Confessions of an adult shop manager
Mr Lincoln Chua listens to sex-related problems and recommends products to patrons daily
The adult shop U4Ria is tucked away in a corner on the second level of Midpoint Orchard. It sells sex toys, with the shelves full of dildos and other products.
While the topic of sex toys still makes many Singaporeans uncomfortable, U4Ria store manager Lincoln Chua has noticed more locals visiting his shop and buying products in recent years.
He told The New Paper: "Early on, customers found it difficult to enter the shop, much less ask intimate questions. But thanks to the Internet, they are more candid with their desires these days."
Mr Chua, 50, who has 18 years of experience in the industry, joined U4Ria in 2000 believing there was potential in the sex toy market here.
He likens himself to a "consultant" who ensures that customers buy the right product for their issues, which vary according to age and gender.
For example, inexperienced men in their 20s might experience premature ejaculation while those in their 40s and 50s could suffer from erectile dysfunction due to stressful lifestyles.
Most of the sex toys are for women, who make up 55 per cent of customers.
Said Mr Chua: "Thanks to recent BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) thrillers like the Fifty Shades movies, products such as blindfolds and whips have grown popular among women."
Sales of inconspicuous app- and remote-controlled vibrators are growing as more women become increasingly adventurous, he added.
Keeping identities secret is crucial for him to be trusted by customers, who include local celebrities, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and tourists from neighbouring countries.
Said Mr Chua: "I do not judge because these are regular people like you and me."
He believes that U4Ria is a safe haven for erotic questions to be asked and describes it as an educational place.
Said Mr Chua: "I get satisfied when customers tell me that our products have fulfilled their wants and needs. (These are) intimate things that mainstream retail shops can never provide."
Secrets of the trade
- Empathy: Empathise with customers' sex-related problems. These can be pressing issues that lower their self-esteem and cause frustration.
- Customer satisfaction: Ensure that customers can satisfy their sexual desires with the most suited products, as there are no returns or refunds.
- Be warm and welcoming: Break the ice with customers who might be in an adult shop for the first time. Assure them it is a safe place for sex education and for taboo questions to be asked.