WIA Profile: Lynn Swanson

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.

In 30 years, Lynn Swanson has traversed the ups and downs of the adult industry and made a lot of friends along the way, lending her support along the way. She’s overcome legal battles and poor economic conditions and remained devoted to the industry’s progression throughout. Currently, she serves as a board member of the Free Speech Coalition. Her career has evolved with her transition from retail to distribution, manufacturing and now she’s taking her skill set to the cosmetics side of business with her role as director of sales at Classic Erotica. In her new role, Swanson will focus on increasing brand awareness in the U.S. and abroad while overseeing product sales and education. In this exclusive interview with XBIZ Premiere, Women in Adult spotlights Lynn Swanson, who speaks candidly about her experiences in the adult industry.

I am a believer in karma. I live my life treating others as I would want to be treated. This has served me well in my personal life as well as in business.

What is your role and responsibility at Classic Erotica?

My primary role as director of sales at Classic Erotica is to oversee product sales and education, increase brand awareness, customer relations and strategic planning. It’s an extremely exciting time for Classic. The demand for our brands from both the domestic and international markets has been overwhelming. My immediate focus will be to continue building brand awareness with our distribution partners through product training and presentations, while planning for continued growth.

How did you get into the pleasure products industry?

I began working in the industry when I was working my way through college. I answered a blind ad for a retail store in Chicago. The ad said “bookstore” and being an avid reader, I thought maybe I could buy books at a discount. Turns out it was an adult bookstore on the North Side, the night shift, and they let me study too. I endeavored to succeed and took advantage of their commission program to pay for school. The rebel in me liked the industry but couldn’t understand why everyone wanted to close us down.

Capitol News Agency promoted me and I ended up running retail stores. I continued to work in retail with my husband, David, for many years until I supervised the distribution company M&M Sales. Following its closure, I turned to manufacturing. I am expanding my product knowledge base at Classic Erotica with their wonderful cosmetics.

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

I have been very lucky to have worked with great people like David Swanson, who taught me retail and much more. I have had to overcome retail problems when I ran a national retail store chain with David. Learning the business with a qualified mentor has made a world of difference in my career.

Legal issues have challenged me. The hardest thing I ever did was live through my husband’s time in prison for the years he was incarcerated for our rights. That experience made me become active and a Board Member with the Free Speech Coalition. I serve today and will continue until my peers elect someone else.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

This position is new for me. I am enjoying working with Loren and Moe Levy — wonderful people who I have known for many years. I have learned about their amazing products, and I hit the road running, traveling and seeing customers. The most rewarding part of my job is the wonderful people I meet and work with — the customers. I am a people person and am genuinely interested in other people and their businesses. If I can help a customer make more money, it is a golden day for me.

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

I am a believer in karma. I live my life treating others as I would want to be treated. This has served me well in my personal life as well as in business.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

As the result of a corporation sale, I was required to lay off 100 employees in one day. I am proud of the fact that my friends in the industry helped me place every single person in a new job in one day. It is heartwarming when I walk through warehouses in L.A. and someone comes running up to me and says, “Hey Lynn, this is a good job you got me, I am still here!” I thank my friends in the industry for rallying to help me and my employees.

What are your professional goals for the rest of 2014?

My main objective for 2014 is to continue to build upon the momentum our brands are experiencing in the marketplace. In addition, I will be involved in broadening the international markets in order to meet the overwhelming demand for our products overseas.