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.
If you’ve been paying attention to Nasstoys for the last couple of years, you’ve probably noticed some significant changes being made to the brand’s product lineup and aesthetic. You might also have noticed a new face representing the company — Taylor Means, an experienced retail sales pro who’s behind the veteran manufacturer’s makeover.
I want to bring fresh, new ideas to the table; shake things up.
Prior to joining Nasstoys in December 2015, Means began her career in the adult retail industry as an independent party consultant with Passion Parties, rounding out her experience at Adult Mart, Adam & Eve and Synergy Erotics.
Since coming onboard with Nasstoys, the company has seen revamped packaging and other modernized changes to Nasstoys’ product selection and marketing efforts. Means says that she’s not done re-energizing the brand just yet — and as this month’s Woman of the Month, she tells us more about her background and what motivates her professionally.
XBIZ: What is your role and responsibility at Nasstoys?
Taylor Means: I do a little bit of everything. I represent Nasstoys at all industry trade shows, including most distributor events and do a lot of the trainings. Recently I’ve had more involvement beyond the sales arena and am contributing to marketing, product development, packaging and more. For over 40 years, Nasstoys has been a leader in the adult novelty business, and I’m proud to be a part of this veteran team where I feel my main role is bringing a fresh, newer perspective to the table. The industry has changed drastically over the last several years, and I’m working to fill any role necessary to keep Nasstoys products on sales people’s radar and on every retail store wall.
XBIZ: How did you get into the business?
Means: I had just turned 18, knocked on the door of a store that was opening in my neighborhood, asked if they were hiring and started the next day. It was as simple as that. College wasn’t looking like much of an option, and when I started at the store, I figured if this is what I’m going to do then I better be the best at it. So, I spent hours on YouTube watching Sue Johanson videos and reading books about sexual health and wellness. I took every shift I could get at the store, worked every night and weekend they asked of me, and eventually I was promoted up to management. I went on to do purchasing and management for an Adam & Eve franchise, then was hired by Synergy Erotic where I worked in sales for almost four years before coming to Nasstoys in 2015.
XBIZ: What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?
Means: I feel like there have been so many! I basically grew into adulthood in this industry. Whereas many others started later in life, I was 21 with two kids back home at my first ANME. I didn’t grow up in a big city, nor had I been to many before coming into this business. It was a culture shock, and I feel like it definitely took a couple of years to come into my own and adjust. It’s not easy traveling 14-plus days a month, being a mom of three kids and trying to hold down a household, but I have found a good balance and rhythm that work for me. It’s an easy environment to get burned out in, and sometimes I struggle with that. The key to overcoming all of it for me is just to take a day here and there for self-care to recharge. Whether it be taking an extra day to myself in an amazing city after a long trip, or doing nothing on a Saturday but nap and eat ice cream.
XBIZ: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Means: I absolutely love to see new scenery, visit new cities, and eat incredible food at all of them. This career has given me the opportunity to do things and go places that I would never have been able to do before. In the last seven years of traveling for my job, I’ve been coast to coast, seeing the U.S. in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Also, the people in this business are just the best. I swear I see most of them more than I do my mother; it’s just like having a really, really big extended family. So many people I’ve met in the industry have mentored me, helped me along the way, made me laugh, and have become some of my closest colleagues and friends.
XBIZ: What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?
Means: Just be better. No matter what life throws at you, don’t dwell on it and don’t let it be a setback. Learn from it, be a better person because of it, and keep stepping. Every day you should be better than the day before, and the day before that. This stands true for me in work, parenting, relationships and everything else. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but when you live by it, it’s amazing how much better life gets.
XBIZ: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Means: I’d have to say the 2018 XBIZ Award that Nasstoys received at the beginning of the year. The road to get to this point has been a tough one, and it was so amazing to see the efforts of the entire team paying off. Being a part of the growth and change at Nasstoys has been incredibly rewarding professionally, but on a personal level as well.
XBIZ: What are your professional goals for the rest of 2018?
Means: This year I’m laser-focused on re-energizing the Nasstoys brand. I couldn’t be more excited to be involved in the process of creating some incredible new toys and representing lines like our new Infinitt Collection and Touch items. I want to bring fresh, new ideas to the table; shake things up. I will be working harder on expanding globally, strengthening our international distribution partnerships while still staying focus on marketing and better brand support for distribution, retailers and the end consumer.