Women in Business: A radically different approach

Lisa Genevieve Ziemer

Editor’s note: For our annual Women in Business issue, we invited women in our local business communities to share insights they’ve gained through their work in Western North Carolina. 

Lisa Genevieve Ziemer is the CEO of VaVaVooom.

Xpress: What piece of advice do you wish you’d been told prior to launching your business? 

Ziemer: How difficult it would be to originate a business that did not follow a typical tried-and-true formula. My previous businesses were basically “cut and paste” — both in industrial staffing and in-home care, which were fairly formulaic operations. When we launched in 2008, this endeavor was radically different from the norm at that time, both in concept and presentation — a lovely boutique based on a traditionally feminine aesthetic but with highly curated intimate toys and sexy, high-quality lingerie.

How do you feel women in leadership experience their roles differently today than they may have in the past?

My leadership role in my family or in my previous 22 years of business was essentially in a support capacity to my ex-partner/husband. It was more in line with traditional social expectations than being a single female owner. Maybe it is because of who I am. Not so much the role, but leadership is challenging for me. I tend to be collaboratively minded, but that is not what is generally expected [in business], so relationships can be more complex than I had experienced with a masculine presence at the forefront of the business.

What is your most memorable experience as a business owner, and what have you learned from it?

Working with so many different individuals of various ages, genders, political inclinations, life histories and educational backgrounds has accelerated my personal growth. In many ways, VaVaVooom has been a support system for not only clients but for staff to reconcile their own deeper personal and sexual quandaries. In this arena of human sexuality, so much is still being learned and finally talked about openly. I am incredibly proud of what the current and past staff members at VaVaVooom have brought to this community and grateful for all they have taught me.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.