About Babeland

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Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning founded Toys in Babeland in 1993, in response to the lack of women-friendly sex shops in Seattle. (The store’s name is aspoonerism of Babes in Toyland (1934), the title of a Laurel & Hardy film. It was, uncoincidentally, also the name of an emerging all-female band fromMinneapolis. Committed to offering information and encouragement to women who wanted to explore their sexuality, the owners focused on selling quality sex toys in a boutique-like setting.

In 1995, Toys in Babeland started its mail order business with a small print catalog based out of their Seattle store. Shortly thereafter, in 1996, the Toys in Babeland website followed. In 1998, the owners opened their second Toys in Babeland store in New York City, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In 2003, they opened another New York store, in SoHo. In 2005, Babeland debuted its fourth store in Los Angeles, which has since closed. In 2008, Babeland opened a new location in Park Slope, Brooklyn, making a total of three stores in New York City.

In 1999, the Toys in Babeland staff developed a specific mission: to promote and celebrate sexual vitality by providing an honest, open and fun environment. Encouraging personal empowerment, community education, and support for a more passionate world are key.

In 2003, Venning and Cavanah published Sex Toys 101: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Using Sex Toys. It teaches readers the ins and outs of sexual anatomy, vibrators, strap-ons, lube, men’s toys, anal play, and more. The photograph-illustrated book, written in an informal style, is the first full-color guide to toys for satisfying sex.

In 2005, Toys in Babeland officially shortened its name to “Babeland” and modernized its look. Says co-founder Venning, “Toys in Babeland had become much more than just a place to buy sex toys, so we decided to present Babeland as a destination, a lifestyle, a state of mind—all celebrating the simple truth that sexually healthy people make the world a happier place.

In 2008, Babeland ran a promotion in which they gave away a free sex toy to anyone who voted in that November’s election

In January 2010, Venning and Cavanah, in association with Jessica Vitkus, published a second book: Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex

Notable employees:

Queer erotica author Dena Hankins worked at Babeland as Web Operations Manager from 1998-2006.

Awards:

Babeland has received numerous awards over the years, including a 2006 Zagat’s Survey award as “the best shopping experience in New York. It was voted “Best Place to Buy Sex Toys” by The Village Voice and Seattle Weekly.

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