Forbidden Fruit is a woman owned and operated adult shop in Austin, Texas. Their mission is to foster sexual self-awareness and communication, to educate and inform the community and support lifestyle needs. In 2015, Kade Schemahorn and I were hired to explore the journey of Forbidden Fruit's customers' and identify opportunity areas so that the business could better deliver on their mission.
Due to confidentiality and the sensitive nature of the store, we had to take a novel approach to our research. We were able to interview staff, but could not contact current customers. So, we recruited through our networks. We sent participants on a shopping spree, gathering their thoughts and feelings both before and after their shopping experience – some even let us shop along with them so that we could observe in real time.
We synthesized all of this data and mapped out the customer journey so that we could understand what was working well, and what could be improved upon. After reflecting on stories and reviewing our artifacts, we focused our ideation around three emotional moments: feeling ashamed, feeling confused and feeling anxious.
research & synthesis
Linking back to the business's mission to educate and inform the community, we updated signage and provided a "cheat sheet" that both promoted open communication with staff while also allowing the customer the ability to learn at their own pace. We used product in a fun way by placing a remote at the register to encourage customers to test products and to notify staff when someone is ready to check out. All of these concepts were created to lighten the mood, align with the personality of the business and alleviate negative emotions.
These concepts were presented to the owner and prototypes were created and tested in the store over a three week period. During this time, we recruited more participants and spoke with staff to gather feedback and data points in order to measure impact and value.