“At the end of the day, people hold manufacturers and retailers responsible for their pleasure.”
Conducting product training, visiting trade shows, always being up to date, and travelling a whole lot – being a brand ambassador is a multi-faceted job, but also a demanding one. Tracy Felder wouldn’t be deterred by these challenges however. On the contrary: They only motivated her to take up the position of brand ambassador at COTR Inc., the company behind the b-vibe, LeWand, and Cowgirl brands. In our EAN interview, Tracy talks about her new duties and about the things she wants to achieve in this new position.
Tracy, you recently started working for COTR Inc. as a Brand Ambassador. What exactly will be your job in this new role?
Tracy Felder: In this new role, I’ll be visiting stores across the country to product train retailers on the intricacies of COTR’s newest innovations, as well as attending national trade shows, expos, and conferences to help exhibit our products and educate the industry on their unique features.
You have been working in the adult retail industry for over a decade. Could you tell us a bit about your background?
I started off my career managing a brick and mortar lingerie boutique in Philadelphia for about 7 years and absolutely loved it. In that position, I learned the ins and outs of the biz and networked within the industry —it was really an invaluable learning and growing experience. After that, I went on to run a small adult toy store until I met Alicia Sinclair earlier this year, and fell in love with her and COTR, Inc’s products and mission.
Why did you choose to take the new position at COTR?
I love change! I love to constantly be on the go, so that’s certainly a huge part of why this position is a great fit. In fact, I couldn’t ask for more change. Not only will I be constantly traveling and meeting new people, but a company like COTR, Inc. is always evolving and growing, so there will never be a dull moment. On top of that, I think Alicia is incredible and feel extremely proud to get to work with her. I met her the first time while assisting with the Cowgirl Launch Party in L.A. in January, and she completely inspired me. It’s an amazing experience to be a part of a woman owned and operated company that is dedicated to creating products that are inclusive in every way.
“It’s an amazing experience to be a part of a woman owned and operated company that is dedicated to creating products that are inclusive in every way.”
Looking ahead, what do you want to achieve in your first year as Brand Ambassador?
Great question. Aside from being happy and fulfilled (which I don’t doubt I will be!), I’d love to make sure we’ve really hit all our goals for the past year and have our eyes set on even loftier ones for the next. On a granular level, I want to train all the stores that carry our products in the states and continue to make new friends and connections within the industry.
With three brands under the COTR umbrella – b-Vibe, Cowgirl and Le Wand – will you be specialising in one brand? Which of the three has the most potential?
I will be involved with all three brands, and I definitely think they all have potential in their own way. COTR looks for products that haven’t seen a recent upgrade in their category. That’s what makes us such a niche and innovative company. I feel like we’re past the old “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” nostalgia, and that each of these brands really closely examines and elevates categories that have been long outdated. We also always want to embrace luxury that also caters to the common dollar.
One of your tasks in this new role will be product training. What is the most important aspect of product training in your opinion?
When it comes to product training, I highly prioritize engaging with whomever I’m training personally. Part of this comes down to personality (it doesn’t hurt that I love people!), and part of this is always being really open and understanding of where everyone is coming from. If we can form a personal connection, and I can be sympathetic to their background, then things are probably going to go pretty well.
You plan to become a certified sex expert while working for COTR. Why did you set this goal for yourself?
Education is very important in this industry. At the end of the day, people hold manufacturers and retailers responsible for their pleasure. I want to always be in the know — not only for myself, but for my community and anyone with whom I cross paths. I want to make sure that any sexual experience is safe, comfortable, consenting and always desirable. That means being constantly aware of changing trends, cultural movements, and scientific advancements — it’s a never-ending job!
You are an advocate of sex positivity. Where does society stand in this regard? How well-accepted are sex toys today in general and how openly can people communicate their desires?
I see society as a fiery ball of continuous energy — sort of like, well, the sun. There is always something too hot or too taboo to talk about, and yet, we still stare at it in awe without sunglasses.
There’s always a fine line between something being taboo and interesting because it’s taboo, and something being normalized and still maintaining the passion and intrigue that’s required to encourage education and a deeper understanding.
I think it’s really important that we stop sensationalizing sex and various subject surrounding it, and really dig into the nuance that should come with any discussion surrounding sexuality. This is where, I think, we are now with sex in our society — really honing in on the grey areas and acknowledging that labelling things as black and white is only ever harmful.
Obviously, of course, there are some people who still feel that sex toys and sex positivity overall are problematic, and there’s a lot of education that’s still needed around these points. That said, I’ve realized that as long as you remain confident, kind, and open — people are almost always looking for the permission to discuss sexuality, and I’m in a really prime place to call people into this discussion in a positive, progressive way.
“I think it’s really important that we stop sensationalizing sex and various subject surrounding it, and really dig into the nuance that should come with any discussion surrounding sexuality.”
How important is it for you to work for a brand that shares your values?
This is really important to me. I truly believe that your productivity increases tenfold when you’re passionate about your job and your colleagues, and I want to be the most productive I can be in any role I take. When I met Alicia, I’d not only had experience selling her brands in my shop, but I was also inspired by her positivity and passion for the role. I want to be in an environment that encourages these traits. Not only are her values reflected in her products, they’re reflected in every piece of how the company runs — and this is a really inimitable, and rewarding, environment in which to be.
When you look around in the adult market, what is the biggest trend shaping this industry nowadays?
I’d have to say that the biggest trend right now is the webcam industry. I went to my first XBIZ awards in Hollywood and was amazed by the presence of the cam performers and how they’re truly shifting the industry. I love the diversity and support the notion that performers are making money by being themselves. In fact, this trend was something we took into consideration with our newest product — The Cowgirl. It is compatible with the FeelMe app, which performers anywhere in the world can easily use for tipping – empowering them to take ownership over their careers and finances. We certainly want to continue to keep our ear to the ground for emerging trends and find ways to effectively incorporate them into our products in a high quality, long-lasting manner.