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.
Three years ago, Erin Viereck changed the course of her career when she noticed a change in the adult retail landscape. As a freelance grant writer in between projects, Viereck’s interest in the adult biz arose after she saw her local adult store receive a female-friendly makeover. She volunteered her services to the retailer, which turned out to be Williams Trading. Since coming onboard with the company, Viereck’s role within the company has evolved several times. In addition to her role as the marketing and vendor liaison and event planner for Williams Trading, Viereck recently launched her own home party company, Bee Smart n Sexy.
Who knew three years ago that with a little bit of extra time on my hands I would change careers, change industries and work to change the perception of adult retail.
In this month’s edition of Women in Adult, we profile Viereck and her rapidly expanding resume.
XBIZ: What is your role and responsibility at Williams Trading?
Erin Viereck: I wear a lot of hats under the auspices of being a PR professional at Williams Trading Co. As the marketing and vendor liaison, I assist all manufacturers with the launch of their products into U.S. distribution. I coordinate new product reviews and spend a significant portion of my time reviewing and researching new technologies, crowd-funded projects and new releases. I am a writer and responsible for press releases, marketing material, packaging copy and everything in between. I develop the educational content and promotion of Williams Trading University, the adult industry’s only free online e-Learning program that continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our retailers. And, I am Williams Trading’s event planner — I coordinate trade shows, special events and vendor trainings on and off-site. I am often asked to participate as a panelist for different adult forums, present industry trends to our retailers and to submit article content to the adult trades.
XBIZ: How (and when) did you get into the business?
Viereck: OK, crazy story! Until 2013, my resume was strictly as a seasoned fundraising and communication specialist for the nonprofit sector with a master’s degree in public relations. I raised a lot of money for some wonderful charities and I’m still really proud of the difference that made. In 2013, as a freelance grant writer in between projects, I visited my local adult store and noticed how clean, fresh and inviting it had become. I was super impressed that it was female and couples friendly! So, through their website, I reached out and offered to update their store windows and visual merchandising pro bono. Why not? I had the time and wanted to keep my marketing skills fresh. I had no idea this little store was part of Williams Trading Co.
I was invited to Williams and meet the family and team of professionals. I was a quick study in this new world. My first “real” position at Williams was home party specialist and new business development. I conducted focus groups and in-depth research in the adult home party world to help independent business owners improve their sales and sharpen their brand. I was always looking at new places to sell adult products.
Who knew three years ago that with a little bit of extra time on my hands I would change careers, change industries and work to change the perception of adult retail. And, I have learned so much about myself in this very short time. I am sex-positive. I consider sex to be a healthy part of life that should be enjoyed and discussed without shame or awkwardness. It is not a taboo subject.
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Viereck: Even though the adult industry is mainstreaming at a record pace, I do come across pockets of public opinion that are negative and judgmental. Like, when I’m planning an offsite event or trade show and it takes months to secure the venue because some hotel chains don’t want “that kind” of presence associated with their brand.
So, rather than bash what I hate, I choose to promote what I love. I work tirelessly to ensure conversations about sexual health, personal care and wellness are a part of everyday conversation because adult products exist. I continue to submit articles and editorials on various facets of the adult industry to mainstream publications like Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Men’s Health magazines (not picked up yet/ not giving up yet). I founded Bee Smart N Sexy (www.beesmartnsexy.com), a fresh new adult home party company that offers body-safe and tech-savvy products, a personal shopper experience, and subscription service.
With that said, I am also developing new projects that position adult products in the best light for mainstream channels (stay tuned!) But, most importantly, I’ve made real friends in the industry because I truly admire their work, appreciate their humor and value what they bring to the table every day.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Viereck: Being a part of a super-swing in our society where I get to be one of the reasons adult products (and their brands) will soon be as common place as Starbucks and Target. Think about it; one day my grandkids are going to ask what my life was like when I was younger. I can’t WAIT to tell them about this amazing time in the adult industry!!
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by today?
Viereck: From the beesmartnsexy website, I quote myself:
“People are sexy when they have a sense of humor, when they're smart; they have a sense of personal style, when they are kind, when they express their own opinions, when they are creative, when they have character. Bee-ing Smart n Sexy means you have all of these qualities and are ready to shine!”
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Viereck: The career accomplishment I am most proud of is the next one. Because I am fortunate to be in my second career, I feel my core values are the ones that stayed in place and have endured even when my profession changed: being kind, honest, groundbreaking, hardworking, creative and fearless. I like to think core values are what you cannot do without and will make you absolutely uncomfortable and acting out of step with yourself if you don’t respect them. What we believe is reflected in how we act an who we choose in our partners which are all the more reason to address what you believe to prevent you from doing stuff that sabotages your own happiness.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for 2016?
Viereck: I hope in 2016 I continue to grow — grow Williams Trading University and teach more adult retailers about today’s products; Frow the message of positivity surrounding adult products in mainstream and adult; grow Bee Smart N Sexy as an opportunity to connect more people to sexual health and wellness; and help others grow in their journey in this amazing industry!