Letter from The Editor – 50th Article
I can hardly believe it, but this is the fiftieth article in Bonjibon Magazine. Fifty articles since our launch on November 22nd, 2019. What has been happening behind the scenes, you ask? A whirlwind would be an understatement. This exciting landmark seems like an opportune time to share some of what we've been doing!
Finding our Place
In December 2020, we took off in a way we had only hoped for. We went from a small storage locker in Grace's building downtown Toronto to sharing a last minute space that was vacant for COVID-19. Finally, with help from a wonderful realtor, we found a long term commercial space. We couldn't be happier to have Bonjibon HQ!
When we launched, we had four articles: A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning your Toys, Sex Toys: A Breakdown, Lube 101: Your Ultimate Shopping Guide, and How to Use Your Sex Toys. We slowly branched out from there to cover all kinds of topics, from personal experience stories to identifying red flags in relationships. We have been lucky to share work from folks with diverse backgrounds and experiences to enrich our understanding of sexual wellness, and hopefully our readers, too. We have developed relationships with incredible and inspiring writers who we are so grateful to work with.
Business and Social Media Barriers
As we grow as a business and online, we have come up against all kinds of barriers. This is one of the facets of activism that we participate in through Bonjibon. These included
- Not being able to use full Wave accounting software due to the “nature of our business.” AKA Wells Fargo will not work with any sex related industries, from sex workers to sex toys sales.
- Obtaining insurance was a nightmare. We are paying far more than comparable businesses are for the same insurance (again) because the funds controlling policies do not want to work with the “sex industry.”
- Facebook and Instagram censorship. As soon as we existed online, we were stripped of branding tools on Instagram and Facebook. We’ve been prohibited from buying ads on both Facebook and Instagram, despite the fact that they can target audiences 18+.
- Tik Tok censorship. Grace’s success on TikTok was huge in helping our business grow, and she is so heavily censored now that about 50% of her videos are taken down, even if they don’t violate community guidelines.
The Bonjibon Initiative
We launched the Bonjibon Initiative in May 2020. We’ve figured a lot out. At first, we donated 10% of profits through the Bonjibon Initiative. We soon found out that that wasn’t enough for us – as a growing business, we don’t have profit to donate from. So we sat down and decided to commit a lump sum each quarter that is much larger than 10% of our profits would be. This way we can ensure that we aren’t nominally donating – we’re donating actual money to help. Since the Initiative launch, we've donated over $10 000 to social organizations across Canada.
We launched Bonjibon originally on Wordpress and WooCommerce. We soon found out that hosting wasn’t going to work for us through surges, and that there was a lot to be said for a centralized program that helps manage inventory, etc… So we decided to relaunch on Shopify. Grace painstakingly rebuilt the site from the ground up. Grace, Mr. Bonjibon (John), and I distance work binged from afar and forwarded all of our old links to the new ones, and in February, we relaunched (mostly) seamlessly.
Both Grace and I have encountered both validating and challenging responses online. For instance, Grace received a significant pushback for saying "people with their periods" in a TikTok, and spent significant energy delivering education and drawing boundaries around gendered language. Additionally, anti-maskers (verbally) attacked her in response to a video encouraging people to wear masks through drive-throughs. In order to protect her message, she had to engage with the nay-sayers to either to talk it out or delete their comments.
I only recently started participating online in a more visible way through my instagram at @katie.bonjibon. I am dealing with online harassment for the first time. Dick picks, graphic messages about what they'd like to do to me, and more. I am reminded of times in my life when I was oppressed and powerless, and simultaneously empowered to keep putting myself out there and therefore invalidate their efforts. I'm also really enjoying engaging with the online audience on a personal level and not just behind the scenes.
One thing is for sure, our clients and readers mean the world to us. What would you like to see from us in the upcoming months and years?