Venus Envy is the go-to spot for everything from vegan lube and cunnilingus workshops to high-end dildos and queer erotica.
“I think that we create what we find we need personally ourselves,” says Lara Purvis, Venus Envy’s manager and education coordinator. “It certainly has been something that, even though it’s a small amount of money, is really meaningful.”
The store awards two Ottawa bursaries of $1,500 each year. For Purvis, who at one time in her life juggled both graduate studies and single parenting, the benefits of even a small amount of financial aid are clear.
“It takes a little bit of the edge off,” she says. As for the rationale behind offering the bursary specifically to women and trans people, she explains.
“Society prioritizes everyone else every day in every way. We’re offering support in a space where people are normally marginalized.”
The Dirty Dozen will be a celebration not only of Venus Envy Ottawa’s 12 years of success as a business, but also its ongoing community engagement and the climate of sex-positivity that the store has created.
“We have a wonderful relationship with our customers and enjoy our reputation as the friendly neighbourhood sex shop,” Purvis says. “But when it comes down to it, we’re celebrating the people that Venus Envy is all about: our owner, Shelley Taylor; our amazing staff; and the community that we have become a part of. We feel like we are part of something more than just our sex toys… though we love them very much.”