Passionate Playground Renames Purple Joyboxx to Honor Phyllis Heppenstall

Passionate Playground Renames Purple Joyboxx to Honor Phyllis Heppenstall

SEATTLE — Passionate Playground has renamed its Joyboxx + Playtray color combination, purple and black, the "Phyllis" in honor of adult retail and pleasure product pioneer Phyllis Heppenstall.

Passionate Playground founder and Joyboxx inventor Deborah Semer recently discovered that Heppenstall — one of the company’s angel investors — had passed away mid-2021 after a battle with cancer.

A rep hailed Heppenstall as “an enthusiastic promoter of sexual health and wellness.” When the Joyboxx launched in 2014, Heppenstall declared, “We must address the cleanliness of our adult ‘toys’ with the same passion that we use them. Finally here’s the product that all consumers need to address this void.”

Semer noted that purple was Heppenstall's favorite color, and the color of the logo for her retail chain, Lovers.

"I was thrilled when she held the first Joyboxx in her hands in 2014 at Starbucks in Auburn, Washington. Phyllis was my business mentor and fairy godmother," Semer said. "I’m so grateful I got to honor her directly in her 80th birthday video message. That was April 2021, then we spoke in May, and that’s when she said she was fighting a battle with cancer, but felt positive about treatment. I’m gutted by this news, and finding out one-and-a-half years later, and really sad the industry she founded doesn’t know.” 

In 1981, Heppenstall, along with Kris Butt, founded a pioneering relationship-based retail boutique to make sex toy shopping a pleasurable experience for couples. Peekay Boutiques Inc. grew to 45 retail locations in six states, comprised of Lover’s Package, Condom Revolution, A Touch of Romance and Christal’s stores. The partners sold their chains in 2012, and Lovers was later acquired by PLBY group.

Joyboxx + Playtray celebrates its 10th year in August. The Phyllis and other limited edition Joyboxx + Playtray color combinations are available for sale at select adult retail stores globally and directly at

Wholesale inquires can be sent to, or wholesalers can apply directly at

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