Art

Hot Spot

by

Adam Glickman, 38, is the founder of Condomania, the successful business that’s made safer sex more fun since 1991. He lives in L.A. and New York.

1. How did a nice Upper East Side Jewish boy like you start a condom empire? I was always entrepreneurial. At eight, I sold my brother’s dirty magazines to the neighborhood boys for a buck apiece. My thesis at Tufts, where I studied sociology and philosophy, was a survey about attitudes toward condoms. People didn’t like them, despite the AIDS crisis. If we were going to save ourselves—other than through abstinence—we had to destigmatize them. I used the money from the Paul Montle Prize I won for entrepreneurial achievement at Tufts as seed money to start Condomania.

2. What’s your business strategy? It’s about engaging the consumer—making condoms better, hipper, easier to buy and use. Our first store, which opened in New York on Bleecker Street in 1991, was America’s first condom store. It was a synthesis of romance and sex. And business. Eventually we opened seven more around the country. Since all we sell are condoms and accessories, there’s no one in line glaring at you, no snooty sales clerks. We’re a showcase for the technology that pushes the industry.

3. Why did you go from boutiques to online? By the end of the ’90s the Internet was really booming, so I closed all of them except for the flagship New York store. And condomania.com became the backbone of the company.

4. What’s a good year, sales-wise? I won’t give you a precise figure, but we sell millions and millions of condoms—it’s less than 10 million—a year directly to consumers, to the military, clinics, hotels, as promotional items . . .

5. What’s your favorite product? Our new candy-flavored condoms are great. I love the bubble gum! But TheyFit sized-to-fit condoms, our exclusive house brand, are the ultimate realization of what I’ve been doing for 15 years—condom couture, latex tailored to the centimeter. We can personalize them to your every need. People download some 500 Fit Kits a day from our website to size themselves up. And since our current 55 sizes aren’t enough, we’re adding 40 more by summer.