Woman's Emporium

Sh! Woman’s Emporium

I used to live across the street from Sh! Woman’s Emporium in Hoxton, but I didn’t go in until I interviewed their founder, Ky.

I’m not sure why: partly, until recently, men needed to be accompanied by a woman. And it was too close. I don’t like having to say hello to someone every morning (a problem I had with Goodhood) because, often, I am in no mood to do so. And, I always figured, if I needed to buy something from them I’d rather the experience be somewhat alien finding the erotic, generally, to reside in the unknown. After a few weeks, it simply ceased to really exist for me. It was just another shop I walked past, like Goodhood or, latterly, Prohibition Vapes.

Of course, a lot of my friends knew about it, and many – especially the queer women among them – visited reasonably often. One lunch, four of them – one who was visiting from Toronto or somewhere similarly hip – arrived about an hour and a half late having taken a tour. I blame the women – all of them women – who work there: too nice, too welcoming. They offer you tea.

Other than that, it was a good landmark for directions. When I finally did go in, to interview Ky, she explained why the store was so friendly

I guess that’s part of our whole ‘brand’, though that sounds so corporate, which we’re not. Negative attitudes around sex still permeate our society, and we try to make Sh! very friendly and open, so everybody feels at ease. We want an atmosphere where people can feel free to ask us any questions, play and explore… our one aim is to make it so comfortable that we make you late for lunch!

They really mean it.

– Jago Rackham

Our interview with Ky Hoyle, founder of Sh!,  appears in issue 1. Subscribe to LYRA and support us here.