Execs of 2018: Retail Industry Pros Discuss How They Nurture a Sense of Community

Execs of 2018: Retail Industry Pros Discuss How They Nurture a Sense of Community

As part of XBIZ’s “Execs of 2018: The Year in Review,” prominent members of the adult retail community share their thoughts on the trends and strategies that drove success in 2018.

Each of the executives we spoke to below has one thing in common — they are among the finalist nominees for Community Figure of the Year in the retail edition of the 2019 XBIZ Exec Awards.

These individuals represent the spirit of the adult industry and are a shining example of strength, character and business acumen.

How has technology influenced how you stay connected with the adult retail community?

Coyote Amrich
Director of Purchasing and Product Development, Good Vibrations

“For me, social media has been a great way not just to stay connected to my colleagues on all sides, but also, to get to know them in a more personal manner. Technology can overwhelm, as we are always connected; so, getting to see the lighter side of people I work closely with is a gift.”

Ed Braunstein
Deluxe Distributors

“Having been involved with the adult industry for over 40 years, the influence of technology has created an atmosphere of friendship and, at times, camaraderie that has never before existed among fellow competitors. From my position, the clear up-to-date availability of zoning and case decisions from most states and municipalities has facilitated the growth and overall health of my company. Product evolution and consumer awareness has been a huge factor in the ongoing progression and education of everyone involved within our industry as we catapult into the mainstream consciousness. I’m very proud to have been a part of this incredible story technology has enabled.”

Kimberly Scott Faubel
Director of Operations, Clandestine Devices

“Technology has made it so much easier to stay in touch, which is what I probably take the most advantage of. I like to follow retailers on social media: stores, e-commerce, but mostly, the individuals who are working on those fronts. It’s especially nice to get to know people on a more personal level via social media. Not only can we see the stores that are supporting our brand, but we can get to know the individuals who are responsible for serving the communities in their respective territories. I try to make myself available to everyone I meet — particularly the retail managers and associates — because I want them to know that this business is personal. And if anyone ever needs anything or has a question, I’m simply a text or phone call away.”

April Lampert
Head of Global Sales, Hot Octopuss

“Technology, especially social media, has really facilitated a strong bond within the adult industry. Now more than ever, we are able to connect with people all over the world on a regular basis and maintain long-lasting relationships no matter what time zone folks are in. I think this digital age has helped the industry stay more progressive and provided the bandwidth to allow everyone to tune in to each other. Technology creates a wonderful platform of support where we can encourage and express gratitude for one another while diversifying and growing the networks of our community.”

Nicole McCree
Sales Executive and Product Educator, Classic Erotica

“In-person interactions! Most of my customers and partners are already connected to me in the virtual world. My iMovies leave lasting memories of events that happen throughout the year. Since our community is well-established in social media, in-person relationships can be built at a rapid pace because you already feel as though you know the other person. This approach has helped me to strengthen relationships and inevitably, sales.”

Paul Reutershan
Sales Executive, Pipedream Products

“Technology has enabled me to remain on the pulse of the adult retail community. I travel all over the U.S. and make it a point to add clients to my social media when appropriate. This allows me to see what they do at the store level and gives them the ability to build a business relationship with me personally as well as our brand. Many retailers and industry folks are involved in philanthropic pursuits; so, technology is a big win for campaigns that help others. I always try to support when I can. Our industry is busy, and many clients do business via text, messenger, Instagram, etc. You never know the impact you can make by supporting and promoting on social media. The benefits are infinite.”

Megan Swartz
General Manager and Buyer, Deja Vu Love Boutique

“As always, social media and the expansion of our online store continue to be drivers for our guests for both brick-and-mortar and online sales. We recently started running month-long online promotions that are the same at all of our stores, which gives guests more time to take advantage of it — and more time for in-store associates to promote it. We are also very supportive of the brands we carry and do our best to publicly praise them and offer the best possible presentation for each. We are always looking to help out the companies that make up our industry.”

Scott Watkins
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Doc Johnson

“It’s certain that social media has changed the way we form and maintain relationships. However, the real silver bullet is pounding the pavement and making an effort to connect with the community directly, every single day — whether that’s picking up the phone and calling someone, going to industry events, or hitting the road to meet our partners where they live and work. There’s nothing like the connection that’s created when you spend the time and money to meet someone, or when someone has taken the time to fly out to meet you. It helps you understand the person or team as individuals. You get a glimpse into their world. Technology — whether that’s social media, or e-mail, or any other digital tools — can and does go a long way, and has immensely improved the way we do business. But there is simply no substitute for in-person engagement: in-store store trainings, asking questions directly and getting valuable feedback in real time, working with the community where they live, and just continuously pounding the pavement. That is the greatest — and only — true path to nurturing strong and enduring relationships."

Jackie White
Executive Vice President, CalExotics

“Social networks like Facebook have had an incredible impact on how I stay connected with the adult retail community. Social media gives us a real-time perspective of how retailers and customers are feeling about our products. I especially like watching retailers’ reactions when they get their hands on the latest toys. It’s one thing to know that a product sells well; it’s another to see a retail staff member’s jaws drop when they try out a cool function. Our retail partners have some incredible personalities, and it’s great to see that on a regular basis.”

Cathy Ziegler
Vice President of Sales, Kheper Games

“Technology has significantly increased business. I remember when the first fax machine was introduced within my workplace; it meant getting information to our customers faster via their office. Usually, each office had one fax machine. I like how anyone can communicate instantly and get info to potential partners immediately. Products can be presented to anyone via Skype, PowerPoint and via email. Social media can be a boon to any product if it catches the wave and spreads via word of mouth, and it’s virtually free. It’s a useful tool, but I always want to meet people I am working with in person, go to their stores or place of business, and have a face-to-face conversation to determine a worthy plan to evaluate how best we can partner up to turn a maximum profit. Technology is overloaded onto everyone’s plate, and the trick is to figure out how to get potential customers to actually read an email you send instead of banishing it to the trash.”

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