The Naughty Teddy: 'Not Your Everyday Porn Store'

Jan 11, 2011 6:00 AM PST
FULLERTON, Calif. — There is nothing ordinary about The Naughty Teddy and that’s just the way managing partner Dawn Aquino likes it.

“Everybody that comes in says this is the most comfortable store they’ve ever been in,” Aquino says.

Located in the heart of downtown Fullerton in upscale Orange County, the seven-month-old store was thoughtfully designed to create an inviting atmosphere for both women and couples. The Naughty Teddy specializes in lingerie — with 75 percent of its inventory dedicated to various styles and brands — while the immaculate boutique also offers a selection of toys, novelties and DVDs.

Aquino, a native of nearby Anaheim, said the idea for the store came about innocently enough. “I had already owned a business and I was looking to get out of that business and start something new. It started as just a thought and kind of evolved into this whole big project,” said Aquino, who previously had her own payroll and tax filing company. “I’ve never been involved in anything like this before. It was something I had never done and it just sounded very different and exciting to me.”

So Aquino set out to create a place where couples could shop for anything they desired for a romantic evening together. Now she manages a staff of nine sales professionals that takes a consultative approach with their growing clientele.

“It was my idea that I wanted to have a place where women could come and be comfortable in here and not be intimidated. And I wanted them to feel secure in what they were looking at and have people in here that wanted to greet them and not intimidate them in any way,” Aquino said. “I just wanted women to be able to come in here and feel beautiful and sexy and enhance the fun and romance between couples. I’ve just always thought that if anything, increasing the romantic play can take a relationship to another level.”

Aquino said the fully renovated store covers 5,000 square feet.

“The way it was set up, lingerie was going to be the majority of the store — nice lingerie, bras, underwear, panties,” she explained. “And toys were just going to be a part of it to enhance all of that.”

She continued, “I’ve got women from all ages that come in here. My mother comes in a lot and she’s very comfortable here.

“We also have a gay men’s section with underwear, and we have the pole-dancing classes and a naughty photo room, where you can get your photo taken in a boudoir setting and also do pictures [with a stripper pole]. We call it ‘poleography.’”

Aquino said that some of the higher-end toys do well in her store.

“I think the LELO vibrators are what everybody wants, they’re the newest kind of toy out there,” she said. “The majority of what we sell in here is the lingerie. But we do special orders anywhere from shoes to toys to lingerie, to whatever it is they need.

“We have the exotic dancers that come in and they get a 15 percent discount. I’m trying to get hooked up now with a couple of the strip clubs; we’re in the process of working on that. And if you bring in one of your old toys, you can get a new one at 20 percent off. Everybody’s got old, broken toys. I’ve got that on our website [TheNaughtyTeddy.com].”

Careful attention was given not only to what The Naughty Teddy would stock, but also to the look and feel of the store. One thing that sets it apart is the artwork. Karen B. Locke, who also created The Naughty Teddy’s stylish logo, has several beautiful art pieces adorning the walls.

“It’s what you would call art nouveau,” Aquino said. “The woman who did the artwork has done this in the past for lingerie stores from here to Las Vegas. She did the mannequins too. … She was introduced to me by someone and it was just another way of making it be not your everyday porn store.”

The Naughty Teddy is located adjacent to Fullerton’s restaurant row; there are almost 60 different eateries in the vicinity.

“The majority of people that come in are in downtown Fullerton. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night between 10 and 12 it’s like going to downtown Vegas,” Aquino said. “There are college kids from Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College who also come in.”

While the store has blended in seamlessly with neighboring businesses since it opened on May 7, its presence has not come without some backlash from the conservative-leaning City of Fullerton which has determined The Naughty Teddy should be classified as an adult business, rather than a clothing store with accessories. The store has been battling the City with the help of well-known industry attorney Roger Jon Diamond. It has also created a website at SaveTheNaughtyTeddy.org to inform the public.

“It’s been challenging but we’ve had great support,” Aquino said. “We haven’t had any problems, nobody’s picketed. Nobody has damaged the building. Nothing really bad has happened.

She continued, “Nobody’s come in and actually said anything. We are right down the street from the police department.”

Meanwhile, The Naughty Teddy regularly participates in charitable causes, such as Toys for Tots with the Red Dragon Biker Club and AIDS Walk in Laguna Beach. It also recently started a “Rocky Horror Picture Show Night” to raise money for breast cancer research. The next nights for the promotion are Jan. 23-24 from midnight until 3 a.m. at the store. In addition, the Naughty Teddy had a presence at the Orange County Gay Pride event in Irvine and in 2010 sponsored a Funny Car dragster called The Pedaler.

“Whatever I can do to get our name out there,” said Aquino, who has advertised in the Cal State Fullerton Titan newspaper, and also at Cal Poly Pomona.

Aquino concluded that she always remembers what it’s like to be a customer when it comes to managing her store.

“Ten years ago I probably did have issues with coming into places like this,” Aquino said. “Our staff is very knowledgeable and pleasant to everyone. They greet them as soon as they walk in the door and answer any questions they have. If you could say you had a dream of something that you wanted to work out, this worked out exactly how I had envisioned it.”

The Naughty Teddy is located at 129 West Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832; Find them online at TheNaughtyTeddy.com.

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