Inside The Nookie, an incredibly chic sex shop on College
A sophisticated new sex shop called The Nookie has just landed at College and Ossington. The idea for the boutique was sparked over a decade ago, when owner and social psychologist Veronica Kazoleas was studying female sexuality, and found that women don’t always feel empowered to fully express themselves in the bedroom. “There’s still this underlying notion that women can’t want sex, that it’s something that’s given to men,” she explains. She quit her cushy corporate gig in healthcare reform a year ago, and spent most of 2016 in research mode, attending every sex conference possible, touring Amsterdam’s Red Light District and even accidentally signing up for an orgy.
At The Nookie, Kazoleas wanted to create a space in which women could feel comfortable asking questions and learning about new tools to improve their sex life—whether it’s a vibrator disguised as a necklace or an all-natural arousal gel. “I don’t want people to feel dirty looking at sex toys,” she explains. The luxe space is the antidote to standard sex shops (think: the Stag Shop or Seduction), and favours handcrafted lace lingerie—like affordably priced lacy bralettes and bodysuits from Toronto brand With Love Lingerie—over crotchless panties, and luxurious massage and bath products over cheap novelty toys. The goods are mostly Canadian and everything is 100 per cent body safe and made from high-quality materials like wood, silicone and glass. Propped up behind every single sex toy on display (and there are a lot) is a detailed framed sheet of instructions and suggestions written up by Kazoleas herself.
The shop’s decor is mostly from Urban Barn and Ikea. The space used to be a convenience store and, briefly, a dispensary. Kazoleas spent about a month doing renovations:
“I like to call it, ‘How deep do you want to go?’” says Kazoleas about the store’s layout. The entrance is decorated with non-threatening gifts, games, books, condoms and lube, while the back is filled with more adventurous vibrators, dildos and bondage accessories. Near the front, shoppers will find things like this sex-position colouring book ($19):
Also in this section are playful hankies ($12):
BC brand Barefoot Venus handmakes luxe massage oils, lotions and bath salts using botanical ingredients:
Kazoleas has tons of ideas for fun in-store events. In addition to full-service bachelorette parties with sex talks and lingerie discounts, she’s also interested in running a flavoured lube and wine pairing. “I need to find a good sommelier,” she says:
This pretty necklace is actually an undercover vibrator from Crave ($140). Kazoleas says it’s great for travelling, as no one would ever guess what it is. It’s also engravable:
“Everyone is really kink-curious these days. People are willing to try more traditionally taboo things,” says Kazoleas. This wall displays kinky accessories like whips, collars and handcuffs:
Toronto designer Aslan Leather makes these harnesses ($110—$200) with a lifetime warranty. He also runs kink workshops:
These gold bracelets ($34) easily convert into handcuffs for spontaneous play:
Kazoleas predicts this kink kit ($80) will be popular come Valentine’s Day. It includes a blindfold, handcuffs, nipple clamps and a flogger—all made with supple leather, suede and brass. The bondage tape ($18) is reusable and only sticks to itself:
Kazoleas says this stainless steel “PFun Plug” from Njoy ($140) always freaks people out. “Even my gay friends are like, I wouldn’t put that anywhere!”
Eyes Wide Shut—style masks ($40) are masquerade party–appropriate: