If you're browsing at the Made in Oregon Store, you probably won't find ball gags or nipple clamps... but you should! Milwaukie's own Spartacus has been producing top-quality leather and fetish wear for 20 years. While many strippers, goths, Eagle habitués, and other downtown types are familiar with the Spartacus storefront kitty-corner from Powell's Books, few would guess that much of the merchandise is made locally by a family-owned business. Ameena Lacey has been a part of that family for over 10 years, first in retail, then in marketing and sales since moving back from New York last fall. When not traveling to hardcore European trade shows, Ameena keeps busy with her six-year-old daughter and, as Candy Lacey, sings and plays keyboards and Theremin the in post-punk goth band Cold Metal.
How did you get into this line of work?
Back in the day, in the mid-'90s, all the young goth chicks worked at the retail store. If you were goth in Portland in the '90s, you went to Spartacus.
What's the nature of your duties?
I do a lot of trade shows, national and international, so there's a lot of traveling. This weekend I'm going to Cleveland and Detroit. This summer I'm going to England for a big sex trade show, and in fall I'm going to Berlin. The European shows are hardcore. They have live sex acts at trade shows.
Is there a must-have Spartacus piece?
Our most popular items are definitely cock rings.
Do you know how to size a guy?
We sell three-packs. Most people can usually use the smallest size, but if they're a little scared, they can start with the larger one until they get comfortable with it. We definitely encourage people to use either the leather or the rubber ones first, because if you can't get it off, you may have to have it cut off.
Favorite part of the job?
Product development. That's really fun. Right now we're working on an after-care lotion, to be used if you're sore after a play session. We're working on a more feminine line of nipple clamps that's more jewelry-inspired. Our beaded nipple clamps have been doing really well. We're working on a more upscale velvet line—restraints, collars, and blindfolds.
Do you have to keep up on the latest trends in ball gags and such?
Definitely. There are industry magazines and online magazines, and I skim them every day.
Do you use restraints and paddles in your daily life?
Is there a goth trend for summer?
Even in the fashion magazines, they're saying that because the economy is going down, that fashion is turning really dark.