(Note: This story appears in the August 2023 issue of SE Magazine

Nixie Elixir — who began as a window model and is now the store’s Operations Manager — is a cheerleader for a new school of uber-friendly punk weirdo goth kids.

Noir Leather Operations Manager Nixie Elixir was a professional dog handler, trained in differentiating dog breeds — how, for example, a Doberman is different than a golden retriever. She was also always drawn to porn, having found PornHub at 18. Elixir was a model and longtime “friend of the Noir family,” often modeling in Noir’s famed window and the store’s special events and fashion shows. In October 2021, Noir’s new owner, Arbor Laclave, called Elixir, thinking she would be an excellent fit for Noir, and offered her a job. Elixir reluctantly told him no; then, soon after, she had a bad day at her dog handling job, called him back, and committed to starting her journey with Noir. She started that same day and was named Operations Manager within a month. Elixir buys for and restocks the store, plans and schedules special events and assists with social media. 

StorErotica Legal Correspondent Larry Kaplan spoke with Nixie Elixir about righting the ship to enable a kinder, gentler, more user-friendly Noir Leather.

You’ve been a naughty naughty girl!

SE: Noir has always hosted events, especially fetish events. Tell me about some of Noir’s signature events.

Elixir: We are known for Hellbound, participating in the Dirty Show and our fashion shows. We like to sponsor up-and-coming bands and things. We like to say “Noir is with the community, for the community, by the community.”

SE: How much of your time is spent planning events and coordinating with complementary events? 

Elixir: Every day, all day, including my days off, somebody’s constantly messaging me about something.

SE: At any particular time, how many events is Noir involved with?

Elixir: I have an Excel spreadsheet with 15-20 events. And on occasion, help book Second Salem, a band we just signed on as brand ambassadors.

SE: Tell me about your first brand ambassadors, Second Salem. What are they accomplishing for you?

Elixir: They are an up-and-coming Detroit goth band. Their sense of style and music hits Noir Leather right on the head. They were customers before forming the band. When they formed it, they said, “We love Noir. Can we please come and play here?” And then it worked itself into where they were buying our clothes anyways and shouting us out on stage without us asking them. So we said, “Why don’t we like make this a thing? You’re going to scratch our back, and we’ll scratch yours.”

SE: Do you think they bring customers into the store?

Elixir: They 110% do! And we also sell tickets and help book their shows.

SE: Are you bringing back live models in the Noir window?

Elixir: We’re still doing it, though not as often during our renovation. I’m always in that window at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. If it’s not me, it’s somebody outside. We have people that do flow arts, play music, dress in little to nothing, go outside and bring people in instead of being in the window.

Nixie Elixir, Bijou Fatale, Arbor Laclave

SE: How difficult is it to utilize social media to promote adult retail at a time when social media, especially Facebook, isn’t really adult-friendly?

Elixir: Personally, I’ve dropped Facebook completely. I only use Instagram. My other social marketing team deals with everything else. I know the rights and wrongs of the internet, so I’m always conscious about what I’m posting. Having that platform helps because not everybody likes to text or even give out their cell numbers. We also do well on FetLife, a kinky old-school fetish-like MySpace.

SE: Which product categories do you buy for the store, and what are some of your best-selling products and sectors within those categories?

I buy for the sex fetish, bondage and all things kink. The Ouch! Pain series by Shots does well, and Funk Plus and Primal Pleasure also do well. And rope: we can’t keep hemp rope in stock because people are really about tying these days.

SE: Regarding brand awareness, do you find customers are loyal to specific companies, or are they shopping by brand name or affordability?

Elixir: It’s a mix of both. While many customers are loyal to brands they like, others follow what’s popular on TikTok.

SE: What toys and things grab your attention first at trade shows? With so much product emerging, how do you sort through everything to ensure you realize your ROI?

Elixir: I’m the pain slut of this company. I love anything that looks rough and scary; I want to know what it will do. So I usually gravitate to things I don’t know, or that excite me. If I don’t know what it is, I’ll ask, and if it excites me, I want to talk about it.

Good times at Noir Leather!

SE: How do you lure more potential shoppers into your store? How has your marketing changed since you started?

Elixir: I’m trying to make this more of a safe, inclusive place than the former Noir staff was notorious for. We strive to be up-to-date with everything happening worldwide and to be culturally-appropriate. There aren’t many places for LGBTQ+ folks. We are a new school of uber-friendly punk weirdo goth kids. It’s “Hey friend, how’s it going? Or, “Hey, what’s up, pervert?” when you walk through the front door of Noir. If you’re feeling a little bit unsure about it, it’s guaranteed Bijou or myself will make you laugh. We’ll get you out of your shell. You’ll leave this store with something when you didn’t think you’d buy anything today.

SE: What’s the best part of your job, and what’s most challenging?

Elixir: The best part is that I can ultimately be 110% myself. I was always meant to have this type of job. I’ve always been a sexual, weird creature. I’ve always been drawn to porn and long in the game. So the moment the opportunity arose to work here, instead of just modeling for Noir, after brief reluctance, I jumped at it. That’s why I became the event manager within a month. And I’m thriving. I couldn’t be happier.

Larry Kaplan has been the Legal Correspondent for ED Publications for 22 years. Mr. Kaplan is a broker in the sale and purchase of adult retail stores and adult nightclubs and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan at 313-815-3311 or email larry@kaplanstoresales.com.