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.
A year ago, industry vet Autumn O’Bryan returned to Topco Sales after almost a decade, to become the company’s new COO. Her goal was — and remains — to reinvigorate the historic brand and reinstate it as an industry leader. Since rejoining, O’Bryan has overseen the opening of Topco’s new FDA-compliant lab and the company’s renewed white labeling initiatives. She’s also expanded the Topco team to ensure that the brand is represented at events and in retail stores; and that customers are prioritized. In this month’s edition of Women in Adult, we profile O’Bryan as she recaps how Topco Sales has evolved under her direction.
The most rewarding part of my role as COO has been watching the day-to-day accomplishments that Topco — both the company and the brand as a whole — make.
XBIZ: How (and when) did you get into the business?
Autumn O'Bryan: I started in the 1990s when I ran a home party plan called Midnight Madness in New England. I sold that company in 2005 to another party plan and made my next move within the sex toy industry.
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
O'Bryan: My biggest challenges have always stemmed from people, specifically separating business from the personal and not internalizing too much. I have to remind myself regularly that none of this is personal, it’s not all directly related to something I may have (or may not have) done, and to never assume we know what’s going on with someone else. We are all fighting battles that the rest of us know nothing about, and it’s important to remember that the only thing I really have control over within business relationships is myself and keeping my side of the street clean.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
O'Bryan: The most rewarding part of my role as COO has been watching the day-to-day accomplishments that Topco — both the company and the brand as a whole — make. Some accomplishments have been huge while others have been more modest or less obvious to those who aren’t directly impacted, but often the small “wins” are the most challenging to achieve and most rewarding to celebrate. In just a year, I’ve witnessed a noticeable shift in morale, reputation, and commitment, and the fact that we’ve maintained steady forward motion is something I feel quite proud of.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
O'Bryan: Make today ridiculously amazing! Live in the moment; it's all we have.
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
O'Bryan: I’ve felt quite proud watching people I hired grow in their roles and move on to hold some of the top positions in the industry. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch others I care about succeed, especially knowing I played a role at their start.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for the rest of 2017?
O'Bryan: My professional goals for 2017 are similar to ones I shared a year ago, when I first started my role as COO at Topco. My core focuses will continue to be on regaining market share for Topco and its best-performing brands, as well as reinvigorating Topco’s reputation for being a market leader in materials development. This last year, we’ve reminded the industry of Topco’s forte with cosmetics, white labeling, and brand licensing, and with the opening of our on-site FDA-compliant lab, I expect those parts of Topco’s business to grow even faster.
There are exciting projects within this realm that I’m really looking forward to debuting; product development and innovation is something I’ve always loved and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of impact we can make this year. I also plan to continue leading and building a team that shares common goals and values — especially with regard to transparency, follow-through, and honesty – and further show the industry that Topco is well on its way back to the top ranks.