Executive Seat: Carmen Mortazavi Reinvents California Fantasies
California Fantasies, located in Orange County, is a manufacturer of quality cosmetic and personal products. Carmen Mortazavi, who took over California Fantasies this past June, is not one of those owners who ignores valuable information — it’s a lesson she learned from her mentors.
While Mortazavi is still relatively new to California Fantasies, she’s not new to the personal lubrication industry. Mortazavi got her start in the industry over a decade ago at Trigg Laboratories, the makers of the Wet brand of personal lubricants. She was a senior sales executive at Trigg before moving to Westridge Laboratories, where she worked her way up to vice president of sales before moving on to California Fantasies. “I’ve had the great experience of working with two of the largest personal lubricant companies,” Mortazavi said, noting that her tenure at both companies was an excellent learning experience. “Michael Trigg, the owner of Trigg Industries, was very instrumental in my development, as well as Greg Haskell, the owner of ID, who was a major influence on my approach to business. I credit these two men for my future success. They both have taught me lessons you can only learn by experience.”
In keeping with the that lesson, Mortazavi’s first two months at the helm of California Fantasies involved weekly trips to meet with her distributors, buyers and store employees across the country to introduce her product line. The result was a drastic overhaul of the California Fantasies product line that emphasized a movement towards gender-neutral products. The only product that wasn’t altered in any way is the Razzels line of flavored warming lubes that continues to be the company’s best-seller. “‘If it isn’t broken don’t change it.’ You don’t want to change your number one lube line. People clearly like the Razzels.” However, Mortazavi does intend to expand the Razzels line by introducing a new flavored, nonwarming line next year.
The first order of business for her company makeover was to change some of the packaging and names of the bottle products to accommodate mainstream retailers. “It has to be subtle and discreet and not too suggestive,” Mortazavi said.
The overhaul has not been limited to design and branding. A prime example of this change is the warming lubricant line that was formerly known as Silvver. Based on customer feedback, Mortazavi reformulated the product and then focused on repackaging and rebranding the warming lube. In November, the company relaunched the line as California Fantasies’ Playful Warming Lubricant. Mortazavi said. “In the past, there’s has been a tendency to brand lubricants for male or female. This automatically cuts out an important and major part of our market. My vision is to manufacture products that appeal to all the markets.”
Mortazavi is involved in product development along every step of the way. She ensures that her customers are receiving the type of quality products they deserve by overseeing every step of product development, from formulation to packaging to marketing to sales.
She’s expanded the market to South America, already establishing into the Mexican adult and pharmacy outlets. “The international market requires that you understand the culture to be successful. You can’t expect to conduct business in the same way that you do in the U.S. market.”
Future plans include expanding into Europe, but for the moment, she’s dedicated to supporting her existing relationships. “My plans are to support the distributors domestically that are supporting California Fantasies, Inc.”