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.
In mid-October, Planet Earth Logistics promoted Sam Godfrey to operations director — her second promotion within a year. In proclaiming her new role, the company’s managing director Louise Boote said Godfrey more than proved her abilities in her former position as general manager by going beyond the call of duty and acting as a valuable spokesperson and point-of-contact for the London-based adult distributor. In this month’s WIA Woman of the Month spotlight, Sam Godfrey discusses her new role and responsibilities, as well as her accomplishments as an exec under the age of 30.
Being approachable helps me to learn and is part of the reason why Planet Earth has been able to adapt and grow year upon year. —Sam Godfrey
What are your new responsibilities as Operations Director for Planet Earth?
My work as Operations Director is basically a split role combining managerial responsibilities with the smooth running of Planet Earth. In a nutshell, I run the office and manage all the Planet Earth staff in addition to actioning Planet Earth’s expansion strategy and regular day-to-day function. This role gives me the task of buying and sourcing all of Planet Earth’s products as well as being responsible for coordinating Planet Earth’s progression into new territories.
What is a typical day at the office like for you?
Constructive chaos. As Planet Earth develops at such a rapid rate, my involvement in our expansion projects continues to increase. In addition to this, I coordinate a diverse team — which includes warehouse staff, a design team, marketing staff, web developers and our sales team — so I have to keep on top of a lot of projects. Thankfully, our staff is very experienced, loyal and by and large run themselves — which leaves me to implement company strategy and ensure everyone stays motivated and on course to deliver our projections.
Day-to-day I am involved in all aspects of the business. I am never in one place for very long. Since the position of Operations Director is really at the center of everything, I regularly have strategy meetings with the other Planet Earth directors and then have the responsibility of feeding that information through the teams, making sure we all run according to the same schedules and deadlines. In addition to this, I will be buying, sorting out logistical issues, taking care of HR and coordinating our marketing output.
How did you get into the adult novelty business?
It all began with Ann Summers while I was studying for a microbiology degree eight years ago. I started out as a rep, became a regional rep, and then following a stint as an accountant in the oil and gas industry the opportunity to work with Planet Earth came along. The Planet Earth job sat well with my experience and my skillsets and I could see there was a bright future ahead of the company as it was already doing exceptionally well. I jumped at the chance to join and have been learning and enjoying my time here ever since. It has been a continual development and with that hard work has come some fantastic rewards.
What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Right from the very beginning I came into an industry beset with challenges thanks to the financial climate. Lots of key players in the E.U. were struggling and either consolidated or went out of business. Because of this, the main challenge I have faced is working through these difficult times and being involved with building a robust company that is able to shape itself according to demand; a company that can absorb major events without suffering. The challenge in this industry is to ensure you are working within an environment that is adaptable enough to survive the unexpected.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Bringing new brands to market and making them successful worldwide; there is a huge sense of personal satisfaction involved in doing this — as well as a great sense of togetherness with everyone who has contributed to achieving a common goal. At Planet Earth, we are big on exclusive brands, which has enabled me to work with a number of fantastic products with this objective in mind. We have certainly been a massive hit in Europe with brands like VigRX and with products like Pink Daisy we have achieved global success. Recently, we have taken on another product on an exclusive basis, the Ultimate range, which the whole team is committed to driving. It’s a fantastic brand that we think will be the next global hit for Planet Earth — watch this space.
What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Every day is a school day. It really is. When you close your mind to learning things, you close yourself off to improving and doing things better. I have learned to adapt and by doing that I think I have achieved some success in life. Everyone makes mistakes — that’s why pencils come with a rubber on the end — and if you make a mistake it is best to make sure you understand why and how to adapt to ensure you don’t fail again. Better that way than let it crush your drive. Because I work in such a varied role, I am often finding out little nuggets of this and that from our staff. Being approachable helps me to learn and is part of the reason why Planet Earth has been able to adapt and grow year upon year — we really do work as a team and we take on board what our staff tell us. I’m not too big to say “I didn’t know that,” or “tell me more.”
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Becoming a director before I’m 30. My career has skyrocketed in the last few years and I’m really pleased to be working with Planet Earth. They’re a great company with lots of ambition and some lovely people behind it and working within it. Being associated with such a successful company is great and the fact that in the last 12 months we have scooped three major industry awards has been a real boost to my morale and everyone I work with. These achievements have been the icing on the cake.
What are your professional goals for 2013?
Professionally, I am committed to making Planet Earth a more recognizable brand worldwide, spreading the Planet Earth reach into new territories such as Australia, while strengthening our brand awareness in Europe and the U.S. In addition to this, it is my ambition to find the bestselling product of 2013 and take it to the adult market as well as mainstream.