“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.
Today’s subject is Amope, a Nigerian woman who sells sex toys. She walks us through business during COVID, her Christian faith, and not being ashamed to promote her business using her face.
I usually wake up whenever the spirit leads. But these days, due to COVID, I have been waking up before 7 am. Sometimes, if I’m exhausted, I don’t stand up from the bed. Lai, Lai, they can’t kill me, I didn’t kill my mother. To be honest, it’s not like I pray every day. But at least, I pray all these “thank you, I am alive” prayers. Sometimes, I scam the prayer.
Today, I am working on my website. I have to upload pictures, descriptions, and everything that needs to go on it. Also, I have to create content for Instagram, Whatsapp stories, Twitter. I use apps like Canva, Snapseed, Quik so that my content comes out really cool. It’s not an easy job, to be honest. See, you need to get your angles right. Picture is not something you wake up one morning and start taking. You can take like twenty pictures of just one penis. You have to make sure the picture comes out very professional, looking dapper than dap. Like if they see this picture, they have to buy it. Wo ma gba. Period.
That kind of thing, it’s crazy. Then you are doing one video and someone is calling you at that same time. The person is now calling consistently and being a devil. Oh gosh, inspiration ti sa mo mi lowo sha. Then you now have to sit down and say “God, help your daughter, we have to start again. We need inspiration.” The only thing that makes all the effort worth it is when you now post and clients say they want that particular one because it looks good. The thing is just crazy. Just that when it comes out, it looks good and it looks cool.
I am going to try to create content all day. But once I am tired like this, I’ll lie down on my bed because I can’t come and kill myself.
I am frustrated with this country. It’s not even funny because I have been expecting my goods since the COVID crisis started. It’s just crazy and I am trying not to think about it. I have clients that have paid for over a month and haven’t received their goods. They have been so patient with me; I give kudos to my customers. I am tired of one excuse or the other from shipping agents when I ask about the status of my goods. O ti su mi. I give up.
I have like 8 or 9 people waiting to receive their goods. Some people wanted to pay again but I had to refuse their money. I use God to beg them because if the goods don’t come by next week, I am going to refund everyone their money. I don’t think I can continue giving excuses. The reason I started this business is that I don’t like office stress, but this period is testing me.
Anytime I start to feel stressed, I remember my best day ever in this business. It happened a week after my birthday last year. I screamed like “Oh my God” because I didn’t expect it. I never expected it.
I posted content by 5 am on Twitter that day because I couldn’t sleep. So, I was just online creating content. Thinking of captions in my head and just playing around. That’s how I got a message from someone who saw my products. That’s how the person said they hope I am a hundred percent confidential. I said “confidential is my name o. Anything you want to buy, buy. I don’t want to know you. Just buy.”
The person then told me to come to the Island before 12 noon with plenty of products. I packed as many as possible and flew Gokada from the mainland to Island to beat Lagos traffic and my village people. On getting there, this person bought toys worth over ₦500,000. They also gave me a belated birthday gift. Whenever I remember that day, I’m happy. It makes me stay back and say baby girl you are doing well.
I need to relax my nerves and stop thinking. After I am done with my tasks today, I’ll just chill with the very cold bottle of sweet red wine that’s in my fridge. One bottle of my wine and I am good.
If you ask me to rank my best selling toys, the list is probably like this: bullet vibrator, magic wand, rabbit vibrators. The bullet and wand can be used alone for either the male or female. Or, together as a couple. The rabbit vibrators are for women who enjoy dual stimulation – vaginal and clitoris.
Because of how much I know, whenever I advice clients on toys to buy, they find it hard to believe that I never used a sex toy before starting this business two years ago. The first toy that caught my attention was the bullet vibrator. The bullet is small but mighty. As tiny as that thing is, it’ll send you to cloud nine. You will hang there and you will come back.
Reviews from customers were always like: ”I squirted for the first time. I reached orgasm for the first time.” I was like “Oluwa, wetin dey happen. What’s going on?” Before using a toy on myself, I used to market the products based on the feedback from customers. I practically envisioned myself as my clients in my reviews. It was so good that you’d believe I used sex toys too. One day after all the reviews, I decided that I too wanted to enjoy what clients were enjoying.
I started with the bullet vibrator with my then partner. When the thing touched my clitoris, I wanted to fly away because I was like what’s going on here. Thank God for my partner in my life, because he practically held me down. I was like “I want to go and wee wee.” He was the one that told me to release myself and allow myself to enjoy it. Mehn, It was not funny, I was just squirting anyhow. It was so sweet. Since then, I have tried a load of other toys.
That experience taught me that as a lady, you need to know yourself. Some women are so scared they can’t even touch themselves. When you know your body, you know what you want your partner to touch. You can either tell them with your mouth or by guiding them with their hands. By knowing your body, you don’t have to wait for someone to give you the pleasure you actually desire. You can get it all by yourself all by making yourself involved. Self-pleasure is mandatory.
Thankfully, I know what I want. With the kind of day I have had, it’s sleep I want.
There is a lot of misconception about my business. I have had to separate my business Whatsapp number from my personal number. In the beginning, anytime I post my products, people would threaten to block me. Others were shocked, telling me that the business is not right.
I didn’t even tell my family members about my business. They found out through social media. One day after church service with my older sister, she mentioned she saw my business on Facebook. She now asked me if the holy spirit led me to start the business. I was just laughing when she said it.
The problem is that people don’t understand the role of sex toys. The first thing that comes to mind when people hear that I sell sex toys is that I am a bad girl. For instance, a client comes to tell me that she loves her husband but his penis is small. Where sex toy comes in is that we have products you can use. We have penis extenders that are flesh-like and can give you extra girth and length. So, if your woman says I want it chubby, you can always wear it and give her that extra feeling that she wants. Some of these extenders are even vibrating. So, as a man you are enjoying yourself, the woman is also enjoying herself because it’s rubbing on her clitoris and giving her some kind of stimulation.
Some toys like cock rings help you last longer. It can help you last as long as you want. It helps to delay ejaculation. These are better alternatives to pills because relying on pills can make you lose your self-esteem. You start to rely on pills every time you want to have sex and you are hurting yourself.
For women, you will hear some of them say their husband doesn’t like licking or sucking, or he doesn’t like oral sex. He doesn’t like to go down on them either because “at their age, they can’t do that.” Others say, because of their culture, they won’t be caught dead doing that. Some of these things, it’s because of the belief they were raised with. This is what society says and this is how it must be done.
I always tell these women that this is not a reason for divorce yet. Why don’t you get yourself a clitoris sucker, an oral sex tongue vibrator. You don’t have to abandon your marriage because of the belief of your partner.
Some of these toys can literally save some of these marriages.
What do I know? I am not kuku in the marriage with them. What I am currently married to is the book I am reading. Today, I plan to finish reading The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives. I am so addicted to the book.
I can’t date someone who doesn’t support my business. Or, isn’t comfortable with me promoting my business using my face. Whenever I meet someone new and I tell them what I do for a living, they are usually curious: “Does it move in Nigeria? How do I do it?” Many of them are usually supportive. However, there was this time I was talking to one guy. immediately I told him what I do for a living, I was sensing a lot of bad vibes. He kept on going about how his woman can’t be selling sex toys. That plenty men will be talking to me. Omo, I ended it, and everyone waka their waka. I can’t be with someone that isn’t comfortable with what I do. Don’t let us start what we can’t finish.
I am the kind of person who feels comfortable in her own skin. I make videos demonstrating how to use these toys with my face because this is my hustle. Why should it be different from the person that sells hair? They promote their hustle with their chest. Why can’t I be happy and show my face and promote my own business too? I am very confident in what I do and I am sure of what I want.
Another thing is that it makes my clients feel more comfortable. They know that there is a real face behind the brand. That there’s someone they can relate with. I try to gesticulate and make the videos as fun as possible. As long as my work is not illegal, I will always show my face.
My major concern today is how to find ginger to make the videos I need to make for the week. I am low on inspiration.
My friends think I am unreliable because I keep canceling on them. I have a friend that I have cancelled on three times and she no longer invites me anywhere. It’s not like I don’t want to hang out, it’s just that my idea of a perfect day involves books.
I love to read because I was raised with books. My mum would buy books for me — novels, comics — and she’d hide them from me. The condition for allowing me to read books was that I had to complete house chores. So, I’d sweep, mop, wash the chicken, put water on fire. Then, after finishing my tasks she would now allow me to read the books. The joy on my face was unrivaled. Even though my mum passed on, that part of her still lives with me.
Once I start to read, it relaxes me. I get lost in between the pages and I don’t worry anymore. Part of today’s agenda is reading a book someone recommended on Twitter. The title is Kane and Abel. Thankfully, I have the paid version of the Any books app. I look forward to losing myself in between the pages. How do I explain to my friends that this is my idea of fun?
I enjoy worship. Especially prayers where we are in a group. I can stand for long and pray. When it comes to prayer services, I don’t joke with it. Before lockdown and Corona, I never missed Sunday services. Today, I am attending an online service.
I like this church because of one incident that happened. When I started my sex toy business in 2018, I switched to this church. I am very lowkey so nobody knows me. Once service is over like this, I have disappeared. However, this year we had a dry fast in church for 21 days. We hosted group prayers on the last day of the fast, so I went to church excited on that day. However, it turned out that I had miscalculated. The last day wasn’t till the next day so there was nobody in the church except the pastor’s wife.
As I turned to leave, she called me into her office to have a conversation. That she had been meaning to gist with me.
We started talking randomly until she asked me what I do for a living. I told her I was looking for a job straight up. She didn’t buy it. So, she asked me again. I stammered for like 5 minutes before whispering that I sold sex toys. The most surprising thing was that she was cool about it. No judgment. She even asked for my Instagram page to check it out. She also asked, “that when I am in that mood, which toy do I use?” I was like “ma, we are still fasting.”
She now asked me that when the pastor is praying and he says “pray for your business”, do I also pray for my business? I told her that I pray for God to bless my business. I tell God to enlarge my coast. That I should get plenty plenty customers. She was just laughing.
I found that conversation hilarious because I felt comfortable around her. She wasn’t the regular kind of mummy that would say “blood of Jesus” and rebuke me.
What I can’t tell anyone, I can tell her because when she corrects me, she doesn’t do it in a condescending manner. She makes me feel welcome. Even if I leave that church today, I’ll always look up to her.
Because of how comfortable she has made me, I don’t feel like I can’t worship God as a result of my business. My business doesn’t interfere with my spiritual life because at the end of the day, without God, we are nothing. We can’t exist.
Inspiration ti sa mo mi lowo sha – I have lost my inspiration.
O ti su mi – I am tired.
Wo ma gba – They will be blown away.
Check back every Tuesday by 9 am for more “A Week In The Life Of” goodness, and if you would like to be featured or you know anyone who fits the profile, don’t hesitate to reach out. Reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be featured on this series.