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WIA Profile: Deveni Christian

Women In Adult / Ariana Rodriguez

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.

Deveni Christian joined XR Brands in July 2011 as an account manager following an almost-decadelong stint in adult novelty sales for a major distributor. While learning the fundamentals of the industry from a retail perspective, Christian discovered her passion for the business and is now putting her creativity, professional skills and ambition into developing top-selling brands for XR as a project manager. Responsible for the naming of products and their respective collections, as well creating copy and collaborating on packaging, Christian draws upon consumer desires and conventional product descriptions to build powerful brands for targeted markets. In this month’s WIA Woman of the Month Spotlight, Deveni Christian discusses the personal touch she brings to her profession.

The most rewarding part of my job is watching an idea come to fruition and being an active part of its success.

What is your role and responsibility at XR Brands?

My role at XR Brands is somewhat unique and very much suited to my personal skill set. I am half numbers, reports and sales and half, creative and organic in my thought process. Both halves have become essential every day at XR Brands, which is nice — and keeps me on my toes!

A large part of my role here is to name our new lines and the products therein, including our most recent Master Series, Vogue, SexFlesh and Prisms brands. I also handle all copywriting and editing of our product packaging, descriptions and ads. I take care of our product photography and also assist in new and existing package design, as well as the production of our bi-annual catalogs and designing our trade show booths.

As project manager, I am responsible for making sure each project is completed within a certain set of restraints and organize our work flow to meet deadlines. I also must delegate certain aspects of each project and of course manage sales accounts to make sure everything is in line.

How (and when) did you get into the adult novelty business?

In 2002 I had moved to California from Denver and started working at Holiday Products in Chatsworth, Calif. I got my feet wet in the sales department, working with a great group of people, and that was where my education in sex toys and novelties began. Holiday Products was where I had my first exposure to this industry and I count it as one of the most positive experiences of my career thus far. I had previous sales experience prior to working in our industry, but when I started doing adult product sales I knew that this was my home, the industry in which I belonged. Through every experience thereafter it was cemented, this is without a doubt my niche and where I will continue to thrive.

How has your previous experience prepared you for your current position?

I have a degree in illustration and a passion for art and design of all forms, which certainly has helped me flourish in my uniquely tailored role at XR Brands, especially when I handle packaging development.

Though I’ve mostly held sales positions in my past, I believe the combination of my sales experience and interest in the inner workings of running a business has benefitted me greatly as I’ve grown at XR Brands.

What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?

Some of my biggest challenges have been the bumps I’ve encountered along the road. Being the “right fit” in the right situation has, at times, been a challenge for me until now. What I understand about myself is that I grow and flourish best when surrounded by people who support and foster the talents I bring to the table. I have a lot to offer and love to challenge myself within my career and as this industry grows, we are exposed to an even greater array of people with a variety of “flavors,” each with his or her own fingerprint, color and path. I find that, while I am a sociable person and very much enjoy the networking aspect of our business, my ultimate comfort zone tends to be behind the scenes, making things happen from a vantage point that is behind the curtain rather than on the proverbial stage. This is something that has worked out well for me at this point — but not always. As in most aspects of life, a portion of our industry is saturated with an attachment to ego, and I prefer to leave mine at the door. It is important that I work within a team environment and am happy to have found that at XR Brands. I am surrounded by a group of highly talented, driven professionals that seem to naturally leave their egos at the door, each with a common goal in mind: success.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is watching an idea come to fruition and being an active part of its success. It’s very fulfilling to attend a tradeshow and have people be excited and/or complimentary about a product or line that I’ve helped create. I have always had a true thirst for knowledge, and at XR Brands I’ve gained a great deal of insight and experience. I work closely with the talented Michael Merrill, who has taught me a lot about the ins and outs of package design from conception to final piece. I am passionate about the insight and knowledge I gain through the many positions I have held currently and previously, and find that the team members at XR Brands embrace that about me and never tire of my endless curiosity.

I appreciate that I work for a company that takes the time to research underserved, niche markets and provide them a cadre of quality products specific to those tastes.

What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?

To always evolve at a forward pace and stay grateful for the path and journey. I place utmost value in the evolution of self, whether it be professionally or personally. I strive to be cognizant of this in everything that I do.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I put a lot of thought into whom our target end user might be and try to mold the product line using words that will attract their attention. For example, with our Prisms line of erotic glass I wanted to create a name that, to me, represents how glass relates to the body. That’s where I came up with the name: coupled with the tantric/Hindu verbiage and words used to name each shape, I felt that even at a subliminal level this line would appeal to a broad spectrum of users. And so far it has! There is a concerted effort to make sure the name of each glass item, and where it might be used on the body, is conveyed by the feeling one might have when using it. I wanted to give each item a personality of sorts. Watching this line evolve from the conception stage, survive the occasional speed bump, and then debut with such success has been so fulfilling — especially now seeing it grow to the size it is today!

Given the time it took to research the community that would be utilizing the Master Series, our hardercore line of BDSM tools, and creating a naming convention that would appeal to this consumer was a challenge of which I’m proud. I’d have to say that seeing the Master Series line succeed across the different channels in our industry has been another very rewarding experience. The Master Series and Prisms lines best represent my proudest achievements thus far.

What are your professional goals for the remainder of 2012 and beyond?

I started at XR Brands in 2011 as an account manager and was promoted to project manager after a few months. My career, paralleled with XR Brands, which continues to experience tremendous growth in the time that I have been with them, I would say my goal would be to continue this forward motion and expand existing lines as well as new ones.

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