” Then it’s off to the drawing table I go, hoping that I can get the idea fleshed out on paper.

SANDRA: I kind of feel like we’re always baking some crazy cake; we all throw in different ingredients and mix it up, Alex bakes it and Keith frosts it — the recipe is different every time, but every time it is delicious.

THOR: Alex is one of the hardest working guys I know — he’ll sketch and conceptualize all day and hammer out image sets all night without flinching. Keith is a creative whiz kid with Photoshop and all things Mac. SheVibe covers are great when they land on his desk, but Keith adds the awesome to what you’ll eventually see throughout our site and on each month’s home page.

And finally, for shits and giggles…

Butt plug rock wall climbing.

I asked the SheVibe crew if they had any funny stories to share. Often this kind of question gets a bland, non-committal answer, but damn, not this time!

ALEX: Oh dear lord! One adventure I remember early on in our partnership was when we all went on a St. Paddy’s Day pub crawl and wound up at some crusty Legion Hall. We grabbed a table to chill out for a bit and we started to BS about business. Well, next to us were a group of senior citizens and they couldn’t help but eavesdrop. They started to chime in with their opinions and questions and observations about porn. Pre-World War II seniors postulating about the nature of lesbian sex — some of the stuff they said was just crazy! We can’t repeat it here — but it gave us material to laugh about for weeks.

KEITH: Holy crap, where do I begin? We rented a warehouse in the beginning that had no postal service. Seriously — no drop off, no pick up. The crazy thing is that we could see the stupid post office from our back door. Each day involved us running bins and bins of packages to a post office which was miles away ‘cuz the one across the parking lot was too small… even for a drop off! A question we will ask every landlord until the end of time: “Um, does the post office know you’re here?”

We also had a break-in at this same warehouse which was super crazy. We were located right behind a Sprint store which was the actual target. This cat burglar broke into the vacant space next door and cut a hole in the wall, but where he entered was actually the SheVibe warehouse and he had to burrow past hundreds of Vixen dildos to gain entry. Can you imagine? He went up the wall making 3 more holes until he finally got into the Sprint space, but not before he went through all of our inventory. I guess dildos don’t have much street value.

THOR: Pretty much every day at the office is a crazy amalgam of sexual imagery and silliness. We’re all Seinfeld fans and constantly work our favorite scenes and characters into our already comical occupations. Picture George Costanza measuring dildos for spec accuracy or Kramer discussing lubricant viscosity. If we had our way, we’d answer the phones in character but that probably wouldn’t play too well.

All you have to do is follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get a feel for some of the things that go on in our offices — see the infamous Dildo Dynasty pic or check out philosophical discussions regarding charbroiled flavor lube with temporary tattoo grill marks to get a feel for the hilarity.

———

Now it’s your turn, peeps: what do you like best about SheVibe? What’s your shopping experience been like with them?

Itching to order something RIGHT NOW? Check out my landing page for all the things I recommend — and this really is almost everything on earth that I recommend, because their selection is so ace.

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  • Vivienne

    CHEAP SHIPPING? I really want to love shevibe, but their shipping is so expensive outside the US, it’s ridiculous.

    I’m in New Zealand, and I have to boycott them for fear of spending more on the shipping than on the dildos. It’s around $50 USD to ship one small item from them, whereas something like lovehoney is $15

  • http://HeyEpiphora.com Epiphora

    Lovehoney is based in the UK. Of course their shipping is going to be cheaper than a US-based shop. SheVibe tries their best to get good deals for people outside the US, but their shipping prices for some locations are not ideal, and they know that. It is something they are constantly trying to improve.

  • Nat

    There’s also their review project, where ordinary customers can write reviews and get a $3 gift card per review. Although they don’t just take any review, it’s nice to know that they take in customer input and that they care how well and coherent a review is. Writing a review for Lelo Ina 2 on their website and earning their giftcard definitely made me want to buy and review for them again (though the prices and sales don’t hurt either).

  • http://www.shevibe.com/ Sandra

    Hi Vivienne,

    Regrettably, shipping “is what it is” outside of the country. We don’t inflate these prices it is simply that costly. Different vendors have access to different pricing levels with the respective carriers, Lovehoney is a larger operation with locations in two countries so their pricing for international parcels is more appetizing as would be expected.

    We hope to grow an improve our international connections, until then we’re glad that you are able to shop with Lovehoney and find what you need. Take care!

  • Whitney Moo

    I really hope you guys can expand to offer better shipping deals to us downunder one day. Even though I live in Australia, I still use SheVibe for looking up information about sex toys because it’s such a good resource.

  • http://www.shevibe.com/ Sandra

    We hope to! We really appreciate that you are able to come to us for info, that’s awesome!

  • http://noveltiestoymeetsgirl.com/ dizzygirl

    As an affiliate, SheVibe is one of my favorite companies to work with. The affiliate platform they use is one of the better ones, IMO. So, I link to them on my blog more often than the others I work with. Their selection is better than most of the others I work with and they have great sales that I can promote. Plus, their prices are always reasonable so I feel good about sending my readers to them. Sandra’s also one of the nicest peeps ever.

  • Glumbumble

    It’s true their prices for products is fair and a good competition to other shops. But when it comes to shipping, I have to go elsewhere. I’m in canada and I usually end up using Lovehoney or Pinkcherry.

  • http://ofsexandlove.com/ Adriana

    I really like just hearing what these folks have to say. It’s nice to think of them as humans, I guess.

  • http://ofsexandlove.com/ Adriana

    I keep meaning to do this.

  • Summer

    I actually felt GUILTY buying something direct from Tantus last week, instead of through SheVibe, If that doesn’t show retailer loyalty, I don’t know what does! The price couldn’t be beat with the 30% of sale going on though, but while I’m still waiting for my package I’m thinking I should have just paid more to get the better shipping options! (Note to self, never, ever, ever pick FedEx SmartPost again…)

  • Summer

    I tried to once, and got horribly, uncharacteristically bashful after proofreading a chickened out on submitting it!

  • Sour Grapes

    One minor problem though, their international shipping rates are absolutely ridiculous. Definitely not the sex shop I would ever use.

  • http://ofsexandlove.com/ Adriana

    Aww! I DID this after I posted the comment. Woot!

  • http://www.sextoys.co.uk/ Russ Gray

    I do agree with you @Glumbumble:disqus the product price is fair one their is no doubt about it, but unfortunately the shipping cost is not ideal for some of the location in UK competitively Sextoys of UK join their forum at very affordable and some of the location they were providing free shipping! It is very cool initiative taken by them according with their market price.

  • http://secretlysensuousstuff.blogspot.com/ Secretly Sensuous

    I first heard of SheVibe back when a blogger said there’s a place that offers $3 gift cards for on-site reviews, and I was like I’M THERE. Then they started a forum and I was like “Oh, same place? Count me in!” The good prices caught my attention, and of course the artwork, then their customer service blew me out of the water. Truly the upper 1% of customer service that I’ve ever had anywhere, sex shop or not.

    After purchasing from various shops as a regular customer over the past year, SheVibe is the only one I’d confidently recommend to my toy-shy friends, for whom a bad purchase experience could turn them off from toys entirely. Some people are really stepping outside of their comfort zone when they buy a toy, and in that more vulnerable state bad customer service can wreak havok on budding sexual exploration. Simply put, I’d trust SheVibe to get it right. And that’s first from my own experience, and second from others’ reports.

  • nuala macmoragh

    I love SheVibe for all those reasons, plus they have your and other reviews all handy right there. They even let me pick wood colors for my Nobessence Seduction order, instead of choosing for me, which I thought was extra super nice.