Mitch Brown’s father, Raymond Brown, founded the first couples-friendly Something Sexy Superstore here in 1980, seeing the opportunity to give the locals a shopping experience they hadn’t had previously.
“He was sort of a visionary in that sense,” Mitch Brown told AVN.com. “I think that unlike a lot of the traditional adult book stores and video stores where women would never tread, he saw an opportunity to create something that would be inviting to women and just went with the concept. He was definitely spot on, because even if you look at our operation today these years later, we’re still pretty much catering to that concept, both in the stores and online, very much. Women are over half of our customers at this point, both in the stores and online, as best as we can tell.”
In 1996, the Brown family opened the second superstore in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and in 2000, they created their Website, somethingsexyplanet.com.
“I looked around on the Internet in 2000, and I saw a lot of toy-related sites but not a lot of quality, and, sitting in our position of operating retail stores, what I saw was mostly sites that had never sold a toy to an actual human being. That’s what I saw in the way the descriptions were written and the way that things were presented,” Mitch said.
The brick and mortar stores aim to make customers comfortable with their surroundings. Mitch smiles at the use of the color purple throughout the stores — the Fort Lauderdale location is roughly 3,000 square feet and the Miami store is about 2,500 square feet — and liberally on the Website.
“It seems to be a neutral color between men and women. It has a passion to it, and we try to set our stores up in a very ‘shopable’ way. We separate sections into the clothing and the videos and the toys so people just wander from section to section once they’re in the stores. They get led around by the different categories as they move from one section to the next,” he said.
Novelties, particularly California Exotic Novelties, are an important part of the stores’ stock.
“The packaging is good, and it appeals to women a lot. Their products are good, too,” Mitch said, adding that clitoral toys are especially popular with his clientele.
The stores put an emphasis on club/beach wear along with lingerie to appeal to the style-conscious locals.
“Depending on what’s in fashion, South Florida picks up on it pretty quickly and a lot of time it leads the way these days with the Miami scene and all, so it’s a challenge to keep up with it but it’s definitely an in-demand segment for us and we do well,” he said. The store carries sensual wear by Coquette, Body Language and other top brands.
The chain has almost completely phased out VHS, and on DVD, Shane’s World, Ninn Worx and Vivid productions along with Vivid compilations move like gangbusters, Mitch said.
“It’s such a broad population down here, and we try to have something for every age group,” he noted. “We definitely skew towards the more couples and couples-friendly gonzo stuff than the stuff that pushes the hardcore line like Rob Black’s stuff and Max Hardcore and things like that. It’s not really aimed at our main customer base. We get a wide variety of customers, but with all the women and couples we get, we’re going to carry the stuff that appeals to them.”
When it looks to the future, the family sees the Internet.
“The Internet is taking a lot of our expansion at this point and it’s rapidly growing, and when you combine that with the difficulty of, in the Bush administration environment, trying to get more retail stores open with all the zoning issues and things like that, it’s natural to pursue the Internet. A lot of cities are tightening up,” Mitch said.
Whatever the Bush family has in mind for Florida, the Browns are going to try damn hard to make sure it involves Something Sexy.
Something Sexy Superstores have locations in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida. The Fort Lauderdale store is located at 4242 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 and can be reached by phone at 1.954.561.8977. The Miami store is located at 48 Northeast 167th Street, Miami, FL 33162 and can be reached by phone at 305-949-6775. Their Website address is somethingsexyplanet.com.