Good Vibrations Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Mar 3, 2012 6:00 AM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — Good Vibes is celebrating its 35th-year anniversary with a month of parties, workshops and promotions.

Good Vibes first opened its doors in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1977 as an alternative to conventional "adult" bookstores, and its formula of education, a well-trained and sex positive staff, and accessibility continues to be a winning formula to this day.

“The original concept was more like a university bookstore and community center where women would feel comfortable in their exploration and education. I remember when people placed their order on a piece of paper, and a clerk would go to the back and retrieve it for them. It was a far cry from the elegant boutique branding we enjoy today, but it established a unique feeling of safety, welcome, and empowerment,” said COO Jackie Strano, who worked for Good Vibrations from 1992-1998. The original inventory of six items has grown to more than 2,000 SKUs of product.

Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen explains, “Not many people know this, but over 15 years ago Good Vibrations trained people to start their own female-friendly adult stores. They received training and vendor contacts, allowing them to open their own stores to spread the vision, and some of those companies have thrived and become our colleagues and competitors. The idea, basically, was that a rising tide would float all the boats — which is exactly what has occurred.

Education has always been a cornerstone of the Good Vibrations philosophy. Good Vibrations coined the term “SESA,” Sex Educator/Sales Associate, and pioneered the rigorous training model. To obtain the title of SESA, staffers must go through an extensive series of classes and continuing education on all things sex-related. Good Vibrations is the only retailer in the country who requires that their staff members complete this extensive training in order to be allowed on the sales floor or on the customer service phone line.

Today Good Vibrations’ sex positive mission is shared through six stores, an online presence, and a variety of campaigns that highlight community involvement. Through its donations program, “GiVe,” Good Vibrations raises thousands of dollars each year for various nonprofit partners, and fundraisers. In addition to offering a full monthly calendar of educational workshops and events in its stores, Good Vibrations brings adult education to the community with its Offsite Sex Educator program and events like Megan Andelloux’s Study Sex College Tour, as well as with presentations by its own PhD-trained educators Dr. Charlie Glickman and Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

To celebrate its anniversary, Good Vibes has announced a host of free in-store events and discounts, including an opportunity to meet Good Vibes founder Joani Blank (interviewed by Carol Queen at the new Oakland Good Vibes location, and a birthday party with Bootie SF, an internationally-renowned mashup party at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco.

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