Sh! Voted Best Individual Store 2016!

Sh! Voted Best Individual Store 2016!

The annual ETO (Erotic Trade Only) Awards are always a fancy affair and no less so this year.

Taking place in Birmingham in June each year, the ETO Trade Show & Awards are highlighted on every adult retailer’s calendar – preferably with a gold star so it can’t be missed!

On the day, we left London slightly later than planned after an impromptu rouge-bra hunt around East London (it happens), and promptly got stuck in a traffic jam on the M1 as there’d been an accident in the heavy rain.

Feeling a little worried that we’d miss the 7.30pm dinner call, we fetched make up and other paraphernalia from the boot of the car and set about beautifying ourselves whilst waiting for traffic to move. As we arrived at our hotel, half-made up with partial strips of fake eyelashes glued on, we were glowing with foundation and stress…

ETO DInnerSlipping into our finery, complete with sparkly heels & clutches, we made our way to the venue, Resorts World. Confusingly located inside a shopping mall, the venue is nontheless very glamourous and overlooks the Pendigo Lake.

We had lovely company around the table, and both conversation and wine were flowing freely.  A scrumptious 3-course dinner was enjoyed, and then – finally time for the Awards!

As much as everyone pretends winning doesn’t matter, it is always exciting to see whether your name/business will be called up. Practically rushing the stage in our excitement to collect the award for Best Individual Store, our brains froze (still thinking about that rouge bra) and our Thank You speech was less than eloquent. The stresses of the afternoon (and, let’s be honest, the wine) got to us, and we were a bit giggly…

ETO Awards and BottleWe’ll let Ky (founder & MD) speak instead: To receive a similar amount of nominations as the big boys in the industry is a huge honour for our small (but perfectly formed!) company and to actually recieve ETO Awards which we’ve done year on year thanks to everybody’s wonderful support is the cherry on top. So thank you to everybody who nominated and voted for Sh! – it’s such an uplifting endorsement from our peers that thrills us to bits!

We were delighted when our friend Tabitha Rayne won the award for Best Erotic Author 2016. This year is definitely Tabitha’s year, what with the fantastic Ruby Glow vibrator receiving a nomination for most innovatie toy. Tabitha is the brains behind this awesome vibe, which incidentally scored an impressive 2nd place in Good Housekeeping Magazine a couple of weeks ago.

Along with her fellow Brit Babes (Kay Jaybee, KD Grace, Victoria Blisse and Lexie Bay), Tabitha took the dancefloor with storm, and celebrated with some very sharp moves.

The after-Awards parties are legendary; everyone finally relaxes and hair gets let down. This year, a pair of panties were flung across the room, two merry men were energetically tonguing each other on the stage until security removed them (booo – we were enjoying that!) and champagne corks were popping in every direction.

The Morning After

man cunt lubeVisting the ETO Trade Show is a lot of fun. This year we got to try a new arousal drink for women (yep, it works – lady bits were twitching!) which will be ready for shoppers in about 2 months. We  were given tiny Doxy Massager keyrings (always useful!) and a bottle of…ahem… ManCunt…lube. It’s “white, creamy and fun to play with”.

We spotted a number of products we think you’ll love, such as the new rabbit vibrator with a moving nubbin, or the flickering tongue toy. We’ll order the Doxy Massagers in sparkly cover (perfect for Christmas!)  and we found some deliciously-scented massage creams.

So all in all a very successful trip!

Thanks so much to everyone who voted for us.

Sh! Wins Best LBQ Business Award at Planet London Awards.

Sh! Wins Best LBQ Business Award at Planet London Awards.

We are so honoured to have won Best LBQ Business Award at the Planet London Awards.

The awards have been running since 2013 and exist to celebrate  the hard work of  grass roots event organisers and community businesses who are committed to improving the lesbian, bi and queer scene.  This year almost 4,000 women cast 47,523 votes to decide the winners across the 40 categories.

We beat some strong competition in the form of Barberette, Pink Lobster Dating, Pretty Pink Pearl, Square Peg Media and That’s the Spot.

Our own Kate Frank was there to pick up the award for the Sh! team. She gives us her thoughts on the night:

“It was an absolutely fabulous night, well… late afternoon!

Broadway Theatre was full of empowered, inspiring women. I was sitting there, in full #powerlesbian mode, next to Sarah Waters! (Yes, I was fangirling hard, as was everyone else in the room – reading ‘Fingersmith’ in my early teens  was a major sexual identity breakthrough).

I was amazed by the supportive and warm atmosphere. Katie and Naomi did wonderful job, not only by inviting such an inspiring
crowd but also by creating a fun yet professional event. I was surprised and flustered when Sh! was called to collect an award for the most inspiring business serving the Lesbian, Bi Queer & Questioning community. I thanked everyone on behalf of the whole Team Sh! and invited everyone to join us for a Spank You Very Much Class.

Every day we are working hard at Sh! to create an empowered and safe space for women to explore their sexuality.  Such a rare and precious space is worth protecting.  It is one of the few sex education platforms that not only sprung from the queer community, but has many LBQ staff and continues to base its practices on the experiences and life stories that queer women share with us.

Working in a family-like, women orientated small business that has been focused on sexually empowering women since the 90s’ (some of our Team Sh! girls are younger than our shop!) is one of the best jobs a girl in London can have. That’s why I am always dying to talk about Sh! to anyone who would like to listen… and on that night I had a full room of gorgeous, powerful LBQ women who were very eager to let me do so.”

The nights other awesome winners were:

ARTS AND CULTURE

Independent Author – Kiki Archer

Publishing House Author – Sarah Waters

LBQ Book  – Too Late I Love You by Kiki Archer

International Festival – Pride In London

LBQ Comedian – Rosie Wilby

LBQ Live Performance Event – Coming Out of my Box by Emma Stroud

Musician – Solo Artist – Lucy Spraggan

Musician – Group/Band – Playing House

Live Performance Performer – MIRI

Recorded Performance Performer – Lucy Spraggan

AWARENESS AND PROMOTION

Voluntary/Community Project – Love Human Rights

Journalist – Katie Bennett-Hall

Photographer/Videographer – Laura Dixon

Local Network/Forum – Gay Women’s Network

Best/most effective LBQ focussed politician – Sandi Toksvig

POSITIVE WOMEN

Role Model – Rosie Spaughton

LBQ Blogger/Vlogger Rose Ellen Dix

Volunteer – Sarah Lavender

MEDIA

Radio Show or Podcast – The Girls Hour

Web series – She’s in London

Independent Film – Crazy Bitches

Short Film – Life in Colors

Media Outlet (online or print) – Diva Magazine

SCENE: LONDON

DJ – Carmen London

Inclusive event – Project X

LBQ friendly space –  SHE Soho

Event organiser – Nikki Chubb

Bar staff  – Bex Smith and Cressida Lawlor

Security staff – Anna Georgiou, Pinx Security

Most Creative Space or Event – Sink the Pink

SCENE: BRIGHTON

DJ – DJ Lady Lola

LBQ friendly space – Diva Cafe

Most Creative Space or Event – Brighton Pride

SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY

Social Group Organiser – Jennifer Lorrimer, LezBeSocial

Social Group – Lesbian Book Readers Club

Dating/Network Service – HER App

Corporate Network – Freshfields LGBT Network

 

 

 

Sh! awards

Qype Business of the Year!

Vist our QYPE pages here & here

Sh! received the best birthday pressie EVER last night when she scooped 2 awards at the first ever Qype business awards, including the TOP one: Best Business of the Year, UK & Ireland 2012.

Held at Brixton Club House, the omen was good from the start when the 2 directors, Kathryn & Sophieeasily found a parking spot for the Sh! pink smart car, just off Electric Avenue. Sweet! The gods ( or goddesses) were looking down benevolently alright…

After a wee drink and a munch on a curry goat roti on the Ibizan-style roof terrace ( in London – in MARCH!), it was down to the main room for the ceremony.

Dark and glitzy, with wine,cupcakesand party poppers on the tables, the CEO of Qype, Ian Brotherston, took to the stage to tell us we were all winners, having demonstratedexcellent customer engagement and been given fab reviews, as rated by Qype’s ( which stands for quality over hype)1.6m consumers across the UK.

Our friends at theHoxton Salonwon the first award for Best UK Beauty and Wellness Venue of the Year 2012

Then the next one; UK Shopping Venue of the Year 2012. Eeeek! Its scary going through the runner-up accolades not hearing your name called – a tiny insight into the turmoil disappointed Oscar nominees go through, with a polite grin (mace!) frozen to their faces. As the description of the winner was being read out; “shown exceptional customer engagement…” “an incredibly popular winner” – or words to the effect, Sophie, (the intuative Picean) was muttering “we’ve got this one”,  whilst Kathryn ( the superstitious carpricorn) hushed her…

A wee cheer went up as our name was called out and Kathryn stumbled ( there were a lot of wire and stage stuff to negotiate; the wine had nothing to do with it) to receive the prize.

The next set of awards were a bit of a blurr as there was lots of hugging and tweeting to be done, but the other members of our table,Gordons Wine Barquickly won Best Bar, followed by Best Place…

Kathryn was still attempting to tap out tweets in the dark, when the biggie came up: One business was to be named Best Business, putting it ahead of 750,000 other businesses listed on Qype. Sophie starts her muttering again ” we’ve got this one too….” “Don’t be silly” counters Kathryn, milliseconds before she hears “And the Best UK Business Award 2012 goes to Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium”

A *huge* cheer, this time. More stumbling ( again, *not* the wine, but the sheer wobbly-legged excitement)… Another award gratefully received- the BIG one!

Being Business of the Year means Sh! will now  go on to represent the UK at the Qype World Business of the Year Awards, which will see one business named the best of the 13.5 million places currently listed on Qype worldwide – Yikes!

Then, back upstairs to the sunsetting terrace, for photos, mingling and lots of congratulations.

Later as we buzzed back east, in our pink smartie and on cloud 9, we talked about why such a great accolade from a consumer review site means such a lot to us. We’ve always looked at our business as a series of relationships we have with every one of our customers. If someone isn’t happy, we take it personally, emotionally even, – like a relationship breakdown and do our danmdest to make up. We’ve never seen it as a numbers game, where we can accept a certain % of fallout, so long as we get money in the till. Running a biz with this kind of personal attention may never make us millionaires ( we’re in a smartcar FFS not a porche!) but it sure makes us happy … and we sleep well at night.

We certainly slept with happy smiles on our faces last night.

Thank you to Qype, and most of all to our lovely customers, for recognising our passion is personal and very much in the detail.

About Qype:

Founded in 2006, Qype is Europe’s largest site for user-generated reviews and recommendations of places, events and experiences. Qype has up to 18 million unique users per month and over 2.2 million user-generatedreviews covering business categories in more than 166,000 cities with locations worldwide. Qype allows users to search for and read trusted reviews about a restaurant, shop, service or experience and, with the Qype App, which has been downloaded over 1 million times, users can read and add reviews on their phone and use the application as a personal sat-nav to find places nearby. Available in seven different languages, Qype is now the only truly pan-European local review site able to offer its international users a multi-lingual platform.