How to Start a Sex Toy Business: Choosing the Right Model for Success

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The decision to start a sex toy business is a venture that combines the thrill of entrepreneurship with the satisfaction of contributing to sexual wellness and education. In an industry that is both lucrative and full of barriers due to stigma and censorship, choosing the right business model is crucial.

This article evaluates various adult business models for starting your own sex toy business, including sex toy dropshipping, operating brick-and-mortar sex toy stores, launching a sex toy party business, sex toy affiliate marketing, and the enticing option of starting your own sex toy line.

Online sex toy business / Sex toy dropshipping

Sex toy dropshipping from vibrator company plusOne.
Many sex toy distributors offer dropshipping for adult products. plusOne vibrators are available in many retail stores across Canada and the United States.

What is sex toy dropshipping?

In a dropshipping model, a sex toy retailer can operate an online sex toy business without maintaining an inventory of products. When a customer orders a product, the retailer purchases it from a third-party supplier, who then ships it directly to the customer.

There’s no need to operate a physical sex toy store and interact with customers face-to-face. This model is particularly appealing in the sex toy market for consumers and businesses alike due to its discretion and privacy.

The sex toy drop shipping model is also popular among online entrepreneurs in the sex toy industry because it requires low initial investment and reduces the need for storage space.

However, you need to do your research and find a reliable sex toy distributor you can trust to deliver products quickly, discreetly, and in good condition.


  • Low Start-up Costs: Starting a sex toy dropshipping business requires minimal capital and overhead costs. There’s no need to invest heavily in inventory, making it an accessible option for many.
  • Reduced Risk: Since you’re not committing to buying stock upfront, the risk involved is significantly lower.
  • Privacy and Anonymity: Dropshipping allows for a high level of privacy, as the store owner doesn’t need to handle the products directly. Sex toy customers often prefer to buy this way to avoid face-to-face interactions with strangers in stores.
  • Wide Product Selection: Retailers can offer a diverse range of products without the need for large storage spaces.
  • Scalability: Without the constraints of physical inventory and storage, scaling up a dropshipping business is relatively straightforward.


  • High Competition/Low Visibility: The low barrier to entry for sex toy dropshipping means you will likely face a lot of competition or trouble gaining visibility without a marketing strategy.
  • Dependency on Suppliers: The reputation of your store can be heavily dependent on your suppliers’ product quality, stock shortages or shipping delays, over which you have little control.
  • Lower Profit Margins: With a lot of competition and price cutting, profit margins can be slim.
  • Payment Processor Challenges: Running an online-only store with dropshipping can come with extra headaches since payment processors concerned about money laundering are more likely to flag it as high-risk.

Ideal For: Entrepreneurs looking to enter the sex toy market with limited capital and who value discretion in their business operations.

Brick-and-mortar sex toy stores

stag shop adult sex store canada
The Stag Shop is a Canadian adult business that sells sex toys both online and in physical retail stores. Photo Credit: Stag Shop Waterloo.

A brick-and-mortar sex toy store operates from a physical location, offering customers a tangible shopping experience.

This adult business model creates a safe and welcoming space for customers to explore and physically interact with products before purchase, enhancing the shopping experience and potentially boosting sales.

While physical sex toy stores incur more traditional business costs like rent, utilities, and staff salaries, they can build a loyal local customer base and offer a more personalized shopping experience.


  • Personalized Customer Experience: Provides opportunities for staff to offer guidance and education, enhancing the shopping experience.
  • Immediate Product Access: Customers appreciate the ability to see and feel products before purchase.
  • Community Presence: Establishing a local store can build a loyal customer base and serve as a community resource for sexual wellness.


  • Higher Overheads: Operating costs such as rent, staffing, and utilities are considerable.
  • Location Dependency: Success heavily relies on store location and local market demographics.
  • Privacy Concerns: Some customers might prefer more anonymity than a physical store can offer.

Ideal For: Entrepreneurs who want to create a community-centric store and are willing to invest more in creating a welcoming physical space.

Sex toy party business

eros et compagnie adult sex toy party business
Eros et Compagnie is a successful sex toy party business with 27 physical stores across Quebec. Photo Credit:

The sex toy party business model combines direct sales with an intimate, social setting. Often compared to Tupperware parties of the past, these events are often hosted in a private home where a representative showcases a range of sex toys, lingerie, and other adult products to a group of invited guests.

“Home party is the best marketing tool you can get,” says marketing specialist Bruce of

Bruce boasts nearly two decades of experience in the sex toy industry and has trained 500 women to host home sex toy parties. He adds they can be great selling tools for both online and physical sex toy stores.

“You can open a store and you won’t have to wait three years to be profitable.”

Home sex toy parties are not just about selling products; they are also about creating a comfortable environment where attendees can learn about sexual wellness and explore products without the stigma often associated with adult stores.


  • Personalized Experience: Provides a comfortable and private setting for discussing and purchasing adult products.
  • Direct Customer Interaction: Facilitates direct feedback and engagement with customers.
  • Networking Opportunities: Great for building a network and expanding clientele through personal connections.
  • Low Overhead Costs: Unlike a physical store, this model has minimal overhead costs.
  • Flexible Schedule: Representatives can schedule parties according to their own availability.


  • Limited Reach: The audience is limited to the host’s network and the number of people the venue can accommodate.
  • Dependency on Hosts: Success heavily relies on finding hosts willing to open their homes for these parties.
  • Inconsistent Income: Sales can vary significantly from one party to another, affecting income stability.
  • Social Dynamics: Navigating different personalities and comfort levels at parties can be challenging.
  • Market Saturation Risks: In areas with many representatives, market saturation can limit potential sales.

Ideal For: The sex toy party business model is ideal for individuals who are comfortable with direct sales, have strong communication skills, and are passionate about sexual wellness and education. It suits those who enjoy social interactions and are adept at creating engaging, informative, and comfortable environments for discussing adult products.

Start a sex toy line

alex fima velvet thruster avn 2018 demo showcases how to start a sex toy business
Seen in this January 2018 photo at the AVN Novelty Expo, Alex Fima (right) showcased his then-newly started sex toy line Velvet Thruster.

For those with a creative vision and a passion for sexual wellness, starting your own sex toy line can be a rewarding option.

This business model goes beyond mere retail, allowing you to design and manufacture unique products that truly embody your brand’s ethos.

Your brand will also need to embrace the role of a sex educator in order to sell your sex toys. Education is a critical step for acquiring customers among all business models but may be even more important to make a new sex toy stand out in a saturated market.


  • Creative Control: Enjoy complete authority over product design and innovation.
  • Higher Profit Potential: Owning your product line can lead to more significant profit margins.
  • Brand Building: Establish and grow your own brand in the sexual wellness industry.


  • Initial Investment: Requires a substantial upfront investment in R&D, manufacturing, and marketing.
  • Market Risks: There is always the risk of products not resonating with the target market. Do you research before launching!
  • Competitive Challenges: Standing out in a competitive market can be daunting, requiring strategic planning and execution.

Ideal For: This business model is perfect for creative minds eager to dive into the world of sexual wellness, offering innovative products. It suits those who are passionate about designing and eager to navigate the complexities of product development, marketing, and brand establishment.

Sex toy affiliate marketing

sex toy affiliate programs on shareasale
Several sex toy affiliate programs are available to join on ShareASale. Affiliates can sign up to promote sex toy brands for a commission, and sex toy merchants can list their sexual wellness products and deals.

While sex toy affiliate marketing is not the same as having your own online sex toy store, it may appeal to people with an established online publication or social media presence.

Sex toy affiliate marketing is a digital marketing strategy where individuals or companies promote sex toys or related products on behalf of a retailer or manufacturer. As an affiliate, you earn a commission for each sale made through your unique referral link within a set time period. This model is popular in the e-commerce world, including the adult industry, due to its low entry barriers and potential for passive income.


  • Low Start-Up Costs: There’s little to no cost to join most affiliate programs.
  • Passive Income Potential: Once your referral links are in place, they can generate income round the clock.
  • No Inventory or Logistics: You don’t have to worry about stock management or shipping, as this is handled by the retailer.
  • Flexibility: You have the freedom to choose which products to promote and how to market them.
  • Wide Audience Reach: The online nature of this business allows you to reach a global audience.


  • Dependence on Third Parties: Your income depends on the affiliate program’s terms and the company’s product quality and reputation.
  • High Competition: The ease of entry means many affiliates may be promoting the same or similar products.
  • Income Variability: Earnings can fluctuate based on market trends, product demand, and your marketing effectiveness.
  • SEO and Marketing Skills Required: Success often requires good digital marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills to drive traffic to your links.
  • Niche Market Limitations: The adult nature of the products can limit where and how you can advertise.

Ideal For: Sex toy affiliate marketing is a great fit for those who have a knack for digital marketing and a desire to work in the adult industry without the complexities of handling products directly. It’s especially suitable for individuals with an established online presence or those willing to invest time in building one.

Ready to start a sex toy business?

a colorful assortment of wellness products for pelvic floor health

Choosing the right model for a sex toy business involves weighing factors like investment capacity, market understanding, and personal preferences.

Thorough research and a clear understanding of your target market are essential in making a decision that aligns with your business goals and customer needs.

An online shop that operates using sex toy dropshipping offers easy entry with low costs, while brick-and-mortar sex toy stores provide a tactile customer experience with higher overheads.

Sex toy party businesses are fantastic marketing tools and work well for social people with direct selling skills. Sex toy affiliate marketing may appeal most to online influencers and content creators.

As for starting your own sex toy line, it’s not just about selling products; it’s about creating a brand and making a statement in the industry.

Which sex toy business model is right for you?

Author: Jenna Owsianik
Jenna Owsianik is a Canadian sexual health journalist and sextech business advisor. She is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Sex For Every Body®, an adult sex ed publication that celebrate sexual and body diversity. From 2014 to 2022, she was Editor-in-Chief of, the world’s leading publication on how technology is changing human sexuality, today and tomorrow. A trained journalist with a Masters of Journalism from The University of British Columbia, Jenna’s reporting has appeared on, Al Jazeera English, CTV British Columbia online, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS 60 Minutes, Global News, and CKNW Radio in Canada and the United States.