Valentine’s Day entrepreneurs
Sweet & spicy
Claire Sawers meets two entrepreneurs who have very different experiences of Valentine’s Day
Michelle Aaron, cupcake baker from Glasgow
Everybody loves to see a cupcake. If I’m selling them at a craft fair, people always stop and smile. I guess they evoke childhood memories and look fun. All that sticky frosting and sweet indulgence – there’s a guilt factor too, but it’s contained in one neat little portion. You’re not committing to a whole slice of cake.
For Valentine’s Day I use lots of pink, and sparkles, or maybe white chocolate or fondant hearts. I also do a range of naked gingerbread people, which are popular at this time of year. Good food would always be part of my ideal Valentine’s Day. Especially a cake baked for me by someone else. Chocolate with raspberry buttercream icing is my favourite. Eating together is very sensual anyway, but cupcakes add an element of fun. You cannot eat a cupcake in a delicate way. You have to lick your fingers, peel off the wrapper, use your hands …
Lucy Tanat Jones runs Organic Pleasures
After Christmas, Valentine’s Day is our busiest time of the year. I describe the shop as an ‘eco-erotic boutique for women’ and hopefully it’s as far away from the tacky, sleazy image of ‘sex shops’ as we can get. I don’t sell any pornography for example. I prefer to focus on women’s health, pleasure and confidence – in a totally non-intimidating atmosphere.
We sell everything from candles and massage oils, to feather ticklers and playful lingerie, or sex toys and vibrators. We get the occasional group of teenage girls who’ll come in and giggle, but hopefully we’re presenting the more grown-up, mature side of sex, and making people feel comfortable about experimenting and having fun. One of our bestsellers is a clitoral stimulant from a Swedish company called Lelo. It looks fantastic – like something designed by Bang and Olufsen or something. It’s USB chargeable too, which is a nice, quirky touch. I’ve also started offering gift vouchers for boudoir portraits, so people can treat themselves or offer it to their partner. It’s a photo session in a boutique hotel, wearing whatever you like – a glamorous corset, maybe a peephole bra and burlesque knickers – or totally nude if you prefer. It’s a chance to see yourself looking amazing.
Love and sex should be all about pleasure and the senses. My idea of a good Valentine’s Day would be drinking champagne by a cosy fireside. If you’re with someone special, it doesn’t matter where you are. The important thing is feeling relaxed. Maybe the champagne would lead to a little massage, and after that, who knows?