British brand Hot Octopuss is known the world over for their PULSE line. Now, the team have secured the services of April Lampert. The American brings lots of experience to her new position, having been active in the retail trade and on the producer side of the adult industry. Prior to joining Hot Octopuss, she worked at Fun Factory USA for five years, first as Sales Manager, then as Director of Sales. We talked with April about her new job.
Before we start, please you tell us a few things about yourself. For example, what did you do before your commitment to the sex toy industry? April Lampert: Prior to my five-year tenure at Fun Factory USA, I was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it came to work. On a personal level, I’ve done extensive travel and love seeing the world and experiencing new cultures. From a professional perspective, I’ve done everything from wake boarding instructor to night club bar manager to working for a Budweiser distributor in the marketing department; I even have my real estate license. I think finding the adult toy industry however, really helped me discover my passion for my career in sales/marketing and, ultimately, my purpose in life. I am exactly where I want to be and it feels like I was put on this earth to sell high-end pleasure products all over the world, and my new role at Hot Octopuss allows me to symbiotically combine my zeal and creativity for sales and marketing with my love for people and life.
And how did you finally get into the sex toy industry?
I studied Environmental Law at University and fell into the industry by total accident. In 2007, I started working as a manager in a sex-positive boutique adult shop in California because my close friend, Amy Baldwin and her mom opened the store and thought I would be the perfect person to help run things. I had zero retail experience and never even owned a vibrator but they were right, I ended up being really good at selling pleasure products and falling in love with the business. I love the adult toy industry and having both retail and manufacturing experience gives me a wonderful perspective for closing deals and setting up customers.
Is it true that you joined Fun Factory USA in 2012? Which tasks were you responsible for in that position?
Yes, I joined the Fun Factory USA team in 2012 as a Sales Manager and was promoted to Director of Sales in 2014. My primary role as Director of Sales consisted of a great deal of strategy and planning to map where the company wanted to go in the future in relation to sales and how we would get there. I also managed an excellent team of sales people, travelled extensively to stay in tune with market changes and developments, maintained and cultivated business relationships with retailers and distributors, and helped with product development and marketing campaigns. My focus was mostly on North, South and Central Americas along with Australia.
Now, you have joined the team of Hot Octopuss. Why did you decide to take this step? What are the strengths of the brand?
The two most important brand elements are: the product quality/innovation and the team associated with the brand. Hot Octopuss has some of the best people I’ve ever encountered in business working together and is making some of the most unique and innovative toys out there. It is important for me to work with brands I feel passionate about who manufacture products I would personally utilise and Hot Octopuss is the brand I have always had a deep admiration for. When I speak about products, I speak from the heart. I want to be sure I not only understand the brand, the message, the function, the culture, and the quality but that those factors truly resonate with me. Hot Octopuss not only fulfils all of those qualifications but exceeds my expectations. Already, Hot Octopuss has proven bestselling items and the new products being developed are absolutely mind blowing. It is my honour to be working with such a progressive company and fantastically dynamic team!
Was it important for you to stay connected to a well-known brand? What is it that makes working with brands interesting?
Yes, I believe that where the market is headed the opportunity for ‘brands’ is going to increase significantly. In my opinion, Hot Octopuss is on the path to becoming one of the hottest high-end brands on the market and I believe they will play a significant part in shaping the future our industry. Hot Octopuss continues to push boundaries with never-before-seen innovations and ground breaking technology and with their focus heavily on the end consumer, I’m totally convinced Hot Octopuss will be a household name in the near future. I’m so excited to be on board and propel them to new heights of success and growth.
“In my opinion, Hot Octopuss is on the path to becoming one of the hottest high-end brands on the market and I believe they will play a significant part in shaping the future our industry.”
How important are brands in our market?
As the acceptance of the adult toy industry by the mainstream continues to increase and gain traction, I believe there is a huge opportunity for brands to establish themselves directly with the end consumer beyond just the adult industry. I believe that going forward that with the right marketing activity and product portfolio, brands will have the opportunity to establish brand loyalty with end consumers to the point that consumers seek out brands rather than a particular type of product.
What are the tasks of a Global Head of Sales?
As Global Head of Sales, my task will be to improve Hot Octopuss’s market share and position and to achieve growth globally. On a strategic level I will do this by implementing plans to increase existing business and capture new prospects within incumbent markets as well as by forming and implementing strategies to enter new markets where HO is not yet active. Within each market, I will define long and short-term strategic goals and form marketing plans, both for the market as a whole as well as with key accounts. On a day to day basis I will build and maintain key customer relationships across the globe, identify business opportunities, negotiate and close business deals and help with product development ideas by utilising my knowledge of current market conditions and trends. Going forward as the business grows, I will also be building a team around me to help execute these goals.
Is your past experiences in the sex toy industry also applicable in this new field of activity?
I think the five years at Fun Factory along with my years in adult retail will give me a nice head start to achieving the objectives put forth at Hot Octopuss. Being a part of the sex toy industry for so many years, I understand how familial it is and the people are what make it such phenomenal family to be a part of. I’m happy and so fortunate to be in such a wonderful industry and to have an absolute love for my customers, other manufacturers, and the work we all do.
What ideas, visions, plans, etc. do you want to implement at Hot Octopuss?
My ultimate dream is to help make Hot Octopuss a household name and push the brand so it’s the number one boutique brand on the market. In line with Hot Octopuss’s existing vision, I aspire to make sex toys, orgasms and the topic of sex a subject which can be thought of as shame free and positive. That’s what I love about Hot Octopuss, they continue to push boundaries and take risks in order to get this message across to the consumer. Hot Octopuss not only makes masturbation an open conversation (with recognition on SNL/NBC/TMZ and many more), but they make it fun, sexy, provocative and shame free and with Hot Octopuss heading into the vulva vibrator category this spring, I’m convinced they (we) will bring masturbation and sex positivity to the next level.
“My ultimate dream is to help make Hot Octopuss a household name and push the brand so it’s the number one boutique brand on the market.”
Is your previous experience in the market for adult products a big help in this new job?
Of course, having already established relationships with retailers and knowing the landscape of many of the stores from region to region is a huge help and gives me a wonderful advantage to properly place customer point-of-sale and develop marketing and sales strategies that will prove to be successful. Knowing the market and lay of the land is always the most effective way to execute a plan and I have spent the last five years getting to know stores around the globe. Hot Octopuss has some of the most beautiful displays coming out with the launch of the Queen Bee and I am so excited to show retailers the future of in-store displays knowing that they’ve never seen anything like it.
Hot Octopuss wants to release some new products in 2017. Can you maybe tell us about your plans?
Yes! We are so excited to get into the category of vulva vibrators and Hot Octopuss nailed this one! It’s truly one of the most fantastic innovations I have seen in years. The Queen Bee will be available globally this spring and get ready because it’s going to blow your mind (and your vulva), all hail the Queen! There will also be several more exciting launches throughout 2017 around the male category so stay tuned!!