WIA Profile: Anne Hodder
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.
Anne Hodder transitioned into PR and marketing strategizing for the adult industry following a stint at XBIZ where she became known as the “sex toy girl” after taking the reins of XBIZ Premiere’s pleasure products section. She established Hodder Media soon after leaving XBIZ in late 2009 and now provides copywriting, editing, PR and marketing strategy to leading companies in the pleasure products industry and beyond. In this exclusive interview with XBIZ Premiere, Women in Adult spotlights Anne Hodder as she discusses becoming her own boss and the challenges she’s overcome as a businesswoman.
How did you get into the pleasure products industry?
I was recently out of journalism school and working at a now defunct online magazine that was owned by a paparazzi agency. (So L.A.) I needed to escape so I answered an ad for a copy editor at an adult industry trade magazine and got the job — it was at XBIZ! I shuffled around in a few different roles before I settled in as a reporter and associate editor.
I also had studied gender and sexuality in college, so I already had a natural interest and bent for sex-centric writing, and this opportunity was right up my alley. Working on the business-side of adult — especially as a reporter — opened my eyes wide to an even broader study of sexuality with a healthy dose of how business goes down. And that’s been very valuable to me as a businesswoman today.
What inspired you to establish Hodder Media?
I had dived head first into the sex toy world while at XBIZ and befriended the movers, shakers and special characters that help make it all happen. I even had inadvertently become known as the “sex toy girl” among many industry members. When I left XBIZ in late 2009, I ended up being contracted to help a slew of manufacturers and distributors to handle their PR, copywriting, marketing and creative needs, and after enough requests I realized I had a company on my hands, which was terrifying. Sometimes it still is, but in the best way.
What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
It was always a challenge at first to be taken seriously due to my age and gender, and I encountered some glass ceilings and my fair share of challenging personalities as a result. It also took some time for industry members to ask for my business card instead of the URL to my solo site, but that merely helped me make a memorable impression as I disproved any misconceptions, judgments or stereotypes with which I may have been associated. But I will say, even today I still encounter old birds in the business who place their hands a little too low on my back or offer less-than-professional commentary during conversations at trade shows. And that’ll be a challenge I and every other woman in this industry – and in this world – will deal with, but there’s no point feeling resentful or irritated about it. It’s empowering to set boundaries, and helps weed out the riff raff.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Sex toys and intimate products change peoples’ lives. It’s as simple as that. And I wake up every day knowing that my work contributes directly to putting these important items on shelves and in consumers’ hands (or vaginas/butts/wherever).
I work with some of the most unique, valuable, interesting and effective products and people in the industry and I love helping them craft and communicate their marketing and messaging. It’s tremendously difficult to put passion into words when the product(s) fall near and dear to the heart, so I’m here to start from scratch and polish the rough stuff to turn it into something my clients feel proud of. And frankly, it’s incredibly rewarding to know that my work directly contributes to their bottom lines.
What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
My most recent mantra is entirely business UN-related but something I keep in mind every second of every day. It’s from one of my favorite authors of all time, Roald Dahl: “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” I find this kind of attitude also facilitates fortune and opportunity – and repels the negativity that simply gets in the way.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
I turn 30 this month and am most proud that I’ve maintained an exponentially growing company all on my own for almost five years. I’m a colors, words and pictures person (numbers? No thanks) and never in a million years would I have thought I’d be running a business and still have all of my hair.
What are your professional goals for 2014?
I’ve been exploring a more robust retirement and investment strategy, which makes me feel very adult, and plan to have a solid financial plan that will help facilitate some new projects under the Hodder Media umbrella. I’ve already begun taking a much more thoughtful approach to the way I designate funds, efforts and time/energy and I hope that by the end of 2014, it’ll feel like an old habit.