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.
Kathryn Hartman, Nasstoys’ sales and marketing director, joined the historic sex toy manufacturer with previous experience gained during the “old-school porn days of wine and roses.” Her fascination with erotic products that could be used rather than consumed visually (porn) has evolved into Hartman’s passion and lifestyle that she exercises on a daily basis working for Nasstoys. In addition to servicing accounts, Hartman actively participates in the company’s decision making and communicates with staff and customers regularly. In this edition of WIA’s “Woman of the Month,” XBIZ highlights Hartman’s duties, achievements and unique way of looking at the world.
Hartman was drawn to the physical aspect of adult novelty consumption when she joined Nasstoys.
What is your role and responsibility as sales and marketing director, inhouse publicist/trade show manager for Nasstoys?
I organize and conduct weekly meetings with the owners and sales/support team at Nasstoys where we plan and discuss strategies, campaigns and budgets for effective marketing of our products. I investigate and report on all tiers of adult businesses who stock or don’t stock our items. Follow up duties are delegated to team members to start dialogue and relationships and set the wheels in motion and win the race to get even more of our incredible products out there to the public.
I am personally responsible for servicing approximately 41 accounts on a daily basis and additionally, I maintain a casual, but in the loop relationship with all Nasstoys customers who are serviced by our team members either individually or jointly.
How did you get into the business and how has your experience impacted your views of the business?
I came to Nasstoys after a successful run as the national advertising manager for the now defunct SCREW newspaper and as the advertising director for a joint venture with the Star Distributors group of publications, marketing adult audiotext services through men’s magazines and periodicals, print advertising through adult access TV commercials on Manhattan Cable TV and on video and DVD commercial spots. I was very hands on at the time. I am notorious in NYC for my role as Mistress Erin in the 970-MISS commercial. Of course, I was 20 years younger and 20 pounds thinner at the time …. But I still have the whip!
These days, I save it for Halloween when I am not channeling Elvis or “The Cat in the Hat.” I also organized events in NYC nightclubs promoting the 900 and 970 services. These were the old-school porn days of wine and roses before our industry became more mainstream. There was a rough edge and a decadent flavor to our industry that was exhilarating at that time and Times Square was still a red light district.
I met the president of Nasstoys, Elliot Schwartz, with a proposal folder in my hand to advertise audiotext services on the flip sides of his clamshell and carded printed packaged toys. The hard goods side to the industry fascinated me. It had much more of an edge for me. People watch videos and read magazines, but they use toys. It moved my pornography experience from the mental to the physical plain. The temptation for that empowerment and creative outlet was great so I accepted Elliot’s offer and came on board. It was a great career move and opportunity; and one I will never regret and will be eternally grateful for.
What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
The greatest lifetime challenge in my career in the adult industry has been the stigma associated with my livelihood and how it has affected my personal relationships with people on “the outside.” Fear comes from a lack of knowledge and understanding. Unfortunately, many people in our society still fear what they desire and what arouses them. I have put these things in a healthy perspective by staying true to my personal beliefs and myself and by surrounding myself with highly evolved and creative people who “get it.”
My daily challenge is juggling my multiple responsibilities to my clients and to the company. Prioritizing and multitasking has become a joyful dance to me as I waltz through writing, selling, planning, creating and communicating. If you love what you do, and you love and respect the people who you work with, it is the winning ticket in life. We spend most of our time at work if we are a success in life. It is everything to love what you do. I could not imagine doing anything else. This is not a career, it is a lifestyle.
What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Go out into the world each day with a happy song in your heart and play nice with the other human beings. Karma is law to me. Plant and nurture beautiful seeds and be patient for from small acorns, big oaks grow.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Once in a blue moon, Ted Rothstein, Elliot, Tony and I pull out an old photo album I try to keep updated — it lives in the black file cabinet in my office along with a historical archive of Nasstoys catalogs and fliers dating back to 1978 when Nasstoys was incorporated. (We are proudly celebrating our 32nd year in business). Whenever we look through these materials, it reminds us all of how very far we have come in really a relatively short period of time in the grand scheme of things. This exercise has a tremendous motivational impact on all of us at Nasstoys and fills us with a sense of pride with the accomplishments we have made over the years. It always makes you feel good to see the fruits of your labor. When I first came to Nasstoys, flesh-colored red-capped dongs were stapled to a plywood wall and numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
We have come a long way. Now our showroom is a user-friendly technologically advanced website and social-networking sites. Our product is high-tech, the materials and mechanisms are all the best quality, but as in the beginning we stand by our product 100 percent and always will. I am proud to work for men who have excellent reputations that precede them and I love them like blood family. Loyalty.
What are your goals for Nasstoys in 2012?
My personal goals for Nasstoys in 2012 are to work hard at providing better and more customer service for our vendors on every level. The technological challenges are enormous but it is never boring and always intellectually stimulating. Learning to schedule more strategic communication is also very important to me. In 2012 I plan on focusing on utilizing my time more efficiently while not dismissing the importance of drawing on creativity from the outside and bringing it home to the company. Fortunately, I reside in New York City, where the sights and the sounds stimulate the mind that is open to creative thought. Erotica is everywhere. It is in the traffic jam on the way to work, it is in the Great Hall Of Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is on stage as a burlesque or sideshow performance and if that doesn’t work, it’s a long ride on my Harley, my favorite vibrator of all!