Executive Seat: Q&A With Electric EEL National Sales Manager Zachary Goode
When Zachary Goode joined the Electric Lingerie team in 2011, he brought with him 13 years of experience in national clothing sales, international trade shows and relationship management. Previously, he was national sales manager at Sik World, a T-shirt company that he helped take from start-up to a multi-million dollar global enterprise. Today, Goode has become an integral part of the lingerie and pleasure products powerhouse, which is also the licensee for HUSTLER Toys and Lingerie.
Born in New York City and raised in Provincetown, Mass., Goode currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and 18-month-old son. In addition to traveling the world selling lingerie, he leads the rock bands, The Secret Seven and the Weezer tribute band, Geezer, and also rides vintage motorcycles in his spare time.
In this exclusive interview with XBIZ Sensuals, Goode discusses how he achieves balance in his life, professional goals and what sets Electric EEL apart from other major manufacturers.
XBIZ: How did you get into the lingerie/pleasure products business?
ZACHARY GOODE: I actually started out in the music business. I’ve been a songwriter and singer in rock bands for the last 20-plus years and I learned a long time ago how hard it is to make a living playing music, so I’ve always had a day job doing sales. Back in the ‘90s, my friend started a music magazine and hired me to do ad sales. The magazine slowly morphed into a novelty T-shirt company and we started to travel with music festivals and tattoo conventions, as well as attending trade shows like MAGIC and the International Lingerie Show. I became trade-show booth neighbors and friends with the Electric Lingerie team and when they were looking for a new sales manager four years ago, they called me up. I was looking for a career change and already had relationships with a lot of the buyers in the marketplace, so I jumped on board.
XBIZ: Describe a typical day as Electric’s sales director.
GOODE: There’s a lot of phone calls and emails, spreadsheets, trade show organization, etc. I’m constantly checking on delivery dates, making sure orders are shipping and invoices are paid. I’m always trying to grow existing accounts and open new ones. My day is probably pretty similar to most of the other sales managers out there. I put my pants on just like the rest of you — one leg at a time. Except, once my pants are on, I make gold records.
XBIZ: What have you learned about the lingerie/novelty marketplace since joining Electric?
GOODE: The most important thing in this industry is to establish and maintain great relationships. I think outsiders view us as a bunch of depraved porn freaks (OK, some of us are), but for the most part this is a family industry and the people are intelligent and professional. They are knowledgeable and hardworking. I’ve also learned that price drives the marketplace. Buyers are looking for great deals. If they can find an item with a low cost and a good margin that also happens to be great quality? That’s gold on their shelves.
XBIZ: What sets Electric apart from other lingerie/toy manufacturers?
GOODE: You don’t see us at every trade show offering niche items in 20 different colors. We don’t spend a lot of money on excessive advertising and fancy packaging. Buyers are smart enough at this point to know what sells and what sits on their shelves. Our planograms consist of 20-30 top sellers that check at retail every single day. Additionally, if you take our items out of the box and compare the quality to the other guys, we win every time. We only focus on low-priced bestsellers that are of the highest quality. When you give your hard-earned money to see Guns ’n Roses play, you want to hear “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” You don’t want “Chinese Democracy” B-sides.
The other special thing about this company is our team. Everyone from the boss, to our sourcing and design team, to our office crew, to our logistics team, to our back-end web people, bust their asses every day to set us up for success. There are no weak links in the chain.
XBIZ: How do you see Electric evolving in the future?
GOODE: In addition to our in-house brands like Lux Fetish, Gläs, Blue Line for Men, and our C&B Gear, we also have an incredible relationship with HUSTLER. We are the worldwide licensee for HUSTLER Toys and Lingerie and in the last 18 months we have had major success with our new line of strokers, rabbits, vibrating panties, lube and butt plugs. We are aggressively adding new categories and have been very fortunate to have the support of most of the major distributors in the marketplace. It’s very important for us to continue to grow the brand and ensure that the HUSTLER name remains the most relevant name in the adult industry.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
GOODE: I really like the challenge that comes with introducing a new item to a buyer. Sometimes you initially meet resistance because they may have a relationship with another company, or they don’t have the time or interest to compare the pricing or quality. Maybe they haven’t had success with a certain category in the past because the price was too high. When the buyer does take the time to inspect our quality and see how much better the price is than the other guys, it quickly becomes a bestseller and the reorders come rolling in. To have a chance to see those buyers at the next trade show and hear how great sales are and to build on that relationship and add more and more items is very rewarding.
XBIZ: What are you professional goals?
GOODE: Every year, my goal is to double the sales from the year before. That’s not always realistic, but in the four years that I’ve been on board, we have grown exponentially and made major inroads into the industry. Now that our full-service wholesale site www.electricdistro.com is live, the sky is the limit. I’d also like to host and be the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.”
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
GOODE: In the winter, I’m a Buddhist; in the summer, I’m a nudist!
XBIZ: How do you maintain balance between your professional and personal life?
GOODE: I have a very supportive wife and a beautiful 18-month-old baby boy at home in Los Angeles. I also actively play in two rock bands and ride vintage motorcycles, so I try to keep a good balance between work, family and fun. Business is very important, but at the end of the day, life is all about your friends and family and taking the time to enjoy some of your success!