In an effort to compete with massive coffee chains like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, some inventive entrepreneurs have created a new coffee shop with an adult twist. Last year topless or bikini-only coffee shops began opening in the Pacific north west. The public is equal parts delighted and outraged, and the trend is starting to spread to more and more states.
Bikini Beans Espresso recently opened in Arizona and features baristas dressed in lingerie, swimsuits, and sometimes nothing more than a strategically placed sticker.
Gorgeous business owner and extrovert Carlie Jo argues against critics who claim her store is a step in the wrong direction for gender equality. On her company website Carlie Jo writes, “As the first bikini barista shop in Arizona, we want to empower women to be, and feel good about, themselves. Women everywhere have the right to vote, to be gay, to be successful community leaders and business owners, or even run for president! We have the right to work with grace, confidence and dignity, regardless if it’s in a business suit, scrubs, or a bikini.”
Despite her enthusiasm, not everyone is ready to embrace her new business model. A local resident named Kimberly (she refused to report her last name) complained about Bikini Beans in an interview with Zagat. “The problem wasn’t as much what they saw. It was having to explain to my eight, seven and five-year-old kids why there are women without shirts on serving coffee and why there are men in line to get this coffee.” We’re sure she’s a real hoot at parties.
Spokane, Washington city councilor Mike Fagan, a religious conservative, struggled to outlaw bikini coffee shops in his state, but there’s nothing illegal about these establishments. “Having frequented at least one time in each of these shops, just to see what the consumer is subjected to, we’re talking about three stickers strategically placed – and I’ll leave it up to everybody else’s imagination as to where those stickers are placed,” he said in an interview with Zagat. “It should be all about the coffee and not about the body.”
Local feminists complain that the business is degrading to women, but the female owned and operated coffee shop doesn’t plan on changing anytime soon. “I have full families that come in that love me,” said barista Kim Paterson in an interview with People. “Whichever stand I’m at they bring their whole family. They bring their kids, you know, I’ve offered to babysit before,” she continued. “So it really doesn’t affect kids at all, I think they are just trying to find another thing to be offended by.”
Here’s some pictures of Carlie Jo and her staff posted to the company Instagram account.