DELHI, India — Raj Armani, the co-founder and CEO of India’s oldest adult ecommerce store ImBesharam.com, is being called the “Batman of bedrooms” in a new profile featured on TechInAsia.com.
In the feature, Armani discusses his constant battle over the past five years with customs officials to supply sex toys to consumers in India. He tells TechInAsia.com that customs officials in Mumbai seized a shipment worth $120,000, and then they raided its warehouse in New Delhi and made off with more than $150,000 worth of inventory.
Armani says that while officials have the authority to confiscate their wares, it’s not on legal grounds.
“But they went ahead and did it because they believe adult toys are a stigma on Indian culture and that Indian values will get corrupted if people use them,” Armani told Tech In Asia.
According to the report, while sex toy use is not illegal in India, there are laws that prohibit distribution, marketing and sales of products that look obscene.
Armani says he’s had to take matters into his own hands to ensure customer orders aren’t affected by the government’s interference.
“With no warehouse in place, we had to set up a makeshift location and had employees work out of hotel rooms, packaging and labeling orders all day while we managed customer service and other operations in the U.S. in both time zones — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and then again midnight to 6 a.m. This event dealt a severe blow to our finances, but we were again shipping orders and fulfilling customer requests the following morning.”
Armani says that while ImBesharam pays attorneys and brokers to attempt to educate officials on the legality of sex toys for personal use, it’s an uphill battle against a long-held perception and definition of morals that have been instilled in many Indians.
Despite the challenges, customer demand for pleasure products is high in India. According to TechInAsia.com, the country’s sexual wellness market is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion by 2020.
ImBesharam.com also has set its sights on expanding beyound India. At September's Sex Expo in Brooklyn, N.Y., the company announced it would launch an online store for the U.S.
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Pictured: ImBesharam co-founders Salim Rajan and Raj Armani.