WIA: Shay Martin
Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
What is your role and responsibility at Vibratex?
I am a co-owner and vice president of Vibratex. Since we're such a small company I've worn many hats. Anything from filing orders, unloading cargo containers, driving forklifts, marketing, tradeshows, bossing my husband around … the list goes on. Nowadays I tend to focus more on product development and working with my manufacturers in Japan on improving the quality of our products.
Describe a typical Monday at your desk.
Since I have such a fantastic staff, things tend to be lined up for me when I get in. I'm not the most organized person so they keep me in line and let me know what projects need immediate attention. Usually the priority is keeping check on shipments coming in for the week, developing more in depth relationships with my customers and finding out what they are looking for in products and improving their sales, walking the dog and working on product development.
What is the biggest challenge of being a woman in the adult industry?
Since I've been around this business all my life (my father owned retail adult stores), I've never really encountered any difficulties as a woman. Self-confidence tends to subdue any potential harassment and negativity. Business in the U.S. has been pretty smooth, but I remember the days when I was trying to work with the manufacturers in Japan and they had a difficult time having a business relationship with a woman. Now we all go out for sushi and sake and have a great time. The industry has changed over the past 15 years or so and I feel it has become a large family. Everyone tends to help each other out and support one another no matter what your gender is.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Getting calls or cards from women, men and couples telling me how our products have helped their intimacy and sex lives. Sexuality is an integral part of being human, but it's sometimes shuffled behind an invisible curtain in our society. Being able to expand someone's world and introduce them to pleasure has got to be the most rewarding thing I can do. A friend of mine once said he wished he could satisfy as many women as I have. I'll take that as a compliment!
How do you maintain balance in your life?
My husband Dan and I spend a lot of time outdoors and pursuing other sports activities. Anyone attending any of the tradeshows has probably seen me in slings, braces and whatnot from playing beach volleyball — my other passion. Even though we work together, we like to go on adventures outside. We try not to bring work home, but when you're doing business with a country on the other side of the world, it's hard not to work during dinner.