A beloved part of San Francisco’s SOMA since first opening in 1979, Mr. S Leather has morphed from a small, local store to a worldwide phenomenon in the intervening years.
Named after original owner Alan Selby (the S in Mr. S), the turning point for the company came when Richard Hunter took ownership in 1991 and added a mail-order component to the business, one that focused on crafting a catalog that became as prized as the products it sold.
Now emerging from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. S is poised to ride the wave of post-vax Hot Boy Summer. Marketing manager Murdy, with the company since 2010, talks to The Gay Goods about navigating an increasingly puritanical online culture as an unabashedly horny company (complete with action videos for their toys), what’s coming, and more.
On surviving COVID.
During COVID, our best-selling products were dildos and strokers. Since everyone was losing the ability to connect with others, this allowed them to connect with themselves. People were looking for ways to enjoy their bodies, and they were looking for new and fun ways to make that happen. Since there were no parties or events to attend, our leather clothing sales took a hit—but that’s changing, as more and more events get added to the calendar.
On navigating social media as a sex-positive site.
Social media is extremely difficult. We lost our Facebook account twice in the 2010s—and this was before all the new restrictions that have been added. Unfortunately, we need to significantly censor a lot of the content that we post, so that means no dildos, butt shots, or anything that may cause us to lose our page again. We recently had an incident where an image of a man wearing a ball gag resulted in a 7-day ban. Luckily, we have a wide variety of clothing that works well even given the restrictions. And we’re lucky to showcase a ton of puppies wearing our original Mr. S Leather Neoprene Puppy & K9 Hoods!
On launching products.
When looking at new products—both the ones we create and the ones other craftspeople design—we’re most interested in how well it works. “Will the shape of that dildo make for a fun ride? Does that cock ring have enough stretch to keep it tight without strangling you?” We test everything we carry to make sure it meets or exceeds our expectations. We want to make sure that when someone opens a package from Mr. S, they’re going to really enjoy what they’ve purchased.
On the future of Mr. S.
We always have a lot of tricks up our sleeves and 2021 will be no different. As COVID restrictions are lessened in the state of California, we have our eye on re-opening the physical store in time for Folsom Street Market on July 25. We’ve missed the special connection we get to experience one on one with our customers and are looking forward to inviting them back in to shop as soon as possible.
We continue to design new and innovative products in both leather and neoprene, from puppy hoods to leather clothing and accessories. And we’re always hard at work refining patterns for new gear to get people excited and to feel good. We have a few imminent product launches including Neoprene Briefs that will be very popular this summer and an all-new Puppy Hood design.
Our vendors are also hard at work designing things to wrap around your dick or shove in your ass! These master craftsmen truly think about how their products work to create world-class designs that satisfy that itch.