Retail rookies having fun, success selling what they want

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There must be no uncertainty about what’s on sale at a enterprise referred to as Dongs, Thongs and Bongs.

But, in actual fact, many individuals who stroll into the shop at 1316 Main St. are stunned when they see what’s on the cabinets: intercourse toys, lingerie and marijuana smoking tools retailer.

The homeowners had been amazed the risque identify was permitted by the provincial Companies Office.

“The first identify we put ahead was one thing like ‘Big Bongs, Little Bongs’ and that was rejected,” chuckled Dustin Morrisseau, who owns the enterprise along with his spouse, Rhiannon.

“We had a couple of names picked out, however then my spouse blurted out I ought to attempt ‘Dongs, Thongs and Bongs.’ I mentioned that wouldn’t work, however I attempted it and it did. Everybody now comes right here due to the identify.

“What can I say? She was proper concerning the identify.”

“It simply popped into my head,” recalled Rhiannon. “What can I say? It is fairly simple.”

The Indigenous-owned and operated enterprise will rejoice its first anniversary on Dec. 1. Neither proprietor imagined they’d be selling intercourse toys and pot paraphernalia.

“It was September and I noticed this place right here was for hire,” mentioned Morrisseau.

“I talked with the man and I rented it, however I didn’t even know what the enterprise was going to be.”


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The Indigenous-owned and operated enterprise will rejoice its first anniversary on Dec. 1. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

So Morrisseau talked to his spouse.

“My spouse mentioned ‘I want to promote lingerie and intercourse toys’ and I mentioned ‘I want to promote bongs,’” he mentioned. “We couldn’t resolve which to take action we simply did it half and half.

“We had been actual rookies,” he mentioned. “We didn’t have a marketing strategy.

“We simply bought fortunate.”

The retailer has survived although close by outlets promote marijuana and bongs. The Love Nest, which sells intercourse toys and lingerie, is actually throughout the road.

At Dongs, Thongs and Bongs, the lingerie part fills the wall to the left of the door, intercourse toys are lined up on cabinets in the course of the shop, and the marijuana smoking equipment, i.e bongs, are below and behind counters to the best and in the back of the shop.

The greatest selling merchandise within the retailer isn’t a bong.

“To be sincere, she does higher than me in gross sales,” mentioned Morrisseau. “I’m doing sufficient on my facet, however the most effective vendor is the intercourse toys. Lingerie and bongs are about even.”

Before they opened the shop, Morrisseau constructed fences.

“I get pleasure from this,” he mentioned. “It’s so much totally different than being a fencer. It has been a variety of enjoyable.”

Rhiannon mentioned she had shopped at intercourse shops for years and frequented the outdated novelty reward retailer San Francisco, an outlet in buying malls that offered family-friendly gadgets on the entrance and not-so-friendly merchandise on the again.


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Sex toys are the most effective sellers whereas lingerie and bongs are about even in keeping with Morrisseau. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

“I shopped at San Francisco as a child,” she mentioned “I’ve by no means labored at a enterprise like this earlier than, however I shopped at totally different ones.”

Rhiannon mentioned she is happy with the massive number of lingerie that’s on the market.

“They promote properly,” she mentioned. “I’ve had extra male prospects are available and say (their) spouse or girlfriend has instructed them to return. People come right here from all walks of life.”

Thanks to the shop’s identify, the couple say phrase of mouth has introduced in prospects, in addition to postings on social media. It is more durable to get ads in flyers or on the radio.

“It’s a very good identify, and it makes individuals conscious of what we promote, however we will’t promote it,” mentioned Morrisseau.

“I referred to as a couple of locations for promoting and after I mentioned the identify, they mentioned I don’t imagine you. One man laughed and mentioned it’s an ideal identify, however he couldn’t put it on the radio.

“I ask my prospects how they came upon about us and 90 per cent say Facebook. Others say they noticed the identify on the (retailer’s) van.”

A enterprise named Dongs, Thongs and Bongs has helped individuals endure months of isolation throughout the pandemic.

“You can’t go exterior. You’re caught at residence. What else are you able to do throughout COVID?” he mentioned.

Morrisseau additionally had phrases of reward for an unlikely bedfellow who stored the enterprise going when it might have failed in its first 12 months: former premier Brian Pallister.

“He was giving out $5,000 grants to assist small companies,” he mentioned. “I benefited and it paid the payments and stored us afloat. It’s a grant, not a mortgage.

“It was very useful.”

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

 

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Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is likely one of the extra versatile reporters on the Winnipeg Free Press.

Whether it’s overlaying metropolis corridor, the regulation courts, or normal reporting, Rollason will be counted on to not solely reply the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — however to do it in an fascinating and accessible approach for readers.

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