Life Style

In memory of Jacqueline Gold, the Ann Summers founder who revolutionised sex toys forever

As the CEO of the sex toy company, she was known for her savvy entrepreneurship, and awarded a CBE in 2016 for services to women in business and social enterprise.

But her influence reached far further than that, and Jacqueline is credited with revolutionising the way we view sexual pleasure as a nation.

When Jacqueline’s father, David Gold, bought Ann Summers with his brother Ralph in 1972, it had four stores and was marketed as an ‘upmarket clean’ sex shop. Upon starting work experience at the family firm at just 19, the budding mogul decided to switch things up.

‘It wasn’t a very nice atmosphere to work in,’ Jacqueline recalled. ‘It was all men, it was the sex industry as we all perceive it to be.’

After attending a Tupperware party with friends, she saw a gap in the market for lingerie and sex toy parties where women could try and buy products from the comfort of their own home. And so, Ann Summers as we know it was born.

It’s hard to overstate how groundbreaking this was back in 1981. Ann Summers parties had a strict ‘no men allowed policy,’ giving women the freedom to talk openly about sex toys in ways they never had before.

Although Jacqueline’s idea was initially met with resistance in the boardroom, the model she created has become a cultural touchstone of British life, with over 13,000 party organisers working for the retail giant.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though, and at one point she received a bullet in the post as a result of her efforts to bring sex to the masses. But Jacqueline never faltered in her vision.

In fact, she went even further, taking Ann Summers across the country with an X-rated roadshow and creating the iconic Rampant Rabbit vibrator.

The launch swept the nation, with one selling every two minutes, making it the world’s most popular sex toy for women.

A rabbit (and its addictive qualities) even inspired an episode of Sex and the City, such was the buzz around the bunny-eared product.

Source of data and images: metro

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