[quote style=”boxed”]Never take “no” for an answer. If you have an idea that you think is amazing, stand behind it and keep going when you get a “no.” You might get a lot of “no’s” before you get your golden “yes.”[/quote]
Stacy Rybchin is a sex toy expert and the Founder & Chief Curator of My Secret Luxury™. Rybchin is a former senior corporate meeting planner from Ernst & Young with a background in finance. After one fateful night in New York City and experiencing the lows of sex toy shopping with her husband, she founded My Secret Luxury™ to celebrate the unique passions of every person. After realizing that most stores were intimidating because they carried thousands of products — from low-end to high-end, she created a store that carries a curated selection of only the best high quality body-safe adult toys that embody style, design and functionality. She also felt it was important to give consumers a sophisticated place with no nudity to buy adult toys and sex accessories. She saw this as the perfect opportunity for the US market given the current market trends and market potential in the US for the relatively untapped luxury market. The mission of My Secret Luxury™ is to inspire love, romance, and intimate moments one satisfied customer at a time through high quality sex toys and sex accessories, which provide the occasion to give and get pleasure, grow love, celebrate intimacy, and introduce fun.
What are you working on right now?
I just launched the newest part of the business, My Secret Soiree, a home romance party. Unlike other adult toy parties, we are the only company who offers high quality adult toys and sex accessories that feature quality design, quality materials and quality craftsmanship. Additionally, our parties are unlike other parties because we present our products in a sophisticated and upscale environment. No silly games and gag gifts… we take sex and romance very seriously and create a very sophisticated event.
Where did the idea for My Secret Luxury come from?
After one fateful night in New York City, I founded My Secret Luxury™ to celebrate the unique passions of every person. I saw that sex toys were perceived as disgusting and dirty because they were sold in stores that were … disgusting and dirty. I realized that all other stores carried thousands of products — from low-end junk to high-end items. I created a store that carries a curated selection of only the best high quality body-safe adult toys that embody style, design and functionality. Plus, I wanted a store that was more upscale and sophisticated with no nudity.
How do you make money?
Selling products online, concierge services, and home romance parties.
What does your typical day look like?
I focus much of my time on Sales and Marketing. I work with many leading industry experts and spend a ton of time working on aligning my business with their needs. Of course, I need to make sure orders are shipping and the website is working well. Sadly, I can’t escape a flood of emails.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have partners with whom I collaborate. For small ideas, I work with my designers and technical team to execute on my plan. For larger ideas, we evaluate the opportunity and develop a strategy to integrate the idea into the business.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
People demand better products and services. There are people who are willing to pay more for quality. Typically people didn’t think much about sex toys but thanks to a revitalization of sex in our culture… people are doing research, exploring new products, and are willing to experiment.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Being a waitress while I was in college was the worst job that I ever had. I realized that in order to make money, you always have to make the customer happy. However, sometimes even if the customer is happy, it does not mean that you will make money. I was often treated terribly and saw no opportunity for rewards.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Buy less inventory and maybe sponsor a consumer event. Otherwise, I am very happy with how the company got launched.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never take “no” for an answer. If you have an idea that you think is amazing, stand behind it and keep going when you get a “no.” You might get a lot of “no’s” before you get your golden “yes.”
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Work life balance. As a mother and wife, I spent much of the first year of my company working. I could work 24/7, but now I realize that there’s more to life than work and my family is just as important.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Niche kitchen products. Most retailers sell mass market kitchen products. With the explosion of the “foodie community”, consumers are looking for very specialized kitchen products.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
People and companies would be more ethical. Every day I am stunned by how unethical many large and small companies are… particularly in their dealings with entrepreneurs.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I recently lost a lot of weight by becoming a vegan.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Hootsuite-All of my social media is in one place.
Lexity – I can easily see what pages my customers are viewing in real-time.
Google Analytics- I can learn anything about what’s happening on my website.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Success Is A Choice by Rick Pitino. This book has been around for a while, but I still find it very relevant. Success will not happen if you sit back and wait for it to happen. You have to make success happen.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Lisa Lampanelli – She always makes me laugh.
Guy Kawasaki – I feel like he knows about everything.
David Pogue – I love how he’s goofy and into gadgets.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
My son just did a goofy dance in the kitchen while I was making dinner.
Who is your hero?
How do you feel about being in the “adult” industry?
I do not consider sex toys as being part of the larger adult industry. It’s not porn and it’s not something seedy. It is about romance and love. It is about pleasure and intimacy. EVERYONE has sex. Rather than lock it away and pretend that it’s something disgusting… we should embrace our sexuality and seek out products that help us improve intimacy and romance.
What do your kids think of your business?
For now my kids know little about my business. They do know that I have started and run a company. I want them to know that I am not a mommy who spends her day sitting on the couch watching Ellen and going out to lunch with my friends. I quit work when they were born so that I could raise them. However, I did not give up my drive or ambition. My business allows me to satisfy my need to excel, yet still be around to attend school events.
Stacy Rybchin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MySecretLuxury
Stacy Rybchin on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MySecretLuxury
Stacy Rybchin on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mysecretluxury/
Stacy Rybchin on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stacy-rybchin/57/a5a/586
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.