In the Red: Q&A with With ID Lubricants’ Cheri Curry
Cheri Curry has been a familiar face on the pleasure products scene for the last few years. Curry’s signature hands-on training presentations have made her a retailer favorite and a sought-after sales pro by the biggest pleasure guns in the industry. A wealth of diverse life and career experiences from music, to media, to motherhood, to the U.S. Department of Defense – Curry applies her trademark enthusiasm and positivity to everything in her path.
XBIZ Premiere caught up with Curry to discuss her new role with ID Lubricants, the industry and life.
XBIZ: Earlier this year the industry was rocked with the news that you had joined ID Lubricants. Tell us a little bit about your new role and the company.
Cheri Curry: I’ve known Gregg Haskell [ID president/founder] for several years so when the opportunity arose to join ID as sales director, to work closely with Greg and his team – it was irresistible. My mission is to continue to grow ID’s brand domestically and internationally, as the go-to lubricant. That involves strategically adding new regions, customers and market channels – and with the ID sales team, my role is developing roadmaps for success and individual growth. I’ve always felt the strongest teams are those that dive into the trenches together. It’s a pleasure to be part of the ID family.
XBIZ: What makes the cosmetic / lubricant side of the business seems more “technical?”
Curry: First, the amount of regulations that govern new product development are severely understated, especially with the new FDA registration requirements going into effect January 2015. It takes an incredible amount of work to release new products as they go through meticulous rounds of testing to meet regulatory standards. Releasing formulas consumers will purchase remains the ying to the yang of FDA regulations. We have both an on-site chemist and quality assurance specialist to ensure the highest quality products are produced.
XBIZ: What are some of the other differences you’ve found between working with a lubricant manufacturer versus a pleasure product manufacturer?
Curry: I understand how to integrate the selling points of lubricants whether as a standalone product or as an enhancement to pleasure products and partnering with our distributors and their customers to generate a higher sell-through. I’m a science nerd, so the formulas, FDA requirements, application of botanicals and high quality ingredients in our products, are hugely appealing to my sensibilities. It’s been exciting learning about how our products enhance intimate play, as a solo product or as an enhancement of a pleasure product and I’m having a blast figuring out sexy, fun, inventive ways to use our ID lubricants in our trainings and demos.
XBIZ: What are some of IDs most successful products and lines?
Curry: Our best selling line is ID Glide. It’s water-based, 510Kregistered lubricant ideal for any type of sex. Millennium, a silicone-based lubricant, ID Pleasure, a water-based lubricant with a tingling sensation along with our flavored lubricant lines Juicy lube and ID Frutopia – are all top sellers.
XBIZ: Pretend the devil’s advocate of lubricants entered a store where you worked – this person feels lubricant is unnecessary and “if a woman’s body is working properly, there should be no need for any lube.” How would you win him over?
Curry: I love devil’s advocates! They are wonderful mirrors! We hear people say this often – this is a quite common. I like to approach these opportunities with a smile, reaffirming that a healthy partner is awesome. Then I ask, “when you were a kid, Did you like recess? Was a 10-minute recess your favorite or did you prefer a 45-minute one?” Hey, we all love longer recesses and play time! ID Lubricants extends your playtime, enhances your intimacy and makes sex fun!
XBIZ: So you’re no stranger to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. Certainly toys featured in the film will see a bump, but how would you recommend retailers use the pop culture sensation to move other products, like say ID Lubricants for example?
Curry: Indeed, I am well-versed in Fifty Shades of Grey. Merchandizing in brick and mortar retail outlets, as well as creating web landing pages featuring the Fifty Shades of Grey products along with ID Lubricants in various packaging: foils, tubes, small one-ounce travel bottles and the larger bottles is a savvy way to bulk up your ring-through. I would add our new Fresh Green Apple Scented Toy Cleaner, too. If you really want to stretch it a bit more: offer our ID lubricants as a spanking enhancement, rub a little onto the skin, give a little tap – why not?
XBIZ: Where do you see the future of the adult/pleasure products industry headed? How will the web and Amazon impact brick and mortar retailers?
Curry: As our economy continues to be on the upswing, I think we’ll see consumer purchases on the rise, as people begin to add more pleasure products to their toy boxes. The Internet is a double-edge sword: it provides a global forum for sex positive information and a private arena for consumers to educate themselves on products offered through the web – we’re all aware of the price wars endemic within the Internet and how that impacts a brand as well as our brick and mortar partners. To me, this is another opportunity to be creative with pricing solutions and maintaining a healthy relationship with our web partners. Consumers still crave the personal face-to-face assurance of an educated retail staff. After all, as much as we all feel the need for privacy, there is no replacement for skilled sales associate standing by giving not only educated information but assurance as well.
XBIZ: What’s your professional background prior to joining the industry?
Curry: My background is a bit varied. I owned a multimedia marketing company and digital recording studio for 19 years. I wrote copy for corporate training videos, commercials and print as well as casting. I was privileged to work with some of the most influential musicians of the ‘80s and ‘90s, designing their touring keyboard rigs and soundboards. And yes – I had the big hair and lacy ankles. From there I was a private aircraft sales and acquisitions professional, making cold calls to chief pilots and owners asking for listings. My final stop on the way was working as a project manager for the [U.S.] Department of Defense for five years. I stepped into the adult novelty industry three years ago with complete abandon and never looked back.
XBIZ: What’s the most worthwhile experience you’ve had so far?
Curry: I continue to feel blessed by our industry community – I have never met more authentic, open and fine people. It’s really gratifying to be of service to our customers as they learn about our products and I learn about their needs. Nothing lights me up more than to hear a customer say they feel taken care of and their sales have been positively impacted by either my training or one of my team members.
XBIZ: Who’s had the biggest impact on your professional life/career?
Curry: Tom Stewart, the CEO at Sportsheets. Tom believed in me when I wasn’t even sure where stepping into the adult novelty world would take me. He was a huge encourager and source of many hours of laughter. He coached me through learning about the unique industry customer base, listened patiently to my ideas and urged me to be unabashedly creative when presenting products. I will also say my son Miles impacted me as person which in turn has made me a grounded business professional. He has inspired me to stretch, grow and take leaps of faith, that otherwise without that, I may’ve chosen a safer path. He was stoked [air quotes] when I began working in the adult industry – but at 14, when I started, what teenage boy wouldn’t be? As I watch Miles make his own way now, I realize how much we have been cheerleaders for each other.
XBIZ: What do you like best about the industry?
Curry: I am constantly energized by the true entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in our business. I love that we embrace all the flavors of humanity and our curiosity for what motivates human sexuality, and how we all work to create a sex positive community lights me on fire. Who wouldn’t love being in an industry with such a deep commitment to people?
XBIZ: Where is Cheri Curry in five years?
Curry: Here, working diligently to cover the globe in ID Lubricants and well, reviving the world tour of The Runaways, sporting my ‘80s leather pants.