RQ—How did Spice O’ Life first get started?
DC—In December 1993, I started doing home sale parties, but there were mostly looky-loos, people too embarrassed to buy anything. I had some stock leftover so I rented a building that month and started with oils, Kama Sutra books and vibrators.
RQ—What compelled you to try to sell sex toys in a small town like Revy?
DC—I was sitting around talking with friends about it. Like any product, I saw a hole in the local market.
FIST BUMP. PROPS TO SPICE O’ LIFE, AN EMPORIUM AND HEAD SHOP SPECIALIZING IN GAG GIFTS—DOUBLE ENTENDRE—AND THINGS MOST NEWSPAPERS WOULDN’T PHOTOGRAPH. )
RQ—Your sign says the “Most Tasteful Sex Shop in the West,” what does that mean?
DC—I see people do a double-take when they read that. I call it that because one day I drove to Vernon to check out the competition. As soon as I walked in there was a wall of vibrators. It’s not welcoming especially if you’re a little shy.
RQ—I saw in the window of a sex shop in Kamloops a sale to “stock up on lube and plugs this winter,” playing on auto parts advertising. What do you make of that kind of shtick?
DC—We use humour a lot. But we try to do it tastefully. Even in advertising I don’t single out lubes because people get uncomfortable.
RQ—Is it ever awkward selling bongs and butt-plugs in a small town? Is there ever any backlash?
DC—The only time I had any difficulty was—well, there were two times. I wanted to put up a sign at the Forum arena. City Council didn’t want it because “sex” was in the sign. It gave us all kinds of free advertising. They did a poll on the radio. It went to CBC Vancouver. It was my best month for sales. Another time, a gentleman came in the shop. He was rather stern, questioning why it was OK to sell these things. I think he was extremely religious. Oh, and there was a third time. I had a woman complain to the City about sexy men’s and women’s underwear in the window.
RQ—Is there anonymity at the store? Say I need you to order in some specialty model D-83 Swedish sure-grip suck machine with extra…
DC—We’re more discrete than a bank. The only time we admit anything is if it’s a stagette or something where people are getting gifts.
RQ—Do you feel any sort of throwback to the olden days, when Revelstoke’s brothels and opium dens were quietly tolerated by polite society?
DC—I guess possibly in 50 or 100 years they’ll say ‘remember when’ looking back. Hopefully they say kind words.
RQ—What are your proudest products?
DC—Probably the organic hemp flakes, powder and oil and all the organic lubricants and the Canada-made soy-based healthy massage candles. So much of this stuff now is made in China, unfortunately.
RQ—What are your funniest products?
(Here, Dinah simply strolls over to one aisle and picks up a box labeled: “Just-in Beaver,” which is a blowup doll with the rubbery likeness of pop icon Justin Bieber. The box advertises it’s “a love doll now with two love holes.”)
RQ—Are you going to run the store forever?
DC—It’s hard to retire when you’re doing something you love.
RQ—Have you seriously ever sold a fist?
DC—I’m actually running out. I sold one to a man from Germany. Everyone needs to spice up their life.