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Victor Tobar Climbs Corporate Ladder at Pleasure Chest

Victor Tobar Climbs Corporate Ladder at Pleasure Chest

They say you don’t know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. In this regard, Victor Tobar knows the Pleasure Chest like the dearest of old pals.

If you’ve ever done deals with these strictly-sex-ed shops, you’re already familiar with national retail and purchasing director Victor Tobar. His name has become as synonymous with the chain’s business-to-business relations as long-standing head of business operations Sarah Tomchesson, to whom Tobar has become something of a right-hand man.

I started working at the store for what I thought would be a part-time seasonal gig, supporting on the sales floor, fast-forward six years, and I haven’t budged!

Over the course of the last six years, Tobar has advanced within the company at near break-neck speed. While the average Millennial only spends around two years at any given job, Tobar has shown that when persistence and passion come together, a fruitful and lengthy career is not only plausible, but impossible to deter.

“I started working at the store for what I thought would be a part-time seasonal gig, supporting on the sales floor,” recalls Tobar. “Fast-forward six years, and I haven’t budged!”

Since beginning his career at this small chain’s New York City location on the Upper East Side, Tobar has tread several hundreds of miles in just about every pair of shoes you can wear while climbing the sex-toy corporate ladder. Of course, Tobar had a worthy backstory before diving full-time into the sexual wellness realm, but it feels like a blip on the map compared to his sky-bound career with one of the nation’s most respected boutiques.

“I have had so many jobs ranging from arts education to philanthropy, but my primary passion, and the bulk of my career has been in progressive sex toy retail and sex education,” says Tobar. “I have 13 years of industry experience under my belt, and it really feels like I’ve come of age professionally and personally in this industry.”

Tobar’s path reads like an old-fashioned story of job success; the kind we’re dying to hear, but happen all too rarely in today’s career world. He started in what could arguably be one of the most important yet undervalued roles in adult retail — as a sales associate — though many part-timers don’t often last through the holiday rush. Several years and one big move to Los Angeles later, Tobar’s dedication lead him from entry-level sales associate to upper management big wig.

After jumping onto the Pleasure Chest’s West Village, N.Y. team as a last-minute Valentine’s Day hire, Tobar was promptly promoted to supervisor of the Upper East Side store.

“I think that was a significant turning point for me, because I really got to set up some strong operational processes at that location, and help to support the company’s vision of making that store a destination,” says Tobar. “I also had the chance to be very involved with the training and development of an almost entirely new staff of amazing sex educators.”

Tobar had gotten a sweet taste of corporate power, though thankfully of the sex-positive, people-empowering sort. He kept up his pace and quickly wound up as the store’s manager, taking on local educational programs and community outreach. After only three years with the company, he was invited into the role that would turn this New York native into a staple of Los Angeles’ West Hollywood gay-borhood.

As national buying and merchandising manager at the Pleasure Chest’s sunniest shop, Tobar took to the captain’s chair like a natural. He was placed in charge of expanding the company’s partnership programs with vendors, diversifying and expanding their product selection, and creating and maintaining nationwide merchandising standards. Despite such a lofty laundry list of daily duties, Tobar made quick work of his new tasks and landed another promotion — under the job title where he currently resides, at least for now — earlier this year.

“In my role as director of retail and purchasing, one of my primary goals is to lead our store teams across locations to further develop our sales strategies,” says Tobar. “Our hope is to continue to develop a personalized and world-class customer experience, which includes a highly curated product selection, excellent educators, innovative programming, and tight merchandising.”

Tobar comments that the Pleasure Chest runs a tight ship with a small, core management team that interacts across several departments and with all levels of staff. If you’re not willing to wear a lot of hats, a gig with this historical retailer might not be for you. Though every retailer hopes to ascend to levels of popularity beyond their four slat walls, this world-class hub of sexual acceptance has actually done it, and their teams work tirelessly to stay on top.

“The Pleasure Chest is unique in that our retail stores are destinations, not just places to shop, and they have a rich legacy and history and commitment to sex positivity. In the current retail climate, we have to work harder than ever to run successful and sustainable brick-and-mortar locations,” says Tobar. “My new role was created to really support our local teams in staying at the helm of sex-positive retail.”

Tobar’s current goals are almost too long to list, though his pride and energy are undoubtedly what have pushed him so far in such a short time. He plans on continuing to develop a personalized consumer experience, which includes a highly curated product selection, an excellent line-up of sex educators and innovative in-store programs and events, and clean, modern merchandising.

But Tobar isn’t finished yet. He’ll also be working more closely with the Pleasure Chest’s manufacturer and distributor partners to offer stronger incentive programs for wholesalers. With a nod to his floor sales days, Tobar also aims to create equally strong sales incentives for local retail staff. Training and development opportunities for staff at all levels will take top priority at the ground level, where Tobar ensures that the chain’s high bar for training, education and professional development standards are met across the board.

With a full plate piled high with cross-departmental duties, you’d think Tobar would eventually lose his stride, but that’s not likely to happen considering his outstanding track record. What really brings it all back to earth for this workaholic is exactly what pulled him to the sexual wellness industry from the start: the power of people.

“I love so many parts of my job, but I think the best part of my job is all of the people,” says Tobar. “By this I mean all of the people I get to work with, including all of our staff who do a wonderful job at upholding the brand’s standards, providing our customers with excellent customer service, and thriving as educators to our customers who remain loyal to us after 47 years; to our partner vendors, who continue to innovate and expand the world of toys, to our leadership team, who keep pushing the vision forward, and into the future.”

When you’re in it to win it in the pleasure industry, the vibrators are truly just the beginning, and no one knows this better than the guy who’s traveled the Pleasure Chest universe more than a few spins around the sun.

“Working in a sex-positive environment means a lot more than selling sex toys,” concludes Tobar. “I’m not sure that we’re changing the world with every dildo we sell, but we’re definitely helping to challenge a lot of stigma around sex and sexuality, and opening up the dialogue around sex and pleasure.”