If this all sounds a little garbled, please forgive me. I'm surviving on three to four hours sleep at the moment and it's taking its toll. The website for Kissalo.com, the start-up I've been hacking away at for the last three months, went live only last weekend and I'm now trying to juggle a full-time job with running a business on the side.
Kissalo is a subscription service that posts out a box of adult toys and sensual products each month. The products are chosen using an algorithm which processes all your likes and dislikes and selects the right playthings for you. The first box is usually fairly standard: some silky lubricant, a scented candle, some massage oil, a leather paddle and er... some popping candy (pictured). But depending on whether you're straight or gay, single or in a couple, and your answers to a variety of questions (can pain be a pleasure? Do you like chocolate? etc) the products become increasingly geared to your tastes.
It's early days yet - I have fewer than 20 subscribers - but I still have to get up at around 6am to take the boxes to the post office before work. I'm a web developer at a shop in Shoreditch, so I'll do a full day's work there before heading home to pack more boxes, tweak the site and work on the PR and marketing. If I'm lucky, I'm in bed by 2am.
The most important thing for me right now is to scale the business. At the moment, I'm doing everything: sourcing the products (they're all sitting in my garage right now); processing orders, coding the website, ordering the packaging and stickers, and all the PR. Once there's a steady income coming in, I can start to take on staff and maybe even start sleeping again.
I'm not the only one who's had this idea so time is of the essence. A couple of similar sites sprung up in the US within a month or so of mine. In a recession, everyone wants to stay in. That's great for a business selling sex toys! And there will probably be many more copycats springing up shortly. Websites are cheap to build if you have the knowhow: domains cost very little to buy and hosting is getting cheaper every year.
With Kissalo, I'm riding the wave of sexual revolution created by bestseller 'Fifty Shades of Grey' by E.L. James. The 50 Shades phenomena has revealed the latent appetite for titillation across this nation. Hopefully, it'll get me a few subscribers too. The British stiff upper lip has finally quivered...