My grandmother used to say, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.” I still do my best creative work in the morning and love to watch a sunrise. Going out at night used to be a great way to spend my resources foolishly and not be prepared to wake up the next morning and go create some more. Being out all night leads to a downward spiral, it can be hard to pull out of. I prefer upward spirals in my life, and those usually start with a well made bed in the morning.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tami Rose.
Tami Rose is disrupting the industry and the expectations of the local community by creating a fun female-centric adult boutique in a formerly male-dominated and community persecuted business.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Katrina, the gulf oil spill, and the 2009 financial meltdown.
I was a massage therapist and student of Tantric Yoga with my own spa in Madison MS. Earthly Delights Day spa was open from 2005 until 2009.
What a tumultuous few years.
I really loved hands-on healing of people and studying esoteric theories of health that have been practiced throughout the ages.
But was just not able to sustain the overhead of the spa throughout the financial crisis which hit Mississippi very hard. Doing business throughout those ups and downs really made me sharp at accounting though.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Back in the 70’s much of what I sell was illegal and even in the ’80s Larry Flint won some major court battles that went to the heart of our freedoms, especially freedom of speech.
In 2006 we had local police come into our store and take 50K worth of product off the wall. We went to court, but another case in Texas placed toys under the 14th Amendment before ours was finalized. Traditionally Men dominated this business and women were commoditized by it.
I and some amazing women in the industry are really turning things on their head by bringing sex out of the not spoken about in polite company category to make it a feature of a store where you go to buy those things they talked about in 50 Shades of Grey.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My boyfriend at the time owned the store and kept telling me he was struggling to pay payroll. I volunteered to work in the store for free to help out.
The first week I was working here I noticed an accounting mistake that was costing them more than 100K per year. He got so mad when I told him about it we blew up in the store and he was yelling at me and tried to FIRE me, I started crying and yelled back you can’t fire me; I’M FREE LABOR!
Then he was standing in my way so to get out the door so I locked myself in the room with the drop safe and cried for an hour while his brother talked him down, they called their accountant out in the middle of the night and he came down to the store and confirmed I was right.
He insisted they apologize and offered me a job.
The lesson I learned from that is sometimes you have to speak truth to power; but you should always secure your escape route before you mouth off.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Well, there I was having shot my mouth off and not really knowing a thing about the retail side of the business. So I just got on my phone and got real with my vendors.
I said; hey, my margins have collapsed and I need to turn this around, can you help me?
Fortunately, the adult industry is super supportive of each other and almost has a collegial atmosphere amongst those who are in the business.
No one shamed me at all, several offered strategic buys on products they could deeply discount that I could mark up and sell fast to get in a better cash position and one vendor paid for my flight to New Jersey to come to a show and learn merchandising and other business skills.
It was amazing I am still so humbled and grateful for it.
I have since turned the store around and bought out the old boyfriend — he was the old way, I am the new. I now own the store outright and make a good living for myself and support 12 employees.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I think good disruption is when democracy is forced into a system and more people are able to access opportunity. Bad disruption closes down opportunity and blocks prosperity for the people involved in the system.
Walmart driving small business out of the community brought down prices but also narrowed the choice to mass-produced goods and gives them a stranglehold on wages.
Time will tell whether quickly delivered mass-produced good was the right choice or if we should consider shopping and producing our goods closer to home.
My heart is for an artisanal experience, but I do like the convenience of the buy now button.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- I live by my Dad’s saying, “The harder you work; the luckier you get.” The older I get the more true it seems. I have also noticed that as I now have employees and am in a position to help people develop their gifts that I look for the hard workers and make sure they get breaks to the top and they get rewarded so they stay around and continue to work hard on my behalf.
- My grandmother used to say, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.” I still do my best creative work in the morning and love to watch a sunrise. Going out at night used to be a great way to spend my resources foolishly and not be prepared to wake up the next morning and go create some more. Being out all night leads to a downward spiral, it can be hard to pull out of. I prefer upward spirals in my life, and those usually start with a well-made bed in the morning.
- An early sales mentor taught me that there is a formula for everything and once you find the formula, it is like a skeleton key that unlocks any door. Formulas have saved my business and have saved my life. They have also made me a few million dollars so I’m still studying and collecting formulas all these years later.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
I’m going to write the next Erotic Novel that sends people through my doors begging for an amazing experience like the characters had.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Hedy Lamar complained that her face was so pretty men couldn’t hear her.
Fortunately for us she managed to get a few things accomplished (Like beating the Germans with her code-breaking help and using modern Wi-Fi which she helped create and envision.)
Being a sweet little massage therapist Yoga student sometimes lulls people into thinking they can get away with some nonsense in my business
It never works out well for those people. Several are in prison.
People who are good at accounting are really good at catching thieves.
That is why the FBI is always trying to recruit attorneys and accountants.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I love things you missed in History podcast and I adore Joe Rogan.
Joe has really brought back the concept of the 18th-century salon.
I like that he is willing to talk to people from such different backgrounds and manages to have a civil, well-informed conversation with whoever he is in front of.
I think he really loves people.
One of my favorite podcasts of his is the one with Paul Staments. I had no idea how much I didn’t know about mushrooms.
I love that they used his knowledge of mushrooms to create the next storyline of Star Trek Discovery. I like things that put me in touch with the amazing possibilities that are out there.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am working to help Jackson and the surrounding area to let go of shame around sex and seek deeper intimacy with their partners and the people they love in their lives.
The quality of life in Mississippi and the world can only be improved with more love and better relationship skills.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My personal meditation mantra is Lokaha Samansta Sukino Bhavantu it means, may all beings be happy, “may all beings be free.”
I chose that mantra before I really knew what it meant , but my spirit must have known.
More than anything in the world I desire to be free and to be happy and I wish that for the rest of the world too
There is no time in your life where you are more viscerally and ecstatically free and joyful than when you are experiencing an orgasm.
What a beautiful Karmic joke that I get to help people enter that space with whatever device I have that pleases them and brings them to orgasm.
How can our readers follow you online?
If people would like to shop for their own pleasure device on my website it is www.shopromanticadventures,com If you want to check out my store in person or follow some links to my online articles or blogs check out www.romanticadventures.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!