Eve’s Garden marks 20 years of sexy sales
Sexy sells, just ask Liz Adderley. She is celebrating the 20th anniversary of opening Eve's Garden Lingerie shop in Hamilton.
Whether it is a revealing pyjama set, some racy lingerie or a sex toy, the shop in the Emporium Building has quietly provided for a niche market.
Since Eve's Garden Lingerie opened in the 1990s a lot has changed, both in the range of merchandise on offer, and people's attitude towards a shop that includes adult toys among its inventory.
“People are more open-minded and feel freer. They realise they are not doing anything wrong [by visiting a shop with adult toys]. They are more confident and want to have fun,” said Mrs Adderley.
The store's location, towards the rear of the shopping arcade in the Emporium Building, has helped it to succeed.
“People feel comfortable that it is not right on Front Street. Over the years they have got to see the shop, they like what they see and they like the confidentiality.”
Mrs Adderley said discreetness and confidentiality are key ingredients in the shop's success.
She started out selling tupperware in people's homes, before moving into the lingerie market, which in turn led to her opening the shop.
“In the early days it was tougher,” she said. “I had less money and was very careful how I bought merchandise.”
Today, the front of the shop features the lingerie selection and a private bra fitting room. There are also underwear items for men.
The second section of the shop is tucked away to the rear, and it is here that adult toys and books can be found.
“Some people do not realise we have the toys in the back. We have them there for privacy and discretion,” she said.
Where once the range of merchandise might have been viewed by some as forbidden fruit, times have changed.
“It's more legitimate. It's more mainstream. There is nothing illegal. People have sex and they want to dress in lingerie.”
The shop has expanded its offerings since it opened its doors. “Through the years I've increased the toy section and there are books,” she said. “It's good to be educated on sex by reading books, it broadens your horizon and opens up your mind.”
Some of the novelty items are popular Secret Santa gifts, while others are clearly intended for pleasure at home.
One of the best sellers is known as “the rabbit” and featured in the popular TV serial Sex and the City.
“The manufacturers are — by the materials they use — making healthier toys,” said Mrs Adderley.
Latex, which some people can have an allergic reaction to, is used less.
Technology has brought innovations, such as vibrators that can be charged up through a computer USB connection.
The shop appeals to customers from many age groups and walks of life.
“You can't pigeonhole the people who come in here,” said Mrs Adderley, and although the business is not recession proof, economic downturns have not had too much impact.
Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween are busy times, but there is a steady demand for lingerie, bridal items, garters and such like throughout the year.
To mark its 20th anniversary, the shop is holding a prize raffle for customers who spend more than $20.
Delighted that her business has reached such a landmark anniversary, Mrs Adderley still finds it hard to believe that 20 years have come and gone since she opened up for business. She gave thanks to her husband Herbie for his support, and said she enjoyed meeting people and helping customers, making them feel comfortable.
“I feel I have accomplished something, provided for my family, and I've also helped people.”