Guenièvre Suryous, French illustrator and owner of the blog Secrets de Coquines dedicated to women pleasure and sex matters. She loves to draw relationships with humour so that we break taboos. She regularly illustrates for different erotic accessories brands like Bijoux Indiscrets of course and also for the French press.
On the 20th of February, she published her second book entitled “Sexual Survival Guide for Business Girls” in collaboration with Flore Cherry, edited by Tabou and partnered with Bijoux Indiscrets for the press release. The book is currently available both online and in bookstores. This second book is dedicated to women’s empowerment and fulfillment.
Indeed, this book deals with real women’s issues at work, for example giving insight on how to survive in a sexist environment, how to reconcile one’s professional and private life, how to optimize your research on meeting apps, how to manage a relationship in the office, and finally, how to manage with your business if you become pregnant.
Elsa Viegas, a founder and designer at Bijoux Indiscrets, told Guenièvre about her experiences and the various steps toward creating her successful brand.
However before being able to launch her different collections, I wanted to know how Elsa Viegas had succeeded in imposing her leadership 12 years ago. Indeed, it is not always obvious to associate femininity and sexuality in our society.
Then imagine when you have to put in on the market and manage to propose a proper business model where women are free to do as they want and to assume their sensuality. It’s not that simple to raise funds under its conditions or use all your personal savings to do so, as you don’t know the viability of your project before even developing it.
Besides, creating your own business is a true challenge as you have to be ready to face some difficulties sometimes as a woman or just from the market who targeted. You also have to be ready to take over your personal time to achieve your goals, which requires a lot of organization and will. But mostly you need a comprehensive entourage specially the person you live with who is there on your side whatever happens. But it worth it!
How have you come to create Bijoux Indiscrets after your graphic designer activity?
Graphic design and advertising are two of my biggest passions. I got my college degree of graphic design and moved to Barcelona to get a master degree on advertising communication. Since my college years and maybe because I was in an arts college, individual freedom, lack of puritanism, eroticism in art and photography as well as bondage and fetish as creative inspiration were always present. It was a very inspiring world and investigating more I became more aware of my world as a woman and artist. Then moving to Barcelona and working in the same ad agency as my business partners changed a lot of things and the adventure began. What started as a dream became our life. I changed advertising for a way better way of expressing myself… and I would do it a thousand times again.
How did you start to elaborate your business dedicated to all women’s pleasure & sensuality?
12 years ago we became aware of the lack of products aimed at women and the excess of porn inspired products in sex shops, a world not friendly to (most) women. That’s when we decided to add femininity, sophistication and women friendly design to the erotic industry products.That’s how Bijoux Indiscrets was born.
What kind of difficulties did you encounter as a woman when starting your own business?
I guess the same difficulties as if we were men. It is very hard to start your own business specially if you start it with your savings. We had no idea of what we were doing but we had so much faith in the idea and potential of the business that we worked hard as hell and did all we could to make it work. I’m so happy that we did it! Regarding being a woman in the “industry”, the truth is that it (still) is a very masculine man ruled industry but we were always treated with seriousness and respect that we deserved. After all this is a business like any other.
Did the people’s attitude change towards your activity when you started to become successful?
When you love what you do as much as we do, success is important but there are other things that we care more about. The bigger the visibility of the brand the more recognition and admiration we got from our followers, from the press and from our retail partners. But for us the real success is having the chance of doing what we love, making a difference in people’s love life and share our time with our amazing team and that is something that most people don’t realize because it is not measurable in euros. It is priceless!
How did you manage to balance work and your private life when you have started up your business as it’s very time-consuming?
I believe that we have to be grateful. Specially for the people we love and the ones who love us. I’m very grateful for my husband who kept the faith in this crazy idea called Bijoux Indiscrets and supported me during the hard times. All this was possible because he had two jobs and made sure I had all the time and energy available to push Bijoux Indiscrets. We have this deal of minimizing the “business talk” at home otherwise we don’t have any life besides work. And yes, it is very time and energy consuming but I get to do the work I love and it is all a matter of organization and finding your moments to balance it. A lazy sunday morning on the sofa with music, magazines and my dog Missy can do magic!
If you are planning on starting a business, my advice is take good care of yourself. Meditate, do some yoga, workout, don’t smoke, eat half what you had in mind and very important don’t lose your sense of humor. And if you can, start the business with someone that you admire and you look up to. Someone intelligent and hardworking. Simple right?
What is the best advice you were given when working hard on Bijoux Indiscrets’s development?
My favorite one and that never fails is when you want to hire someone (specially for a leading position) invite them to dinner and observe how he/she treats the waiter. This tells you so much about a person…
Have you noticed a change in the erotic market in the past 10 years as you were the first one to create a brand dedicated to women’s pleasure?
The market is so much different now. There are so many brands talking to women right now. And also new women designer owned brands that are changing the game completely. We can now talk about female pleasure, sex toys or even pelvic floor in a very sophisticated way because we have so many amazing products available right now at very reasonable prices. 12 years ago we only had cheap ugly products or very high end and expensive alternatives. I’m so glad to have made part of the “female pleasure revolution” with Bijoux Indiscrets.
Bijoux Indiscrets is an ethical fashion-erotic brand, how did you come to create vegan accessories with Maze?
I believe that when you run a company and you get to be successful in what you’re doing it is time to give back and also as time passes you get to see the business world from a different perspective. A business is something that is supposed to be profitable but from my point of view, it is also a way of making a difference and doing things the best you can and know. As an individual, I care deeply for my planet and the animals living in it. I decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle myself, and stick to it as much as I can. The more information you have the harder it is to deal with animal products. Going vegan and pass that philosophy to your company is a kind decision. It is respecting the animals that so many of us claim to care about. Developing a vegan collection such as Maze means including everyone in the game and making the game cruelty-free.
We try to use environment friendly materials, minimizing the carbon footprint, knowing our suppliers and respect the animal welfare. Maze is the result of our philosophy and it looks and feels amazing both as a fashion accessory on broad daylight or used in an intimate adventure in the bedroom along with lingerie or bare skin.
Do you think that the mentality have began to change as more and more people are looking for vegan alternatives to leather?
Definitely! You can see that in big fashion labels that went fur free last season, you see that when so much money is invested in plant based meat alternatives and once people get informed about the real meat and leather/fur industry there is no way back. The current alternatives to animal skin are so so so good both in terms of quality as well as look and feel. There is no need to use real leather to get a sophisticated product. Since 2014 vegans grew 600% in the US and 360% in the UK. (numbers I found in different media online) Times are changing!
Bijoux Indiscrets offers a broad range of accessories to put above clothes, do you think women should be proud of their sensual side in their day-to-day life?
I think that women should celebrate their sensuality. There is nothing wrong about feeling sexy. And most of all, we should ignore other people’s opinion on how we live our life. Not a single woman should be judged by the way she dresses, lives her intimacy or enjoy herself. Our accessories celebrate femininity, powerful women and sensuality both in our day-to-day-life and our intimacy.
Get here your “Sexual Survival Guide for Business Girls” available now in french.
Creator and illustrator of the blog “Secrets de Coquines,”, Guenièvre collaborates with different erotic accessory brands. Her aim? To do away with the taboos linked to sex and pleasure through playful illustrations and posts. She often works alongside sex therapist Nathalie Giraud, the founder of Piment Rose, and in 2014 she published her book Secrets de coquines! via crowdfunding.Visit her web Follow her in Facebook Instagram Twitter