Got Her Start at Excitement Video and Toys in Pennsylvania, Kim Faubel Now Heads Up Deja Vu Love Boutique in Vegas

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from www.lvrj.com – With a turquoise mohawk and a few piercings, Kim Faubel entered the world of the adult retail industry and hasn’t looked back.

It was 2003 at Excitement Video and Toys in Pennsylvania. Looking for a job, Faubel walked in and saw a woman behind the counter with blue hair and a guy with a labret ring. She was in the right place. Faubel said she felt limited to a few employers because of her looks, but didn’t want to work at the mall. Excitement was near her home, and the shop’s adult nature didn’t bother her.

“I’ve always liked porn and been really comfortable with the topic,” Faubel said.

After becoming district manager of the chain in Pennsylvania, Faubel and her boyfriend made their way to Las Vegas in 2011 to avoid the Northeastern winters. As manager of the Deja Vu Love Boutique at 3247 Industrial Road, she’s sans mohawk – now a brunette – but there are a few new tattoos to replace the hair.

In her professional life, Faubel caters to a 50-50 clientele of tourists and locals and oversees a staff of 20. On her off time, Faubel’s passion is improv, and she performs regularly Monday evenings at the Onyx Theatre. And, “to nerd it up for a minute,” Faubel’s also in the middle of the postapocalyptic role-playing game, Gamma World. She’s also a “big karaoke fiend” who sings songs from the musical “Rent” or Adele if she’s “feeling ballsy.”

At work, Faubel contends with things you might expect from an adult store: prank calls and creepsters, but there’s a softer side of it all that she said makes her love working in the industry and what has kept her there for nine years.

Question: What about it did you fall in love with?

Answer: In 2003 … the majority of our clients were 60-year-old men. I would really relish the time when older women would come in and be a little scared. They’d ask questions and I’d try to comfort her or (make her) feel confident that it’s safe to be here and it’s OK to be here. It’s a fun environment but I take it professionally, and I always did. I really enjoy those moments when people appreciate a professional in an industry that’s not known for that.

Question: Do you think being a woman helps increase people’s comfort level in the store?

Answer: Absolutely. … Most of my staff are women. This industry has flipped in the last few years and most of the people working in these stores are women. I’d like to think it’s an empowering thing. It’s become more about the toys and lingerie than about just the movies, which are heavily geared toward men.

Question: How does pop culture affect your business?

Answer: Shows like “Sex and the City” don’t hurt. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is the newest thing to bring it out into the open. We are very grateful for it. Women are learning about products from this book that we’ve had in stock for years. Even health products. Now it’s mainstream. In “Sex and the City,” there’s one episode where they talk about the sex toy, the Rabbit. I can always tell when people have seen it. We’ll get a rush of women who come in and ask for this toy. I think shows and books like that hit people we’re not going to hit and it brings them here.

Question: How is the industry doing right now?

Answer: It’s doing really well. I’ve been to conventions in the last few weeks and seen new products and they’re great. Money’s being put into them that’s going to be able to yield bigger returns. And being in Vegas doesn’t hurt. I can say the difference between working in a store like this here and the one in Pennsylvania is that people who come here are ready to spend a big chunk of money and they’re ready to ask the crazy questions. It’s a party atmosphere, especially at night.

Question: What are some of the new products that you’re excited about?

Answer: There’s a brand called Lelo, it’s a Sweden-based company that makes rechargeable massagers. Brookstone carries some of their products. They’re medical-grade materials and they charge just like your cellphones. The higher-end stuff really tends to do well. We also do well with shoes and lingerie.

Question: How busy are you expecting this Halloween season to be?

Answer: Halloween costumes are going to fly off the racks. On a scale of one to 10, it’s like a 17. We have two fitting rooms and we bend the rules on the fitting rooms to accommodate more people coming in. This year we’re way ahead of schedule as far as putting product out and getting our inventory ready. I can’t give exact numbers, but in one day it multiplies. We’ll do in a day what we’ll do in five days. The volume of people is insane. We overstaff.

Question: What are some challenges facing the industry?

Answer: DVD sales are down. I’ve heard encouraging things, but the Internet’s hurting it. And maybe there’s still a stigma associated with it. We work very hard to fight that. We’re brightly lit, we wear uniforms. We want people to know it’s professional. We try very hard to not be that creepy back-alley shop.

Question: What’s your favorite thing about working here?

Answer: I don’t know if there’s anything else I could do with my life. If I were in a different position in this industry, cool, but I wouldn’t want to leave the adult industry. I really enjoy educating people. I love people who have never been in to a place like this and they come in and say it’s so much better than they expected.

Question: What’s your least favorite thing?

Answer: When the people who come in who are pretty typical of what people expect. I think it’s like a gas station. Everyone pumps gas. Everyone has sex. You’re going to see the creme de la creme and the bottom of the barrel. It’s unfortunate, especially if we have some ladies shopping who have never been in a place like this, and maybe some creepy dude comes in and acts inappropriately. People’s comfort comes first. We’ll ask someone to leave if they’re loitering or drunk from the club and causing a ruckus.

Question: Who do you look to in business for advice?

Answer: My boyfriend is a good one. He’s got great ideas and I met him because he used to work for me. Also my boss here, the general manager and buyer, Megan Swartz. She’s been doing this about the same amount of time I have. It’s really nice to have someone else that’s been doing it the same amount of time in a different place. We’ve been through a lot of the same stuff but from a different perspective.

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