Execs of 2018: Retail Industry Business Leaders Reveal Their Top Strategies

Execs of 2018: Retail Industry Business Leaders Reveal Their Top Strategies

XBIZ captures the thoughts of retail industry luminaries in business development as we sought their take of the year 2018.

New business is the lifeblood of any business. And the front-line executives who foster growth for their enterprises are priceless members of the team, second to none.

The following question about the year in review was asked to the nominees of the 2019 XBIZ Exec Awards:

Which business development tactics were the most effective in 2018?

Dennis DeSantis
Cousins Group

“Taking 20 of the biggest name stars in our industry that we have signed to us and using their social media to post all the stores that carry our line — Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.”

Ellen Friedman
Director of Sales, MD Science Lab

“Every year, I do several events to help brand our name throughout the world and have for many years now. However, this year, two of the events — New Orleans Southern Decadence and Sydney Mardi Gras — were the best yet for our company.”

Cheryl Hanslip
Director of Product Development, Doc Johnson

“Our laser focus on making products that are both premium and accessible has been a big factor in our success in 2018, and will continue to be at the heart of our business development strategies in the years to come. When making decisions in our product development meetings, we like to keep in mind the idea that the best, most advanced pleasure products in the world mean nothing if no one can afford to buy them. Through our sustained, increased and combined focus on this maxim on a company-wide scale, our results have improved exponentially with each passing year. It is incredibly important to us that not only are the products we’re making incredibly effective, innovative and exciting, but that they’re also offered in a range of price points that ensure the greatest possible number of consumers have access to them. We’re also very intentional about creating products that aren’t just ‘new and unique,’ but that also fill a demand gap in the market — and we keep a close eye on consumer needs and industry trends, in order to stay fully aligned with what consumers actually want.”

Lisa Hanna
President of Sales, Maia Toys

“Over the past year, Maia Toys has truly made a large effort to focus on three pivotal business tactics in order to become an emerging leader in the industry. One of the first tactics we focused on was creating a large social media presence and focusing on marketing to different channels. Something else we really focused on during the past year was changing our packaging. We went with classy boutique-style packaging that makes our products stand out among our competitors. The third and final strategy we implemented this year was putting a strong focus on product development. We really aimed to improve our current line to keep our defective rate down, while also creating new innovative products. We really focused on coming out with products that can fit in at any price point. The execution of all these goals has truly been a recipe for success for our company.”

Chad Jenny
National Business Consultant, Adam & Eve

“Recognizing the need to integrate online marketing and social media into brick-and-mortar stores has helped to create a major increase in store traffic. Using our new relationship with Yelp, increased presence on Facebook and Instagram with live videos and quick peer-to-peer responses, and an overhaul of our store websites have shown great results. Engagement is the key. You must create interactive points between your store brand and your customer, both online and in the store.”

Lupe Martinez
Business Development Executive, CalExotics

“At CalExotics, we put our customers first and foremost. We offer a wide range of products, services and support to meet the needs of our customers in a way that works best for them. With products, we offer an extensive array of items in almost every category. With a diverse and ever-changing retail environment, we know it is essential to cater to a wide range of consumers. With services and support, we offer everything from in-person training, online tools, marketing materials and more. CalExotics also has a top-of-the-line fulfillment center with impeccable fulfilment rates and shipment times. Every aspect works together to bring our customers what they need to succeed and thrive, which is essential to our success too.”

Savannah Robertson
Business Development Manager, Dame Products

“Our tactic has always been to stay focused, listen, learn and engage with our community. We created Dame Labs to conduct much needed people-centered research, ensuring that we are regularly getting dame-changing inspiration, input and feedback based on diverse personal experiences. Anyone, including penis-havers, who supports our mission to make the world a happier place, one vagina at a time, is invited to join Dame Labs. And because of our community outreach, we’ve grown in many ways this year. In one study, 91 percent of cis men said they ‘usually’ or ‘always’ orgasm during sex, while only 39 percent of cis women said the same — which tells us we still have a way to go. Through this collaborative effort, we strengthen our commitment to closing the pleasure gap for good.”

Malay Vannouvong
Director of Operations, Aneros

“Refocusing our energy on MAP compliance — minimum advertised pricing — has produced tremendous results for us this year. Working closely with our distributors to purge multi-vendor marketplaces of grossly underpriced Aneros products has improved overall sales. Our relationships with cooperative partners have strengthened as well. Taking a firm stand against the devaluing of our brand by enforcing MAP was a daunting undertaking, but our efforts are proving more and more effective as we fine tune enforcement processes and procedures.”

Jeff Young
Curve Toys

“In an ever-changing market economy that continues to be increasingly influenced and impacted by the Internet, the ability to stress and emphasize the value that our key product lines deliver to retail outlets has been crucial to our growth. Superior value is tied to both the pricing structures and finished quality and dependability of the products respective to their price, which in turn, leads to faster turn times and/or higher profit margins.”

Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

More Articles


How Sex-Ed Lays the Groundwork for Well-Informed Shopping

We often do some research before making purchases, whether by delving into a company’s background, exploring specific products or simply making sure we understand how to use something before we buy it.

Nathan Hammerle ·

A Look at How Customer Demographics of Full-Size Sex Dolls Have Evolved

For a long time, sex dolls were dismissed as cheap novelties used by lonely heterosexual men. This was especially true of early, inflatable versions, which became the butt of jokes in pop culture. However, things have changed dramatically.

Rebecca Weinberg ·

Why Getting Back to In-Person Events Is Imperative for Pleasure Biz

Even before COVID-19, consumers were already increasingly shopping online. During the pandemic, that trend naturally skyrocketed, and many of us store owners and suppliers became accustomed to leaning back and managing nearly all of our business from behind a screen.

Sean Quinn ·

What Pleasure Brands Need to Know About Celebrity Endorsements

The right celebrity endorsement could skyrocket your brand into profitable relevance. The wrong one could send your brand crashing down into obscurity. While the allure of celebrity endorsements is obvious, less obvious are the risks that come with handing over the responsibility for your brand’s reputation to a third party.

Kathryn Byberg ·

The Next Wave: Pleasure Industry Execs Forecast 2024

The dawn of 2024 is upon us and the adult retail biz is buzzing with anticipation, looking forward to seeing what new, innovative pleasure products, lubricants and sensual cosmetic lines will hit the market in the coming year.


WIA Profile: April Hoopes

When you do what you love, they say, you’ll never work a day in your life — and when your job involves educating the masses about sex toys, it’s hard not to love what you do. As director of sales for pleasure brand Edonista, April Hoopes would surely agree.

Women In Adult ·

Bathmate's Tim Brown Talks Legal Standards of Penis Pump Production

Since the company’s inception in 2006, Bathmate has delivered myriad iterations of the brand’s namesake: a hydrotherapy pump utilizing warm water and suction to take advantage of the penis’s naturally hydraulic erectile function.

Colleen Godin ·

Nasstoys Marks 45 Years of Pioneering in the Pleasure Industry

Longtime pleasure products manufacturer Nasstoys, known for its vast variety of adult products and supplements, is commemorating 45 years in the business of making people happy.

Kim Airs ·

Selling Tactile Stimulation With Textured Toys

Tactile stimulation plays a pivotal role in elevating intimate encounters. As consumers recognize and explore the link between diverse, expansive sensory engagement and enhanced pleasure, we are seeing a shift toward products that go beyond basic functionality.

Carly S. ·

How Mainstream Can Show Respect in Its Appropriation of Fetish Wear

Once upon a time, fetish wear was strictly confined to kink communities and subcultures. However, it has now made its way onto the catwalk and even mainstream Instagram and TikTok. This visibility of fetish clothing raises important questions about respect for its origins and the cultural significance of fetish wear.

Countess Diamond ·
Show More