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.
In just two years Blush Novelties account executive Denise Young has become a recognizable face in the industry as a diligent “road warrior.” Those that stay connected with this sales pro on social media can follow her cross-country travels, which include nationwide treks to train retail staff and to represent Blush at a number of trade shows.
Being a road warrior is hard work, but it is so rewarding when you learn about how your visit has positively impacted that customer.
Prior to joining Blush Novelties in 2016, Young had a successful career in pharmaceutical sales. She has parlayed her skills to support Blush Novelties growing customer base; and last year her talent was recognized with a nomination for Account Executive of the Year at the 2017 XBIZ Exec Awards.
In our exclusive Q&A with this month’s WIA Woman of the Month, Young reveals more about her career experience, motivation and future goals.
XBIZ: What is your role and responsibility as Blush Novelties’ sales executive?
Denise Young: As a Blush account executive, I am responsible for key domestic and international accounts. My main responsibility is caring for people, helping my accounts meet their needs and grow their business. I am grateful to be able to work with some of the most talented people in this industry, not only to call them my customers, but also my friends.
Trainings and store visits are some of my favorite parts of my job. Whether I’m training my distributors or their customers, I am also learning so much in the process. Store visits and staff give me the opportunity to see how stores are merchandising our products, how Blush is doing for them and learn more about their customer base. Most importantly, I get to find out how Blush can do even better for them.
I also love to do trade shows! From set-up day, to customer meetings back to back, to nighttime networking — I revel in the fast-paced energy that trade shows emit.
XBIZ: How did you get into the business?
Young: How does an established pharmaceutical sales rep go from selling dermatology drugs to sex toys? I don’t think I will ever get tired of answering that question.
Verna (co-owner of Blush) and I met in college and quickly became best friends. Beautiful, intelligent and funny, it’s not hard to believe why I adored and respected her so much as a friend. Early in our friendship, during one of our conversations, she admitted to me that she has never owned a sex toy. To me, this was unimaginable! In fact, the next day, I was the very person who took the creator of Blush to buy her first sex toy!
Fast forward, many moons later when Blush was created, Verna invited me to go to Vegas to help them at their booth at their first International Lingerie Show. This trade show was so different than the pharmaceutical ones I was used to working at. I really had so much fun selling to customers and of course, Verna hinted that I should join Blush.
However, at the same time, I was gaining a lot of success in pharmaceutical sales and I loved my job very much. Verna never gave up, she always asked every year: When can you join my company? In 2016, I was making a lot of big changes in my life. I called Verna to catch up and let her know what was going on and she asked the magic question again. This time I told her I was in a place in my life to say yes. After learning about the company’s growth, Blush’s pipeline of upcoming products and what the job position entails, I decided that it was time. I joined Blush in July 2016 and became a part of this amazing industry!
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Young: I’ve always perceived challenges as opportunities for personal growth versus roadblocks. Blush is a fast-paced company and their environment encourages a lot of autonomy and quick thinking. The combination of a new industry and a new sales model was testing my ability to learn quickly. When I needed help, I was very fortunate to have my Blush cohorts like Benny, Ducky and Donny to guide me.
My most difficult day was my first day at an industry trade show. I had received two hours of training on 850 Blush items and I was so nervous of failing. I decided to shadow my peers for the first half of the day to get a grasp of how to present to customers and what their expectations were. I was so relieved to learn that our customers are a group of awesome humans and are very understanding. They allowed me to ask them questions, so as I presented I learned from them as well.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Young: I love this multi-faceted question! Hands-down, the most rewarding part of my job is that I get to work with our distributors and customers. They are some of the most intelligent, talented and humble people I’ve ever met, and I get to learn from them! I also love the travel aspect of my job. Whether I’m travelling for a trade show, trainings or store visits, I am so appreciative of being able to see the world, make new friends and love my job at the same time. Being a road warrior is hard work, but it is so rewarding when you learn about how your visit has positively impacted that customer.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Young: Always do your best, in any circumstance in your life.
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Young: During my 15-year career in pharmaceutical sales, there was one year where I finished as the No. 1 sales representative in the country. Then I switched companies and the following year, finished as the No. 1 sales representative there too.
At Blush, one of my proudest moments is seeing one of my accounts double in growth because of the relationship we built together. I also was nominated for the XBIZ Account Manager of the Year in 2017. Although I didn’t win, being recognized and nominated by my peers was really a huge honor and I’m grateful for such accolades so early in my career.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for 2018?
Young: Becoming a more intuitive account manager for my customers, and to become more in tune with their needs and wants. I always say, only in times of discomfort is when we truly see growth, so 2018 will be the year to push myself out of my comfort zone and test my limits.