WIA Profile: Susan Colvin

Tod Hunter

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.

What is your role and responsibility at Cal Exotics?

I saw an opening for a woman's point-of-view

I am the president and chief operating officer. In that capacity, I run the daily operation of the company. From new product development, to packaging, to marketing, sales and finance, I work closely with all departments at the company to achieve the absolute best results possible. Since founding the company in 1994, it has been my vision to create and sell a line of adult novelty products that enriches and fulfills people's lives in a very personal way.

What are your personal and professional goals for 2008?

First and foremost, my goal is for a healthy year for my family, friends and all of our customers around the world. That being said, my main professional goals for the balance of 2008 and beyond is to grow California Exotic Novelties in a manner that supports and protects our distributors as well as continuing to support the retail community to maximize their sales through education and multiple personal visits. "Thinking outside the box" is our credo when it comes to designing new, safe, and reliable products.

Describe your typical workday.

When I'm in town, my typical day starts at the office around 8 a.m. I attend an operations meeting where goals for the day are discussed and finalized with Production and Logistics. From that meeting, I immediately work with the new product development department to finalize product designs and formulate art concepts with our design firm. Then, I get a chance to catch up on emails and phone calls, before meeting with Sales, Marketing, Special Projects, Private Label, Accounting, and Operations. As you can see, I'm pretty "hands-on" with every department.

What is the biggest challenge to being a woman in the adult entertainment industry?

When I first entered the business in the early '90s, it was totally male dominated. When I took stock of what kinds of products were being created and pushed out into the marketplace, I saw an opening for a woman's point-of-view — after all, the bulk of what's on the market is really for a woman's use. With only men creating the new items, women consumers were frustrated. I saw that frustration and realized that to succeed, I had to tap into the female psyche and develop and market products that (a) women understand, and (b) are easy-to-use, maintenance-free and reliable. Early on, my male counterparts saw me as a bit of an oddity, but I persevered, and now the industry is loaded with other women with similar philosophies…and that's a benefit to women's sexual health worldwide.

What are the biggest issues facing the novelty industry? Where does the future hold for the industry?

The biggest issue right now is the rising costs of materials and labor for production of our products. We understand that our products are purchased with hard earned discretionary income, so it is incumbent upon us to make a concerted effort to control these costs as much as possible and still deliver a reliable and affordable item to the market. Cutting quality to achieve a lower price is not an option for this company. I would rather not put a product in the market!

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