Cara Kaine thought she was getting a job as a sales assistant in a Sunshine Plaza lingerie store, but she ended up getting a job that made her dress like a show girl and sell sex toys to every customer that walked through the door.  She quit after two weeks and is speaking about Honey Birdettes dodgy sale practices.
Cara Kaine thought she was getting a job as a sales assistant in a Sunshine Plaza lingerie store, but she ended up getting a job that made her dress like a show girl and sell sex toys to every customer that walked through the door. She quit after two weeks and is speaking about Honey Birdettes dodgy sale practices. Patrick Woods

'Want (sex) toy with that?': Woman's 'nasty' Plaza job

NO one told Cara Kaine when she took a job at the Sunshine Plaza lingerie store, Honey Birdette, that she would have to become a seductive "show girl" to keep it.

The brave 23-year-old has exposed the high profile Australian luxury lingerie company's requirements for the "honeys" that work there in the hope something will change.

Not only was she required to wear high heels and red lipstick to work, guidelines were given on the clothes she could wear and the greetings and phrases to be used in store.

 

A snippet out of Honey Birdette's 'Llittle Black Book' for employees.
A snippet out of Honey Birdette's 'Llittle Black Book' for employees. Honey Birdette's 'Little Black B

Some words were "never" words, like "panty" and "sex toys", where as the "honey words" of "provocative", "empowering" and "tease and tempt" were encouraged.

And then there was Honey Birdette's "10 commandments" which included advice on how to get customers to buy more than they may have come into the shop looking for.

A Honey Birdette spokesman said the store was an "iconic brand" which had been around for 10 years and it did "not ask our staff to read or say anything they are uncomfortable with".

It also did not "require staff to act sensually for customers".

Ms Kaine said she was required to introduce each customer to Honey Birdette's range of "toys" even if they only came in looking for a new bra.

She said she also had to learn how to "give them the fantasy" to buy one of the toys.

"When I went in for the job they asked if I would be comfortable selling toys," Ms Kaine said.

Does Honey Birdette ask too much of its employees?

This poll ended on 26 April 2017.

Current Results

Yes, retail assistants shouldn't be expected to put on a "seductive" facade just to work.

54%

No, it's just smart business.

45%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"I was more than happy to say to people what they do and how to use them, but the way they wanted me to sell it I wasn't comfortable with.

"They said I had to give customers the fantasy to make them want to buy it and I was to look up erotic stories to help with this."

She quit the job after only two weeks.

"I went into this job thinking that I was going to be a retail assistant at a lingerie store, but left feeling cheap and nasty knowing that I had to be fake and seductive towards my customers," she said.

 

A photograph Cara Kaine took of herself on her way to work at Honey Birdette.
A photograph Cara Kaine took of herself on her way to work at Honey Birdette. Cara Kaine

Ms Kaine was required to attend "mandatory training" which she said she hadn't been paid for in Brisbane and then she was given "the little black book" written by Honey Birdette founder, Eloise Monaghan.

The Honey Birdette spokesman said training was paid for and the little black book was online.

The book includes everything a person needed to know for a successful career at Honey Birdette and included the guidelines on dress code, the company's "10 commandments, a list of "never" and "Yes Ma'am" words and a list of "Honey Hints" which included advise on how to "up sell in the change room.

 

How to use the right words when working at Honey Birdette.
How to use the right words when working at Honey Birdette. Honey Birdette's 'Little Black B

There was also the "Gents Guide" which stereotyped men into four categories, "the budget guy", the "decisive guy", the "guy with lots of girlfriends" and "the guy who has no idea what to buy".

There were "10 tips for making the most out of your gents", which included "lead him Honey, usually he has no idea what he wants"..

Employees were advised "men are visual" and they should "slip the We-vibe over your hand or hold the chemise in front of him".

"Let him touch it and imagine it on her after gallons of eggnog," it reads.

Ms Kaine was not the first woman to voice concerns about alleged harassment and bullying in the work place. 

More than 7000 people have joined a campaign started by former employee, Chanelle Powers, calling for Honey Birdette to end alleged sexist and unsafe practices in their stores .

 

The campaign calling for change to Honey Birdette's practices.
The campaign calling for change to Honey Birdette's practices. Not your Honey campaign

The Young Workers Centre has been continuing the campaign, calling for concerned employees to contact them..

Despite concerns about the company's employment practices, the business was expanding its stores internationally.

Honey Birdette announced on April 12 its plans to aggressively expand its stores into the United Kingdom with 50 stores to open by the end of the year. It was also looking at the American market.


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