(Note: This story appears in the February 2021 issue of SE Magazine)
*Story by Dianna Stratton
Sometimes personal and professional lines blur in the most magical ways.
Attending their first pleasure products industry trade event in Denver more than four years ago, Rodney Smith and Caliyah Serket bonded over a shared affinity for horror stories. But there was nothing terrifying about the love story that sprang to life at that Eldorado-sponsored event. In fact, it turned into happily ever after.
Rodney (he/him), manager and buyer of Todd Couples Superstore in Tampa, FL, spotted Caliyah’s bright blue and purple hair at the opening night reception. He was instantly smitten. Caliyah (they/them), a sales associate for Rodeo Drive in St. Ann, Mo., noticed Rodney’s Norse tattoos. Caliyah was a guest of Kimberly Dillon (she/her), an Eldorado outside account manager and manufacturer’s rep, while Rodney was a guest of Cherise Romero (she/her), Eldorado Account Manager.
Known in the industry as outgoing and engaging, Rodney can be shy and reserved when it comes to personal matters. He confided his interest to Cherise, but he couldn’t summon the courage to approach Caliyah. When Cherise saw Caliyah sitting alone, she jumped into action, inviting Rodney to come along so the three of them could talk.
“I only stayed to bullshit with them long enough that I could leave them alone to get to know each other better,” she recalls.
Caliyah and Rodney talked about many of their shared interests, including their love of horror films. Rodney and Cherise had planned to visit The Stanley Hotel, notable as the creepy location of the film version of Stephen King’s The Shining, in nearby Estes Park, Colorado. Caliyah, who had business at Eldorado, couldn’t join them. Rodney made a point to bring Caliyah some souvenirs: postcards and a ‘redrum’ shot glass.
After surprising Caliyah with their gifts, Rodney invited Caliyah to join him on a couch in the hotel lobby to watch a few episodes of Exorcist, a new supernatural horror tv show. Rodney and Caliyah cuddled close to one another sharing a single headphone. Later that night, they shared a brief kiss good night. The following day they both left Colorado not knowing what, if anything, would come next.
The legacy of Eldorado as a pleasure products powerhouse is well established throughout the industry. With more than 40 years of experience, Eldorado has built and maintained mutually beneficial relationships with both manufacturers and retailers throughout the world.
In a professional industry that focuses on intimate products, it is undeniable that it is the personal relationships that make all of our hard work so worthwhile. Eldorado Elevation events are multi-day seminars featuring sexual health and wellness education, product training, and networking, providing customers with quality time and personalized interaction with other adult retailers, manufacturers, and Eldorado staff. So, it should come as no surprise that sometimes those personal and professional lines blur in the most magical ways.
Rodney and Caliyah spent the year after their meeting texting and calling each other frequently, and eventually making cross-country visits.
In September 2017, Rodney planned to ask Caliyah to marry him on a bridge in San Antonio while they were attending the Williams Trading Company tradeshow. Thanks to help from Robert Pyne, Jr., the CEO of William’s Trading, Rodney surprised Caliyah with a public proposal in front of their industry peers. Caliyah excitedly accepted.
When the couple were invited back to Eldorado’s April 2018 Elevation, they decided that was their opportunity to elope at a special locale. During their Colorado visit, with two friends standing by their side, Rodney and Caliyah were married at The Stanley Hotel.
Caliyah and Rodney dedicated their lives to each other and even took each other’s names. The Serket-Smith’s romance is indelibly intertwined with Eldorado history.
“If it weren’t for the industry, I wouldn’t have my better half,” shares Rodney. “I regret nothing. It’s been a wonderful experience and a great roller coaster ride.”