Speakers
Ed Braunstein
Deluxe Distributors
With three decades of experience and nearly 40 outlets, this savvy adult retailer has been in the industry since its inception. When Ed Braunstein first joined Deluxe Books in 1978, the chain was a family-run operation of four stores. With his hard work business ethic Deluxe has grown exponentially with a very strong reputation in both product and customer service.
Steve Brown
Romantix
Steve Brown took over the Romantix chain of adult stores in September 2007. Romantix operates 56 stores and employs a staff of approximately 500.
Bob Christian
Adam & Eve Stores
Bob Christian has been with Adam & Eve/PHE for more than 15 years. He currently serves as GM for Adam & Eve Pictures (which produced the 2010 XBIZ Awards Best Feature Movie, "The 8th Day") and is a member of Adam & Eve’s senior management/marketing team. He helped create the Adam & Eve Retail Stores company, currently with 41 franchised stores, and also works with Temptations Parties, Adam & Eve’s home party company.
Susan Colvin
California Exotic Novelties
After serving as the general manager for CPLC and Video Team, in 1993, Susan Colvin put together a business plan and a year later opened the doors to California Exotic Novelties, where she implemented many game-changing product design concepts including making sex toys more female-friendly with pink and purple colors and sexually neutral packaging, as well as waterproof components.In addition to being the President and CEO of California Exotic Novelties, Susan launched JOPEN, LLC in 2010, which has introducethe signature Vanity by JOPEN Collection, and recently the Intensity by JOPEN. Susan’s other accomplishments and accolades include being the recipient of XBIZ’s Pioneer Award, and receiving EAN’s Woman of the Year Award, both in 2011. Additionally California Exotic Novelties’ recent awards in 2011 include: EAN’s Erotixxx Award for Excellence in Sexual Health Education, StorErotica’s Manufacturer of the Year Award, and XBIZ’s Toy Manufacturer of the Year Award.
Jeff Dillon
Private Media Group
Jeff Dillon is Private Media Group’s director of online sales and the president and founder of Dillonaire Ent. He has over 11 years of experience working in the adult entertainment industry and nine years working for GameLink.com/Private Media Group. He is passionate about the interaction of the adult business and technology. Dillon is credited for his proven ability to analyze products, services, markets, and growth opportunities, and then introduce strategic and tactical solutions that improves competitive performances while increasing revenues, market share, and product value. He also possesses expertise in ecommerce solutions, strategic marketing, business development, content licensing, contract negotiation, and promotional programs.
Bonnie Feingold
Honey’s Place
Bonnie Feingold is CEO/owner of wholesale distributor Honey's Place. She is the daughter of company founder Helene "Honey" Kusens, and started running the company in 2003. Feingold says she’s been fortunate enough to draw a group of experienced sales managers that have the same customer service mindset that her mother had, thus enabling the company’s focus on putting the customer first.
Keith Flynn
Castle Megastore
Keith Flynn is the social media manager for Castle Megastore Group, Inc — a multi-state retail operation headquartered in Tempe, Ariz. With over nine years of employment branding and recruiting experience, Flynn strives to remain at the forefront of emerging marketing technologies. Joining the Castle team in 2009, Flynn now is also responsible for all multimedia outlets within Castle Megastore. Providing creative and technical support to the corporate team as well as the 17 retail locations, he ensures that all communications reach every aspect of the company with ease and velocity. He also plays a critical role in the branding efforts using his skills in social media, communication, SEO and ad campaigns.
Theresa Flynt
Hustler Hollywood
Theresa Flynt may share the moniker that made her father infamous, but she’s created a name for herself in her own right. She graduated with a B.A. in business administration and marketing, and got a job at Larry Flynt Publications as an editor for BBW, which she was successful in repackaging and selling. She is now the vice president of operations, overseeing the work and accomplishments of many divisions. Acting as somewhat of a troubleshooter, Theresa jumps in wherever sheąs needed, continuing to help develop the Hustler name as a global brand.
Mark Franks
Castle Megastore
Mark Franks is the president and CEO of Castle Megastore Group Inc., a multi-state retail operation headquartered in Tempe, Ariz. With more than 23 years of experience in the adult industry, Franks has been a market leader in video production and distribution in the U.S. and abroad.Franks took over leadership of Castle Megastore Group Inc. in 2003 and has been the driving force behind the revitalization of the Castle brand, turning it into a powerhouse in erotic retail.
Larry Garland
Eldorado Trading Co.
As an entrepreneur and 35-year business veteran, CEO and founder Larry Garland is an invaluable asset to Eldorado Trading Company. Over the years Eldorado has become one of the top international distributors in the adult novelty business offering more than 15,000 best selling SKUs throughout the world. Garland continues to follow the simple, guiding principle he has used to transform a homespun basement business into an international pleasure products dynamo: “Making sure customers get what they want in salable condition, on time, and at a fair price.” In addition to heading up Eldorado since 1974, Garland is a board member of the Free Speech Coalition, as well as an active and vocal advocate for his local community.
Phyllis Heppenstall
Peekay
Owner, founder, entrepreneur and renowned public speaker, Phyllis Heppenstall founded Peekay as a home party planner with a $600 investment in 1980. With little retail experience, this visionary created a profitable, multi-million dollar company which today includes four separate operating divisions.
Brian Herbstman
IVD/ECN
Industry veteran Brian Herbstman has been with East Coast News for more than 15 years. In addition to being a driving force within the distributor’s sales department, he is responsible for many of ECN’s business developments ¬ including the establishment of their California and Florida locations. Herbstman’s ability to build and nurture lasting relationships has proven to be an asset for ECN, and is what has made him a fixture in the industry.
Rondee Kamins
Adultmart/GVA-TWN
Rondee Kamins is the CEO of GVA-TWN, a major adult novelty and DVD distributor, and the Adultmart adult retail chain. GVA-TWN was established in the late 1950s and wholesales and distributes all other North America to thousands of retailers and other wholesale distributors. Adultmart and its family of stores carry a large inventory of adult and non-adult merchandise. The chain strives to offer a clean, comfortable adult shopping experience.
Joel Kaminsky
Good Vibrations
Joel Kaminsky’s family was in the adult business and he had summer jobs in the '60s and early '70s in the company's Cleveland warehouses before going to San Francisco and working as the COO in a large company that included movie production, toy manufacturing, DVD distribution, magazine distribution and more than 40 retail stores from 1984-2002. He bought Bay-area-based adult retailer Good Vibrations in 2008 and is now working at that full time, with operations that include private label manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing and e-tailing.
Frank Kay
IVD/ECN
For adult industry professionals, Frank Kay is a name that needs no elaborate introduction. As the founder and operator of the industry’s largest distribution companies, International Video Distributors (IVD) and East Coast News (ECN), Frank is one of the most influential players in the adult market. For more than 27 years, Frank’s high energy and hands-on approach have proven to be the fuel on which his businesses run, and have earned him the respect of his peers.
Dave Levine
SexToy.com
In 1994, Dave Levine started an Internet mall, Convergence Inc., selling books, T-shirts, watches and more. His best store — measured in traffic, sales and profits — was sex toys. In 1995 Levine bought the SexToy.com domain for $70. In 1996, CNV Inc. (the renamed Convergence, Inc.) created the first affiliate program for adult products at MyFreeWebsite.com. Shortly after that, he opened up SexToyClub.com, which was one of the first sites to offer wholesale and drop shipping for adult products on the Internet, further extending the company's leadership as an online B2B supplier of adult products.
Glenn E. Mersereau
PHE, Inc.
Glenn recently joined PHE, Inc. as Internet Marketing Director where he oversees Internet marketing and ecommerce for AdamEve.com and AdamEveVOD.com. Prior to PHE, Glenn was head of ecommerce for Performance, Inc, the nation’s largest specialty retailer of bikes and cycling products. Glenn has a background in marketing, Internet development, and investment banking. He served in vice president-level capacities with Pictureframes.com, Global Value Commerce/Globalgolf.com, and DecisionPoint International, where he led the software and communications M&A practice. Prior in his career he was responsible for the development and launch of GeoCities’ GeoBuilder, the first major browser-based website authoring tool.
Bob Pyne Jr.
Williams Trading Co.
Bob Pyne Jr. has been with Williams Trading, the family business, since 1995 and is now vice president. He previously worked in the business office of a major newspaper ("I worked in credit, contracts, customer service, order entry — I held a bunch of different positions on the financial side,") and owned a number of private businesses including a limousine service. He joined the company to help expand Williams Trading, which his father started in 1974.
Ken Sahn
Holiday Products
Ken Sahn is the vice president of Holiday Products and sits on the Executive Team of W.T.F.N., its parent company. In 2009, Sahn accepted a position with Holiday Products as its vice president. Challenged with the task of re-birth, re-branding, and re-energizing Holiday… Sahn has been extremely successful. In two years Holiday has established itself as a premier national adult toy distributor. While he is extremely happy with this turnaround, he is most proud of the people he has assembled that created what he calls "Team Holiday."
Shelly Sandau
The Lion’s Den
Shelly Sandau became an integral part of the Columbus, Ohio-based Lion’s Den chain “kind of by accident,” he says. “We were living in Europe and we also have a house in New York, and I started with Lion’s Den six years ago just as a part-time job. I was a clerk at Store 26 in Ripley, N.Y. I loved the job and so my wife went back to Europe and I stayed back to work in the store,” Sandau explains. “I was there two years and then I got a call that they wanted me to come down to Columbus. They wanted me to run the flagship store, Store 1. So I came down and ran it for 10 months and was very successful doing that. They called me ‘Mr. Fix-It.’ “When someone needed something fixed at a store, then I’d go to that store. I did that for five months, and then became area sales manager for 13 stores. And then, probably right about two years ago, [CEO Michael Moran] asked me to also take over the warehouse and the purchasing team.” Currently, Sandau runs the DVD warehouse, handles sales and marketing and also oversees the purchasing team of the heavyweight retail chain.
Christopher C. Scharff
Dreamgirl International
Dreamgirl International CEO Christopher C. Scharff’s experience spans a variety of settings in diverse consumer products and service-driven industries. The executive purchased Lovin’ Enterprises, an international manufacturer of Dreamgirl brand lingerie in 2003 and since has dedicated his time to upgrading the group’s merchandising, product development, quality and domestic and international sales efforts.
Brian Shubin
Fleshlight
Brian Shubin has been the chief operating officer of Fleshlight for 10 years. Fleshlight was started in 1995; patents were received in 1998. The company made its large online retail venture in 2001. By taking the product online, the company became one of the first adult manufacturers who took their product direct to consumers. In 2006, Fleshlight started molding adult stars and launched the Fleshlight Girl Division, which has grown into the powerhouse brand with exclusive molds of the world’s most famous and respected adult film stars. As the number one selling male sex Toy Company, Fleshlight offers patented Real Feel Superskin TM texture toys. The company’s line of adult toys includes the Fleshlight Original, Ice, Stamina Training, Sex-in-a-Can, Fleshlight Vibro, FleshJack, and the World Famous Fleshlight Girls Toys. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and all Fleshlight products are 100% American made. Over 4 million Fleshlights have been sold around the world.
Jax Smith
Sugar DVD
Jax Smith is CEO of SugarDVD.com and SugarCash.com. Since the company’s launch in 2001, Smith has led SugarDVD to become a leading online adult retailer. SugarDVD.com offers unlimited TV streaming through Roku, Google TV, and PS3, adult DVD rentals, new DVDs, sex toys and other video-on-demand services including pay-per-minute and download-to-own. The company is based in Los Angeles with multiple shipping centers across the country. Its affiliate program SugarCash, includes the industry leading automated store builder and video on demand API.
Andrew Sullivan
Gamelink
Andrew Sullivan founded eLine Inc. in 1993 with an eye towards facilitating connections between real people in digital communities that could, in turn, serve as a springboard to broaden the sense of rapport and identity in and among the respective people and their communities. Much of his early work foreshadowed what are now known as blogs and social networks. He is currently the vice president of online services for Private Media Group, CEO of Gamelink and the creator of the “Open” series, a global best-selling adult film series about modern love.
Ari Suss
SexToy Distributing
After majoring in accounting at Bryant College in Rhode Island and receiving an MBA in Marketing from Loyola College in Maryland, Ari worked at Coca-Cola, Black & Decker, St. Paul’s Insurance and Mercantile Bank before co-founding SexToyDistributing. Suss currently oversees operations and marketing for Sex Toy Distributing.com. He contributed to the recent upgrade of SexToyDistributing.com’s back-end, with new features including an advanced search algorithm that makes finding products on the website much easier, a fast reorder platform and improved speed of the website.
Sarah Tomchesson
The Pleasure Chest
Sarah Tomchesson became a trained sex educator soon after she discovered sex-positivity and feminism while attending Reed College in Portland, Ore. Since, her career has involved a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors, which have led her to her current role as Director of Business Development and Strategy for The Pleasure Chest. The Pleasure Chest is a nationwide, sex-positive retailer celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Ryan Wuest
Shopsters.com Inc.
Ryan heads the marketing strategy for purePASSIONATE, Shopster.com and is co-founder of BIG-Bad-Elk plus is an avid angel investor in online startups. As a 15-year veteran in the field of brand marketing, he has extensive background in all facets of traditional marketing and merchandising — including the areas of branding, product sourcing and development. He has helped both startups and established brands in the B2C and B2B marketplaces in development and implementation of growth initiatives. In the last 11 years, he has evolved his skills and focused on the world of ecommerce. His expertise lies in online marketing, video marketing, SEO, PPC advertising, social media, SEM, blog marketing, email and affiliate program management.
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