We are coming up on one of the most joyful times of the year in the adult retail industry: Pride! This is when brands bring out their most colorful products, brick-and-mortar stores get creative with their window displays and digital marketing reminds us all that love is love.
Pride celebrations should be year-round, not reserved for just one month, but early summer is an especially important time to promote and support it. Today, we’re going to talk about how to get your store or company in the Pride spirit and how to keep that spirit alive all year long.
Foster inclusivity, keep learning, and make your business a place where LGBTQIA+ people feel celebrated all year round.
Living the Spirit of Pride
June is always a blast but before we get ready to party, let’s take a minute to talk about how our businesses can actively support LGBTQIA+ people all the time.
• Inclusivity Everywhere
Inclusivity is not just about being welcoming to all kinds of customers. To make your business a truly inclusive space, you need to involve LGBTQIA+ people and their experiences in a variety of ways. Whether it’s you, your management team, your sales associates or the influencers and collaborators that you work with, there should be LGBTQIA+ voices in all conversations about sex, relationships and pleasure. Remind your staff and shoppers that “sex” means different things to different people, and this should inform the language your staff and your marketing materials use. That might include using expansive pronouns beyond just “he or she,” referring to relationships beyond just “couples” or discussing sex beyond just PIV.
This approach not only helps ensure inclusivity, but also recognizes and acknowledges the vastness of sexuality. It removes notions of “normal” and does not inadvertently set a default for relationships, love or sex. This makes your shopping environment more comfortable and welcoming, not just to LGBTQIA+ people but to everyone. It also improves your inventory, with products and brands that cater to a range of pleasure experiences.
• Continuing Education
We are never done learning and growing. It’s important for all of us to pursue education throughout our careers to ensure we know about the latest products, the newest research, the most up-to-date terminology and language, and even the latest political and social challenges facing LGBTQIA+ people, regardless of whether you identify within that community.
• Don’t Pack Up the Rainbows on July 1
It’s fun to bust out the rainbow products to celebrate Pride season, but consider stocking products that celebrate and center LGBTQIA+ people year-round. It’s one small way to acknowledge and support LGBTQIA+ shoppers all the time, not just in June.
Getting Ready for Pride 2023
So, with all that in mind, what can retailers do to make Pride an extra-special celebratory time? A whole lot — and most of it is pretty fun. Here are some steps you can take to get ready for Pride 2023:
• Dress Up Your Space
Pride is an event and a mindset, so make sure your space feels like it! Consider in-store displays that capture the rainbow theme and use bright, vibrant colors. Incorporating colorful products makes this fun and easy. Get your staff in on the fun with colorful shirts and accessories like pronoun pins.
• Dress Up Your Virtual Space Too
Don’t forget your website and digital marketing. Taking the time to make celebratory graphics, header images and even a temporary rainbow version of your logo can help your internet presence pop during Pride. We recommend keeping these graphics in rotation all year round too.
Don’t forget complementary items like apparel, decor and bath products! Sure, shoppers are likely coming in for pleasure products, but lifestyle items are big sellers and fantastic impulse purchases. Stock T-shirts, underwear, lip balms, moisturizers, glitter and shimmer gels, stickers and more.
• Plan Local Events
Pride is a terrific time to engage with your local community. Contact manufacturers and distributors to find out what gifts-with-purchase and free swag might be available and plan fun in-store events that include giveaways and discounts. It’s a great opportunity to invite local drag performers to entertain too.
• Make a Social Media Plan
Plan out contests, giveaways and possibly even collaborations with LGBTQIA+ sex ed influencers. Influencer marketing is fantastic for name recognition and building trust, and our industry isn’t the only one reaching out for their support. Now is the time to start contacting influencers to get on their calendars.
• Place Your Orders Early
Some of our industry’s most popular rainbow, glitter and colorful items sell out sooner this time of year, so if there are special-edition items or brands that you want to center during Pride, place your orders now.
Pride You Can Be Proud Of
Pride is a special time of year for the LGBTQIA+ community and it's important for brands and retailers to honor that. It is also important that we don’t limit the spirit of Pride to just June. Foster inclusivity, keep learning, and make your business a place where LGBTQIA+ people feel celebrated all year round.
Verna Meng is the co-founder and CEO of Blush, and the recipient of the 2018 International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation Award.