After more than two years working in the public health sector, Michael Cox is making his foray into the pleasure products industry as an account executive for male sex toy company Oxballs. Whereas selling in the public health field may have felt mechanical at times, Cox says he’s quickly seeing the loyalty of Oxballs customers and the dedication from the Oxballs team. In this exclusive Q&A with Cox, he discusses his previous role and how it compares to working with male pleasure products.
XBIZ: How many years of experience in this industry do you have? What did you do prior to joining the pleasure products business?
My time in public health really helped me craft my listening and speaking skills. I learned how to truly hear someone, what they’re telling me they need even if not directly saying it.
Michael Cox: I am a virgin in the industry of pleasure products, so it is my first rodeo. I’ve worked in sales on the public health side for two-and-a-half years. Working at Oxballs for the last few months, I’ve noticed some parallels between the two industries and I think it helped make the transition a little easier for me. Prior to working in the pleasure products business, I worked in hospitality for two beautiful locations, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and The Resort at Pelican Hill, for five years while receiving my MBA from California Baptist University.
XBIZ: Discuss your expertise in public health. How does this help you in your new role at Oxballs?
Cox: Public health is a lot different than adult novelty. In public health I worked with some health educators but it was mostly purchasing clerks who had grant funds and deadlines to adhere to. In public health, the clerks are going to buy simply because they have too. If not, the grants they receive will disappear. So the question is, how do you make them buy from you? In adult, our goal as a manufacturer is to provide designs, service, support and messaging, in ways which help our partners thrive with our products. I find that with Oxballs, our customers really want to do business with us, because they’re making money with our unique designs and value the support we provide. The question of “why us” is much easier to answer here at Oxballs.
My time in public health really helped me craft my listening and speaking skills. I learned how to truly hear someone, what they’re telling me they need even if not directly saying it. In this industry I’m learning that having good product is only half the battle — success is also dependent on relationships, and how much value I can add as a partner.
XBIZ: What are your goals in your new role?
Cox: Starting at Oxballs, my goals have been to absorb as much information about our products, our business and our customers. The influx of information has been challenging, but I’m a quick student and I’m enjoying the hefty learning curve.
Looking forward my goal is to help Oxballs continue to grow at the rapid rate we currently have been able to accomplish the last few years. In doing so, I believe some of my personal goals will align with our vision. For example, I would love to step into a leadership role with a team to account for. As Oxballs continues to expand, the opportunities are endless.
XBIZ: What is your personal mantra?
Cox: I am a huge sports fan, more specifically baseball, so I am going to take a page from Mookie Wilson who played for the Mets. Whenever I start doubting my capabilities, “I comfort myself by saying if I believe in dinosaurs, then somewhere, they must be believing in me. And if they believe in me, then I can believe in me.”
XBIZ: Were you familiar with Oxballs prior to joining the company? What do you like about the brand?
Cox: Before interviewing with Oxballs, I knew of the company by name only. Ryan, the director of sales & operations at Oxballs, and I spent some time working together before he joined Oxballs. A few months ago I received an unexpected call from Ryan asking if I’d be interested in interviewing for an open position on his sales team. This is when I began doing my due diligence about the company, even though I was still very unfamiliar with the brand.
Now being here for a couple of months I know I made the right decision to join the Oxballs team. I love everything about the company and brand. We are a small team, but we operate with a strong vision for the future and admirable company culture. Ryan trusts my judgement and really empowers me to make decisions, which in turn helps my growth personally and professionally. And it’s not just me; he empowers everyone in our office, which is a great confidence and trust to have in your team.
I can’t really say enough about our brand. I honestly believe we engineer and design the best, most unique and exciting men’s products on the market. Oxballs really cares about its customers, and how we can do our best in helping other businesses flourish with our products.
XBIZ: How has the male pleasure products category evolved? What do you think about its potential for growth?
Cox: The male pleasure products category has evolved and will continue to evolve because men are becoming more curious, open and willing to discuss fantasy and explore different kinds of play. Play that used to be off-limits, or carry stigma, has become wildly popular in the past years. Oxballs has had to change as well with this evolution, as we’ve recognized the ever-increasing market for our products amongst straight men and couples. At its core, we were a gay fetish-focused brand; that is certainly not at all our identity any longer. Men want exciting edgy products, just like women.
The potential for growth in male pleasure products is definitely out there. I believe a huge growth factor lies within the hands of the adult store employees. They have the power to truly influence an individual’s sex life by simply educating them on the products, and help their customers feel more comfortable in exploring new kinds of play and explore fantasy without shame.
Oxballs has some very exciting new things coming down the pipeline in this next year, which will continue to solidify our place as a leader in the male category and support growth in men’s products in the industry.