BY Advocate Contributors

February 10 2010 10:00 AM ET

JOBS ART CONN X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

RACHEL VENNING AND CLAIRE CAVANAH
Sex shop owners
Seattle and Brooklyn, N.Y. // 43, 45 

Years ago, best pals Rachel Venning and Claire Cavanah were sitting in Claire’s apartment. “We were complaining about the lack of a women-friendly sex shop—and suddenly, Eureka!” Venning says. “Let’s open one! Classic lightbulb moment.” The two settled on the concept of a store that didn’t bombard customers with, as Cavanah describes it, “bare breasts and porn models.” Now called Babeland (originally Toys in Babeland), the first lesbian-friendly sex toy store opened in Seattle in 1993 (a booming website and three New York City stores have since opened). Like the stores, their books, Sex Toys 101 and the new Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex, are unusually gay- and straight-friendly. Venning and Cavanah especially enjoy helping tentative customers, anxious about their first sex toy purchases. “When talking to a customer who’s had to screw up some courage to come in—that’s my favorite, because that’s where I was,” says Cavanah. Venning seconds the notion: “I love helping someone pick out their first toys, and cheerleading their sexual explorations. I feel like I’m helping to make the world a better place, one orgasm at a time.”

Tags: Business

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