Introducing Lucy Litwack, the owner and operator of luxury sexy boutique, Coco de Mer who explains what it takes to keep an erotic emporium flourishing in the sextech age.
What is Coco de Mer and how did you get into it?
Coco de Mer is a luxury lingerie and erotica brand, founded in 2001 by Sam Roddick, with a flagship boutique in London’s Covent Garden. In May 2017, after three years as Managing Director, I completed an Management Buy Out of the business.
Coco de Mer’s name was gathered from an exotic plant whose seed bears a striking resemblance to the intimate female form. Coco de Mer is where the delicious combination of sensuality, fashion and erotica come together to form a decadently heady mix. There is something very special about Coco de Mer. It has the perfect combination of luxury fashion with an erotic edge. Coco de Mer is a place for people to delve deeper into their fantasies and create the most beautiful experiences.
I am so passionate about Coco de Mer. The brand has always punched above its weight, but I still believe it is yet to realise its full potential. It has been considered a niche brand in the past but it has the potential to be so much more – a true, global luxury brand. This is why I decided to complete the MBO in 2017. After 3 years at the helm and an entire career in the lingerie industry, I knew that Coco de Mer was the brand I wanted to own and grow.
What is your vision for the future of Coco de Mer?
I see Coco de Mer as a global luxury brand continuing to uphold the importance of female pleasure and empowerment. We are developing our online sales and growing our wholesale business to help us in our desire to bring this important message to as many people as possible.
Coco de Mer has always stood for the empowerment of women and recognises the importance of female pleasure. We recently launched our campaign against the horrific practice of FGM and we will continue to support the cause globally. We feel very strongly about using the platform we have to bring about the change that is so desperately needed.
What are the key trends you’re seeing at the moment that influence your work?
I think it’s great to see how strong the message of female empowerment is at the moment as it has always been one of Coco de Mer’s core values. We work tirelessly to champion this message and this is a key influence in our work.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
A film director (I love film) or a restaurant critic (eating good food for a living – the dream!) or the owner of a dog rescue home. But lingerie and erotica ended up being my passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else (although rescuing dogs is still my retirement plan).
When it comes to sex, what’s the one thing you wish everyone knew?
Sex is often more than a physical act – the mind is one of the most important sexual organs, and to have intimacy, touch and closeness is often just as important as an orgasm. It’s all about good communication. And we need to be real with our partners and ourselves. If we regularly fake orgasms, this gives our partner the impression that what happened caused us to feel pleasure. This positive reinforcement means the same will inevitably happen again and again. Don’t let it!
How do you think the industry has changed in the past 5 years?
There has been more interest in the exploration of sex and Coco de Mer has responded with different outlets of education to ensure that sex is pleasurable, fun and safe for all participants. Attitudes have really opened up regarding sex and pleasure in the past five to ten years and people are more confident in claiming their own pleasure.
Fifty Shades of Grey provided a step change in the industry. Introducing people to the idea of using our products, it almost legitimised the process and allowed people to more openly experiment and explore their desires. Products which had been considered quite niche, were now out in the mainstream and being sold to novices who were trialling toys and bondage for the first time.
There is no doubt that the sense of touch, companionship, and intimacy are crucial in developing a happy life, so technology and eroticism have the potential and the promise to tie much more closely together. We are seeing this happening already. Whether it’s couples using smart sex toys that are designed beautifully and enable more ways of exploring pleasure together, sex dolls that are becoming increasingly more active and sophisticated, or sex-specific apps (think Tinder but much more advanced) which will allow you to meet the partner of your dreams – with all the same sexual tastes as you.
Because the rise of technology has given us both democratisation and anonymity, women specifically are finding a power in ourselves that potentially we would not have found as easily before. We are able to more freely explore, and we are increasingly able to set boundaries and exert power and demands in a way that maybe we would not have otherwise. We explore, we connect, and we feel more naturally validated in all of our needs.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to break into the industry?
Opportunities rarely come with a set of instructions. Take risks from time to time or you’ll never achieve anything. I would also say to risk more and risk earlier. My younger self had energy and time that I would happily have now. Your power to achieve, even at a very young age, is limitless. If you want to work in this industry, contact people you admire and ask for advice, offer to do work experience or internships and gather as much information as you can. Knowledge is power. This is an amazing industry and once you’re in, you will never want to leave!