Women in Vinyl Logo

Tenisha Anderson Laux

Chief Operating Officer, World Famous V.I.P. Records

Today we're taking you to Southern California and through the doors of the World Famous V.I.P. Records with Tenisha Anderson Laux, the Chief Operating Officer.  World famous VIP Records has been serving their community for over 40 years, specializing in R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Hip-Hop, and Blues. They carry vinyl, CD's, cassettes, as well as gear. Tenisha is also the founding member of the VIP Family Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education, creativity, and community empowerment through music, arts, and media programs.  She was born into a family deeply rooted in the music business and has been on a journey of empowering others through providing platforms for self express rooted in music culture. Tenisha states: "I take most serious being a wife, mother, daughters, sister, friend and mentor. I strive to inspire other to discover their voice."

When not working Tenisha's life is surrounded by music.  She grew up singing, "...so my favorite thing to do is sit around with my kids and burst out into song. I also enjoy leading praise and worship for the children at church."

Shortly before this feature posted the V.I.P. team lost Founder Cletus Anderson, read more on his story and legacy here. 

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

My career was shaped by my love for music and immersion into the family business, renowned for our legacy in the music retail business. I am blessed to have been trained by a strong family. This overtime lead me to managerial roles within V.I.P. Records, New Life Gospel Records, and V.I.P. Music. I have worked as the Retail Research Assistant for Urban Network magazine, artist development for Solar Records and At-Last VIP Entertainment.

What is a day in the life like?

My day is typically filled with constant activity. It kicks off with morning meetings with the team, where I plan and discuss new music promotions, marketing strategies, overseeing our landmark, upcoming events and youth programs. Our store's popularity and its historic Long Beach city designation attract visitors from all over the world. We strive to provide our customers with "The VIP Experience," they walk in as customers but walk out as part of the VIP family. Whether it's sharing new music, guiding them through our curated in-store exhibit, introducing them to my father who loves discussing VIP's impact on West Coast Hip Hop, showcasing our music studio, or informing them about upcoming music programs, our aim is to ensure everyone leaves our store happier.

Favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?

This is a fantastic question that brings back many memories. We learned to treat everyone, whether underprivileged or a CEO, with the same level of respect. This mindset has helped us build connections with people from all walks of life, some of whom remain close friends to this day.

One of the most memorable sales experiences took place in the L.A. store on Crenshaw and Slauson. A woman visited the shop looking visibly upset and worn out. She explained that her mother's funeral was scheduled for the next day, and they hadn't spoken in years. She was overwhelmed with the service and music selections. I offered to play a few songs for her, but she declined and simply asked me to put something together. I handed her Kirk Franklin's first two CDs with sticky notes on them. I suggested playing "Where the Spirit Is" from the second CD for a song selection and "Till We Meet Again" from the first CD for the parting view.

The same day of the funeral, she returned to the record shop in tears, and my heart sank. She expressed her gratitude repeatedly, she said that the songs I recommended helped her find closure and peace. This experience taught me about the impact of music and its ability to connect with our emotions.

In your opinion what has been the coolest thing to come through your shop / thing you had to keep / almost couldn't put out for sale?

For some of the coolest things that have come through our shop I have to take it way back. Growing up in the record shop I have seen some really cool items. It has to be our little secret (don't judge me haha) but I have Parliament's flags from the 70s, Michael Jackson calendars from the 80s, Prince limited addition vinyl 90s, Shaq's TWISM sweat suits from 2000s. And of course we keep a replica of the Snoop Dogg's dog house in our store!

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

Honestly, the biggest challenge in my job is the constant need for our physical storefront to evolve and adapt to the digital advantages in order to remain competitive in the music industry without much support. Even record labels and distribution companies don't make it easy for us to survive. High prices for physical formats result in minimal profit margins, leaving us at times promoting albums without the necessary materials to attract customers. It would be helpful to at least receive in-store copies of releases customer giveaways to boost sales.

What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?

V.I.P. Records is whole reality show! We have crazy everyday. Everybody that comes in is a rapper or DJ, and I think they believe Snoop Dogg lives in our shop. We have people from around the world that have our logo tattooed on their bodies.

On a serious note, I would like to mention the craziest experience was during the L.A. riots when everything was set on fire we were untouched. We were told later that word around the community was that our shopping center was not to be touched.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you're doing?  

My advice would be to go for it, keep a healthy work and home life separation, keep yourself aligned with people that will have your back, treat people with respect, don't be afraid to evolve and get involved with like minded organizations. Shout out to the FAMS coalition.

What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.

I am excited about the reemergence of vinyl clubs. And surprised to see that people have started buying cassettes again. This is amazing because we have so many.

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

I don't have much of a private collection, I do keep those that bring back childhood nostalgia.

Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?

My family, particularly my parents Kelvin and Sherry Anderson, have played a significant role in my professional development within this industry. They have set remarkable examples with their record stores, using them as platforms to positively impact lives beyond our family circle. Their influence has been pivotal in launching the careers of both local and international music stars. Growing up in a family deeply rooted in music retailing has been a unique experience. I have gained valuable lessons from my uncles and aunt throughout my journey. Uncle Cletus instilled in me the belief that I can achieve anything I set my mind to the only obstacle is myself. Uncle David gave me a great appreciation for blues music, while Uncle Glenn taught me to follow my interests as they can only enrich my future pursuits. Uncle Kenny emphasized the importance of keeping faith at the forefront, Uncle Tim showed me the importance of perseverance in the face of challenges, and Aunt Lesia reminded me to remain humble and always show gratitude.

Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell us who you're listening to right now: 

I am so partial my favorite Hip Hop artist is Ab-soul. My music choice is connected to my mood most times, I love every aspect of urban music. But people will be surprised to know that I play more gospel music in my personal time.

Find Tenisha

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