The number one thing that we get asked is how in the hell did we think to start this kind of company? Why play parties? Why Ottawa? This is the story of how Lux Velvet came into being and why we were the people to do it.
Lux Velvet is the business love-child of founders Nicole Murphy and Alexandria Nuttal (Alex) and at it's core, it is a way to join the communities they had been a part of while creating a space that uniquely welcomes people like them. Nicole has been a proud swinger for 5 years and well known in the community as someone who is passionate about helping to create a welcoming atmosphere for others starting their swinging journey. While finding many likeminded and amazing people, she found it difficult to find people that were in the lifestyle who were in her age-range. Dating in the swinger community was simply difficult for Nicole and she regularly looked for opportunities to find more community members in the lifestyle who she could relate too and enjoy their company.
Fast forward to the summer of 2018, Nicole is working as a photographer for a contract position at an adult venue and young, energetic Alexandria takes over the management of the photoshoot. They connected right away and quickly became inseparable. Where Nicole came from the swinger community, Alex came from the kink and poly worlds while being an out queer woman. Alex's quest to find a comfortable space to explore her sexuality and build a community was also difficult. While completing her Master's Degree in Women & Gender Studies, Alexandria struggled with the misogyny of most clubbing scenes and the persistent problem of feeling unsafe. While kink had been a huge part of Alex's life, sex and play often felt disconnected from her experiences because of the seemingly endless gross behavior of certain types of men. At the time, Alex was also managing an adult venue and putting on play parties in hopes of attracting more young and consent focused people, but even she found it difficult in an already established venue.
After meeting each other however, Nicole and Alexandria quickly found common ground and decided to start Lux Velvet. The mission was to create a space that they, as solo women, could feel comfortable and safe coming to, to explore, play and meet other amazing people. The company was built with the idea in mind that non-monogamous folks of all types: swinger, poly, open, and etc., could find likeminded people, all in one place. They started by making the group 40 and under to help set Lux Velvet a part from other already established swinger groups in Ottawa. This allowed Lux to immediately come out of the gate as an entrance point for young folks looking to enter the swinging and open world of public play. Since some old-school swingers felt that only those with enough life experience and specifically heartbreak from broken marriages and fulfillment from raising children were mature enough to be swingers, it was difficult for younger folks to even find this community, let alone gain entrance. In their experience however, Alexandria and Nicole knew there was a massive group of younger folks who were simply looking for the opportunity and the permission to explore that side of their sexuality.
At the launch party of Lux Velvet on Dec 14th, 2018 more than 50 new members joined Lux Velvet and within a few months there was enough members to establish what kind of community it was, allowing Nicole and Alex to open their doors to all kinds of folks, regardless of age. By starting the company as 40 and under, they were able build a core community that allows potential members to gauge whether Lux Velvet is for them. Now the age-range is about 25-45 years old with some younger (19+) and others older, but all members are here for the same reason with the same understanding of the rules.
From the very beginning, Lux Velvet held Key Parties (now known as Mixers), which allowed folks to meet others in a casual atmosphere and to mingle knowing that non-monogamy was not a bad word but a launching point for getting to meet and know people. The Mixers also allowed potential members to come and meet Nicole & Alex to put faces to the names. Everyone gets nervous when attending events, whether solo or not, and Nicole & Alex wanted to make sure that after attending a Mixer, every single person attending future events would know at least someone, they would never feel truly alone and isolated. The goal of course being that every member knows multiple people at an event and thus building the community, however that starts with knowing at least 2 people.
A key piece to making sure the parties were safe and fun was making sure that every person was respectful, social and understood the rules. Lux Velvet does this by having a membership and the only way to become a part of it is to be vetted in person by either Nicole or Alex at an event. This was extremely important to both owners because both had terrible experiences with random men attending parties and not respecting the rules because of the adult nature of the events. The term vetting is intentionally scary in someways as both Nicole and Alex want people to take the process seriously regardless that it is simply a conversation. The goal is to get to know the potential members, their experiences, their fears and goals in joining a membership to play parties. They also clarify the rules and best practices for play parties including consent, STI testing and communicating/ negotiating before and during play. Only after this conversation do people get invited to join the membership. The yearly fee and the process to get vetted create an atmosphere of responsibility where everyone is dedicated to making sure that they are on their best behaviour (following the rules). This builds the community and makes it stronger with every additional person added.
Now, almost 1 year after starting Lux Velvet, the membership is almost 300 people strong. Folks from across Ottawa and beyond, come to the events and are a part of a growing community. Everyone from swingers to poly and even kinky folks are able to connect with each other knowing that Nicole & Alex are there to keep everyone safe and create parties bound to excite and thrill. In one year, Lux Velvet has seen play parties with almost 200 people, sponsorships by huge brands like Lelo, Liberator, Sutil and ScreamingO and the launching of their very first product: Euphoria.
In 2020, Lux Velvet is set to build the community further with exciting experiences such as Clothing Optional Yoga, Axe-Throwing, Nerf Battles and more. By expanding beyond play parties, members are able to authentically connect with others and create long-lasting friendships and even relationships.
For Alexandria & Nicole, Lux Velvet isn't just parties. Lux Velvet is a platform for creating a community where women feel safe and respected, where all kinds of folks who are curious or already a part of the non-monogamous lifestyle can connect with each other.
So what do you say... Are You Coming?