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.
Although often underrated, the home party sector of the adult retail industry continues to thrive decades after it followed in the footsteps of other iconic home party companies like Mary Kay and Tupperware. Tamara Payton Bell launched her own home party company in 1999, and has since expanded her role to become a mentor to the members of the Home Pleasure Party Plan Association, which she founded more than a decade ago. Bell also has broadened her expertise as a love coach certified by Dr. Ava Cadell’s Loveology University. The dedicated home party veteran is a familiar face in the pleasure products industry that can frequently be found networking at trade shows and connecting with colleagues on social media. In our exclusive Q&A with this month’s WIA Woman of the Month, Bell discusses her lengthy career in the pleasure products biz.
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to help newcomers to the industry become successful in their business. I love using my experiences to help others navigate the business.
XBIZ: What is your role and responsibility as the CEO/founder of HPPPA?
Tamara Payton Bell: I am responsible for managing daily operations of the association. Along with other members, I help to create association policies and procedures and complete special projects as they arise. I am also responsible for creating and maintaining working relationships with manufacturers and other vendors. With my management, I recommend top-selling products for our members to add to their demonstration kits and write reviews for new products.
With my training specialist, we develop an annual manufacturers’ forum to provide important information to them about packaging, product development and understanding the sales practices within the home party sector.
XBIZ: How (and when) did you get into the business?
Bell: I worked for a lingerie party plan in the early ‘90s and decided to start my own business. My customers always asked about adult toys, but I was not familiar with them, so I did some research. I invited a rep from a pleasure party company to do a show for me and I visited a retail store my friend worked at to see if it was something I wanted to venture into.
With a list of products in hand, I searched the internet for sex toy distributors and came across a company called Midnight Madness, owned by [industry vet and now Topco COO] Autumn O’Bryan. She answered the phone and offered to help me set up my party plan, which I started in 1999. After several years of doing the business, I came up with an idea in 2005 to build a group of party planners to share ideas and knowledge with and that is how Home Pleasure Party Plan Association was born.
We are now 13 years in the making and over 150 members strong!
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Bell: The biggest challenge I have been confronted with in my career with HPPPA is developing a clear understanding of what our association stands for. Some people are still confused as to what we do.
My biggest challenge as the owner of Two 2 Tease, my home party plan, was understanding products and their uses. This became less of a challenge the longer I was in business.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Bell: The most rewarding part of my job is being able to help newcomers to the industry become successful in their business. I love using my experiences to help others navigate the business.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Bell: “The more you share the better you are in life.” That has always been my personal mantra.
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Bell: The career accomplishment I am most proud of is becoming my own business owner and succeeding in it. I am also proud of becoming a certified love coach, as it has taken me to higher levels in my career and added credibility to what I do.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for 2018?
Bell: My professional goals for 2018 are to continue to enhance and expand the services provided by HPPPA. Some of the enhancements and additions include product interview podcasts, manufacturer-led training sessions and continuation training for party plan owners.
I am also committed to working with Dr. Ava Cadell to expand her Loveology University brand and to assist future love coaches once they graduate. Lastly, to transition our annual manufacturers’ forum from a person-to-person format to a cyber format, as well as moving our magazine “Home Party Review” to a cyber format.