CHATSWORTH, Calif. — There’s a new vibe in the Pipedream headquarters — and it’s not of the battery-operated or USB-rechargeable variety — it’s the company’s newfound enthusiasm and dedication inspired by the newly minted CEO Matthew Matsudaira that was palpable during a visit to their offices today.
At a “press day” set up by Pipedream Digital Marketing Director Brian Sofer and Patrick Lyons, the VP of Marketing, XBIZ was invited to meet with executives and staff in various departments, along with Matsudaira himself.
The day started with a morning meeting in which Matsudaira encouraged not just working hard but with the holiday weekend approaching, to enjoy life. He told his staff that they are all leaders and to “think big” when it comes to learning skills such as business writing and other ways in which he wants to empower them.
“We are inviting you to be a part of the next phase of Pipedream,” he told them.
Among Matsudaira’s initiatives is to promote from within; and he’s already shaking things up by promoting Kristian Broms to chief design officer. Pipedream’s marketing team, headed up by Lyons, also is being expanded and revamped to provide full service to Pipedream’s clientele.
Nicole Braniff, who possesses extensive sales experience, is being groomed to offer retailer account-based marketing, Lyons said. “She really understands the market. She’ll focus on how we can take a real strong approach to helping retailers and distributors.”
Braniff is credited with launching a new program called Dream Deals. “It’s something that’s pretty unique in the industry,” Lyons said, noting that within the first week of the program’s launch, the company saw an onslaught of sales.
“What we’re really trying to do with marketing is get data points, we’re doing a lot of competitive analysis, trend analysis, in mainstream as well as within this industry,” Lyons said. “We’re really taking a more scientific approach than we’ve ever done.”
Competing with Amazon is a major focus for Pipedream going forward. “It’s a killer of brands and it’s something that’s hurt us,” Lyons said. “We see the counterfeits from China coming in and we’re really looking to control that, because that’s detrimental to our business.”
According to Lyons, Pipedream aims to combat “the Amazon effect” with marketing based on research and offering customers more of what is proving to be in demand, along with a wealth of informational content in a variety of formats.
“Our goal over the next two years is to be really aggressive,” Lyons said. “We want to be the Kleenex of adult products.”
Lyons says Pipedream is taking a different approach with Amazon. Instead of using it to sell products, the company will build brand pages for each product so people don’t have to create their own — thereby preventing sellers from posting incorrect product information. “So it’s our branding, our messaging, our pictures,” Lyons said.
Pipedream also has hired a legal team to help it thwart the unauthorized use of its copyrighted images, and will be qualifying the sellers of its products.
In the Pipedream photo studio, Farley Magadia discussed the benefits of being able to produce photography and product videos on the fly.
“What I like to see is the quality that is churned out here from the real lighting, real hardcore professionals, Casey [Marks] has a soundproof recording booth,” he said. “It gives us the flexibility to do those things.”
In the near future, thanks to Pipedream’s in-house video production team, Jimmyjane will roll out a mainstream TV commercial, Lyons added.
In the product development department, Broms proudly showed off an iPhone photo of a new plus-size life-size doll that is in the works. Showing off the body’s realistic folds and shape, he discussed Pipedream’s new approach to product releases in which quality takes precedence over quantity.
With multiple in-house 3D printers, Broms says product design has gotten simpler — although certain prototypes require longer printing times that could last up to 16 hours.
Broms says that Pipedream is moving away from releasing hundreds of products prematurely and going forward will ensure that the products that are unveiled at shows are in stock.
“We want sales people to be able to tell customers that their items will ship the next day,” he said.
Matsudaira, who joined Pipedream Products’ parent company Diamond Products three months ago, says that even from his previous role at Amazon he could see the potential in the pleasure products industry. “It’s ready to experience innovation and disruption,” he said.
Matsudaira says that his vision for Pipedream is to make it customer-focused by empowering his staff.
“This is going to be the best place to work — period,” he said. “This is where the best talent is going to be. This is where they are going to develop personally and professionally and that’s the bar that we’re going to set.
“My team is here to grow,” Matsudaira said. “They want to learn, they want to be challenged and to stretch themselves. When I talk about my vision here it’s to develop the best team. We have a very capable team that’s going to accomplish great things when given the right tools and framework.”
Matsudaira says his goal is to stay out of the company spotlight to allow his team to shine.
“There’s a reason why I don’t do a lot of press and that’s because at the end of the day my job is to support my team,” he said. “I owe it to them to help them develop their professional goals.”
According to Matsudaira, he hopes to empower his staff that might have previously felt stifled by being open to feedback and building trust.
“One of the many things that I learned at big companies like Amazon, Nordstrom and Chewy is being great consistently is hard to do, but when you can get your team to do this magical things will happen,” he said. “People and companies can often be great during ebbs and flows but we want to be great consistently. We have to practice and sharpen our skills be great. We want to raise the bar.”
Post Chewy.com, Matsudaira retired, but his love for investment and building businesses, combined with his knowledge of the sexual wellness market through Amazon, led him to Diamond Products just three months ago.
“I learned what’s a hot channel to look at and that’s what made the decision easy,” he said. “I also spent a lot of time with Nick [Orlandino] and learned a lot. I also spent a lot of time with our banks and financial partners as well. I think we’re aligned for success.”
Matsudaira is behind several groundbreaking Amazon products and businesses that are used every day, including being on the founding team Amazon Prime Now, launching the Fire Phone, Fire TV, Alexa, and Restaurants and says he is grateful for all those experiences.
“I’m always trying to learn and am completely humbled by the opportunities that I get,” he said.
Matsudaira is gearing up for his first ANME Show in July and said that he’s looking forward to it. “I think we’re the most prepared that we’ve ever been so we’re pretty excited. My team and I have a plan laid out and we’re going to execute."