Shop Canada: Interview with Cailey of La Petite Mort

le petit more my tickle trunkcailey le petit more my tickle trunk Late last year, I sat down with Cailey Root, the owner of Toronto’s very own La Petite Mort, to talk about her new store and ask the really hard questions (like whether she’d Fuck, Marry, or Kill the Tantus Rumble). The store is online-based, catering exclusively to Canadians looking for beautiful, body-safe toys without having to go south of the border. She offers a wide selection of curated toys, as well as lingerie, lube, and my favourite – art! Check out La Petite Mort for your Canadian sex toy needs!

Why sex toys? What set you on a journey to start your own shop?
I’ve always wanted to have my own store; I’ve worked a lot of retail, I have a background in fashion and business, and it kind of seemed like the right fit, but I never knew what I wanted to sell. When I started buying sex toys, I really found that I didn’t understand what I was buying, and these websites had a million of the same-looking things at different price points. Like, what’s the difference? It was intimidating and overwhelming, so I started with just a curated collection of things that I thought looked nice, but once I started reading more about toxic sex toys, I was like “Oh, I could actually do something good here” and made sure I’m only selling things that I can guarantee are safe to put in your body. So then I totally nerded out and went full force with that, and, here we are.

Body safe toys are obviously important to you. When did you learn about sex toy safety? Did you have any first-hand horror stories?
I had bought piles of sex toys online without really knowing any better, and I just sort of accepted the fact that I was like, a sensitive person. Like with cheap condoms, I always sort of thought that it was normal for it to feel uncomfortable
Which, when you say it out loud, sounds ridiculous!
Exactly! But then you try something better and you’re like, “Oh, you’re not supposed to feel it at all!” The average consumer is trusting you that it’s safe to be in or around your body but that’s not the case, which is really really terrifying and frustrating.

Do you remember your first sex toy?
I do, because I was more mid-twenties when I was discovering sex toys, and it was the Magic Wand, so I was immediately spoiled.
Damn, lucky!
I know, which really ruined vibrators for me because any other one I turned on was like, this is nothing. That’s why I read a lot of reviews, that’s why I freakin’ love sex blogs, so I can get other peoples’ perspectives on things, ‘cause I know that I’m just the type of person who likes the high-powered beast in terms of vibrators. But other people are different, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re offering.

Who are your favourite sexual figures or bloggers?
I think my absolute favourite is Dangerous Lilly, with all the testing and setting dildos on fire and everything. It’s just really informative and very brutally honest, and I love that in a blog, when you can trust their opinion. Some are just like “Yay I got free sex toys! It’s great! It’s great!” Like oh, but is it?
I love Oh Joy Sex Toy as well, it’s just so accessible, in the comic format and everything. I love that they have a very diverse group of people in the comic, so it’s a lot more accessible. I enjoy that.

How large is your personal sex toy collection?
It’s not very big! It’s all relative, but I estimate I probably only have like 20 toys personally. I found that I’ve thrown out a lot too, and I definitely get obsessed with a certain toy so it’s hard to move on and try something new.
Yeah I’m the same. I probably have upwards of over 70 toys (not including bondage), so I like what I like, so it’s like, I have 70, but I’d be happy with just these 5.
Yeah I definitely have a solid 5 in my general rotation
Those are reliable ones. It’s not like, you’re doing to sit down and work for your orgasm today.
Exactly. You don’t always want to work for it.
Just get it over with.

I for one am huge on organization and trying to find new ways to store my toys. How do you store yours? Bags? Nightstand? Boxes?
I just keep mine in my nightstand. I have all my cutesy bondage stuff pinned to my wall above my bed.

How do you choose your products for the site? I know it starts from your own preferences, but now that it’s a business, are you putting research into it more, or is it still just more your own curated collection?
It’s definitely a lot of research. I spend several hours every day just researching, and anytime I see something new on my supplier’s sites I’ll just Google it and look up reviews and look for reviewers to get an idea if it’s worth selling, body safe, all that – that’s very important to me. I read so much, and then from reading everyone’s blogs and such, if I find it has great reviews all around, then I’ll go out of my way to try and source it

My favourite thing about your website is the art section; it has so many things I’ve never seen anywhere else.  What made you want to include this aspect? How did you and the artists get involved?
The art was the second biggest inspiration for opening La Petite Mort because I have friends that do cool, sex-positive art, and I was talking to them like, “I’m thinking of opening a sex store, I think it’d be cool to have art!” I didn’t really realize that no one else was doing that, and of course, they’re artists, so they’re super stoked to pawn off their art because they don’t want to have to sell it themselves. My partner {at the time} does the BDSM Bear paintings, so that’s super helpful, and my really good friend Gordon does the stained glass pieces.
Those are my favourite!
I just got him to do these Magic Wand ones that are so gorgeous* I’m going to be adding someone soon that does sex positive comics as well! There’s a lot in the works.

Where would you like to see the shop down the road? New items? Expanding? What’s your ideal situation?
One of my goals is to get my site in French as well, just because I really do want to focus on having in Canada. I have a lot of requests to sell outside the country, but it doesn’t really seem reasonable for me. That’s something that I’m considering for the future, but just trying to hold off for now. Having a bi-lingual site would be great, to have a proper Canadian store. I want to have, as much as possible, Canadian artists, and people in the country who make their own sex toys.
That’s great to hear a kind of home-grown approach.
Well because we’re always competing with the states, and it’s impossible! I don’t want to deal with customs, or ding people with duty charges, and our dollar sucks. It’s just easier for for me this way and I can just focus on providing good content and products if I just don’t deal with that for now.

Does your family know what you do? How do you handle that?
Yeah! I was super scared to tell my family, I didn’t know how they’d react. They’re generally pretty cool. My mom has been ridiculously supportive; I was like “So I just registered a business name, I’m going to start a sex shop, what do you think?” And she’s just like, “That’s so cool! How would you go about that? Would you go direct to the brands?” And she starts listing off all these sex toy brands. Like, oh, alright.
Whoa!
It’s been a lot of awkwardness between us but also a lot of support, like she’ll read something and be like “this is weird that I’m reading this about my daughter” but also like, “I’m just so proud of you, you’re clearly in your element.”
I kind of hope my family reacts like that.** Every once in a while I have a few drinks and I’m like, “I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna tell them I write about sex.” And then I sit there and think, “I remember when I told them I lost my job. That did not go well. Maybe I won’t do it.”
But with something vulnerable like that, maybe?
But then again, it could go either way. It could be super judgmental and really weird, or it could be like, “What’s the website? I want to read it!”
I told my mom today that I was doing this interview and she was like, “send me the link so I can read it after! I mean, if you think I should read it…” My mom definitely knows too much about me now.
It’s almost a positive thing though – the more people talk about it…
It’s normalizes it! I feel so much closer to my mom now, we do have a different relationship now because that’s broken the barrier of being able to talk about sexual wellness and all that. She works in a plastics lab so she’ll talk to me about all the chemistry and stuff of that. She gets that, it’s really great.

I know when I started the blog, I spent my first few months fucking up because I was still learning, albeit in a very public manner. Is there something you’ve learned along the way that felt like an epic fail?
There’s been a couple blips here and there. I tend to be a very open person, because it’s so much easier to get along when you’re open, so on my personal Facebook, I talk about my mental health issues a lot, and I had people writing in my store’s contact form like, “this is really unprofessional, how can anybody take you seriously?” I got really upset about that because yeah, it was my personal Facebook page, but I also don’t want to represent my business as just a wall and not a person. This is me, it’s my baby, and I’m not ashamed of it. I think everyone struggles, and I do believe that the more we talk about it, the easier it gets for everybody and people don’t feel so alone. So that was really hard, and there was a period of time where I was getting a lot of abusive messages in my contact form on my site. I got one where it said it was from “my boyfriend” and just said, “we need to break up.” {it wasn’t}, and then another one that said that I must have a million STDs and that there’s only two genders “you dumbass.” But whatever. I just try to be professional, but be myself.

I’m always writing my blog with my former, less-educated self in mind. What’s one piece of sex advice you would give your former self?
I would just yell at myself, “It’s not okay for your vagina to burn!” or “Buy better condoms, you moron!”

Assuming you’re on an island surrounded by lube, what 3 toys would you have with you?
I like this island.
I would bring the Tantus Vamp, because it’s my favourite little fake vampire dildo. I literally put it {on La Petite Mort}, thinking it was the most ridiculous marketing ever with its cream and sparkles and thinking “Ah some fan of Twilight will buy this” and then… I was the only one who bought it. I was just staring at it like… yeah. I love it.
My most popular seller is the glass, totally-not-Sailor-Moon dildo, so I’d bring that. I love glass, and it’s great.
And then I’d pick my Magic Wand, make it into a boat, and vibrate off into the sunset.
Ah yes, but it plugs into the wall.
Dammit!
It’s okay. The island has one electric socket. And a giant extension cord.

*Writer’s note: check out the Magic Wand stained glass here! I bought one and it’s beautiful!
**Writer’s note: I’m happy to report that some time after this interview, I did tell my Mum, and she, too, was incredibly proud and supportive. And yes, she did ask for the website. I politely declined.

Sex Toy Fuck, Marry, Kill

For the sake of the interview, I created a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill for sex toys. It’s all broken down into categories and yes, technically the answer to all of them is fuck.

le petit more my tickle trunk

Wands:
Magic Wand Original
Magic Wand Rechargeable
Tantus Rumble

I’m going to fuck the Rechargeable, marry the Magic Wand Original. Even though it’s ugly as sin, it has a beautiful soul. And I’m going to kill the Rumble, just because I haven’t tried it! I’m sorry!

le petit more my tickle trunk

Glass Wands:
Celestial Dream
Frisky Business
Heart Of Glass

This should be easy. They’re all more or less the same, but with fancy end pieces!
Oh no, my babies! Alright, I’m gonna fuck the Sailor Moon. I mean… the not-Sailor-Moon… and marry the cat, because I love cats of course, and kill the heart.
Because you can get what you need from the cat and the moon.

le petit more my tickle trunk

Njoy Dildos:
Njoy Eleven
Njoy Pure Wand
Njoy Fun Wand

I’m going to fuck the Eleven, just for the luxury and just to say I did it. I’m going to marry the Pure wand. And I’m killing the fun because… fuck Fun.

le petit more my tickle trunk

G-Spot Vibrators:
Tantus ProTouch
JimmyJane Intro6
Jopen Opal Glass Vibrator
Fuck the Jopen {we both giggle at how neither of us are positive if we’re pronouncing this right}, I’m going to marry the Tantus, and then I’m gonna kill the Jimmyjane. They have a higher quality line. If it was the Form series, I might have married it.

le petit more my tickle trunk

Plugs:
Tantus Ryder
Doc Johnson Jeweled Butt Plug
Njoy Pure Plug

I’m going to fuck the Tantus, marry the Pure, and kill the jewel! Oh no, it’s so pretty! Oh well.

le petit more my tickle trunk

Lube:
Sliquid H2O
Sliquid Silk
Sliquid Sassy

Fuck the Sassy, marry the Silk, and kill the H2O

Impact Play:
Flogger
Paddle
Riding Crop

Between the three, what are your bondage preferences?
Aw dammit. Hmm… I’m going to fuck the silicone paddle. I love a good paddle, but I’m going to marry the flogger, because I feel like that’s easier to take, long-term. And I’m just going to kill the crop. Sorry.

le petit more my tickle trunk

Paddles:
Pipedream Textured Rubber
Pipedream Extreme Silicone
Sportsheets Midnight Lace

This is easy for me. Once again I’m going to fuck this one {pointing to the silicone paddle}, I’m going to marry the treaded one because I’ve had this once since before opening my shop. It’s so mean, I love it. I have fibromyalgia, and I’ll just sit there and hit myself with it because the feeling of pain disrupts the usual chronic pain. So this is my baby. And then I’m just going to kill the lace paddle, ‘cause it’s pretty basic.

 le petit more my tickle trunk

Toys:
Vibrator
Plug
Dildo

And lastly, for the general realm of toys, would you rather, a dildo, a vibrator, or a plug?
Cry. I don’t like this question. Alright, I got it. I’m going to fuck the dildo… because you fuck a dildo. It’s the most literal one. Going to marry the vibrator, because I’m vibrator obsessed, and then I’m super sad to kill to butt plug, because I like butt plugs, but sorry. Another sacrifice.

The hour-long conversation about cats has been omitted from this interview.

Check out Cailey’s all-Canadian, sex-positive store La Petite Mort!

le petit more my tickle trunk

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