Claire Jacques has been working in the adult market since 2008. She started out in the wholesale segment, and after switching sides and working for a producer for a couple of years, she has now joined forces with Fun Factory, taking care of the British and Irish markets for the company. EAN spoke with Claire about the new challenges that await her and about the expectations she has regarding this new job.
Before we talk about your position at Fun Factory, would you mind telling us about yourself? For instance, what did you do professionally before entering the adult market?
Claire Jacques: Before joining the adult industry, I was working as Sales Manager for a private health club – a rather different business sector, though also dealing with some sort of physical wellbeing. I worked at Virgin Active for 8 years and managed a number of health clubs throughout my time there.
When and why did you get into the industry, and which positions did you hold before Fun Factory?
After 8 years, I was ready for a change and new challenges. A friend of mine whom I grew up with was working as the managing director for 1on1wholesale.co.uk. We had a chat and arranged an interview and I then joined the company in 2008 as the Wholesale Sales Manager.
My time there was great. I worked with an amazing team and made some fantastic relationships with customers whom I’m now happy to call friends. And I learnt so much about the industry over the 6 years I worked there. In Jan 2015 I then joined Rouge Garments, as their International Sales Manager. Another fascinating task, and to see the brand growing within the UK and also in the US and Canadian markets was exciting. So it’s fair to say I worked with some great companies.
Now you are part of the Fun Factory team. Why did you decide to join this company?
Fun Factory has always caught my eye. It is a leading brand within our sector, and being part of the team now, experiencing everything at first hand, I understand that even better. They manufacture incredibly innovative products – and in an amazingly thoughtful and passionate way. I love what they stand for and their brand presence. And I’m so impressed by how much care and quality they put into each product – and how much craftsmanship is still involved. Being able to witness that first hand in our factory in Bremen was a stunning experience.
“Fun Factory has always caught my eye.”
Fun Factory is one of the leading brands in the sex toy market, combining a long tradition and an innovative spirit. Is that a fitting description of the company?
Yes, definitely! In the short time that I have joined the team so far, I have been a part of this special spirit, for example in our team meetings, being both creative and interesting as well as simply always lots of FUN. It’s like the perfect combination of more than 20 years of experience with the passion, drive and spirit of a start-up company.
Are there other considerations that fuelled your decision to work for Fun Factory?
I felt that Fun Factory needed to have a brand ambassador within the UK and Irish market, to help grow and develop its positioning and opportunities – so when the chance came up I jumped at it. It benefits retailers to have a person they know and trust and can easily get in contact with for support and guidance, sort of the “face of FUN FACTORY” for the UK and Ireland. And I’m very thrilled to be that face.
How would you describe your tasks and duties?
I’m managing all aspects of the UK and Irish market, from supporting our current clients, helping build the brand presence and positioning within the market up to developing and growing new business relations with future retail partners. It’s a colourful mix of tasks – just as colourful as our toy portfolio.
Will your knowledge of the market, the market players, and the products help you in this new position?
Yes, I truly think so. There are some amazing relationships which have built over almost 10 years, so to grow the brand with these clients is a great opportunity. And also there are accounts that Fun Factory would really work for, who I am yet to form a relationship with, which is exciting as well. I’m always curious and fascinated, as I like to understand how every account I work with runs, so I can fully support them with all we can offer. And the wonderful thing about our industry is that you learn something new every day.
What ideas, visions, plans, etc. do you want to implement at Fun Factory?
I love working with retailers both online and bricks and mortar, to build brand presence, so I will be concentrating on supporting our retail partners. That includes not only classic POS material, but also supporting them in regards to online opportunities such as social media and bloggers, for example. And, as we think that good business not only means good products, but also good sales people, I’ll assist our clients in product trainings, to provide the sales staff with interesting product details as well as sales pitch ideas.
How much potential does the British market hold for Fun Factory in your opinion?
I believe there is a lot of potential for Fun Factory in the UK and Ireland! We have such a wide range of products that simply suits everyone, from beginners to experienced sex toy customers. It’s all about finding out what will work for the retailers – we have 150 SKUs and we are continually growing our product range offerings. We work hard on being innovative with both our products and our POS materials. And at the same time, we put a lot of effort in creating individual marketing solutions for our partners, matching their specific requirements and conditions and being so colourful, versatile and high-quality, Fun Factory is a brand that works well for all retailers
“Fun Factory is a brand that works well for all retailers.”
And how much potential do you see for Fun Factory in the increasingly competitive adult market in general?
We are very proactive with market research, in order to find out what the end consumer is looking for from a product. We listen to our customers and fans on social media, and communicate with them, so we are aware of their questions and wishes. And of course we are always in very close contact with our retail partners, as they know their businesses best.
And as mentioned before, we have a vast product offering, enabling something for everyone: We have battery-operated products for the consumer who is looking for a fantastic quality product with a smaller budget, and we have our mid to high-end product range for the consumer who has a little more money to spend. We have a broad colour palette and shapes from playful to impressive. And we have the highest quality standards, made in Germany, which is getting more and more important to customers. So, yes, I think Fun Factory definitely has lots of potential. And I’ll do my very best to bring even more FUN into the UK and Ireland!