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It started with you...

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

<strong>let's start at the beginning</strong><br><span>with a joke that changed everything</span>

LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING
WITH A JOKE THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

Sitting on 300km out of Cape Town, is the ultimate example of "sex sells."

Ronnie’s Shop was originally established as a farm stall, but after it failed rather spectacularly, Ronnie decided to convert it into a bar instead. The bar was also floundering, until one of Ronnie's friends graffitied the word “sex” next to his sign as a joke.

HOW ONE LITTLE WORD
CHANGED FATE...

Suddenly, the bar became a novelty, and people would travel from far and wide to visit (well, they’d have to as there was nothing else around for miles).

That one word addition - “sex” - changed the fate of the bar from failure to raging success.  

<strong>how one little word</strong><br><span>changed fate...</span>
<strong>A universal truth</strong><br><span>sex sells</span>

A UNIVERSAL TRUTH
SEX SELLS

It's what made Ronnie's famous…

We did some research, which showed that South Africans were searching the internet for their personal needs: things like sexual health, dating, lingerie, and more.

Friends who had visited countries in Europe would tell us about shops they they’d visited - beautiful shops which stocked gorgeous lingerie and amazing, high-quality intimate products.

Nothing of the sort existed in South Africa.

WE REALISED THAT
SOUTH AFRICA WANTED BETTER

Could we provide South Africans with a discreet, private and upmarket shopping experience? A service that offered a wide range of high-quality, beautiful products?

What about helping people with their relationships? Might adding sex toys to a relationship remove the barriers to really great, adventurous, exploratory sex?

We thought we could, and in 2003 made our dreams a reality.

Check out our first website to the right!  

<strong>We realised that</strong><br><span>South Africa wanted better</span>

Behind the logo...

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. 


Simple Beginnings

Things we didn't expect


The beginning bit

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.

Taking over 6000 photos

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. 

Throwing away products

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. 

So much advertising!

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!

 

What’s it like running a sex shop?

The Good

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.
Lovely, hey?

The Bad

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.

The Ugly

Creating useful descriptions for the millionth cock-ring, or vibrating bullet, etc. That gets tough!

Our day-to-day office life...

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, lunch, yoga, smoothies, food, nutrition, Maslow's hierarchy, 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!