Luxury Luminary: LELO’s Donna Faro
Donna Faro recalls her initial conversation with LELO’s U.S. CEO Pavle Sedic as an “emotional experience.”
“My first meeting with Pavle was the most eyeopening experience in my life,” she said. “We talked for several hours about marketing and appealing to the everyday woman. We discussed marketing something to women as an investment in their life. He spoke to me about his overall integration into the hardware of the brand — being a techie at heart, I totally related to that. He spoke to me from a tech perspective but also as a woman. For me it’s not always about money, position or stature — it’s about relating.”
Prior to her meeting with Sedic, Faro — who is now LELO’s director of sales and marketing — worked as an executive in the beauty industry for companies such as Revlon and Shiseido.
“A friend of a friend approached me about this and thought I was a perfect fit,” she said. “I wasn’t so sure but I was willing to look into it. Once I got into the meeting something clicked with me. I saw the brand and its high-end echelon — I felt that this was something that hasn’t been explored. As a business person always looking for something unique, that’s marketable. They were coming into the business with a unique point of view. I’m a high-end consumer too. Being able to be attached to something that wasn’t commonplace for me was a great experience.”
Faro says it was the potential to continue to develop the brand that appealed to her. She credits LELO’s mainstream-friendly themes for its mass appeal.
“Another appeal for me was the language that the company used to communicate the overall messaging of the brand to the consumer,” she said. “I was impressed how verbiage spoke ‘This is a product that will enhance your overall life, while leaving you feeling good about the purchase for years to follow.’ This is something that most companies, sexual related or not, strive to achieve in business.”
Faro joined the Swedish manufacturer in 2008 — she was the second employee to be hired on U.S. soil.
“What many people probably don’t realize is that when I started, I performed every job task in the office from opening the doors in the morning, answering the phone and fielding calls from wholesale customers as well as customer care calls from consumers, processing orders, setting up new accounts, planning trade shows, processing payments, and the list goes on,” Faro says. “I’d like to think that my birds-eye view of the entire picture here at LELO gave me a voice in how to set up the sales platform, marketing of the brand, and forming the infrastructure of today to deliver the world’s finest luxury intimate brand to today’s consumer. I am so fortunate that LELO has such a strong team and I am happy to be a part of it.”
Faro is part of LELO’s approximately 20-person strong U.S. operations team, which the company’s CEO Miroslav Slavic admiringly refers to as the “A Team.”
“We’ve faced controversy, competition — we know every day that we go to work we bring 150 percent effort,” Faro said. “We represent a brand that truly is based on the innovation and advancement of technology, we’re bringing products that consumers are going to want to purchase. It shows our dedication to the end retailer. We’re not making more products than what we think is relevant.
“We have such a passion for what we do collectively so going to work every day is not like work at all,” Faro said. “Being a part of other businesses’ success because of their relationship to LELO [is something I really like about my position]. I love to see businesses succeed and thrive. Thirdly, I learn something new every day. I myself appreciate when I can see things from a new perspective, see new doors open, and then pass that knowledge along.”
The synergy among the LELO team and its customers prevailed in September, when LELO hosted a 10th Anniversary Summit for many of its distributors and retailers.
“My proudest moment to date was this past September’s LELO 10th Anniversary Summit,” Faro said. “To be able to have such an esteemed group of attendees all under the same roof, mixing and mingling, and dedicating their valuable time to learning about our brand was the most humbling experience I have ever had. We can’t wait until the next opportunity to show our customers the appreciation they deserve.”
According to Faro, the event also provided the company with the confidence to forge ahead.
“It revealed that we have such dedication from our business partners that as a company, we should continue to push ourselves as a brand so that we can enhance the industry with sophisticated and innovative concepts,” she said. “I believe that LELO is a still on the path to realizing its full potential. I have always wished to be in the right place at the right time. I have heard this happen to so many people and personally I believe this is my chance to be in the right place at the right time.”
Though her time with LELO precedes that of company CEO Miroslav Slavic, she says the bond with him is also one that’s very deep.
“It’s very emotional,” she says, “I look at these people as leaders and I’m so fortunate to be under their leadership; and they appreciate me too, which is beyond my expectations. I 100-percent work for the most amazing people and I think that they have the best intentions in what they do. It’s not about a successful company, not about being better than — it’s about bringing the best products to our consumers and I’m so happy to be following their lead.”
Reflecting on her past with the company, Faro says that though there have been hurdles, they pay in comparison to the brand’s achievements. She hopes to continue being a driving force for the brand’s success, she said.
“I want nothing more than to continue to be a part of LELO and the brand,” Faro said. “I want to continue to improve my relationships with our customers for future shared growth. I want to be a beacon for our brand messaging and build a stronger team to support all aspects of our emerging company. But like anyone, I’d like to one day look back at the whole professional experience and think that maybe I lended a unique perspective, gave our customers insight they may not have had.”