A lot of small business owners run for the Legislature, but one New Jersey candidate can tout a unique entrepreneurial experience: hosting sex-toy parties.
Stepfanie Velez-Gentry is the owner of Nookie Parties LLC. She makes a living organizing parties for women and couples where she sells sex toys, lotions, games, lingerie and other erotic items.
"It's kind of like a Tupperware party, but with adult novelties," the 29-year-old mother of two explained.
Or, as her Web site puts it, "For parties you will always remember and nights you will never forget."
"We enhance people's romances and make people happy. It's wonderful," she said. "It makes the moms and dads happy, and then everyone is happy."
Velez-Gentry, a Republican from Bellmawr, is running for State Assembly. She started the company in 2007 as a way to help support her family in a tough economy. She said she works with more than 200 people nationwide to set up the parties.
"My husband is a printer. He's in fear of losing his job," she said. "We're just like everyone else, we live paycheck to paycheck."
She is vying for one of two open seat in District 5, which includes Camden and a stretch of middle-class Philadelphia suburbs. Most Republicans view the district as the safest in the state for Democrats, and her two opponents -- Donald Norcross, the brother of South Jersey power broker George Norcross, and Camden City Council President Angel Fuentes -- are well known.
Velez-Gentry said the parties have been a great way to meet voters and network. She said she always lets party participants know that she's running for state office.
"I received nothing but positive feedback," she said.
Camden County Republican Chairman Rick DeMichele saluted her entrepreneurial spirit.
"I knew what she did what she did before she decided to run," DeMichele said. "She engages people so easily and really gets out there and takes the approach of one voter at a time. She makes a great candidate."