It was the last big news story of the previous year: In mid-December, Evolved Novelties announced that Steve Sav had joined the company. Which was more than reason enough for EAN to ask Steve for an interview about his new job, the new challenges it entails, and his career in the erotic industry, which began in the late 1980s.
Steve, most of our readers know you are a true industry OG. But for those who don’t know your backstory, can you give our readers a brief timeline of your career arc?
Steve Sav: Mentioning all of these dates makes me feel old, but here we go: I started out in the late 1980’s as an assistant buyer for Claire’s Boutiques in their licensed brands as well as novelty/jokes/gags and helped open their 1,000th store. That’s where I met Nick Orlandino who was working for Forum Novelties in New York.
When I went to Spencer Gifts in the mid-1990’s, I was the buyer for their core assortments: Novelty/Gag, T-shirts and a very small adult novelty section that consisted of plastic twist on/off vibrators. Working with Nick, we expanded the assortment to include Pink, Purple and Glow In The Dark. The assortment really started out as a ‘joke’ but after a few years, Spencer’s became a mall destination for quality adult toys.
At that time, Over-The-Hill party items were very popular. We developed a great Bachelorette assortment by adding a plastic penis to everything: crowns, wands, lanyards, etc. Before then, you couldn’t find ‘sexy’ Bachelorette items in stores.
The pleasure space has changed a lot since you first got your foot in the door. What recent events or market trends drew your attention and thoughts toward starting a new chapter of your career with Evolved Novelties?
First of all, consumers expect quality and want affordable technology. Evolved’s 5-Year Warranty certainly establishes the consumer’s confidence in our brands. Second, in-store trainings of staff and consumers is relatively new. Third, Evolved has a very liberal tester programme – testers will always help sell product.
Greg Alves has put together incredible team members who are constantly on the road visiting stores and making sure their energy and knowledge are transferred to the store personnel. People working in a store can confidently close a sale on any Evolved toy and make that customer happy. Customer service teams in e-commerce can feel confident that they can answer any question from a consumer based on the training they’ve received.
How does Evolved fit your current philosophies on doing business in this industry? Where do you and the company meet when it comes to superior product quality and customer relations?
Evolved met all of the criteria in a company that offers great products, timing of new releases, quality assurance, and incredible fill rates. Our business thrives on new releases and Evolved has several new releases every month. Evolved tests all of their items when received to assure the quality is above standard and the consumer will be happy. The European warehouse, run by Raymond Houtenbos, is a definite plus.
We are the only American company operating our own warehouse in Europe. Being able to service our European, UK and Russian partners faster sets us apart from our competition. Raymond has done a great job establishing the Evolved brands throughout Europe and we’re looking forward to an impressive 2020 and beyond.
“Evolved met all of the criteria in a company that offers great products, timing of new releases, quality assurance, and incredible fill rates.”
Tell us a bit about your new position. What are your responsibilities, and what parts of the world will you be serving?
My new position won’t be much different. I’ll be working with customers in North America, the UK, Europe, and Russia helping to enhance their experience with Evolved Novelties.
Building on your answer from question number four – beyond the basics of your job description, what unique goals, creative strategies, and career experience are you excited to add to the team?
Every retailer who knows me trusts that I have their best interest in mind. My goal is to keep them supplied with quality products and provide the best customer service. From my buying and sales experience, retailers can’t make money from an empty peg or empty shelf in a warehouse. Take care of them and you’ll have a customer for life.
Where can the industry find you in the near future, as you’ll undoubtedly be hitting the ground running into 2020?
If it’s not on a plane, train or rental car, it’ll be at a trade show or store nearby.