Honey Birdette founder reveals what started $440million business

‘Changing the world one orgasm at a time’: How entrepreneur’s sex drive and her spur of the moment visit to an adult store sparked a genius idea now worth $440MILLION

  • Honey Birdette founded in 2006 by Eloise Monaghan, and now has 60 stores
  • The brand was bought by Playboy for $440million, it was announced this week
  • Ms Monaghan said she thought of the idea after visiting a dingy sex shop
  • The brand has been under scrutiny by many parents for its risqué advertising 

An entrepreneur’s visit to a dingy sex shop sparked her light-bulb moment to open up a lingerie and sex toy brand that’s now worth a staggering $440million.

Eloise Monaghan, 45, is the mastermind behind Honey Birdette, the risqué company she founded in Brisbane in 2006 after visiting her first adult toy store while shopping for a Hen’s night.

She left the shop unimpressed having noticed the lacklustre store attendant was smoking a cigarette behind the counter – and decided to launch her own business.

The company behind iconic brand Playboy bought Honey Birdette earlier this week but Ms Monaghan said she’ll still have a say in what happens with the brand she spent more than a decade perfecting. 

Honey Birdette was earlier this week sold to the parent company of Playboy for a whopping $440million. Pictured is a promotional photo for Honey Birdette

Eloise Monaghan, 45, (pictured left with her wife) is the mastermind behind Honey Birdette, the risque company she founded in Brisbane in 2006 after visiting her first adult toy store while shopping for a Hen’s night

‘It’s my baby. Getting rid of your child, you can’t do it,’ she told news.com.au. 

Honey Birdette which now has 60 stores including some in the US and UK, is known for pushing boundaries with its racy advertisements that have raised the eyebrows of many parents wandering past shop fronts with their impressionable children.

The successful lingerie company is set to make $97million in revenue and $37million in earnings for the 2021 financial year.

Ms Monaghan admitted the partnership with Playboy was not an easy decision, with the brand which was founded by the late Hugh Hefner representing more of a sexualisation of women.

‘But they have evolved with the times. I walked in there and thought this is what we are. It’s definitely female-empowered,’ she said.

Honey Birdette, which now has 60 stores including some in the US and UK, is known for pushing boundaries with its racy advertisements that have raised the eyebrows of many parents wandering past shop fronts with their impressionable children.

Ms Monaghan admitted the partnership with Playboy was not an easy decision, with the brand which was founded by the late Hugh Hefner representing more of a sexualisation of women

The founder added she knew she needed to take the business to the next level globally and Playboy ended up being the perfect fit. 

While building her brand Ms Monaghan said she used to work on the floor of her stores and admitted some of the most interesting conversations she’s ever had have been with divorced women through the changing room door.

But her label hasn’t often gone down so well with parents due to the brand’s racy advertisements often featuring scantily clad women in suggestive poses. 

Earlier this month some mothers took to Facebook to detail their horror at the advertisements put up by Honey Birdette around shopping centres.

The successful lingerie company is set to make $97million in revenue and $37million in earnings for the 2021 financial year 

Huge screens of women in lingerie in provocative poses have been seen in local malls that families often visit, prompting one mother to start an online poll asking if other parents had concerns about the brand’s advertising.

Much to the disappointment of the mother, more than half said they had no issue with the brand’s marketing. 

Another mother started a petition to have the videos played on screens outside the brand’s stores taken down, labelling the company’s advertising as ‘soft porn’.  

Honey Birdette is a successful Australian lingerie brand also selling sex toys 

In 2017 the advertising watchdog banned their in-store ads claiming it was of a ‘highly sexual nature’.

Ms Monaghan responded and said women weren’t ‘handmaids’.

‘Why are we telling young kids to be ashamed of their bodies?’ she said.

The 45-year-old is also embroiled in a legal battle with her ex partner and co-founder Janelle Barboza who was bought out of the company in 2014.

Ms Monaghan said she’s now hoping to use the money from the monstrous sale to go travelling with her wife Natalie. 

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