Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi, My name is Montoya “Chocolate” Walton, I’m 34yrs old, Texas-born & raised. I have 4 beautiful children & a wonderful fiance’. He’s one handsome guy! I’m a pretty outstanding woman, sort of like “SuperWoman”!
With that being said, I’m a Financial Analysis morning & I own an online Adult Shop named, Behind Chocolate Eyes, LLC. at night. That’s where my life gets interesting!
The main products we have are adult toys & lingerie, including plus size. Our customers consist of anyone over the age of 18, that likes to explore new things in the bedroom, either alone or with a partner. Even though I have been running my business for only 4 months, I’ve made $2.5k+ in total, from online purchases & my very 1st vendor event. It was an Adults only, Open-Mic Poetry event. I made roughly around $400 in 3hrs. Hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?
I have faith that my monthly income will flourish like the rest of the businesses that I’ve read about in the past. Just have to keep pushing forward & stay positive in everything that we do!
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Well, the name “Behind Chocolate Eyes” is originally the name of my autobiography that I started writing in 2004. I haven’t completed the book yet, because there’s so much more to add to it, especially with starting my own adult business. I needed a name for my business & I also needed the name “Behind Chocolate Eyes” registered. So, I basically killed 2 birds with one stone, when I named the company the same thing as my autobiography.
The only mistake I can see someone making with their business is quitting! Any other mistake can be fixed. Once you quit, you basically kill the momentum you had, in the beginning, making it hard to start over. Never quit, just take a break from time to time.
I’ve wanted to sell adult toys for a few years now, but I never had the funds to actually start. Getting a loan or grant seems impossible in this industry because no bank wants to be involved. Covid came, which had both a bad effect & a helping hand at the same time. It helped me save money, since we couldn’t go out to spend it, and at the same time, we were getting eviction notices, back to back, because my fiancé's job was cutting back on hours. So, the money was a little tight.
The only mistake I can see someone making with their business is quitting! Any other mistake can be fixed. Once you quit, you basically kill the momentum you had, in the beginning, making it hard to start over.
One day, while reading blogs, I came across a blog stating that the porn/adult entertainment industry was one of few industries that weren’t struggling to stay above water. They were actually making more money than ever! The true definition of sex sales, huh? During my research on the adult industry, I realized not only did I want to make money, but I wanted to show the world that sex shouldn’t be as taboo as people make it. It’s a natural action & it feels good to enjoy it! I guess it's safe to say the “great 2020 pandemic” made me have that “aha” moment! I didn’t have any experience working within the adult industry, so I really just took that leap of faith!
I’ve started other business adventures from making Hair Bows & Tutus for little girls to hand-painted wooden letters as room decors. Even though I have a passion and creativity for things like that, I’ve never been so happy to sell adult toys! It’s just the feeling of, “this is where I want to be & nothing or no one is going to stop me”, type of feeling! It makes me super excited just thinking about me having my own legit business & not just a side hustle.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Like I mentioned before, I did a little research on the adult industry before it was an actual hands-on type of business. So, I knew the bare minimum of what I could & couldn’t do in the state of Texas. At this point, I was just stepping out on faith & going for it!
It took me just a few hours to find a wholesale sex toy distributor, that I could trust. Another reason why I know this business is for me is that everything just flows so smoothly. The company actually offered Starter kits! How lucky could a girl get? I ordered two, which were $100 each & shipping was $100. The total was $300 for my first products ever. Delivery would take 5-7 business days, so in the meantime, I worked on my website. Which was up and running by March 14, 2021, 6 days after I received all my legal documents to actually have a business.
I thought about ordering products from Amazon, but I couldn’t find wholesale prices there. I’ve read other reviews and blog posts about how selling adult toys is illegal on Amazon, so it never crossed my mind to even sell on there as well, even though I’m not really sure if that's true or not. I always see adult toys posted there.
I went through a 3rd party company to file my legal documents because there was no way I could do it on my own, I didn’t know where to start. The 3rd party company is called Incfile. They charged about $600, but I received all my documents in 2-3weeks, so well worth every penny I spent. I went through GoDaddy to help me design my website! Which is really cool & easy to navigate, my 90yr old great-grandma could do it!
Describe the process of launching the business.
When it was time to launch my business to the world, I was a bit nervous, because I had no idea how my family & friends would accept the type of industry I was in. In reality, it really didn't matter, because this was my new journey and I was embracing it all. Good or bad.
Luckily, I had more good responses than bad! I think people that know me personally, felt like I was taking a courageous step because this industry isn’t for the weak at heart. It’s absolutely rewarding though! Once my website was ready to be published & my products were ready to be shipped out, I sent out a GRAND OPENING email (picture below) to all 5 subscribers. I have roughly around 40 today.
The anticipation was killing me because I felt this business was going to kick off as soon as I stated I was open for business! Instead, I received my first sale 4 days later & was very excited! Since March 2021, I have had an average of 37 orders. I think that’s pretty good, being open for only 4 months now.
Talking finance and launching my business, I saved approximately $1200 in one month as a startup. Like any business starting up, I didn’t know exactly how much money I needed to actually have so that was just an estimate. Which turned out to be a great start! I had enough to pay legal fees, website & products. I also worked part-time at a warehouse, so whenever I needed extra money for anything, that would come in handy.
I can say one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is that business owners have to pay taxes every quarter, basically every 3 months. I had to learn the hard way because I was late with my first quarter payment. I didn’t understand how to pay it or even where to register. Luckily, I learned quickly after paying a $50 late fee, when only owing $8.50 in taxes for the first quarter. If you can afford a Bookkeeper, I would get one just to save yourself any troubles. It’s not hard, just very time-consuming.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since launch, I’ve only been able to advertise through Facebook and Instagram for now. Those social sites have really been a help to get my business name out there. Both Facebook and Instagram have allowed me to post pictures and sales to increase traffic to my website.
With Behind Chocolate Eyes, LLC®️ being an adult industry, I can only post certain pictures and words to describe the products on both Facebook & Instagram. Which makes it a challenge sometimes, because of the content settings. Even though I post pictures that are not too sensitive, my Facebook Ads are always getting rejected. I have yet to find a way around that.
I’m very active on the social media business pages and I try to cross-post with my personal page as well, to get more people to like & follow the business page. I have almost 500 followers so far, and I plan on doubling that amount within the next month. I usually get more people to follow or order products by doing promotional sales & giveaways. Everyone loves free things!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’ll say Behind Chocolate Eyes, LLC.®️ is doing pretty well to be only operating for 4 months. It has been both very profitable & rewarding! Like I mentioned before, I’ve only made around $2.5k+ in total, but compared to other 1st timers, that’s awesome. I’m very proud of myself, especially, being a one “woman” show!
95% of my sales are through the website, the other 5% are through vendor events that I attend every so often. My social media account is growing with followers & I know without a doubt it’s going to double or even triple the following in months to come. I plan on doing more vendor events & saving up to purchase a van. In my next project, I will be making Behind Chocolate Eyes, LLC.®️ a mobile adult shop. I’m so excited to be one of the first to have that!
I plan on shipping more internationally, as well. I received my first international order a few days ago, from Texas to Italy. That was such a shock to me & a very exciting time! I also plan to expand, so maybe we’ll be able to hire in many different positions in the near future.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
There are a couple of things I would’ve done differently in the beginning. One would’ve been saving more money. Starting with $1,200 was awesome, but tripled that would’ve been a huge blessing!
The next thing I would’ve done differently is that I would’ve done more research on the state business taxes, like how to file them & when to file them. Another thing I would’ve had more vendor events set up, so I wouldn’t have to search for them at the last minute. Last, but not least I would’ve done more research on how to advertise an adult shop because that’s the main struggle right now. You can’t really say, “Hey, I sell sex toys!” and people will be fine with it. You have to make sure you're only entertaining the appropriate ages. I also learned that everyone doesn’t like adult toys, but more people than you think are curious about them. After being in this industry for 4 months, you learn to weed them out.
A few forces that were out of my control that really helped was the “LUCK” that was on my side! I took a chance with my first vendor, and the process was super easy and the products reached my home in wonderful timing. Then the second vendor I found was a local vendor that had the newest of every toy in stock, so now I have companies to choose from. With the great companies & my awesome people skills, I have this entrepreneur thing in the bag!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I use three main tools for my business, which are Square Inc. for the payments, Shippo for the shipping process, and GoDaddy for my website needs. I choose those tools because they are very easy to use & inexpensive.
Square Inc. is like my very own bookkeeper system. It keeps up with my invoices, receipts, etc. Shippo makes it easy for me to make and print labels from anywhere & to be able to ship from anywhere as well. GoDaddy is the next best thing to sex toys, pun intended. It takes you through each step to form a beautiful website for any business of your choice. It has many layouts, colors &, etc to choose from. I absolutely love it & would recommend it over anything else.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
To be honest, I haven’t read many books or listened to any podcasts that truly inspired me. I have seen a few documentaries on YouTube and I’ve read different blogs about the adult industry & they really made me push my dreams to reality. Neither one of them stated that this business would be a walk in the park, but I’m ready for whatever life throws at me. I wish I could remember the titles & authors of the documentaries & blog posts, but when I read most of them, it's because I stumbled upon them reading something else.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
One word, research! The best thing you could do before you start anything. Think of your business as your mom would think about a dish she never made before. Before she decides to just get in the kitchen and cook, she first would get more information about that dish to make it as awesome as she imagined. Meaning, she probably would look at YouTube videos, google recipes, ask friends, etc. Basically, getting prepared. You would have to do the same, because this is a journey in your life that you never went through before and you want to make it your best one, just like mom & that special dish!
The only mistake I can see someone making with their business is quitting! Any other mistake can be fixed. Once you quit, you basically kill the momentum you had, in the beginning, making it hard to start over. Never quit, just take a break from time to time. Give yourself time, starting a new business is like a new baby learning how to walk. Each day you’ll get better and better at what you're doing. I wish anyone on this journey the best of luck!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re not looking to hire in any position as of yet, because like I mentioned before, Behind Chocolate Eyes®️ is a fairly new company, so we’re in the beginning stage. I do recommend that if anyone is looking for a change of pace in their career in the near future, to look us up. I plan on expanding within the next year.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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