WIA Profile: Jane Liszewski
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.
Jane Liszewski, Classic Erotica vice president of sales and marketing, leads several efforts as part a relatively small company with major goals. An industry vet of 30 years, Liszewski says she’s seen the industry shift from a male-dominated environment to an equal playing field inclusive of women. In this month’s WIA Woman of the Month Spotlight, Jane Liszewski offers a personal perspective on evolving with the industry.
What is your role and responsibility at Classic Erotica?
My official title at Classic Erotica is VP of Sales and Marketing. I work side-by-side with a very small but mighty team relative to product development and branding, packaging design, copywriting and marketing materials, along with major involvement in private labeling sales. We are a small company with big goals hence we all wear a lot of hats as we grow.
How long have you been with Classic Erotica? And how has your role & contributions to the company evolved?
I began with Classic 10 years ago — at the time there was no Classic Erotica. Holiday Products was selling some exclusive self-manufactured products and they wanted to develop the manufacturing process into its own entity. In the beginning there were even fewer of us facing the challenge of placing our product into the market and developing relationships and inspiring expansion. The challenge was fascinating and I was excited to think that what I love doing most I get to do not only one time but twice in my career! A lot of long hours, blood, sweat and tears and teamwork brought us to where we are today. It is extremely satisfying to see how far the company and product line has come in the last 10 years and to feel the gratification of being involved from the beginning. The growth is also humbling to me personally and the addition of a new sales team, marketing assistant and product development administrator is like a dream come true. This has allowed me to focus more on expanding our marketing efforts and work to position Classic Erotica as, hopefully, the No. 1 producer in the sexy body care and romance enhancement genre.
How (and when) did you get into the adult novelty business?
I began in the adult business 30 years ago (yes, I am an old-timer). I was a single mom of three young children returning to the working world and responded to an ad of a company looking for a receptionist. I remember getting lost and being late for the interview thinking this will never amount to anything — what a terrible first impression! But I gathered up my confidence and pranced into a building with a sign outside reading Topco Sales. The rest is history and I spent 20 years working diligently to build sales, products and customer relations to a company who grew to become an ANME Founder.
What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Thirty years ago, this industry was basically male-run and male-driven, with the exception of a select few fabulous women. My first challenge was trying to play the game of sales in a man’s world. After some frustration, I decided it was time to just let people know who I am and what I am made of. I hail originally from Philadelphia, and in that city you grow up with strict parents who rear you to stand on your own two feet! (Thank you, mom and dad). I also noticed and admired how two very famous women in our industry namely, Susan Colvin, Jackie White and Mary Fried Fenton conducted themselves and their inspiration along with mentoring by Marty Tucker really helped me to become the person I am in this industry today. There are many others as well that I have now known for many years that have bestowed their invaluable experience and knowledge upon me. I thank Moe and Loren Levy for giving me the opportunity to expand my skill set and school me in the area of home party plans, good business sense, plus being the most amazing people to work with.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Basically my entire job is rewarding from the growth in business to the exciting new products and the opportunity to work with so many amazing people in our industry.
What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by? My motto is one that my mother signed in my high school year book, recited as a toast at my wedding and I in turn recited it as a toast at my daughter’s wedding. It goes like this … “Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest! Till the good is better and the better is best!” I truly believe if you live your life by this little ditty of a verse you will always be successful!
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of every accomplishment along the way in my 30-year journey. Anyone who knows me knows that I always credit my team for accomplishing goals and I am but a reflection in the glow of teamwork pride.
What are your professional goals for the remainder of 2012 and beyond?
Onward and upward is the goal for the balance of 2012 into the years to come. Strengthening and assisting in the expansion of the Classic Erotica experience and all that it entails is my hope, dreams and aspirations.