Ruth McKay

Like many of you no doubt, I thoroughly enjoyed Bill’s 51 Shades for Beleaguered Scottish Film article last week. I actually read mine on a Lothian bus – and found myself peering suspiciously at my fellow passengers, wondering who of the upset bondage community might be travelling with me.

I thought this week I would add my two-penny worth – from the perspective of a small business owner – to the fun room conversation.

The build-up and anticipation of the launch of the 50 Shades of Grey film was worthy of Christian Grey himself. You’ll be amazed at the number of small businesses and products it has inspired…

One company I met recently is producing 50 shades of grey inspired keyring’s for Mother’s Day. It features five Tibetan silver charms including a pair of handcuffs, an eye mask, the letter C and A representing the main characters, and finally a silver number 50. A unique and original gift idea for the mother with everything!

Yet another firm I spoke to is creating a range of giftware, also inspired by the film – which you would imagine will sell well in the bondage community. Then there’s  your very own box of bondage biscuits,  a bondage teddy, one for the carnivores – the exclusive trussed up erotic chicken, and finally, my personal favourite, 50 Shades Kale –  for the health conscious among us, natch…

But it doesn’t stop there; a friend told me last week that while on a romantic Valentines break they found, included in the more traditional mini bar, the erotic mini bar experience –  including your very own spanking paddle!

And just what has all this got to do with business?

Well, like, love or loathe the book or the film, it has certainly become a bit of an inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Small businesses have one huge advantage over our much larger corporate counterparts – we can respond quickly and creatively to such trends. The result – for a small business who manages to capture and respond to these trends – can be really significant; increased sales, press and media exposure, new customers and greater social media activity.

Fifty Shades of Grey may have upset some parts of our wider community, but my goodness, for some small businesses it has proved a real crack of the whip!

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