To say that System JO has changed over the last few years is an understatement. Everything from research and development to international sales to educating retailers has been given a makeover. The company has undergone a complete overhaul since switching hands and acquiring the leadership of CEO Michael Woolard.
“For the first time, we have a leadership team that wants to know what we want to do, and they find ways to support our success and provide opportunities to grow,” System JO’s Ryan McCrobie said. “When I started with System JO three years ago, there was a completely different culture in place. Michael Woolard joined the team and focused on creating a positive work environment.”
The team has flourished under a leadership style that believes first and foremost in empowering a team.
Woolard’s background is an eclectic mix of team-building, sales and company oversight borrowed from his time in the mainstream corporate world. He was actually zip-lining through the jungles of Costa Rica when he got a call that would put him back on a plane to California. After some consulting gigs, and a short-lived vacation in the tropics, Woolard signed on to the JO team and forever changed the course of the lube company’s history.
JO is now a thriving workplace for both in-house and remote staff, with 401k plans, proper health insurance benefits, and increased paid time off and bonuses.
“Since Michael has come in as the CEO, he established a transparent environment that has made a world of difference,” McCrobie said. “The team has flourished under a leadership style that believes first and foremost in empowering a team.”
Throughout the year, Team JO gathers to connect their long-distance family tree during trade shows and internal events, which fosters a sense of community within the company.
“Since Michael came on board, the office feels a lot more like family,” McCrobie said. “We participate in more group games and enjoy family-centered events.”
JO’s team of sales and brand ambassadors now spans across the U.S. and throughout Europe. Investing in new international road warriors was a crucial part of Woolard’s plan to kick brand recognition into high gear.
Regional manager Rebecca Buffham heads up the European team from the U.K. and sends representatives to retailers in Germany, Brussels, the Netherlands and Russia. In the New Year, the goal is to extend the company’s reach to include Paris and Madrid or Barcelona. With extra staff taking to the skies and roads, ambassadors can spend more time curating customer relationships and less time stressing about overbooked business trips.
“We have significantly expanded our sales team to offer more management roles to support accounts directly, and our presence internationally has more than doubled,” says McCrobie.
Woolard also sought to lessen the load for his hard-working team back home in California. The company has begun concentrating on quality over quantity, shortening its development cycle from six months to at least one year and releasing fewer products per launch.
“The departments were feeling the added stress of completing projects on a shorter time frame,” recalls McCrobie. “We are currently enjoying a 12-15 month development cycle, which has benefited our team significantly.”
Now the company spends that extra time on securing health certifications that boost its lubricants from traditional novelties to drugstore-worthy health products. It often comes as a surprise to JO consumers that their liquid sex accessory of choice is actually a class 2 medical device; a label that is far from cheap to obtain, but places JO lubes among the top in the category.
For McCrobie and the team, it’s one more reason to feel a part of something revolutionary in the new health-focused world of the pleasure industry.
“I am most proud of my company’s continued commitment towards licensing and regulations,” says McCrobie. “Every year over $1 million is committed to this channel, and we are now a well-oiled machine because of it.”
In 2018, System JO will be looking to its customer base to create its next big seller. The company has implemented a panel to gather feedback from consumers and enhance their buying experience.
“People are excited about our options and grateful that we are working to produce more based on their feedback,” says McCrobie.
More than 1,300 consumers have participated thus far, and this is only the beginning of JO’s consumer-focused marketing outreach. As McCrobie explains, “We are looking at this panel as a way to support product development and improve awareness and provide education.”
The System JO of the future will be a trifecta of happy distributors, retailers and consumers, the company says. McCrobie and his comrades can hold their heads high because they’ve got everything going for them: an ethical product, a loyal team, and a CEO that sees his staff as more than a cut out of the yearly budget. When it comes to both company morale and great lubricants, as McCrobie concludes, “If we can make it better, then we absolutely will. For us, it’s more than just units sold, it’s the drive to make a better product.”