Third-generation Dallas entrepreneur operates Bad Baby store

Photography by Jessica Turner

Sex sells. Even as a young woman fresh out of high school, Daijah Poteat knew this.

Since then, she has learned a lot about human sexuality, business and life. Every day is a new lesson and there is still so much to discover. This foundational knowledge shaped her as an entrepreneur and purveyor of adult novelties at her Bishop Arts District boutique, Bad Baby’s.

It’s an adult store. Bright digital signage advertising toys and hookahs lights up a stretch of West Davis sidewalk where window-shoppers can spot neat rows of rose-shaped vibrators and lacy lingerie.

Poteat greets everyone who walks through the door with a warm smile and does her best to make them feel welcome. Bad Baby’s is a far cry from the sex shops of yore, she says, where pleasure-seeking shoppers, especially women, may feel uncomfortable or unsafe. The 25-year-old went to these places with friends for a bachelorette party, she says, and her store is different.

“I wanted the right environment. The one that puts people at ease,” she says.

Shortly after graduating from high school at Richardson ISD, Poteat was injured in a car accident with a drunk driver. The recovery was painful and blocked his plans to continue his studies. She decided to make the most of the funds from a related insurance settlement to start her own business.

She followed the trails blazed by her mother, who owned a cleaning business, and her grandmother, who owned Ragwear, a Dallas retro clothing staple of the 1990s.

As a teenager, she worked with her mother, imbuing herself with wisdom and ambition. She was 23 when she decided to start her own business.

“I wanted something that fit me, something that I could make my own,” she says.

Poteat’s plan to launch an “LGBTQ-friendly” and “judgment-free” adult novelty store started with the right location.

Customers of the pleasure toys of the past were often relegated to seedier parts of town where atmospheres didn’t discourage behaviors such as lust or bullying of female customers, she says, so she looked for a neighborhood safe and high-traffic retail.

“I looked for areas that maybe didn’t have a sex shop, or at least not in the way I imagined,” she says.

When she couldn’t get a place at Deep Ellum, she came to Oak Cliff.

At the time, the four suites at 428 W. Davis were mostly empty. Today they are all occupied by women-owned businesses.

She says no one complained about Bad Baby’s when the first “BDSM, toys, lingerie for all” sign popped up in the window. It was then the height of the coronavirus, so it’s possible that local shopkeepers and neighbors were focused on more pressing matters, Poteat says. But her sex-themed shop didn’t deter more business owners from renting in the months that followed. And his neighbors say they love him.

“I don’t shop there, but I see Daijah in the hallway between our stores, and she’s so sweet and a great neighbor,” says Nataly Medina, owner of Crecer Dallas, a salon and plant store in the same building.

Even as Bishop Arts hosted Poteat and Bad Baby’s, the credit card processing company she used for online transactions dropped her for six months, which was a major blow.

“They emailed me saying this was a high risk activity, the decision was final,” she says. “I had built my whole website around this business, so I had to shut down for three months while I was rebuilding. I lost the whole summer of 2021.”

Now she’s subscribed to a reliable POS company called Lightspeed Retail, and she’s back up and running.

Online ordering is available, but for an educated guide, you have to visit in person, she says. From the latest technology (like vibrating, remote-controlled crotchless panties) to classic bondage gear (padded handcuffs, leatherette whips) and party supplies (adult board games, massage oils, and “mood-enhancing” CBD), Poteat researches every item and stocks only the most popular, high quality and safest merchandise.

“I’m always learning new things,” she says. “When I sell a product, I will know how to tell my customers about it.”

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