As an integrative medicine clinic, Empower Health takes care of our clients’ health in all aspects of their life. Physical and emotional sexual health is a big part of each persons’ wellbeing, and that’s why we believe it is important to bring awareness and help our clients to make better & safe choices in this area. Fortunately, in our local community, we have Womyns’ Ware, an amazing store that takes sexual health questions as seriously as we do!
We are delighted to introduce you to the owners of Womyns’ Ware — Lesley McHale and Ann Boone. They have been best friends for 20 years. In 2013 they decided to hop off the corporate ladder and go into business together. “Spending our days celebrating sex and working with folks on their sexual empowerment journey is an amazing adventure. Every day we are grateful to our wonderful customers. We have the good fortune of working in a community that opens its arms to all folks and that’s a great place to be!” – shares Lesley. In November 2017, based on customer demand, they entered into the newest adventure together and opened the doors to their other store “Your Open Closet” – Body Positive Undergarments for All Genders. “Next venture….starting a band called The Dildo Slingers. Oh, wait, neither of us can sing” – smiles Ann.
A little bit of the background story: Womyns’ Ware Inc. was a pre-existing business, founded in March 1995 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. A woman-owned and operated business, the previous owners established it as a ‘women’s sexuality business’ in order to make a political statement. They wanted to send a message that while sex is everywhere in our society it was rarely celebrated.
Fast forward to 2014, to another two powerful women who were looking to buy a local, well-respected business, closely aligned with their own values. A business which already had a strong enough foundation to support growth and a next level evolution. Womyns’ Ware came on the market, Ann and Lesley bought it and haven’t looked back. Celebration and empowerment of women’s sexuality was all it took for the besties to begin their investigation into purchasing the store. The ongoing commitment to keeping customers healthy and informed sealed the deal!
In business since 1995, and continuing to serve folks who walked in on the first day the store opened, Lesley and Ann have a pretty darn good idea of bringing the people what they want ;) A toy that has been a constant winner since 1968, and has been in stock since day one at Womyns’ Ware, is the Original Hitachi Magic Wand. And now, the rechargeable Magic Wand; a staple in the tickle trunk of many of our customers.
The sex toy industry is not regulated at all! So Lesley and Ann are committed to sourcing body-safe toys that are manufactured using quality, “healthy materials”, meaning they don’t contain chemicals such as phthalates which are common in lower quality toys. “As a retailer, it is paramount that each product we bring in is vetted by us for the quality of materials. There are many “imposter” materials used in the sex toy industry. An example of these imposter materials would be silicone products. “Silicone like” and “food grade silicone” are NOT ACCEPTABLE. Medical grade silicone products are what you will find in our store. Medical grade silicone is non-porous, easy to clean. Many sex toys are made from jelly or rubber-like materials which leach chemicals into the body. Our lubricants are not only body-safe, but they are good for your body as well!”
Lesley and Ann also have a strong commitment to community sustainability. “There are many opportunities to support our community, and with sex-positive organizations that are aligned with our values. We have the benefit of providing product and financial donations for fundraising events and, or ongoing services. Educational institutes, arts events, and social justice initiatives are some of the areas we have chosen to support.”
Photos: Commercial Drive Business Society, Womyns’ Ware Inc.