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For international dominatrix Eva Oh, business is booming

April 1, 2020

This multimedia entrepreneur had a vision and now virtual clients cry out for their services during the global quarantine.

7 min read

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

For international dominatrix Eva Oh, business is boomingFor international dominatrix Eva Oh, business is booming

You'll have to excuse Mistress Eva Oh if she sounds a little sleepy. It is 4 am in Australia, where he connects through Skype Audio to talk to me. The professional dominatrix , podcast presenter, and sex educator grew up in Asia, Europe, and the country of kangaroos, helping to explain both her unparalleled accent and her way of relating to clients around the world.

Oh's early business ventures were more conventional: She once owned a sustainable design firm, but at the age of 26 she concentrated on her current occupation and never looked back. She was progressive from the start, launching a virtual business called YouWillPleaseMe.com three years ago that allows affiliates to receive basic training in the dynamics of domination and submission, all without meeting Oh face to face. Basically, it's like taking a (very expensive) premium class on kinky stuff .

Oh, who still travels frequently through countries like Singapore and China, he anticipated the advance of COVID-19 much faster than the western world. “It all happened in Asia, where I'm based for the most part, in December,” he says. “Then I saw a change, but more in my personal sphere.”

Still, he couldn't anticipate the number of quarantined Americans and other users from various continents who would suddenly flock to his site, looking for ways to stay busy and stimulated. But thanks to an innovative business model (his interactions with customers are not only remote but automated), he has been able to keep up with demand. As unorthodox as his company may be, his experience provides insight into how any business can compete with trends while preparing for completely unpredictable emergencies.

(ENT): How did engagement on your site change once the coronavirus outbreak started to spread?

Eva Oh (EO): Definitely in the first week of news in the UK and the US daily subscriptions increased by about 75 percent. It was pretty immediate. It has leveled off a bit now, but it's still about 25 percent more than normal. I'm not sure what happens to the social estrangement at home that put people on the lookout for training in kinky stuff.

ENT: Didn't you forecast the increase in interest as more countries quarantined?

EO: I wasn't expecting it, but I guess it was a logical consequence. I had already had the coronavirus on my mind for three to four months, but I didn't expect quarantine measures to bring attention to my business.

ENT: How did you handle the sudden exponential increase in demand?

EO: When I started about 10 years ago, I received many more visits. Perhaps the market was less saturated. But I still get a lot of traffic and I wanted to capture those people without spending my energy, so the whole platform is fully automated. There is a point system and I don't really have to do anything. They notify me if people are performing exceptionally, but otherwise they are interacting with a previously configured “I”. And in terms of bandwidth capacity, it's just about talking to my server from time to time to increase the capacity of the site.

ENT: Are there any business lessons on the importance of adapting to new technologies?

EO: Yes, that's the thing, this is not the first thing I did, and it may not be the last thing I do to stay current. I'm not sure if it's my personality or maybe my generation, but I think portfolio diversification is what will save us from many things. I lived in China and when I first moved there about 15 or 20 years ago I knew they can disconnect you from the internet anytime they want. So it happened and one day my only source of income disappeared. My resistance is probably what saved me; my personal understanding that things have an eventual end and you have to prepare for that. A country can ban sex work at any time, which is why it taught me that diversifying interests will save you from social stigma, but also from financial concern, which is why I keep working many different things along the way.

ENT: What if, once the current crisis subsides, you have more competition in your niche?

EO: To survive this industry you must remain competitive, and people are very agile and ready to innovate to survive and earn money. I always knew that people would try to copy my business model. There is no point in thinking that I will be the only one in the sex education industry different. So I guess I don't have an attachment to the things I do because of that, but that also keeps me alert. I try to use my personality and talk as much as I can, because I know that's what people can't fully copy. That is my differentiating factor.

ENT: Basically you are building a brand.

EO: Well done and understood Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism and Masochism (BDSM) practices are based on emotions, even if they are online. Basically what I offer is educational material and I accompany my users virtually every step of the way. I focus a lot on the language I use and how I communicate it through video, because in this industry it is vital to teach correctly. Sex workers have lived (historically) in adverse conditions and that prepares us to be adaptable and prepared for conditions of conflict. Perhaps, in a sense, some of our business models are better prepared because of that.

ENT: What can more traditional companies learn from the way you have resisted this crisis?

EO: I think emotional awareness is huge. What has saved me the most is empathy. It is understanding the needs of those whom I want to attract or of those around me in general. I started You Will Please Me to capture clients, but I can attract them because I understand that they are looking for a connection and I wanted that process to be more accessible. But I had to understand that the users were trusting me. If you try to understand people and what they need, you can create things that naturally appeal to them. Empathy is a beautiful thing and very useful to continue operating both in times of prosperity or conflict (perhaps it is easier in prosperity, so it is better to design plans in those moments of peace). But now it is completely possible, especially when the needs are so acute.

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