CULVER CITY (CBSLA.com) — Two sisters in their 20s have taken their passion for romance novels and turned it into a lucrative business.
With $90,000 raised from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the two sisters are now writing their own chapter of success.
The two recently sat down with CBS2’s Crystal Cruz to explain the idea behind their bookstore, The Ripped Bodice.
“Feminist. Sex positive. Welcoming, Fun and Pink,” Bea Koch explained.
The sisters — Bea and Leah Koch — say they have loved romance novels for as long as they can remember.
“People are reading these books for all different kinds of reasons and the sex is such an important part of our discussion about it, but sometimes I think it overshadows what this genre really encompasses,” Leah said.
The Ripped Bodice, located in Culver City, is the only bookstore in the country that only carries romance novels.
They encourage readers as young as 12.
“It’s really important for young girls to recognize themselves in books — to read about heroines their own age, who are discovering themselves and their sexuality,” Bea said.
Their fans can’t get enough of their books or, the cover model known for gracing thousands (yes, thousands!) of book covers. Who else but long-maned, sculpted Fabio?
“Fabio means so much to so many romance readers,” said Leah. “He is a touchstone in our community.”
It’s estimated that Fabio has been on over 100 million books worldwide.
And don’t forget the commercials. Like anyone could forget, the classic from 20 years ago: “I can’t believe it’s not butter.”
Where has Fabio been, Cruz wanted to know.
“I just became a US citizen and that to me was the best thing. I love this country. It was like I married my first love. It was the most amazing feeling,” he says.
A romantic at heart and still single at 57, Fabio says he’s still searching for his own happily ever after.
“I’m looking for the best for myself. I believe that when you marry you should be married for the rest of your life, should be once,” he says. “Definitely, I want to have a wife and kids.”
And fans want to know Fabio’s secret to romance.
“My best advice to men and women, just be yourself,” he says.
As for the Koch sisters, meeting Fabio was like their own page of a romance novel.
Wow. Look at all my books,” he says, matter-of-fact.
The sisters say a lot of people come in asking about Fabio, no surprise.
Just about any book about romance can be found at The Ripped Bodice but don’t come looking for “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The sisters say they only like promoting what they call healthy romance.
And one more thing about the billion dollar romance novel business, the sisters told Cruz you might be surprised to find 20 percent of the buyers are male.
For more about The Ripped Bodice, click here.