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Betty's Toy Box
Carolyn started Betty's Toy Box in 2014. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Betty's Toy Box?
Before Betty’s Toy Box, we had built a healthcare marketplace pairing patients with doctors who were accepting patients. Over the 5 years, it became one of the most visited health-related sites in Canada. In 2014, after 5 years of operating the marketplace, we sold it to a digital media company.
After selling the company, my partners and myself knew we wanted to stay in online marketplaces and wanted to continue to match people with things of personal and health-related value. It did not take us long to settle on pleasure products. Our feeling was that, although there seemed to be an increased comfort level with sex toys amongst our peers, particularly with my female friends, there were few online shopping options that were not intimidating, overly sexualized, or non-representative of our own demographic. That was when we knew we had to build Betty’s Toy Box.
While we didn’t have direct professional experience in this area, we did have an understanding of eCommerce and online marketing from our previous start-up. We had also been tinkering with Shopify and knew this was a wonderful platform for us to try out a store without a massive capital investment.
Deciding on the brand and the face of the site was a stroke of inspiration. I had recently watched a documentary on Bettie Page and loved the classic pinup aesthetic of innocent sexuality. I felt that it would appeal to customers and convey the playful, fun, and non-threatening feel that my partners and I wanted for the website.
Researching distributors was critical. With our drop-shipping model, it was important to find reliable distributors who carried high-quality products and shipped them with the utmost discretion and reliability. We were able to find a distributor who fit the bill right from the start and has since taken on more distribution partners as the business has grown.
The success did not come overnight. It was a long and slow build that involved an incredibly steep learning curve. We made it a priority to focus as much on educating ourselves and our staff as we do our customers. With each customer email, live chat, review, or social media comment, we learn how to be a better resource for those who visit our store.
Now, with three consecutive industry nominations for Online Retailer of the Year, we feel that there is no limit to what we can achieve. We have built a community of customers, educators, staff, and pleasure product industry experts who all help us grow and make us better daily. That is our proudest achievement over the last 7 years.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story