A Day in the Life of a Deja Vu MOM
I am a mother of two beautiful children, but recently I became a MOM in the professional world. A MOM, as Deja Vu defines it, is a multi-operations manager. It’s been a long journey to get to this point in my career! Twelve years ago, I graduated high school and one week later took my first step into the adult industry at Little Darlings (one of over a hundred Deja Vu clubs) as a cashier. After a few months, I was promoted to a few different positions around the club, including bartending and serving. As an 18-plus juice bar, these positions are rather simple because in Nevada the 18-plus clubs can only serve non-alcoholic products like soda and bottled water. Side note: This was where I met the father of my children — double MOM!
Looking for more responsibilities, I was heavily involved with our promotions and themed events where I would give my ideas and take initiative to throw the party. This is where I initially received recognition of being a team player and qualified leader by the owner. When Deja Vu decided to expand by building the Adult Emporium, our highest-grossing retail store in Las Vegas, there was no doubt I would be a perfect fit.
Therefore, Deja Vu promoted me to team leader and lingerie buyer for the Adult Emporium. This was my first time working on the retail side of our operation, and the challenge was only greater considering it was a brand new store. Nevertheless, I went into this position with a high level of ambition and enthusiasm. First, I spent substantial time researching the competition and that is when I decided we would not just be a “porn shop” or “sex store.” My goal was to set the bar for adult boutiques in Las Vegas and our industry as a whole.
I did the best I could to transition our new store away form the prevailing trend in the Las Vegas market — that of the dingy, dark, seedy porn shops with peep shows and dirty theaters. Instead, we worked to develop a concept of an upscale adult boutique. Markedly different, it became a place where female shoppers (now our primary demographic) could feel comfortable, safe and welcomed.
Our stores began to evolve into clean, well-lit, and well-decorated boutiques with exceptional customer service aimed as de-stigmatizing shopping in an adult store. We saw our sales shift from 60 percent toys/movies/magazines to 60 percent clothing. This marked an exceptional shift in our retail business model, and as the largest adult retailer in the world, this was a substantial change felt throughout our operation. Through commitment and dedication, I was recognized as an exceptional trainer and merchandiser while working for some of our sister locations. The operation then asked me to travel to other cities and help fix some of our other stores and implement many of the techniques that proved successful at the Adult Emporium.
I continue to grow and learn every day. We implemented the same business model that we use at the Adult Emporium at our Industrial Road location, the Deja Vu Love Boutique. With structure, organization and daily persistence, we were able to push this location to the next step. This strategy proved successful and we were able to achieve multi-million dollar sales goals and expand this location to one of the largest adult stores in the world with a selection of virtually every adult-oriented item and clothing line available. With a staff of 20-plus and daily sales pars in the five digits, this is a high-volume operation in itself that requires daily leadership. When our owner decided to claim a retail space on the famed Las Vegas Strip, I began working around-the-clock (some days more than 15 hours).
With Kim Penny of Envious Designs, Bob Kurbis (who has contributed to the construction and remodeling of many Deja Vu locations nationwide), and our Marketing Director Shannon Deadmon, we built what very possibly was the most expensive adult boutique per square foot in history. We carefully set out to create what is likely the most upscale and whimsical boutique in the adult retail industry, the Deja Vu Love Boutique Stratosphere. This store is performing exceptionally well and we hope to expand our quaint adult boutique concept to other hotel-casinos nation-wide as the concept matures.
Shortly after, I attended January’s ANME Founder’s Show where I then received word that I would be the new general manager of the Deja Vu Showgirls adult club in Las Vegas. This is one of more than 100 adult clubs our operation runs in addition to our retail store chain and a slew of other businesses like karaoke bars, gay bars, drag clubs, etc. However, unlike Little Darlings where my career began, Deja Vu Showgirls is a 21-and-up adult club with liquor and topless entertainment. A dramatic departure from the juice bar / nude club business, this club has came with a steep learning curve and long list of challenges to overcome.
While I still do the purchasing, merchandising, management and work nearly full-time in the three Las Vegas boutiques (especially during holidays and events), I accepted the challenge. So, the majority of my time is now spent working nights inside the club and I enjoy every minute of it. Excited, nervous and most of all ambitious, I began in this location by implementing the same level of guest service we offer in our boutiques. I believe this is the cornerstone of any business.
We started in a very rough spot that was caused by several years of neglect and a lack of serious, committed leadership. Needless to say, we began to constantly try new things. It seemed like an eternity of throwing ideas at the wall, and only recently have they begun to stick. We have created a whole new business model at Deja Vu Showgirls Las Vegas. We now offer the best locals prices in town, the best tourist/conventioneer prices in town, and the best guest service of any gentlemen’s club in town.
Needless to say, our talent pool has grown substantially as well. I am proud of how far we have come at this location but realize that we still have a long road of training and relationship building ahead of us. Unlike any other city in the world, local adult clubs are in a “transportation war” in which clubs compete by paying cab drivers, limo drivers, promoters and hotel doormen to send guests to the clubs. So in most cases, whichever club pays the most is the busiest (often at the cost of club profit). So looking to maintain club profit, we have largely opted out of the pay-out game and instead stuck to our core business model of offering the best party around.
After working for Deja Vu’s operation for the past 12 years, I have found a place where my sense of creativity, professionalism and leadership is appreciated. I love being a MOM in both my personal and professional careers!
With more than 10 years working with Deja Vu’s various branches, Megan Swartz — Deja Vu’s general manager and buyer — has made a name for herself as a dedicated and savvy, merchandising and operations-managing dynamo.