Sales & Marketing

Sex, my mother and profit

6 min read

23 August 2011

I’m still not sure why I did it, but I’m glad I did. Years ago, I decided to take my mum to the EROTICA trade fair, the trade fair for the "adult" industry. The rest is history...

While we were at the fair together, browsing at a stand that sold chrome penises, my Mum whispered that she had an idea for a new product I could make. “Here we go!” I thought sceptically. 

But I was being hasty. Mum had indeed thought of a gem. Once we’d left the “chrome willy stand”, my Mum suggested that we create bronze door knobs in the shape of penises and call them “Door Nobs”. Ha ha! Awesome! Obviously my gift for awful puns had a genetic basis. 

The “Door Nobs” idea really caught my imagination and it began sinking into my brain. 

As we walked through the rest of the conference centre, something niggled me though. I was very concerned that although the gag was excellent, the market for penis door knobs wasn’t that huge. I mean, would you have a penis door-knob in your home? Maybe I would, but would many other people?

I thought the name and the general idea were great, but I wanted a more mass-market product. The answer arrived pretty quickly whilst I lay in bed that night. 

Here’s the journey my brain took: the name “Door Nob” is a good gag. Therefore, to work, I needed a product that refers to both doors and knobs (willies). 

How about a penis that sticks on the door? Ok, but why, for what purpose? Well, how about a penis with a message printed on it that you could hang up? It would be a willy shaped door sign. Hmm, not bad. I was close, but no cigar. There had to be something just a tiny bit cleverer (although “clever” is all relative when talking about knob gags). 

Then it came to me: this time I got the cigar, the lighter and the humidor.

From door signs, my brain made the connection to hotel door signs. 

I’d just been to Orlando, staying in a lovely hotel in a place called Celebration – a rather freaky town completely built by Disney. The town was the culmination of Walt’s dream to build a “perfect” community with white picket fences and safe places for children to play. 

It’s an odd place – there are loads of rules you must adhere to if you live there, like the colour you can paint your house and the need to keep all the public places constantly maintained. This had the effect of making the place look brand spanking new even thought it was actually years old. It had the eerie feeling of a picture-perfect town film set, even though people actually lived there permanently.

I stayed in the Celebration Hotel, a lovely colonial style boutique hotel with whirring leaf fans spinning above your head and huge pot plants dotted everywhere. 

True to form, whilst I holidayed there, I’d often sleep erratically through the day. On a number of occasions when I took an afternoon kip, I didn’t want the maid to clean my room, which naturally meant I employed the use of the traditional hotel “Do Not Disturb” side of the door hanger that graced the handle of every room in the hotel. 

And yes, you’ve guessed it, this was the answer to my “Door Nob” conundrum: the “Door Nob” range would be a set of door hangers in the shape of a penis proudly displaying messages. 

In keeping with the shape, I felt these slogans should reflect suitably saucy goings on inside the room.

I immediately wrote all this down on the top of the huge block of notepaper that’s lived under my bed for years, faithfully recording many a late night scheme. 

I couldn’t sleep though. I was so excited at having cracked this lame idea. Even though it was 5.30 AM, I jumped up out of bed and spent the next hour and a half designing and meticulously cutting out a positively perfect penis shaped prototype door hanger. 

Mesdames et Monsieurs…voilà: 

The next day I worked up many more slogans. It struck me while I was beavering away (or should that be “penis-ing away”?), that all the slogans I came up with were, not unsurprisingly, very male orientated. Well, it just seemed right that a penis would be hung from a man’s door. 

What could I do for women? Easy. It wasn’t a huge leap to go from “Door Nobs” for men to a female version called “Door Knockers”.

The finished items:

This is an extract from Shed Simove’s bestselling book “IDEAS MAN” published by Corgi. The Door Nobs™ and Door Knockers™ have just been released and are available to buy now.