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May 25, 2017

Harriet Sugarcookie Discusses 'Porn for Geeks'

LOS ANGELES—Harriet Sugarcookie juggled three different minimum-wage jobs before wading into adult entertainment. “I worked in a shop in the day, a restaurant at night, and a gallery on the weekend—it was alright,” says the founder and owner of HarrietSugarcookie.com. “I wasn’t very confident back then.” Born in Vietnam and raised in Yorkshire, England, the versatile model/blogger/entrepreneur was shy and introverted. “I was like a size 12 going on 14. I had short hair and I was doing that Emo scene kid thing,” Sugarcookie recalls. “My background is my family moved around a lot. I had a lot of trouble talking to people and making friends. I definitely never considered myself attractive or desirable.” Then things changed. “I guess it all happened when my friend posted a photo of me online,” Sugarcookie explains. “It was like that first foray into the internet when I was getting compliments. It was from guys who liked Asian girls but it was still compliments. And that really gave me the boost to work on my self image and be more confident talking to people, taking interest in my looks—self-improvement in general.” She started sharing more photos of herself online and began finding out more about who she is. “Harriet’s not really a character, it’s the person I always wanted to be,” Sugarcookie says. “I was shy—just into my comic books and at home playing video games, too scared to talk to people. “But online I could be that girl who is fun. Because that’s what the internet allows you to do and I guess as the website has grown I’ve managed to become the person that I always wanted to be.” Now as the creative force behind one of the most entertaining and original sites in all of porn, Sugarcookie’s quick wit and sunny personality comes through in every new post. On any given week, her range includes writing relationship tips such as “How to get your girlfriend to open up emotionally,” to a sexy blog entry about “My incredible weekend with Tina Kay,” to a cooking segment called “Cute Food” in which she demonstrates how to make a “Zelda Triforce & Octopus Sausages Bento Box.” And yes, Sugarcookie also models, too, but only on occasion now that she’s so busy running an online lifestyle magazine/adult site that doubled its revenue last year in the span of three months. “We have a hundred-percent organic traffic,” Sugarcookie says. “It’s a monthly subscription base and we have a really high retainability. We get a lot of re-bills—people are very loyal to us.” Indeed what Sugarcookie and her partner and cameraman, Tommie McDonald, aka TinderTommie, have created is no longer one of the adult industry’s best-kept secrets. It’s carved out a place in the business all its own thanks to some of the stickiest content in porn. “From the start I had the face, so to speak, and Tommie had the know-how from the tech side of things, setting up a website and running a magazine-style business. But we both sort of just learned as we went along,” Sugarcookie, who now resides in Budapest along with McDonald, tells AVN. McDonald, who is also British, says, “We just complement each other well. There’s so many things Harriet can do that I just wouldn’t know where to start.” “I run all the social media stuff,” Sugarcookie explains. “I write all the articles on the website and do the interviews.” The duo launched the site about three years ago in England—somehow pulling in three grand in their first month with just two “crappy” videos of Sugarcookie from her live-camming days—and to this day their first-month of earnings remains the lowest month they’ve had. “We only really started working a year ago,” Sugarcookie admits. “So the first two years we just cruised along, didn’t employ anyone, didn’t have any expenses. We made enough that it was a comfortable life and then we were like, ‘Let’s try being better, let’s try growing.’ And that’s what we’ve done.” With the tag line “Porn for Geeks,” the site has evolved into a portal that is completely safe-for-work for non-members with a wide variety of content all presented with Sugarcookie’s comic flair. Under one of the site’s main categories “Geek Stuff,” she posts videos of porn stars playing board games, movie and video game reviews and blogs about cosplay ideas. The “Lifestyle” category comes alive with Sugarcookie’s eclectic cooking recipes and her talent for documenting her various adventures in the “Travel” section. Sugarcookie says the spirit of the site originated “from this very personal place.” “From the camming background and also social media I’ve always been very close to the audience and very close to the fans. I have a huge social media presence. I’m constantly talking to them,” she says. “The website itself is dictated a lot by our audience. We write geeky things because we’re ‘Porn for Geeks.’ We write movie reviews they want to hear. People send in emails for dating and sex advice and I respond to them personally. We’re not just giving porn, we’re giving the whole experience. You get to know more about me, you get to know more about my interests and it’s the same for the other girls that are on our site.” Sugarcookie continues, “We have porn stars; we also have a very interesting range of exclusive girls. But everything about our site is just very friendly, very open, very personal. I think people like that. I think people respect that and I think that’s what they’re looking for.” McDonald, who is the main performer in most of the site’s hardcore boy/girl videos, agrees. “Having exclusive models is quite handy,” he says. “We realize because of the way we do things there’s a lot of girls that would never do porn that would do porn for us, which is quite interesting. As far as looks goes they look a bit different—they’re from different types of backgrounds. They seem to be selling really well. I guess you could say it’s a more modern approach to a porn site.” HarrietSugarcookie.com is their take on “reinventing the porn magazine,” according to McDonald. “People that watch porn are not idiots,” McDonald says. “They’re interested in a wide gamut of things. So we’re trying to have this community with year-round geek interests, which is what Harriet does and what she’s into as well. It’s just a lifestyle magazine for geeks. It just happens that you can get porn on there as well. “It’s like a hardcore version of FHM.” Nowadays Sugarcookie says the site includes more SFW content than hardcore. “When we started it was almost exclusively Harriet Sugarcookie,” she says. “We did boy/girl videos and it was just us two making sex tapes and putting them on the internet. As the business has grown my jobs and my responsibilities as one of the owners running the company just takes up so much time I don’t really have the need or the want to focus so much on the performance side of things. I’m really interested in the other stuff. “And I think for me one of the focuses of our company is to do what we’re comfortable with and what we enjoy. So everything we do and what we film is very much down to the performers’ comfort levels. “So for instance when we film and we book a model she’ll come over for a weekend. She’ll fly over. We’ll have dinner together and then the next day we’ll go sight-seeing. We’ll go see a film. It’s like a date and we just happen to have sex and record it. The actual filming process is only the performers and a camera. There’s no camera crew. There’s no lighting person. And I think that’s because I wanted it to be as natural as possible. I want it to be as fun as possible because I think if you enjoy the sex it will look good and it will sell naturally.” Sugarcookie says that taking a step back from performing has been a natural progression for her. “As it is HarrietSugarcookie.com now is so much more than Harriet and I’m very happy about that,” she says. “I’m still very much the face and the spokesperson for the company, but we have amazing content with our exclusive girls and we have some amazing content with porn stars. “It’s like the only place you’re really going to come and see just girls just be girls, like whether they’re porn stars or not. And it’s that sort of friendly inclusiveness, that very personal touch that we do so well with.” During a recent tour of Southern California—her third trip to the US for business—Sugarcookie says she came to the realization that she needs to cultivate more business relationships in America. “We thought we were doing quite well before. We’re fairly successful in Europe and coming to America we’re sort of just realized there’s so many companies that we can work with, do collaborations with. There’s so many opportunities in America that we just didn’t realize there were before,” she says. She says she her friendship with McDonald extends well beyond starting the site together. “We’ve always been friends. He’s worked for magazines in the past and he’s got a lot of experience with creating an online website. I didn’t realize at the time that he was also interested in the industry himself,” Sugarcookie says. “It was interesting that we kind of had the same idea when I was posting the pictures online and doing the camming. “We make a great team. I wouldn’t believe anyone that said they could do everything needed to run a site and run a company—no one can. So I do the things Tommie can’t, Tommy does the things I can’t and together we’ve managed to build a very successful company. “The only problem is success is relative and now I’ve realized that as successful as I thought we were I want to be bigger. I want to be better.” Sugarcookie’s goal is to “triple” the site’s revenue this year—they’re investing resources into their YouTube channel, new writers and production staff for the site that already averages 300,000 unique views a month.  “Eighty-percent of our content is articles, reviews—it’s a magazine. It’s a whole package with your porn,” Sugarcookie says. “We don’t really fit into a category. On the other hand that makes it good. I don’t really think we compete with anyone else which means that we’re very open to working with everyone and collaborating.”

 
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