#BadassCreatives: Hope Kodman of Dynamo
My dear friend Hope Kodman, seen here with me at Dragon Con last year – she’s dressed as Pris from Blade Runner, and I’m dolled up as my drag alter-ego, Visit their IndieGoGo campaign to learn more.
Hope Kodman is the owner and founder of Dynamo, a female-friendly adult boutique based here in New Orleans. She came to me when she was first getting started with her biz a few years ago, and I happily gave her some advice and shared what I know. It’s been amazing to see her vision of an education-focused, sex-positive shop evolve over the last couple of years.
Tell me a little about Dynamo and what inspired your business.
Dynamo is a progressive, health and education-based sex shop in New Orleans. We sell high-quality, body-safe toys, as well as bath and body goods, lube, instructional books, BDSM accoutrements, and safer sex supplies. We provide a cheerful, classy environment and embody a sex-positive philosophy: to quote the official definition, we regard all safe and consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and we encourage sexual pleasure and experimentation.
Possibly because of my somewhat sheltered upbringing in a small Kentucky town, I love to have conversations about sex: whether I’m talking about health and wellness or culture and kink, it just makes me really happy. In essence, starting Dynamo was my attempt to make having these discussions my job. I was also surprised that New Orleans had no sex-positive shop already! Stores like Good Vibrations, Babeland, and the Tool Shed (as well as many others) are fixtures of their communities around the country, but there was nothing in the deep south. What better place to open a shop like this than New Orleans?
I founded Dynamo in 2013 as an online store and pop-up — I built a website, and I worked with burlesque shows and other sexy groups to sell my products at their events. It’s since grown from there — I joined up with a phenomenal business partner in 2014, and we received a grant from St. Claude Main Street to test the business in a brick and mortar last year. After that, we moved to a larger location, upstairs from the New Movement Theater.
We’ve just found our dream home, at 2001 St Claude Avenue! Problem is, some renovations are required before we can officially open our doors, so we’ve launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help us fund the necessary renovations. Sexuality-related businesses are actually ineligible for SBA loans. Weird, right? So instead, we’re asking our amazing community to help us get over this last hump (heh!).
This campaign will help us pay for construction to bring our location up to code, so that we can provide high-quality products and sexual health information to New Orleans and the Gulf South!
What question do you get asked most often about sex and sexual health? (And the answer?)
The question I get asked most is actually a question-before-a-question: “Is it ok if we talk about this?” For many people, having an honest conversation about their own sexuality or sex in general is a totally foreign concept — outside of joking around or hushed whispers, it just isn’t discussed. But of course, the answer is an emphatic “yes!” Being able to state your desires and communicate about your experiences (both good and bad) is the first step toward getting the sex life you want — whether you’re talking to your partner, your doctor, or — naturally — the folks at your local sex toy store.
Where do you see Dynamo in 2 years?
Expanded, for sure. The new space we’re renovating is one where we will be able to hold workshops and other events on-site.
I’d also like to see us leading the way for other sex-positive shops in the Southeast United States. To my knowledge, we’re the only one right now, but we absolutely need more across the region.
You’ve got a friend visiting New Orleans for just one day – where do you take them?
Breakfast starts at Cake Cafe in the Marigny. We head through the Marigny Triangle toward lower Decatur, stopping by the French Market for a day drink: I’m obsessed with the daiquiris from Organic Banana. I’ve been a tour guide for the past five years or so, so I’d give them a quick history lesson as we walked around the French Quarter and up toward St Louis Cemetery #1 (you have visit our cemeteries, they’re just so darn lovely and iconic). If we need energy, we’d get iced coffee from Mr Gregory’s; if we need fancy cocktails, we’d hit up Tonique or go back toward Decatur for Cane and Table.
If crawfish are in season, we are getting crawfish come hell or high water.
Later in the day, it depends on what they are into — if they want a more traditional New Orleans experience, I’d take them Uptown (possibly on the streetcar) for dinner at Jacques-Imos and jazz at the Maple Leaf. If they’re more into a downtown scene, I’d take them to Red’s Chinese in the Bywater, and then over to the Siberia, High-Ho, and/or the Allways Lounge for a show. If there is burlesque that night, we will almost certainly attend.
What 5 things would you take with you to a deserted island?
If its an island, the first thing I’d need to take care of is sunscreen. I burn like nobody’s business. Unlimited sunscreen and unlimited mosquito spray — that’s how I survive New Orleans, and that’s how I’d survive a deserted island. Once that’s taken care of — I’m assuming this is a quasi-magical situation? Because I’m bringing my computer — I’m not sure how I’d plug it in or access the Internet, but it’d fulfill most of my needs for intellectual stimulation, entertainment, and contact with the outside world. And while we are plugging things in — you know I was going to say this — I’d bring a Hitatchi Magic Wand. It’s not my all-time favorite vibrator, but it *does* double as one heck of a back massager. I imagine it’s pretty stressful being in the middle of nowhere.
I know you said “things,” but can I take my fiance? Besides the obvious madly-in-love thing, he’s super handy and would keep me laughing. Plus if anyone can figure out how to make the internet work in a mysterious island situation, it’s that guy. We both kind of hate the beach, though, so I expect we’d eventually just build a raft and sail back to Louisiana. We’d miss you all too much!
Want to support Dynamo’s mission to open New Orleans’ first sex-positive shop?
Visit their IndieGoGo campaign to learn more and pitch in. There’s lots of cool rewards up for grabs!
If you’re not in NOLA, you can always shop online.