It isn’t often that you find a business that operates for profit and offers a public service, but that is exactly what sexual health shop and blog Karaz aims to do. Ashraf Alkiswani, who founded the business himself, says that he began the business because he recognized that there was relatively low level of knowledge and access to information about sexual health in Palestine or in neighboring countries.
Alkiswani tells me that he began to conduct market research nearly two years ago and then, upon receiving permission from local authorities, rolled out a soft launch this past December and then an official launch in March.
Since launch, the company claims 4,500 unique monthly visitors and have 13,700+ “likes” on Facebook, so they have achieved solid traction within the past couple of months. Karaz is currently backed by investment from Arabreneur, but the total amount of funding cannot be revealed.
Visiting the neatly designed and colorful site, which is in English and Arabic, the user is presented with a number of articles pertaining to sexual life and love. Or, the user can visit the shop and purchase items such as bedroom games, lubricants, edibles, and other sex-related products. Alkiswani tells that one of the next steps for the business is to incorporate a section through which users can have personal consultations by text, voice, or video with licensed doctors, marriage counselors, and sex therapists.
Alkiswani says that there are several competing Muslim-oriented sex shops, but they are either limited by geography or are not exactly targeting the same audience. Rivals include Holland-based Muslim sex shop Elasira, Turkish Helal Sex Shop, and Khadija Mall, which targets MENA, but is soley product-based and offers clothing like jeans, shoes, and traditional Gulf attire.