Good Vibrations (sex shop)
|Industry||Retail sex toy business|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
Carol Queen, Staff Sexologist
|Products||Sex toys, adult videos and books|
|Revenue||$11.9 million (2006)|
Number of employees
Good Vibrations is a sex-positive San Francisco-based corporation selling sex toys and other erotic products. It operates nine retail stores: seven in the San Francisco Bay Area, one in Brookline, Massachusetts and one in Harvard Square; a mail-order business; an e-commerce website; a wholesale arm; and an erotic-video production company, Good Releasing. Formerly it operated three publishing companies: Down There Press, Passion Press and Sexpositive Productions.
Good Vibrations was the first sex-positive and women-friendly store in the United States, founded in 1977 by sex therapist and educator Joani Blank. Initially established with the goal of being a sex-positive and woman-centered alternative to the 'adult' bookstores of the time, Good Vibrations offered sex information and education, featured erotica and books about sexual health and pleasure, and pioneered the concept of the "sex-positive, clean, well-lighted place" to buy sex toys. A notable part of the store was the display of antique vibrators, which were initially developed as a treatment for female hysteria. This became a tourist draw known as "the antique vibrator museum", which was listed by Frommer's in the category "Best Free Things to Do in San Francisco".
In 1995, Good Vibrations declared May to be National Masturbation Month, to raise awareness of masturbation and sexual health across the country and in response to the firing of then-Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for saying that masturbation "is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught." In 1998 it launched the Masturbate-a-thon as part of National Masturbation Month; this strategy to get people to discuss masturbation by getting pledges from their friends later inspired a live event developed by the Center for Sex and Culture.
The cooperative voted to become a California corporation and did so in February 2006. In 2007, the company required an infusion of capital to stabilize its finances to help it overcome recent losses related to a drop in its Internet sales and was sold to GVA-TWN, a company based in Cleveland, Ohio, with a chain of novelty sex stores throughout the Midwest. Barnaby Ltd bought the company from GVA-TWN. In 2009 Jackie Rednour-Bruckman (Strano), a former worker-owner from the original co-operative, returned to become Chief Operations Officer and then Executive Vice President.
In 2006, Good Vibrations purchased and re-branded the Grand Opening! sex shop in Brookline, Massachusetts, as Good Vibrations' first location outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2010, they opened their fifth location, a larger 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) store on Mission Street in San Francisco, across the street from Bloomingdales. The formal grand opening celebration was pushed to 29 January 2011. The sixth retail location opened its doors on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, California on January 2, 2012.
The company is a notable sponsor of LGBT events and organizations, groups that support sexual health, and other charities, most recently via its GiVe donations program. The company is a leading employer of transgender people.
The founders of Grand Opening! and Babeland interned at Good Vibrations before opening their businesses, and many sex-positive retail toy companies have been inspired by Good Vibrations. The company has also influenced the sex toy and adult movie industries to create and market new products that reflected changes in the demographics of consumers.
As part of their recognition as a leader in sex-positive culture and education, the company received a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2003), a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly (2004), and a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature (2006). The company has also received widespread recognition from the pornography industry, including an O Award for Outstanding Online Retailer 2009 at the Adult Entertainment Expo, Best Sexuality Retail Chain 2011 from AVN, and Boutique Retailer of the Year 2011 from XBIZ.
Good Releasing offers various lines of adult titles and educational films:
- Reel Queer Productions ("Documenting authentic, edgy, queer sex and culture with relevant, intelligent films inclusive of the many sexualities that identify as queer")
- HeartCore Films ("Offering artistic alternatives to formulaic features with films by independent artists with fresh, diverse content")
- PleasureEd Series ("a wide range of informational and instructional content to inspire and enhance your sex life")
Several Good Releasing films have been nominated for or have received awards, many from the films by director Courtney Trouble, who helped develop the Reel Queer Productions studio:
- 2010 Feminist Porn Awards
- Fluid: Men Redefining Sexuality (Best Bi Movie)
- Dangerous Curves (Most Deliciously Diverse Cast)
- Speakeasy (Most Tantalizing Trans Film)
- 2010 AVN nominations
- Best New Production Company
- Roulette (Best Music Soundtrack)
- Speakeasy (Best Music Soundtrack)
- 2009 Feminist Porn Awards 
- Roulette (Most Deliciously Diverse Cast)
- 2010 XBIZ Award Nominee: Web Retailer of the Year 
- 2015 XBIZ Award - Retailer of the Year – Boutique
- LBR-2016-17-041 - Office of Small Business
- "Joel Kaminsky Leaves GVA-TWN to Focus on Good Vibrations". avn.com. Adult Video News. October 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
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- Auguste, Annie (2000). "This toy is not a toy". salon.com. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
- Open Enterprises, Inc. (2007). "Antique Vibrator Museum: History of Vibrators". Good Vibrations Outreach and Education. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- Poole, Matthew R. (May 10, 2011). "San Francisco Top 10 Free & Dirt Cheap Secrets". Frommer's. Wiley. Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
The Good Vibrations sex-toy shop is worth visiting just to see their Antique Vibrator Museum. Who knew that vibrators have been around since 1869 and were prescribed by physicians to treat 'hysteria.' Fascinating. Their Antique Vibrator Museum has free docent led tours on the third Sunday of the month, located at the Polk Street Store location in SF.
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- "The original DIY, observed". 2009-05-27. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
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- "NOBOSS Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 1 , Fall 2006" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
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- "GiVe - Good Vibrations Sponsorship Program".
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- "Good Vibes Press Mentions, News Articles, Awards and Honors".
- "The "O" Awards 2009". www.avnnoveltyexpo.com. Adult Novelty Expo. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "Good Vibrations Named Best Retail Chain at AVN Awards". avn.com. Adult Video News. 2011-01-12. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Miller, Dan (2011-02-11). "2011 XBIZ Award Winners Announced". xbiz.com. XBiz. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
- "Reel Queer Productions". goodreleasing.com. Good Releasing. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "HeartCore Films". goodreleasing.com. Good Releasing. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "PleasureEd Series". goodreleasing.com. Good Releasing. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "The Fifth Annual Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards". www.goodforher.com. Good For Her. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "2011 AVN Awards Show - Past Nominees". avnawards.avn.com. Adult Video News. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "Winners of the 2009 Feminist Porn Awards!". www.goodforher.com. Good For Her. Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- XBIZ Announces Finalist Nominees for 2010 XBIZ Awards, XBIZ, Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009
- XBIZ Award Winners, XBIZ, January, 2015