On this morning's Jennifer Zamparelli show on 2FM, Jennifer was joined on the line with Calandra Balfour, a woman who owns and runs a chain of sex shops in the UK with her husband ... and her husband's ex-wife and their (grown-up) children.
The modern family have been the subject of an eye-opening documentary on Channel 4 called A Very British Sex Shop, which documents the day to day business of a sex shop as well as the family dynamic. Describing the unusual set-up, Calandra praised her husband, Tim, and his ex, Nancy, for keeping the family together.
"Tim left Nancy for me," she explained. "So she had a lot to be pissed off about with me, really, and I totally don't blame her. We had to get over quite a lot. It took some time but we're there now in the end. It took a good five years for it to even start to get to a good place."
We need your consent to load this Instagram contentWe use Instagram to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
Speaking bout her unconventional job, Calandra told Jen that she fell into the career by chance when a friend offered her a part-time job at their sex shop while attending university, and the role stuck.
"It just stuck so that's what I'm doing now at the age of 41," says Calandra. "I make lots of people happy and I really love helping people. I speak to women day in day out and help them to empower themselves and find their voice and find what they want and find a way of asking for what they want in the bedroom."
Describing her day to day business, Calandra insists that her job is to provide a safe space for her clients to speak about sex: "It's like a confessional almost," she mused.
"Maybe that's the wrong analogy to make but people come in and they're in a safe space where they can talk about the things that they often haven't spoken to anybody about before. That's what makes it a really special job."
Like many retailers, sex shops were thrown for a loop when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, and business owners were told to shut their doors indefinitely. Fortunately for Calandra, the lockdown ultimately led to a substantial rise in sex toy sales.
In an interview with Closer, she said: "We've had a 500 per cent increase in sales! Vibrators and BDSM gear have sold especially well. A lot of people have obviously decided to experiment. I’m thrilled that we have been able to help some people though lockdown."
Speaking about the success with Jen on 2FM, the business owner credited the documentary for the popularity of the website: "We were so fortunate that the show was aired again on Channel 4 and that just made our website the place to go.
"Tim was doing deliveries so we did local deliveries and, in some cases, people were placing an order and it would turn up on their doorstep within the hour so we've had lots of happy customers in lockdown."
Listen to the full interview on the Jennifer Zamparelli show on 2FM below:
We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences