(Note: This story appears in the February 2023 issue of SE Magazine)

He may have started as an editorial intern almost 20 years ago, but just as SE’s Sales & Marketing Director, Kristofer Kay, has evolved through the past two decades, he’s also helped guide the magazines evolution as well.

Necessity is often claimed as the mother of invention, but what they often don’t tell you with that proverb is what’s missing in order for that necessity to arise in the first place. Oftentimes, that thing can be right in front of your face, hanging off a shelf rack in clamshell packaging. It’s a change that requires double-A batteries. And it’s a change that can redefine an entire industry.

Back in 2008, Teeze Magazine and Adult Store Buyer (ASB) Magazine were tripping over themselves trying to cover the basic fundamentals in adult retail. The only thing really separating the publications were their points of view; where one dealt with the sturdy, soft good sector of lingerie and exotic dancewear, the other was clinging to the wet ledge of adult video, a region that was losing shelf space throughout brick and mortar in record time. What once was considered the dominant product in stores across the country was finding smaller and smaller portions of real estate across sales floors. Times were changing, stores were changing, and most importantly consumers were shifting their spending. And before anyone could claim that they saw it coming, adult retail recalibrated to focus on the innovation and proliferation of adult toys. A sector that was always there — good or bad — but found renaissance when change demanded it. Modern sex toys sure weren’t invented 15 years ago, but the golden age of sex toy culture can trace its timeline to when we stopped focusing on pornography within adult retail and realized that pleasure products were our collective future. Veni Vidi Vibrator.

As such, ED Publications, parent company of STOREROTICA, understood that the modern adult retailer deserved a modern retail publication. Celebrating our 15th year in publication has proven that ‘SE’ (as we now commonly refer to it as) is that magazine. Sex toys, much like sex itself, is intimately subjective, insofar as everyone knows what turns them on and what exactly doesn’t. The products we cover and that your store carries are as personal as products ascribe to be, something even Apple won’t touch. As such, SE never wanted to be a product arbiter. We’re a trade publication, and choosing knowledge over opinion has afforded SE to work with vendors and retailers to provide the clearest panorama of our industry on a bi-monthly basis. I’d like to think of it as catalog-ish. We don’t condemn, we don’t condone, we simply point the way. Not exactly your momma’s Sears mailer, but far from the snark found on social media.

No matter how hard we try though, business will always get personal. SE Magazine hasn’t only been my creative outlet these past 15 years, but in many ways it’s also been my home. Some of my dearest friends (including my wife) have been introduced to me because of this magazine. Brands come and go but the people, the decent ones at least, usually tend to stay. Even though we’ve lost leaders over the years, like Larry Garland, Phil Harvey, and the recently passed Nick Orlandino, we can take solace and look towards the next generation knowing that our industry is in good hands.

I’m proud of the work SE Magazine has done and continues to do for our readership; the innovation we’ve covered and the personalities that bring them to your store is just part of our story. Fifteen years doesn’t seem like a lot — but in magazine publishing, it’s almost ancient. That’s something to celebrate, and whether we’re found in your hands, online, or in your VR headset over the next decade, STOREROTICA will continue to be your magazine. Thanks for vibing with us all these years.

Kris Kay