About This Project


Shannon Saksewski



Director of Operations


How long have you been in operation:

Since May 2015


What inspired you to start your business?

The city of Detroit lacks a safe, inclusive space for adults to learn about sexual wellness and expression. Spark Plug Detroit aims to fill that gap in a manner which is safe, inclusive, and welcoming of all people. Spark Plug consists of three components:
1. A boutique, which offers quality sexual wellness products;
2. Educational programming designed to improve social connection and awareness between people. [E.g., How to talk to youth about sex; yoga practice and/or massage for body awareness (non- sexual)]
3. Community space for community-buildling gatherings, including art exhibits, performances, and story-telling.


What are some struggles you faced when trying to achieve your goals?

We’re still quite young, so we still have plenty of struggles to face in the future. However, so far, it’s been an incredible struggle to find suitable real estate for either purchase or rent. Hand-in-hand with real estate woes come financing concerns. We’re starting our business as a pop-up, largely to ensure that Detroit wants us in town. Once we’re certain that Detroiters will have us, we’ll further pursue a brick-and-mortar store front


What is one of your most notable triumphs?What is one piece of advice you would give to those who want to be entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but be clear in asking for what you want. Don’t hint. Don’t ask for what you sort-of want. Explain why. And don’t be a jerk.


Where do you envision your business and Detroit in 10 years?

Detroit has been, is, and will be, a phenomenal city. Despite its challenges with bankruptcy and corruption related to specific politicians, Detroit has persevered in stunning and beautiful ways. It is obvious that the city is experiencing a renaissance, which we expect will continue into the next decade and beyond.

For Spark Plug, one of the most intriguing aspects of Detroit is that it is a city of multiplicity– of diverse heritage, neighborhoods, and populations. With heritage comes a diversity of cultural expression– food, music, art. The city’s many neighborhoods and business districts create space for a host of people and businesses to find their niche. Long-time citizens and newcomers, though sometimes at odds, often come together to make this city better. Despite, or perhaps because of, Detroit’s multiple forms of diversity, it is important to discuss, inclusively, how change will impact the city and its citizens in the future.

We intend for Spark Plug to be a facet of Detroit’s renaissance. In ten years, we will offer a brick and mortar storefront in the city, with enough space to host education sessions and community-focused events. We will provide access to products and education which do not currently exist in the city. We wish to be a place where conversations about the city’s change may take place. We love Detroit, its people, and its hustle. As much as we want our business to succeed, we want to see the city thrive.


Finish this sentence: Detroit / Michigan / Your City needs…?

…consistent, shame-free, and fully-accessible information about sexual health across the life span.