From a natural interest in human sexuality, Elsa Viegas, co-founder, owner and designer of Bijoux Indiscrets, set up an international female-friendly erotic boutique by being in the right place at the right time. Elsa speaks with The Industry Leaders about the challenges of managing a team and how she goes about it.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I got here by being in the right place at the right time and taking the opportunity to change my professional life 16 years ago. Without any doubt, I left my design and advertising career and jumped to a company that was created to make a change. What started as a crazy coffee table idea, a female-friendly erotic boutique, has evolved to a brand created to design female-friendly sexual products that today is present in over 42 countries.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I'm the designer and creative mind at Bijoux Indiscrets. I'm in charge of communication, design and product development. I like to get involved in different matters of my company, so I also coordinate the D2C day-to-day business, social media and PR.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Since my early college years, I've been interested in human sexuality, and my work always revolved around it. Being in the sexual wellness industry is all about having a positive impact on people's lives. We are selling products, but we also change and improve the pleasure life of those who buy Bijoux Indiscrets' products.
I'm always learning and fascinated by human behaviour, and this industry allows me to do what I love the most: learn.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
I designed my whole life around this idea that "The freedom of one ends where the freedom of the other begins", and I remember listening to it when I was very young. It made sense then and still does now.
We should be free to choose what's best for us, what makes us feel good, establish our limits, say “No” as many times as we feel like, and change our minds if we want to. This applies to everything in our day-to-day, in our business life, social and sexual life too.
What's the best way to support aspiring leaders in your field?
I love to get involved in projects relevant to our industry and give a voice to emerging brands. We also work closely with sexologists and other sexual wellness professionals. I'm always available to listen to new entrepreneurs and provide some insights when needed.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I'm curious by nature, and I love to be informed about my industry but also about art, music, cinema, fashion and other forms of creative expression.
I get all my industry publications to stay up to date. I read blogs and alternative magazines and also mainstream publications from different countries and continents. I read many studies and reports about sexuality, new cosmetic and pharmaceutical breakthroughs, consumer behaviour, and retail trends.
I rely on various media to get my brain food!
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
People are, for me, the biggest challenge. Managing a big team is one of the most challenging and, at the same time, rewarding situations I ever faced. A great team can make a great company, but it is a very delicate balance. Managing, leading and motivating a team, especially a creative one, is probably the biggest challenge I face.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Great question, and I'm not sure!
I guess I would buy my dream home in the forest but with an ocean view (I know exactly how I want it) and keep doing what I'm doing right now: slow living. One of the many things this pandemic taught me is that we can take things much slower than we think we can. This dream home would also include an animal sanctuary to rescue domestic and farm animals.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I enjoy the company of my furry babies - an English bull terrier and three cats. I also like just to be; listen to the birds as they frenzy getting back to their trees, I walk in my vegetable garden, I read, and I cook - I love to cook world food - it is my zen moment.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I would love to see more sustainability in general, not only in my industry.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
Regarding podcasts, I'm not loyal to any in particular, but there are a few I listen to randomly, like Shameless Sex, The Cut, Modern Love from the NY Times and WGSN podcast.
How should people connect with you?
I'm always available at hello@bijouxindiscrets or WhatsApp at +34 687026950
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