WIA Profile: Elsa Viegas
Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
Bijoux Indiscrets designer and co-founder Elsa Viegas was born in Portugal, where she later went on to study graphic design. Two years later, she moved to Barcelona to complete her studies with a Master’s Degree in advertising communication. After a couple of years working in advertising for international accounts she co-founded Bijoux Indiscrets in 2006, a benchmark and pioneering brand in “erotic chic.” Viegas says she currently devotes all her time to her company and to her dog, an English Bull Terrier named Missy, who is her other passion. In this month’s edition of Women in Adult, we profile Viegas, who reveals the inspiration behind Bijoux Indiscrets and her future goals for the brand.
XBIZ: How did you get into the intimacy products industry?
Elsa Viegas: I met my business partners in 2004 while working in advertising. In 2006 we founded Bijoux Indiscrets. We saw the gap between the erotic industry and the female buyer. Being a designer was very important, having the sensibility and at the same time the tools to develop what we had in mind. Bijoux Indiscrets should be affordable luxury. Design and function. Eroticism and beauty. Products designed by and for women where sophistication and discretion were the main characteristics so no woman would feel uncomfortable while buying, using or even giving Bijoux as a present to a lady friend or her love partner.
XBIZ: What did you do prior to co-founding Bijoux Indiscrets?
Viegas: I’m a graphic designer and I’ve worked my whole life in the design and advertising world until I founded Bijoux Indiscrets. In fact, I met my business partner Marta Aguiar while working together at an advertising agency in Barcelona.
XBIZ: What is a typical day like for you?
Viegas: I have to recognize that I’m very lazy right now but a typical day is waking up at 7:15. Go for a power walk or for a run. Breakfast at home with my husband and my dog Missy, reading the news and listening to music. Then I spend my whole day at Bijoux HQ — taking a lunch break of 90 minutes to have time to cook and walk Missy or attend my yoga classes. A day at the office is divided between my own design and creativity work and daily tasks and meetings with my team. I’ll leave the office around 8 p.m. (Yes, this is very Spanish and we have late dinners). In the evening I love to check what’s going on in the art, fashion and design world and I’m addicted to classic Spanish cinema and I watch a movie a night. I’ll read a couple of pages of a magazine or a book already in bed. Before I fall asleep I’ll go through my day and prepare the next one. One rule? I try to laugh as much as I can during the day!
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Viegas: Leaving my comfort zone for several times in my life both professional and personal, put things in perspective. Leaving my hometown, then my country; then my job to start Bijoux Indiscrets. Then making Bijoux Indiscrets work because you know that you have great ideas but it is all new and you are not an expert. Running a business is the biggest challenge of all. There are so many different things to manage. People. Projects. I face new challenges everyday. If it isn’t the new products we present once or twice a year it is a new collaboration with a business partner, a conference in a foreign country or a TV show that invites you because your project is great. Ten years ago I couldn’t imagine that my life would be this interesting and fun. I’m very thankful for all I am living right now and especially for all the amazing people I’ve met in the industry. I’ve met the most interesting people in the world because of Bijoux Indiscrets and this is definitely the best part of the journey. How have I overcome these challenges? With optimism! This is the key. (And hard work too but that is no secret). Taking chances and grabbing opportunities with both hands. I’m afraid sometimes but that doesn’t stop me. On the contrary, it pushes me forward.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Viegas: I guess when you discover that one idea of yours made a difference in someone’s life. This gives meaning to what I do and gives me even more motivation to keep on doing it.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Viegas: “Don’t judge!” “Be free!” “Nothing is impossible!” I cannot have just one, I’m a Libra.
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Viegas: My team! No one teaches you the true importance of having a great team. You learn all about teamwork but it is not just working in a team; it’s being part of an amazing group of people that makes all the difference.
You may have great ideas, you may have an amazing strategy and an amazing product but being among amazing people everyday, people who believe n your project and live it as its own, this is more than you could ever ask. Having a great work ambient is my great accomplishment (and, again, not mine, ours).
XBIZ: What are some of your professional goals for the future?
Viegas: I would love to see Bijoux Indiscrets as THE brand of erotic fashion. I would love to start, in a near future, an education project for women, regarding the still unknown and unexplored female pleasure and to keep on developing products that women are comfortable with, that empower them and specially that make their love lives better.