When the original Honey, Feingold’s mother, started the company in 1994 (“We’re family-owned and female-friendly”), the stock offered 20 to 25 lines.
“At this point, we carry more than 12,000 products,” Feingold said. “We can fill a store from top to bottom.”
Besides the increase in products, Feingold has noticed changes in products themselves since the business started.
“The products, and the quality of the products, have changed. There are different materials for products, like silicone. Higher quality products, and products that are packaged in a classier way, more mainstream. More people are realizing it’s important to have the right packaging for the products that you have. That’s what I’ve seen.
“Organic and body-friendly products are beginning to catch on in the last year,” Feingold said. “It started slow but it’s going up. More people are interested in body-safe products.”
Feingold’s six-person sales staff attends meetings every week to get familiar with the products Honey’s Place sells.
“All of our sales staff is extremely well versed on product knowledge. It’s like a family. We don’t compete against each other, we really work together.”
The staff education is important, Feingold said, so that the information can be transmitted to clients.
“We do it several ways,” she said. “A lot of the educating is on the phone. We send out informational leaflets through the mail and in order shipments. Some companies provide informational DVDs. If we know of a manufacturer who does educational seminars, we set that up for our stores. If stores request point-of-purchase material, we make sure they have everything they need.
“We work with manufacturers to educate the clients, because many of the products these days are higher quality. You really have to know what you’re selling. You need to know why silicone is better than jelly, and it’s our job to tell our clients why it’s better. We have clients who call us with question after question to learn about the products.”
Some stores want to expand from selling videos to adding sex toys, Feingold said.
“We ask the questions: ‘Who are your clients? What is their price range?’ Some people can have the luxury items in their store, other people can’t afford that. We really listen, so we can do the right job for them. They’re going to want lubes, they’re going to want masturbation toys. Condoms. They’re going to want some couples toys to encourage couples to come in. Or the boyfriend can buy something for the girlfriend. It’ll point them in the direction of where they want to go.”
Feingold takes pride in Honey’s Place using its feedback from wholesale clients.
“If a client wants a product that we don’t carry, and they’re going to consistently sell it, we bring it in for them. That’s the edge I have. There’s a small market in some states where a person can really sell something. We listen, and we bring it in.”
The addition of new products is only part of the company’s ongoing commitment to customer service.
“I’ve built a new infrastructure here,” Feingold said. “We’ve increased our capabilities in our computer system. I can run reports and streamline what we do here. We don’t make mistakes on orders. We don’t ship the wrong stuff because our computer doesn’t even allow it. We also have a new wholesale site where stores can order online.
“Everything is oriented to our stores. I look at who our clients are, and what their needs are, and we reach out to them and try to help them. You do everything in your power to be the best distributor for them.”