XCritic Visits With Alison Barber of Taboo
XCritic Visits With Alison Barber of Taboo
Interview By: Bill The Hobbyist
Alison Barber of Taboo
XCritic, reviews a lot of adult movies and toys each year, along with interviewing many of the adult stars. We help our readers in deciding what to and not what to buy. I thought, it would be interesting to spend time with a business, who not only sells these products that we review, but does it in a way that stands out from many others. Here is the story and interview with Alison Barber the owner of “Taboo”, in Richmond, VA. An exciting adult retail suppler and a leading adult store in the industry.
After working at “Taboo Lingerie” for two years, a young lady with no experience in the adult industry and only 23 years old, purchases the business and has built it to one of the premier adult stores on the east coast. Now 31 years old, Alison Barber’s success can easily be transcribe from the love she has for the business, products, and her customers. She, has not been afraid to venture outside the circle with creative marketing, customer service, product lines and a place in the everyday community.
With over 6,000 dvds in stock and a unbelievable amount of adult toys, clothing and products, she is able to meet everyones sexual and naughty needs.
You may say, “big deal, many adult stores have plenty of products to offer” . You’re right others do. But, not everyone offers them in a up-scale, friendly and safe environment. Taboo, is no dingy lit store with sticky floors and perverts hanging out. Going into Taboo, is like going into any retail business, with a friendly shopping environment. The store is well put together, clean and safe. It is not unusual to see couples or just females shopping there at . The other thing is, Alison Barber and the entire staff is made up of females and are true sales associates or as Alison calls them, “The Taboo Girls”. That’s right, you won’t find some old guy with a beard down to his belly, that hasn’t showered in a week. You will find a pretty young ladies that will actually wait on you while you are shopping.
Alison & The Taboo Girls
Alison, has taken Taboo out to the public with great acceptance and gaining exposure where many would not dare to venture. Regardless, if it is her “Taboo Mobile”, driving daily on the roads, to attending and exhibiting at public events and festivals. She, portrays that porn, toys and more, is acceptable and a part of everyday life. Local business have joined with her from participating in her yearly calender to on Fridays, being on a local sports radio station with a show called “Score With Alison”.
Even, if you are just traveling through Richmond, Virginia, Taboo, should be one of your main stops. Alison and all the “Taboo Girls”, would love for you to come by. Let’s learn more about this sweet and sexy lady and the successful adult business she has built, called “Taboo”.
Alison, Thank you for visiting with me today. Let’s get started, by having you tell me how Taboo came to be?
What's now Taboo opened in 1999 as Taboo Lingerie. It was 80% lingerie, with a small toy section and no movies. I worked there as a sales associate for two years and with the business struggling, I had an opportunity to buy it. The first change I made was dropping "lingerie" from the name. I brought in a ton of toys and DVDs and freshened up the apparel. Over the years I've added many different product lines, doubled floor space and have become a very active business in the greater Richmond, Virginia area. Hopefully we will be able to continue our expansion and growth, as I have been actively for the past year looking to open a second location.
One Of The Many Areas Of The Store
Since taking ownership of Taboo, I have personally seen some fantastic and positive growth over the years. We'll get into all what you do, but what constantly amazes me is your over all success. What's is your background that has not only made you very successful in a retail business, but as an adult retail business on top of it?
I studied fashion merchandising at VCU, which did help in teaching me on how to run a business. I really didn't have any background in this particular industry, aside from that I've always loved shopping at adult stores and really love and enjoy all the products (Big Smile).
You have received recognition both inside the adult industry and outside of it. What are some of the awards and recognition you have received?
We were very excited to be named Independent Adult Store of the Year in 2009 for StorErotica. We were also nominated for AVN's O Award for Best Boutique and AVN Best Boutique In The East Nominee 2011. Outside of the adult industry we were a 2010 Creativity In Business Finalist for the MUSE Awards. The MUSE Award recognizes outstanding achievement in creativity in business. It was an exciting honor to have.
Celebrating At The Store Erotica Awards
You are very active in the community both with your own events and public events. Tell me a little about them.
We often help host parties, rock shows, fashion shows, car shows, and other events. The next event we're doing is the Richmond Chili Cook Off, sponsored by The X, 102.1 FM, coming up on April 16, 2011. We always have a lot of fun there, though we got a bit carried away a couple of years ago and we're no longer allowed to bring our spanking booth! At the booth, people can pay a dollar to get spanked by the Taboo Girls. The proceeds benefit breast cancer research. By the end of the day, we're always spanking each other too! At the Cook Off, we'll have the Taboo car filled with blow up dolls and people can come by and guess how many blow up dolls were in the car to win a Taboo prize pack. We'll have the spanking booth at the Karb Kings Hot Rod Rumble in Fredericksburg on October 8! Events are a lot of fun. We enjoy hanging out with our customers and potential customers and it's a great way to get out in the community.
Taboo Girls are spanking Josh from Booty Jams Podcast at the Taboo Spanking Booth
It's interesting how an adult business is able to come to public events. I would think that some would not want an adult business an their event. Have you ever been turned down by any events?
We've never been turned down, but we've certainly been limited in what we're allowed to sell and do.
Another fun activity is "Score with Alison" every football season on Fridays at 4:40pm on Sports Radio 910. I make picks for the upcoming weekend games and callers make picks against me. If they picked more games correctly than I did, they've "scored with Alison" and they win a Taboo/Sports Radio 910 prize-pack. I really don't know anything about football and usually base my picks on the hotness of the quarterbacks and the mascots' names. The “Gamecocks” are my favorite!
"Score with Alison" Sports Radio 910. I
You also, host your own event once a year. What is that all about?
Dead Sexy Halloween Party & Fashion Show
Our event is the Dead Sexy Halloween Party & Fashion Show. We've co-hosted several similar Rock N Roll Fashion Shows with a local band, but in 2010, I decided to turn it into a Halloween party and make it 100% Taboo! It was held at the Canal Club in Richmond and was an awesome time. We had three bands, a fashion show, a costume contest, tons of give aways, and games such as bobbing for dildos and "get your balls in her mouth." We're doing it again this year on October 29th!
Bobbing For Dildos -Dead Sexy Halloween Party & Fashion Show
I noticed in the parking lot a car or should I say the "Taboo Mobile." It is quite an eye catcher. I bet you get some attention driving down the road with it. How did you come up with the idea?
My first car was an '88 Oldsmobile covered roof to ground in stickers, so I know how much attention a wall-decorated car can receive! If I got that many stares with stickers, I figured I'd strike gold with sexy female bodies pouring lube on and handcuffing each other! I started with the PRNPDLR license plate, and then shot the image and had my car wrapped!
The "Taboo Mobile"
Alison, it is amazing all that you do and how active you stay in the community with your business. You have several other things you do also. Each year you put out a Taboo Girls Calender and every Monday each week, you have "Naked Monday" at the store. Tell me a little more about each of them.
In 2009 we put out our very first calendar and with such a great response we just had to continue. The calender is shot with several different professional photographers and includes myself and the other Taboo Girls. In 2012 we will also be featuring porn star, Scout Tyler in the calendar!
The 2011 calendar was called "The Taboo Girls Do Richmond." Each month was shot at a different local business. It was great work with and represent other local businesses, and of course we had a ton of fun! Our 2012 calender will be called "The Taboo Girls At Home." We'll be doing what we do around the house: chores, baking, pillow fights, watching porn.... We actually started shooting for it back in December because I was determined to have a real Christmas tree on the December page.
Every Monday is "Naked Monday," meaning the girls wear the lingerie and outfits that we sell when we work! We love to play dress up, and it's a great way to get the week off to a fun start! We also dress up around the holidays.
Alison At Work On "Naked Monday"
Speaking of the girls who work at your store or I guess I should say "The Taboo Girls." They are always great, when I come by. How do you decide on who you hire to work at the store and become a "Taboo Girl?"
Pretty simple. They need to be sexy, confident, enjoy and get excited about the products, and be enthusiastic about sex.
So, I guess that means you are also excited with the products and enthusiastic about sex?
Oh Yes! (Very Big Smile)
You have over 6,000 dvds that you sell and rent. How do you stay organized and how do you decide what you stock?
Our DVDs are broken down into detailed genres and color-coded so that customers can easily find what they're looking for. We carry every legal fetish there is, so no one's left out! We receive new DVDs about four days a week. As far as what I bring in, I stay on top of new release recommendations from my distributors, read reviews, watch the charts on AVN.com, and listen to customers. Thought is put into what is stocked. We also accept special orders. If a customer is looking for a DVD and it's out there, I'll find it and get it in, no extra charge, no money down. I love connecting people to the porn they love!
So, speaking of reviews. Who is your favorite adult movie reviewer? (Cough, Cough)
Well, "Bill The Hobbyist" of course :)
You sell a lot of other products, which brings me to an important question. I review a lot of dvds for XCritic and go through plenty of lube while I do. Do you have a lube recommendation you can give me?
Sure Bill, come over to our lube display and let me show you.
Besides dvds and lube, what other products to you sell?
We have every toy imaginable, the newest, trendiest lingerie and dancewear, shoes, stockings, wigs, games, magazines, menswear, poppers, gag gifts, bachelorette supplies, and lots and lots of batteries! We're a pretty well-rounded adult store!
Bill The Hobbyist, trying to explain to Alison that he was used for the model on the dildo she was holding. But ,Alison didn't buy into it at all.
Your web site is http://www.taboolicious.com/. Tell me a bit about your stores site and what is on it?
The site is an introduction to the store and the Taboo Girls http://www.taboolicious.com/. You can shop online through an affiliate. My favorite part of the site is Alison's Porn Corner, where I get to review movies! There's also a pretty extensive photo gallery! To really stay in touch with that we're doing, and get weekly deals, you should find us on facebook! We're at www.facebook.com/taboolicious and also on Twitter @TabooRVA.
Alison, after sitting down with you today, I am even more impress with your business. I commend you on all what you have accomplished and you are a sweetheart in taking time to visit with me today and I thank you in letting me interview you.. As we wrap up, is there anything you would like to say to the readers, customers and potential customers?
I'd like to say "Come Visit me!" If you've never been to Taboo, I'd love to meet you, and if you haven't been by in a while, trust me, it's bigger and better than before! There's always something new!
Bill The Hobbyist Getting A Goodbye Hug From Alison. I Guess Money Can Buy You Anything At Taboo. But A Hug From Alison Is Priceless
Interview By: Bill The Hobbyist