A couple days ago, The Irish Times started taking nominations for the Best Shops in Ireland 2014, and did little profiles on each of last year's winners. I could be mistaken, but nowhere on the nomination form did it say the shops couldn't be online. Thus, I am asking all of Sex Siopa's lovely customers, friends, and fans to nominate me in the Best Specialist Shop category.
One of my goals when I opened Sex Siopa was to change people's perceptions of what a sex shop could be in Ireland and prove that it could serve as a valuable part of the community and local economy. When I'm not selling sex toys, I enjoy engaging in civil discourse, raising money for charity, and working with other local businesses to put on fun events.
Now I know my shop is all sorts of awesome, and you should definitely vote for me, but here's a few shops I think are some of the best in my area.
Best Cafe/Teashop: Many is the time I've spent hours in Bell & Pot just behind Stephen's Green Shopping Centre talking to folks about sex. There are many reasons I love to have my business meetings in Bell & Pot: they're right beside the Luas, the staff don't flinch when I discuss BDSM or the finer points of buying a strap-on, it has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere; but mainly they have probably the best french toast in existence. They pile on the strawberries & bananas and their secret weapon is the vanilla mascarpone they use to top it off. For the love of brunch, get thee to Bell & Pot.
Best Green Grocers: Nothing says summer to me like heading to my boyfriend's family home in Wexford and stopping off at Kate's Farm Shop for supplies. Strawberry season is always a special time of year in Wexford, but by god, Kate's is something else. We always end up buying up the whole shop as if we're storing up for winter, and there's a reason for this. At Kate's, one must do a regular shop and then an extra shop that you plan to devour on the car journey home, otherwise your family will never see the delicious brown bread, lemonade, berries, and cheese that you promised you'd buy for them. And we're not alone on this front either. Go to the car park, and you'll see cars and vans full of families shoveling strawberries into their faces as if it were their last day on Earth. If ever I was to accuse a shopkeeper of putting highly addictive substances into their products, it'd be Kate.
Best Gifts/ Design/ Interiors: Designist have to be hands down the best design shop in Dublin. I've been a big fan of theirs since they opened in 2010, and was ecstatic when they invited me to hold an event in their store. Last month Totally Dublin named them their 'one-stop shit-I-forgot-your-birthday shop.' They've really got something for everyone, and a huge part of their success has been keeping their products at an affordable price point and showcasing loads of wonderful Irish Designers. It's where I go for all important birthday, christening, Christmas, and anniversary presents.
Best Service: in the past 18 months since I started Sex Siopa, Parcel Motel have been so incredibly handy for me and my customers. Because the service allows people to pick up their orders from a secure locker 24/7 at their leisure instead of being delivered when your not home (no one wants their flatmate or, shock horror, their mom opening up their new vibrator), it means that extra bit of convenience and privacy. I use them both frequently as a sender and receiver and find them fantastic. I love sending things most, however, for one simple nerdy reason. There is nothing more satisfying than scanning the little barcode and having a random locker door pop open for you automatically. It's like the future!