From 2015 until a few months ago, Sjoerd Pereira was FUN FACTORY’s Sales Manager for the Benelux countries, but now, he is taking over as the company’s Head of Sales for the entirety of the European market and the Asian market as well. EAN interviewed him about his new field of activities and the challenges that lie within.
Congratulations on becoming FUN FACTORY’s Head of Sales for Europe! Are you looking forward to your new tasks and responsibilities? Sjoerd Pereira: Thank you very much! And yes, of course I am very excited. It is a great feeling to be promoted within the company. It is a sign of recognition and respect for my work with the brand and the team. I am thrilled to face the new challenges and opportunities that are now lying ahead of me.
What exactly does the job of a Head of Sales for the European market entail?
The most important aspect of my job is supporting the sales team in any way possible. This includes helping our retailers develop a first-grade, class A experience at the point of sale. It also includes many practical fields of activity such as overseeing product launches, time tables, and the marketing measures that go along with all that.
Which ideas, plans, etc. of your own do you want to implement in this new position?
I want to work with the team to make the brand even stronger on an international level. We have successfully established our brand in many European countries, but we are confident that we can improve our position in these markets even further. An important step to making the brand more international is the introduction our franchise system, which has been in place at our flagship stores in Berlin and Munich since the beginning of the month. This new concept is all about retail success, and we want to take it beyond the borders of Germany and use it to boost international business.
Will your experience as a Sales Manager be helpful when you tackle these new challenges?
Of course. The experience I have gained is the foundation on which I base everything I do in this new position. Naturally, I was only focusing of the Benelux countries before, and now I am dealing with the whole European region and Asia as well. So, more than anything, it is the scale of my responsibilities that has changed.
You have been with FUN FACTORY since April of 2015. What was your career trajectory before joining the company, and how and why did you decide to get into the business of selling vibrators?
Before I joined FUN FACTORY, I worked in the consumer electronics market. My last job was with headphone producer Beats Electronics. When it became clear that Apply would take over Beats Electronics, I started looking for a new job and new challenges. I have always worked for quality brands, and I wanted to continue on that path, so when I found out that FUN FACTORY were looking for someone, that obviously appealed to me.
From the very first moment, I loved the sex-positive attitude of the company and the commitment to quality. Of course, there are differences between the sex toy industry and the consumer electronics industry. In the latter, you have several major players from Asia that dominate the market: SONY, Panasonic, Samsung, etc. In the adult industry, however, most of the stalwarts of quality can be found outside of Asia, and there are also many other regions where quality products do not yet dominate the market. Long story short, it is a developing, growing market, and there is still a lot of room for growth and for creative possibilities.
What made you confident that FUN FACTORY was the right choice for your career?
As mentioned earlier, I wanted to continue working with high-quality brands. FUN FACTORY is not just a sex toy producer; they are much more than that – a brand with an image and a mission. That was what really got me interested.
This team wants only to create products of the highest quality – in terms of functionality and in terms of materials. That is the only way to offer the best possible result to our customers, a result that is top notch all around.
You probably know the European market for sex toys inside and out by now. If you had to boil down the current situation in a few sentences, what would you say?
Right now, there is a lot going on in the European market: There is a strong trend toward online in the retail segment; many offline stores are struggling, while the online business continues to grow and grow. Bigger retailers are doubling down on their private brands.
In a free market economy, the industry determines the prices, but right now, we see a flood of low-price products being dumped onto the market. I am of the opinion that it is also the industry’s job to make the consumers understand that quality has a price. It is important to create some awareness among the consumers, so they will look for products that have been produced in a controlled, responsible, and sustainable fashion, and that are made from materials which do not harm your body.
How much more potential do you see for FUN FACTORY in Europe?
FUN FACTORY is a well-known brand, not just in Europe, but globally. In Europe, we have been one of the key market players of the past 20 years, and we are one of the biggest sex toy producers on the continent. We have already achieved a great deal in this marketplace, and we are also very confident about the future.
The team maintains close contact with our retailers, which is great because we want the consumers to experience some of that good, old ‘FUN FACTORY spirit’ when they purchase a toy, no matter where they are in Europe. Also, hardly a day goes by when we are not in touch with potential new partners and customers. So, there is a constant reminder that there is still lots of demand to be met out there. We are nowhere near the end of the flag pole.
Is there anything you‘d like to tell our readers about Sjoerd Pereira, the private person?
Yes, sure. I am living in Holland, and I used to do a lot of home office work. As a result of my new position, I am now spending much more time at FUN FACTORY headquarters in Bremen. I love spending time with my family, and when a vacation rolls around, I enjoy driving all over Europe on my motorbike.