When Kim Williams was first asked to host a sex toy party more than four decades ago, she had no idea it would lead her into her life’s work. Now, the entrepreneur and sharp businesswoman has been running Wild Kingdom in Kelowna for the last 23 years, and has become known for her high-quality products and warranties, as well as for going above and beyond to help her customers.
Growing up in Calgary, Kim started on a very different career path as a young woman.
“I was actually driving a truck for a living, hauling asphalt and gravel,” she says. “I was asked by a sex shop one night to host a party that a lady couldn’t get to.”
Kim did it on a lark, ended up making the highest sales the rep had ever seen, and was promptly offered a job. After negotiating a higher salary than driving her truck could offer, Kim took it, and learned the industry for the next few years before breaking away to start out on her own.
“As the industry changed, I changed with it. I watched and learned,” she says. “In a way, it’s the taboo of what normal people do, but somebody’s got to do it, and I’m very good at what I do. And I have a team of women who are just incredible.”
With the growth of well-designed, high-quality intimacy products on the market, as well as curbside pickup and discreet shipping options, it’s become easier than ever to reinvigorate your sex life, which Kim says is vital to everyone’s wellbeing.
“As we get older it kind of drains out of us. You get married and you’re hot and crazy about each other, and then here comes the mortgage and the kids, and you lose it. I have physicians who send patients to me,” she adds. “Men after having prostate cancer, or women with atrophy. It’s our job to make people happy, to feel good and to help them reconnect with their bodies. Everybody has that sensuality, that sex part of their life, and it’s got to keep moving. It’s such an important part of our wellbeing.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
It would be such an honour to walk in my mom’s shoes. My tough-as-nails mom laid the foundation for me to build a great business and life. She was a sergeant in the Second World War, with hundreds of boys not much younger than her under her command, and immigrated to Canada with nothing but my dad, my sister and my brother. She built a life for our family working as a buyer for Sears Canada. Somehow I was lucky enough to absorb—probably over family dinners—the foundations of business that have allowed me to do the work that created my success.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
I love good food, especially Italian and a great fettuccine alfredo. I dream about Nora’s Italian Cuisine in Las Vegas; it’s just the best of food and hospitality. And I have become pretty confident making Thai cuisine—just ask my family who no longer get takeout!
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
If I could stop worrying about my business, staff and customers, I’d dream of lazy days on a beautiful yacht in Croatia, surrounded by my great friends and family, eating amazing food, toasting life with much laughter, marvelling at the amazing beauty all around us and trying to not sunburn my lady parts.
People who show disrespect or use threats and intimidation to get their way. If there are women in a group, please don’t refer to them as “guys.” And please, please don’t call me Kimmy. My name is Kim.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
After working so hard for so many years, I am just now learning what (besides work) makes me happy. The one escape I indulged in—but not enough—was going to Hawaii, eating fresh fish and lazing on Makena Beach with only water and snacks, and tanning in my birthday suit.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I started my business with $300 and despite the ups and downs, changes in direction and setbacks, I have been successful. I am extremely proud of the relationships I’ve built with my staff, suppliers and other small business owners. When the shop is closed and my family is warm and fed, I take great pride in having fought against stereotypes and sexism to make a difference in my customers’ lives. We are dedicated to encouraging destigmatized sex, and opening people to the idea of pleasure, desire, love and acceptance for all.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Helping people find or rediscover some passion and pleasure, to connect with themselves without judgment or fear, and to enjoy freedom and joy.