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When Nenna Joiner first founded Feelmore Adult in 2009, nobody imagined that a sex toy company could ever become cool enough to advertise with pride. Harangued by naysayers and doubters, Nenna refused to let the cynicism block their path to success.
Nenna began Feelmore in 2009, selling custom-made sex toys out of the trunk of their car. Nenna held a romantic nostalgia for the hip-hop greats of the 90’s who worked their way from selling tapes on the street to passersby all the way to earning national acclaim with multi-platinum albums. Nenna wanted an adventure, a business that would simultaneously bring financial independence while erasing harmful stigmas about sex that keep people ignorant about their own bodies.
Nearly a decade after founding the original concept, Nenna opened Feelmore’s first brick-and-mortar store at 1703 Telegraph Avenue, making Feelmore Oakland’s first (and only) Black-owned sex store. The addition of a brick-and-mortar location was critical for Nenna, whose penchant for activism and community building couldn’t be contained to a simple online-only store.
People weren’t just attracted to Feelmore’s safe and high-quality sex toys, they were drawn to Nenna’s passion and welcoming attitude. It was exactly this kind of sincere, personal interaction that drove Nenna to pursue the expansion of the Feelmore brand into a brand new bar.
Feelmore Social Club is the latest step in Nenna’s pursuit of changing the conversation around sex. Feelmore Social Club will be a fully stocked bar themed after iconic Red Light Districts in America. Nenna is currently working with a renowned neon artist to create custom signage that evokes the image of 1970 Times Square. Nenna has even aquired a sign from one of San Francisco’s own iconic adult theatres, The Lusty Lady. Appropriately, The Lusty Lady became an important bastion for the Labor Rights movement and was one of the earliest instances in which erotic dancers banded together to unionize and bargain for better compensation.
Feelmore Social Club will be replacing Viscera, a popular clothing store, at 1542 Broadway, in Oakland. Right across the street from the Feelmore Adult store, the Social Club will be partnering with the store to offer exclusive products to bar patrons. The Social Club will also serve light bar snacks to accompany the drinks, but isn’t expected to serve anything more complicated.
At the moment, Nenna is taking things as slowly as possible, not wanting to rush into anything without being properly prepared. At the moment they’d like to open up by next January, but that date might be subject to change if there are delays in the process.