Back in 2003, if you wanted to explore new sexual frontiers, you'd have to plan a visit to your local, dodgy and dark sex shop, filled with people asking where the live sex shows were and truly awful products. What was meant to be a fun and intimate experience turned into something tacky and stressful. Then, we started Matilda's, and revolutionised SA's intimate industry. This is our story.
We were different to all the other adult shops in South Africa, and we needed to show we were.
Our past logo has been called many things: unsexy, childish, basic. Many people have asked why it’s not something sexy or suggestive. Some people have even written in with suggestions and logos of naked female silhouettes. But, we didn't want our logo to imply sex at all. We felt our flower-logo encapsulated this ethos.
That's when the first logos came in. We were exploring the idea of "Feminine, natural, elegant" and that's were what we wanted to be, compared to the smutty adult shop industry.
In 2005, we decided to finally look like the modern, sophisticated company we were... (Haha! Looking back now it seems crazy. At the time, it was a new world for us.)
Then in 2006, we needed to clean up and align our brand! The flower symbolised "elegance, simple nature and playful innocence". Whether our customers got that message or not, it was in everything we did.
We started Matilda's as an after-work project. It was a labour of love from the very beginning. It was tough stuff, back in the day - packing orders before work, after work and all too often, working through the night. Importing stock, basic accounting, dealing with customers. It was indeed a labour of love.
We took photos of every. single. product. Back then, manufacturers didn't have product photos. They only had images of the packaging, which was essentially useless. We wanted our customers to choose products in a better way, and so we did it the long way, and took photos of every product. We weren’t photographers, so our first photos needed to be Photoshopped to hell and back before they were acceptable.
Sometimes we’d open a product for a photoshoot, but the toxic odour of plastic would overtake us. Awful. Back then, quality was simply terrible. Many of the items that we ordered would need to be destroyed (responsibly) and discarded because we simply couldn’t sell them.
Only some brands (like Fun Factory) used quality material, so we started favouring them. The all-too-common, cheaper products were often made from plastic or “jelly” compounds and smelled like toxic, melting plastic.
We were the first adult brand to take full-page adverts in magazines like Cosmo, Men’s Health and Women’s Health. Our first adverts went into magazines in 2010. Here are some of them!
We get to change lives. Just the other day we submitted a piece to a publication showcasing the virtues of cock rings. A gentleman read the story, bought a cock ring and called us a few days later to say we had saved his marriage. Apparently he has been battling with erectile dysfunction for years, which impacted terribly on his sex life. The cock ring helped him to maintain an erection and have sex with his wife once again.
Sometimes, on rare occasions, we get people calling in to ask us about sex. The un-cool kinda people who ask “What’s your favourite toy” or “Can you send me a picture of you using it?" etc. We don't entertain nonsense like that.
Creating useful descriptions for the millionth cock-ring, or vibrating bullet, etc. That gets tough!
The thing that makes us most excited? When people call in to tell us we’ve made them happy - that we helped them explore, share and connect on a deeper level with their partner. That’s actually why we’re here. We provide quality products to our customers, so that they can do all the fun stuff. We’re human. (We blush too!) And, just like in any office, we keep our sex lives to ourselves.
Conversations are about bircher muesli, running, cake, cycling, lunch, yoga, smoothies, food, nutrition, Maslow's hierarchy, adventure, races, meditation and yoga. Sometimes when things get animated, a dildo will be waved around for emphasis. (Seriously though, they make for great table decor.)
We have a lot of fun in our team (meet them here!). And we deal with normal business stuff: marketing, advertising, admin, banking, processing, warehousing, customer service, website maintenance and more. Nothing to see here, folks. Except for that bright pink dildo on Martin’s desk!
What can we do better? Is there somewhere that we can improve?
You've probably got some great ideas, and we'd love to hear them! We're human too, so try as we might, it's sometimes easy to miss things. Please share the love and give us a hand. Let us know what you'd like from us, or how we can do better for you - or just drop us a line to say hi!