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.
After making her foray into the adult industry more than a decade ago with a role here at XBIZ, Casey Murphy has navigated a career path through the pleasure products industry, gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way working for specialty manufacturers and wholesale distributors. In her current role as an account manager at Honey’s Place, Murphy continues to build her industry expertise while supporting the success of retailers nationwide. She also has recently established The Pleasure Parlor — an online hub for female empowerment and sex positivity. In our exclusive Q&A with this month’s WIA Woman of the Month, Murphy discusses her career inspiration and future plans.
Take care of your clients as you would your mother.
XBIZ: How (and when) did you get into the business?
Casey Murphy: I pretty much fell into the business by chance in 2005, after one of my roller derby teammates mentioned XBIZ had an advertising coordinator role open. I was able to acquire the position, which provided an amazing opportunity to learn and understand the adult industry at large while watching the magazine layout come together every month. This included staying educated on new products hitting the market, learning about the manufacturers who made them, reviewing products, and assisting with tradeshow execution. From there, I went on to work for three product manufacturers: The Stockroom, Spartacus and Wet For Her, acquiring an in-depth knowledge on niche markets, including the fetish, kink and LGBTQ+ communities. Over the last several years I have worked as a wholesale account manager at SexToyClub and currently Honey’s Place, helping e-commerce, brick and mortar retail customers grow their businesses. I am grateful to have acquired such a versatile background — publishing, manufacturing and distribution ... and believe each step of the way led me to where I am right now.
XBIZ: What’s a typical day at the office like for you?
Murphy: I am fortunate to be able to work remotely from home in Portland, Ore. With that said, my only co-workers are my three cats! My day primarily consists of talking on the phone with customers — brick and mortar stores, e-tailers and home party business owners. It is always interesting to hear first-hand how product trends evolve in different parts of the country depending on the region and season. Aside from order support, creating new accounts, sourcing potential customers, staying up on industry news, and ensuring accounts are stocked and happy, what I love most is the personal relationships I have developed with my customers. I will never grow tired of stories from early brick-and-mortar and pleasure party pioneers who made safe sex products available to the public, before is was socially acceptable to do so. The most rewarding part of the “sales” process, aside from the creative aspect of brainstorming marketing, selling and merchandising techniques, is scratching the surface and really getting to know my customers on a personal level. The value of human connection is absolutely priceless.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Murphy: There are so many...but I will stick to two! The Pleasure Parlor started as a private Facebook group amongst friends, a sex-positive community where women felt comfortable asking questions about sexual health: sex toys, preferences and interests that may be a taboo topic in their day-to-day lives. The products that I showcase in The Pleasure Parlor pop-up shop at mainstream events in particular are normally very colorful and bright (Tokidoki and Broad City lines from Lovehoney, Screaming O, Unicorn Spit lubricant by Wet, glittery pasties, etc.). My booth setup is decorated with unicorns and crystals, vintage lace and cake trays ... it is presented in a very feminine, whimsical way. People frequently come up to the booth and say, “From far away, it looks like you are selling candy or toys!” ... Well, yes, both of those are true, technically. At that moment of realization, something changes, and I can almost read their thoughts, “Oh, well these toys don’t look so bad.” I make sure to have a variety of items available depending on who the consumer is at these events — so for mainstream audiences, I include adult coloring books, spa items, pasties, etc. They will continue to peruse the table; sometimes they will make a purchase, not always. If one person walks away from my booth with a smile and a new perspective on sexual health and pleasure, then The Pleasure Parlor is a success.
Second, positive feedback is everything! Meeting other women for the first time, particularly in Portland, who say, “I love what you are doing” or, “Your social media is so fun” is extremely rewarding and energizing. Knowing that the voice of the business resonates with other women totally reinforces the fact that it’s okay to stick to my vision, and to just keep grinding.
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Murphy: The fact that I created a vision, committed to it, and built it from the ground up. The logo, business cards, website, subscription service, event execution, everything. Maybe one day I will hire a designer, or an employee or two, but for now, it feels amazing to say, “I made this. All of this.”
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Murphy: Thus far, creative overwhelm and not knowing how to implement ideas quickly and effectively; Imposter Syndrome; and not having enough hours in the day! But this journey feels different than other endeavors I have started. I can fall into a creative or emotional slump for a couple of days, but I never feel completely defeated. It sounds cheesy, but I feel like there is a stronger force at work pushing me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can’t quite envision the path that I’m on, but I can feel success at the end of it. This blind faith provides reassurance that as long as I keep taking daily action to propel the business, I am exactly where I need to be, and everything will fall into place exactly as it should.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Murphy: The Golden Rule, first and foremost. Take care of your clients as you would your mother. Under-promise, over-deliver. Never stop learning, never stop posting, never stop questioning. Live in the energy of what you want as opposed to where you are. Give as much as you can to others, do what you love, and the money will follow.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for 2018?
Murphy: One of my goals for this year at Honey's Place includes growing my customer base with more women-owned small businesses. I'd like to dig in and empower my customers to identify their personal strengths and motivations that will lead them to their big-picture visions. In a culture that has historically conditioned women to compete and undermine one another, it is a priority — now more than ever — to re-frame that mentality and truly support each other as much as we can.
As for my personal projects, I plan to complete Loveology University's Love Coach certification program, and continue utilizing my education to enrich the lives of women within my own network, and beyond.