My job is, and always has been, to do what is asked of me to the best of my ability. I’ve worn many hats in this company, as it’s not only adult retail but adult nightlife as well. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit and assist many locations across the county and even one club just across the border. In my home state, I have worked at literally every location we have here. I’m happy to have my home here at Deja Vu Love Boutique in Las Vegas, but am willing to move to another local location whenever I have to. I thoroughly enjoy working for this company and would say my biggest and most important role is team building wherever I go. I believe the biggest hurdle in any business is getting over a broken system that lacks unity. I pride myself on highlighting strengths in people to bring them to the forefront so they themselves can acknowledge them and others can mimic them. I think it is instrumental to have a fun, loving environment where people can feel secure in their position and appreciated. Everyone will have their strengths and weaknesses, but as long as a common goal is shared, they are headed for success!
My best advice for a team leader is to never stop learning and changing. You have to keep things fresh and evolving. I know all about struggling in a leadership position and second-guessing yourself. I’ve had my share of ups and downs, but when I walk through the door my game face is on. You have to be someone people can look up to and depend on. You have to be a helping hand. Do not sit behind a desk and expect everything to be done before your eyes. Work with your team. Thank them for their service and appreciate what they bring to the business.
Ask questions, have an open mind. You learn new things every day; as long as you put your best foot forward you’ll be successful here. –Joanna Ebersbach, Manager
For this column, I decided to head in a different direction than the norm. I usually try to offer my advice or opinion on different topics, but I thought it would be nice for readers to hear from the people running the show with me. These are the people to whom I attribute the success of Deja Vu Love Boutique here in Las Vegas. As it may very well be the highest-grossing adult retail store in the country, I pride myself on acknowledging these team members who make it such a success. I posed the same two questions to all of them:
“What is your role at Deja Vu that makes you an integral piece of the puzzle? What advice could you offer someone in your position?”
“I take on an integral role by being efficient at everything I do. Working smarter not harder, being a person everyone can come to and know they can depend on. My advice would be to be considerate of others, use tact, and make sure everything you do, you try to do it as well as you can and keep getting better every time.”
— Jariselle Cortijo, staff
“I take great pride in our store. I've learned so much in this store, not only from management, but the people I work with. I'm proud to say I work for Deja Vu. I learn something new every day. I'm always there to help my co-workers. We're all lucky to be able to work in such a beautiful store. I love and enjoy working with everyone in the store and I hope people feel the same about me.
“My advice is to be professional with your customers. Keep your personal life to yourself and always remember, they're guests in your house, show gratitude. Show customers the way you would like to be treated when you walk through those doors.”
— Ernie Pena, staff
“My official role at Deja Vu is lead sales associate. My untitled role is resident fetish expert, dildo slanger, hosiery hustler, and all-around sexpert. I've worked in various positions in the adult industry and have unique insight into the human sexual experience. I am intrigued by the progress our field continues to make. I like to learn and teach. It is my genuine pleasure to walk anyone exploring their journey to adult products into our world. It helps that I'm likable and speak various languages. In the past 17 years I've learned the best icebreakers in 60-plus languages. I'd say that makes me pretty integral in our store.
“My advice to anyone entering the sex retail industry: make a good impression with your knowledge. My goal is to ALWAYS have my customers leave happy and educated. I would like to give an experience with a smile and leave enough excitement to return. I use my sense of humor, nerdy/freaky side, Jedi mind tricks, a vast knowledge of culture and language, my own experiences, and my genuine good nature with everyone I encounter. On a good day, I can use them all interchangeably in one fine, expensive, high sales interaction. Enjoy the people you get to meet and the stories you get to hear and tell. Be open to new experiences. Be better than you were yesterday. This is the attitude I bring into work daily, and I think this is the key to why I do well.”
— Kristi Flores Ramirez, lead sales associate
“My one true function as a manager is keeping the boutique together. There are many little things that go unnoticed when initially glancing at the operation. I'm basically the man behind the curtain. I serve as support for everyone that walks through my doors.
“I would say my No. 1 concern is keeping my staff happy. If they're happy, their customer service is 100 percent. In turn, our business runs better. Our associates are the direct line to the customer. Happy staff equals great customer service, making for satisfied customers.”
— Annber Kealoha, manager
“While I am part of the management team, I started as a sales associate. Before my interview, I had never stepped foot into an adult store and I had no idea what to expect. I applied for some of the same reasons that I'm sure most of us did. I thought it would be interesting, I thought it was different than anything anyone I knew was doing. I thought it would be a great experience and all of those things I thought have come true. A little ways in, I had lost my passion. I thought the grass was greener, so I took a break from our store and I went to see what else was out there. I did work at another adult retail store and it didn't even compare. Part of what makes Deja Vu so unique is the sense of unity and family that you're not going to find anywhere else.
“Some advice that I would give to someone else in my position is to remember why you wanted to work here. It's not easy. It's a lot of hard work and you're going to feel overwhelmed sometimes, it sounds cliché but take a deep breath. Take a break from what you're doing and walk the floor, see how you can help guests. Ask questions, have an open mind. You learn new things every day; as long as you put your best foot forward you'll be successful here.”
— Joanna Ebersbach, manager
“Although I may be on the newer side of things here at the Vu, I would say from what experience I have here, it's important to have some sort of confidence, professionalism and positive attitude. I've learned so much from my coworkers that it gives me a sense of pride to see someone realize that, although I may be young, I am knowledgeable about my job, and the product that comes with it. This job has given me a confidence I hadn't had before. Unlike my last occupation, I've only heard positive criticism here. It puts me at ease because in this world I'm considered a baby, and I'm hesitant to help people because of that. This job has taught me to be comfortable, open to sexuality and people’s desires, and has brought me to realize that everyone and every culture has different tastes.
“The best advice I could give is to be open to new ideas, even if they don't align with your own. Be ready to work, because God knows we work. And be ready to see some real freaky stuff.”
— Emiley Agnew, staff
“My role as a manager is kind of like being a shepard. I'm there to coordinate the team, and to guide them in the right directions, ensuring the best possible experience for both the guest and for the team member.
“My main piece of advice is to try and view every situation from the perspective of the person you're dealing with. If you can understand their feelings and ideas in a given situation it's easier to make the right call.”
— Adam Beers, manager
“My role at the Vu is technically lead sales associate. But, I like to think I’m a sex therapist of sorts. The best part of my job is learning new things and passing them on to our guests. Quite literally changing some of their lives. I love that part! I would suggest to someone in my position to take a breath and just enjoy your job. I would also tell them to have as much fun as humanly possible. It’s kind of hard not to here at Deja Vu.”
— Devinne Morrison, lead sales associate
“While on my business card I list my title as Golf Pro Wannabe, I try to be an integral piece of the puzzle because I am here for my fellow associates when needed. I always look after my co-workers and promote a fun and positive working environment.
“My main job, through myself or my associates is to train and re-train the staff and know the merchandise. Stay focused, organized and never give up. Lastly, don't be afraid to have a dog in the fight when it comes to our constitutional rights as Americans.”
— Harry Mohney, founder
“My role involving Deja Vu is that I provide marketing, advertising and social media services to Deja Vu Love Boutique. I create the visual sizzle that helps spark the imagination in our guests’ minds before they get to the store and create a positive perception of our business with respect to sensuality and exploration. Additionally, I work to help motivate our guests to make a decision to take action and purchase from us with hopes it will change their lives in a positive way. The most rewarding part of my job is the excitement, happiness and gratitude I receive from Deja Vu team members as a result of my creation/work. Therefore, creating an enthusiasm among our Deja Vu sales team and staff to be the best at what they do at the Vu! The Deja Vu team rocks!”
— Shannon Deadmon, marketing, advertiser, social media
It’s important to understand that everyone will take a unique approach when dealing with customers. While maintaining structure and the basic policies and procedures is important, it is VITAL to allow your staff to be who they are. Let them be different from each other! Encourage them to find their niche. Let others who join the team around them take tidbits from each of your key players and find their own way to translate that into great customer service and high sales. I think it is important to note that these people are invaluable to our operation and teach me something new every day.
This is a good exercise for your team. Even if it's not for an article. It's nice to hear how everyone feels about their position and what drives them to work harder. It's great team building, a great way to share ideas and an ice breaker for new members.