PROFILE

Kai Clarke

CEO, American Retail Consultants

Kai Clarke is a globally-based technical president, successful at troubled business turnarounds, while securing new funding alternatives, building top-producing global sales and marketing teams and creating new products and solutions for diverse channels. Kai is a results -oriented, revenue and profit driven, global president with an MBA and a strong financial, logistics, consumer products and managerial background. He is a proven road warrior skilled in establishing and managing new global divisions with $200 million profit and loss responsibility, including cradle to grave manufacturing, product planning, forecasting, logistics, tracking and analysis modeling. Kai’s background as an MBA with a strong technical aptitude including expertise in consumer product design (CPG), manufacturing, logistics, OEM/ODM and retail sales, and marketing and channel development. Kai’s focus is as a practiced leader in strategic direction, data mining, leadership and new business planning.

Kai’s management strengths include:

  • Consultative and Solutions-Oriented Leadership
  • Successful Start-Up and New Business Creation Expert
  • New Product creation, Global OEM/ODM manufacturing, branding and positioning
  • Proven leader of global teams to achieve Rapid Revenue and Profit Growth
  • Brand Equity Development and New Market Penetration
  • $200 MM+ P&L Management
  • Contract, Sub-contract and Strategic Alliance Negotiations
  • Global Logistics and Account Management
  • Multi-Channel targeting and product differentiation

Kai is an entrepreneurial leader, who rapidly penetrates new markets, develops new products, and produces impressive revenue results while maximizing market share and profitability with Retailers, OEMs, ODMs and Asia-based sub-contract manufacturers. Currently, Kai’s responsibilities include the P&L development and execution of commercial strategy and tactics as part of the $200 million marketing, sales, logistics, and international corporate focus of the company. Focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their commercial systems, processes, and logistics, some of Kai’s success include;

    • Elevated key BU revenues to 28% year-over-year growth using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target markets.
    • Created new Internet, B2B and B2C initiatives, defining our new corporate focus and set priorities, establishing objectives, plan and allocate resources, lead execution, and results management resulting in new partner growth of 14% for 2014.
    • Created mid-range business plans and yearly budgets, while establishing corrective expense action plans reducing overall costs by 18%.
    • Identified 11 new commercially viable market activities to diversify our product portfolio and partnering opportunities, including sourcing product from new partners in China, and reducing COGS by 6%
    • Continually developed superior P&L results by leading global teams to optimize business operations, product performance and market development focusing on strategic marketing and logistics KPI activities.
    • Improved the skills and focus of the team through collaborative problem solving, KPI metrics and goal achievement

Prior to this, Kai Clarke was the President of Miraclebeam Products – driving development of their high-technology, household goods, pet products, gifts and accessories, around Laser, EL and LED products and redefining their global corporate focus. Since joining Miraclebeam Products, for over 7 years, Kai introduced over 437 new SKUs in 15 new channels while developing Miraclebeam’s retail and OEM positions.

Before this, Kai was the President of Compact Power Systems where he grew the Cellboost brand and increased its retail presence from 10,000 storefronts to over 80,000 storefronts in the US while developing 16 new brands as part of an international expansion focus. Kai also helped secure over $10 million dollars in corporate funding for the organization.

Prior to this role, Kai was responsible for Americas Business Development at InFocus, and redefined their retail and home theater projection business in the Americas. He developed multiple new SKUs, and created over $22 million in new product revenue in these new retail channels.

In October 2000, he created the Desktop Monitors Group at Planar adding over $15 million dollars in revenues, and creating 17 new products. He followed this up with their Plasma Division 2 years later. Prior to this he was the Director of Global OEM Sales and Marketing at Energizer.

He is an acknowledged authority on consumer electronics, batteries, fuel cells, PDAs, handhelds, TFT-AMLCDs, computer hardware, LCD-TVs and Plasma display products. His previous 3 positions included leading successful international multi-million dollar new division start-ups, as well as existing division turn-arounds in each of these fields. Kai has held senior management positions at Planar Systems, Energizer, Gillette/Duracell, and SC Johnson and Son and is an active member of the senior teaching faculty at the University of Phoenix MBA program with over 15 years of teaching in the graduate school.  Kai sits on the board of many non-profit organizations, including AmpSurf which is dedicated to helping returning vets and others who have given part of themselves in our efforts to protect America.

Globally-based, technical president and COO, successful at leading startups, small companies and troubled business turnarounds, while securing new funding alternatives, building top-producing global sales and marketing teams and creating new products and solutions for diverse channels.
Results-oriented focus on revenue, market penetration and profits. Proven road warrior skilled in establishing and managing new corporate divisions with profit and loss responsibility, including cradle to grave manufacturing, product planning, forecasting, logistics, tracking and analysis modeling. Strong technical aptitude including expertise in FDA product packaging, medical-grade manufacturing, logistics, Import / Export product sourcing, OEM/ODM, retail sales & marketing and channel development. Practiced leader in strategic direction, data mining, international product sourcing, leadership and new business planning. Exceptional clarity in situations where resources must be altered in a self-sustaining growth structure.
Management Strengths include:
• Consultative and solutions-oriented leadership across entire organizations in over 100 markets
• Leading successful small company, start-up and business turn-arounds from $5 million to $200 million
• Growing top line revenues through rapid new product creation, medical-grade manufacturing, marketing, branding and positioning by building teams with balanced communication and execution including full web and mobile technology marketing as part of the end-to-end go to market strategy
• Proven success developing teams to achieve rapid revenue and profit growth exceeding 50%
• Brand equity development and new market penetration managing 260+ people
• $200 MM+ P&L management with a bottom line focus and the ability to operate at a strategic level
• Global logistics and account management to grow business throughout Asia (40%) and Europe (50%)
• Strong appreciation for cultural nuances while building domestic and international teams. Extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia over the last 20 years, including living part-time in China over the last 7 years as well as many years growing up as a military brat in Europe.

EXPERIENCE:
AMERICAN RETAIL CONSULTANTS-LOS ANGELES-2013-PRESENT - PRESIDENT AND CEO
President and CEO for American Retail Consultants, Inc., an American based company that supports international companies to create USA focused sales and marketing, management, development, and consulting company of hard goods, CPG, electronics and consumer services and products. Responsible for the P&L development and execution of commercial strategy and tactics as part of the multi-million dollar American marketing, sales, logistics, and operations of several international initiatives. Focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our customer’s commercial systems, operations, processes, and logistics from cradle to grave, including manufacturing, marketing, packaging and domestic sales.
• Elevated KPI revenues to 44% year-over-year growth using strategic direction and operational maximization, with an emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target markets.
• Created new Internet, B2B and B2C marketing initiatives, defining our new corporate focus and set priorities, establishing objectives, plan and allocate resources, lead execution, and results management resulting in new partner growth of 84% for 2013
• Created mid-range business plans and yearly budgets, while establishing corrective expense action plans reducing overall costs by 32%.
• Identified 61 new commercially viable market activities, sourcing new products to diversify our product portfolio and partnering opportunities from new partners in China, and reducing COGS by 6%.
• Elevated key BU revenues to 28% year-over-year growth (product and Import / Export sourcing) using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses.

MIRACLEBEAM PRODUCTS, INC. - LOS ANGELES-2006-2013 - PRESIDENT AND COO
As president of Miraclebeam, a laser-based manufacturer, my responsibility included the financial, operational, technical and service performance of the company’s global teams. This included the execution of our corporate growth plans, including dynamic global ERP and CRM implementations, remote team management, and international channel strategies to support revenue growth goals across current and emerging products.
Living part of the time over the last 7 years from my second home in China and the remainder of the time from my base in Los Angeles, my global focus was split between managing our China based manufacturing, our USA sales and our logistical and FDA-focused marketing operations. Key focus includes the development and execution of medical grade fabrication, sales and marketing (KPI), for our (FDA approved) laser strategy.
Controlled costs while driving profitability (EBITDA) by increasing gross margins through systems that measured and managed service line profitability, labor spend/productivity, and pricing while being responsive to the market and focusing on top-line margin delivery.
• Created and implemented a national channel distribution and logistics strategy, improved product quality in our Chinese Partner’s Factories and restored our client Import / Export service levels to world-class FDA standards exceeding 20% revenue growth.
• Redefined our POS, product packaging, website, and corporate marketing strategies to reflect a common marketing and product branding approach, surpassing FDA accession number and labeling requirements
• Assessed market opportunities, competitive research, trend analysis and evolving global product needs to develop a business growth plan, based on gaining market share through new product research and development, and client growth (60%+) in 15 different product categories and through the sourcing, licensing and manufacturing of over 400 new SKUs for major retailers including the government (GSA).
• Maximized our LEAN manufacturing and warehousing, to reduce budgets by 9%, while providing corporate logistics, automation and operational efficiencies (exceeding FDA standards).
• Forecast annual capital expenditure projections/submissions while actively overseeing our purchase order and accounts payable processes resulting in savings of 6%
• Negotiated monthly raw material pricing with our suppliers, customer stocking agreements and 3+ month inventory requirements, to maximize a JIT and LEAN manufacturing and supply-chain model.

COMPACT POWER SYSTEMS (CELLBOOST), LOS ANGELES-2003-2006 - PRESIDENT AND COO
As President and manager of this $25 million, entrepreneurial-focused team, my key focus was on providing direction and leadership to our financial, operational and management teams to ensure short and long-term revenue growth and profitability. Focused on identifying and creating a supporting management structure to grow and manage the organization more profitably and efficiently.
Actively negotiated, planned and organized the corporate focus around a multi-market (OEM/Carrier/Retail) environment for growing client partnerships, brand management, new product growth, and category growth using a fiscally sound P&L. Directly responsible for establishing the organization’s core competencies to more accurately reflect those of our customer’s while securing new business, discovering new financing, building top-producing global sales and marketing teams and creating new products and solutions. Worked collaboratively to develop and execute the strategic vision and roadmap while fulfilling consistent, double digit growth.
Changed the corporate focus from a US-based one to a global organization with representation and sales in 20 different countries.
• Created over $7 million dollars in new revenues in both OEM and commercial channels (Cellboost) while increasing store distribution from 10,000 storefronts to over 80,000 storefronts.
• Produced ongoing financial cost reductions of over $200,000 per quarter while elevating service quality and customer service through six sigma best practices and ISO (9001, 9002) implementations
• Designed, introduced, manufactured and marketed 16 new items in 7 new categories (OEM and retail) to provide a broader product base for increased revenues while establishing our full web and mobile technology marketing as part of the end to end go to market consumer and carrier strategy
• Developed relationships with 10 new marketing partners in 2003, and created over 30 new SKUs including all roadmap, collateral and POP materials within each category
• Decreased warehouse inventories by over $1 million in 2005, lowered logistical costs by over $200K, while increasing product turns.
• Obtained new cash financing of $10 Million for continued corporate and manufacturing growth and new product R&D

UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX –1999-PRESENT (PART-TIME) - SENIOR UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR
Part-time, active MBA professor, mentoring and teaching students in multiple disciplines in the Graduate School of Business. My desire and aptitude for learning and understanding new technologies and concepts, has required a traditional, as well as an Internet-based teaching style, since my classrooms are facilitated electronically “on line.” Areas of focus include Graduate Computer Science, Critical Thinking, Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Management and Communications.

PLANAR SYSTEMS, INC.-PORTLAND, OR-2000-2003 - VP/GM (COO) OF COMMERCIAL MONITORS
Recruited to start-up and develop a new commercial monitor division. Responsible for new business revenues of over $80 million in sales, amid 3 years of company reductions. Given General Manager/VP responsibilities to create and lead a new winning division for the company. Controlled cash-to-cash cycles and inventories to create a rapid-turn business model to market our products for commercial, OEM and retail customers.
• Grew the business from concept to over $15 million in new revenues for the first year and $60 million in the second year by defining our roadmap, creating products to fill our channels and differentiating these targets.
• Created all OEM, ODM, consumer and medical sales marketing materials, product collateral, packaging and directed product and business development for the unit’s electronic and traditional sales and marketing efforts including development of 37 new SKUs.
• Established key Retail Consumer Products partnerships, including all multi-lingual manufacturing, packaging and collateral materials for Asia and Europe.

ENERGIZER, INC.-ST. LOUIS, MO 1999-2000 - DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL OEM SALES AND MARKETING
Brought in to strategically re-define and reposition our corporate, global, OEM and medical, sales and marketing (e-centric, direct and distribution marketing) strategy. Responsible for over $108 million in revenue. Developed the E2 initiative for the medical channel. Used market opportunity analysis and Nielsen product research to reposition our main product from a single, to a multi-differentiated one, using a product-segmentation approach, focusing on PDAs, CE, wireless and mobile applications for the medical, industrial and consumer products.
• Established firm targets and objectives for both the marketing and sales organizations embracing a strategic top-to-top marketing effort aligned with market requirements. Increased sales by over 12% in 1999
• Created $12 million in new revenue with distributors, brokers and Fortune 100 Brand Managers to cross-merchandise, promote and build our brands worldwide.
• Led Philips Pronto and Microsoft Toy energy design implementation from cradle to grave and marketed this to all corporate divisions. Achieved 6 new design wins, creating over $4 million in new business.

GILLETTE/DURACELL, INC.-SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1996-1999 - GLOBAL OEM MARKETING DIRECTOR
Managed our OEM specialist marketing and sales teams, developing and cultivating new and existing products, major accounts and partnerships. Responsible for over $95 Million in revenue. Expert in new product creation, industry trade marketing, and retail trends, pricing, category practices, and product positioning.
• Successfully secured 23 design-wins (hardware, service) involving global Duracell strategic partners in 1998. Increased revenues by over $36 million in 1998, through new product differentiation.
• Facilitated 11 mobile, medical, handheld, wireless and battery design-ins with our global marketing teams. Achieved over $95 million in new revenues in 1997. Number 1 performer in 1997.
• Created “Device of the Month” co-promotional campaigns with mobile and wireless devices. 8 new mobile, medical, and PDA design-wins. Shipments increased by 60% over a 12-month period.



LEEMAH, INC. - SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1992-1996 - VP OF INTERNATIONAL SALES AND MARKETING
An international and US-based position responsible for negotiating new business partnerships with subcontract manufacturers for LeeMAH's new 14-acre facility in Taishan, China. Responsible for LeeMAH’s Hong Kong and San Francisco IPOs, and executive decision makers at all major account projects.
• Created $31 million in revenue from AT&T, 3COM and Xerox.
• Helped launch, market, define and create a new Cisco production line with a $40 million brand extension, and profits of $21 million, all under budget.
• EDI established for all global IPOs, and set-up China QA and ISO 9000 teams
• Spearheaded and developed 25 new product proposals resulting in key marketing wins with HP and Xerox.

U.S. STAMP- (S.C. JOHNSON AND SON INC).-HOUSTON, TX 1988-1992- NATIONAL SALES MANAGER
Motivated a 100+ person national sales force concentrating on rapidly increasing sales with government, brokers, national accounts and over 400 retailers. Multi-Unit P/L accountability of over $180 million- Team Leader on 4 new product rollouts.
• Tripled new account sales for 1993 and increased ROI by 118% for government and key national accounts
• Decreased operating costs by 43% in ’92 while coming-in under budget by over 10% in ‘89-‘92
• Boosted sales by 152% in 1989, over 200% in 1990 while reducing our budget by 35%

TAKEDA-ABBOTT PHARMACEUTICALS (TAP) HOUSTON, TX 1986-1988 - ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Responsible for selling injectable pharmaceuticals into the South Texas Region. Training includes essential selling skills, Buy and Bill model, pricing contracts, and market data analysis. Solid understanding of the Managed Healthcare Environment, insurance reimbursement and specialty pharmacies.

• Covered military and private sector specialty accounts in South Texas
• Worked with Oncologists, Urologists, OB-GYNs and Hormonal Endocrinologists

BRISTOL-MYERS (BMS) DENVER, CO 1982-1985 - TERRITORY BUSINESS MANAGER
Responsible for selling (BM) pharmaceuticals into the 11 State Rocky Mountain Region. Skills developed include multi-team collaboration, business analytics and new team mentoring. Maximized pharmacy, retail and hospital accounts using direct sales presentations. Skilled in insurance reimbursement.
• Developed major opinion leaders and speakers in key markets, including the military and the private sector

EDUCATION:
MBA-Michigan State University/University of Tulsa/University of Phoenix: Marketing, Finance
B.A.-Michigan State University: Advertising Management-Minor in Economics and Mathematics
Fluent in French, versed in German and some Chinese
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  • Posted on: 10/21/2017

    Walmart to open web mall with Lord & Taylor as an anchor

    It is important to note here that website locations do not equate increased website presence. Buying more websites does not change the way that consumers come to a website any more than simply listing the same products on Walmart's website. Consumers do searches on general web search engines (like Google), and this is where Walmart needs to establish website "share of eyeballs" first. Then build on this with a strong intrasite web shopping engine like Amazon shopper. Walmart needs to understand the basics of listing a product on their website, compared to buying another site just to get the products listed.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    Will lessons learned at Amazon Books translate to Whole Foods?

    Part of the success of Amazon Prime is price comparison. Having to scan products, while in-store, is a poor idea. Pricing alternatives, especially for store branded products, is critical. Having to stop and then scan them first before getting the price will frustrate customers, lower sales and eventually lower performance. Just put a price on every product so that people who are interested can then scan it if they want.Also, one of the great opportunities that Prime offers is easy returns. When was the last time you returned your bananas, steak or cereal?Finally, ordering from the convenience of your armchair and having it delivered in a few hours or the next day is a great advantage of Prime. Whole Foods is about the in-store customer experience. It is Amazon that needs to take lessons here. They purchased Whole Foods because it wasn't like Amazon. Now Amazon needs to keep the good things about the customer experience and the people training and leverage this along with the opportunities that Prime can give online customers.Amazon needs to understand this if they truly want Whole Foods to be successful. Oh yeah, and they should look out for Lidl and Aldi!
  • Posted on: 10/13/2017

    Is Kroger in denial about the magnitude of its challenges?

    Kroger still needs to understand not just the new online marketplace, but also its new level of competition including Lidl, Aldi and others who are creating a new shopping experience, pushing even lower prices at store level (think eggs for $.38 a dozen, milk for $1.57/gallon). They are then combining this with an online presence in-store, as well as follow-up communications, coupons and alerts. Lower prices, online strength, new customer experience, great service and a simple, fast shopping experience. These are the standards for today's retail mark that Kroger needs to focus on.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2017

    Amazon has plans to deliver packages to car trunks

    Until recently, porch theft was not truly a concern for most retailers, but the last 2 years have certainly changed this. Personally, I can even vouch for this rise. However, this is not just about security of access but security of data as well.Larger and larger issues with breeches in Big Data storage have allowed increased access to customers' personal information so that online orders can be initiated and sent to a customer's house, where the false customer is waiting close by to pick up whatever deliveries are arriving that day before the homeowner returns. Securing the delivery place helps, but unauthorized transactions using stolen data and IDs are where everything starts. Secure the data first, then secure the placement of the deliveries. We cannot put the cart before the horse.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2017

    Meijer cuts IT staff as it moves to the cloud

    This move to the cloud is a no-brainer for retailers. Let experts manage your IT needs, storage and access, and SAAS. Then cut the IT department to 1 or 2 people who gather competitive bids to evaluate vendors who can best supply these products and services. This is what Meijer is doing, and probably saving on space, money, and HR needs. Retailers should focus on what they know best — retail.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2017

    What marketing lessons can we learn from Amazon?

    Amazon is about 2 key things: price and place. The Internet gives them an everywhere and everything presence. Amazon is not confined by traditional retail place issues or space issues. More importantly, it gives them unlimited inventory, since space for inventory is not an issue either since products can be fulfilled by the manufacturer or FBA.Pricing is what originally drove Amazon's model, and to a large part still does. Pricing clarity allows consumers and competitors to easily see the price point they need to sell products at and what it will take to be successful from there.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2017

    Are retailers confusing customer service with the customer experience?

    Customer service begins with the customer. It includes everything that interfaces and embraces the customer purchase, from before they enter the store to after they leave. Great retailers have always built their reputation on this and we often forget services or service/product combinations (like car repair) that require this level of excellence.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2017

    Can AR trigger TRU’s turnaround?

    AR is a technology whose time is not here yet. This is just another way for Toys "R" Us to attract media attention. Their issues are much deeper than anything that a new technology can help. Poor purchasing decisions, logistics and inventory issues and too many stores in low-performing areas are just a few examples of the true problems this company is facing. No technology will solve these issues and only a complete bankruptcy is the viable solution for this financial mess that Toys "R" Us is in.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2017

    Do retailers need teen consultants to really understand Gen Z?

    This is an abstract use of a young, inexperienced individual to understand something that requires listening, asking the right questions and understanding. Gen Z, which includes people from 1995 to 2012, doesn't mean that we need to have a 5 year-old or an 18 year old determine how a football organization should focus on selling to Gen Z. These individuals are not part of their target markets (none of these individuals can afford a football ticket) and really have no understanding of what marketing is or how it really works. The dynamics of product positioning, placement, pricing ROI and basic business are difficult enough in today's fluid environment, but having teen consultants trying to act as experts just because they are in that target group is a poor business decision. Understanding Gen Z requires marketing expertise that focuses on Gen Z.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Nike customizes shoes for ‘sneakerheads’ in under an hour

    Yes, allowing for customization ensures that Nike can differentiate its products to broaden their appeal to specific target markets. This should enhance their position in these niche markets, but these come at a cost. The true question is whether this niche customization will be profitable, or whether it comes at a cost which is lost on such a unique market.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2017

    Is BOPIS degrading the in-store experience?

    The store experience is changing. BOPIS is only the start of this. Subscriptions, smart reordering systems and rapid door deliveries are all driving the changing evolution of shopping. The real question here is, why do we have to have a physical store when we can enjoy an online one that is faster, easier and costs less? In the new retail, everyone wins from lower prices, faster availability and a shopping experience that is easier and hassle free. No more lines, dragging the kids to the store, bags to carry or hunting down parking spaces in exposed weather. Who wouldn't want this?
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Artificial intelligence makes brand personalities come to life

    Brands have always been personalities in and of themselves. That is the crux of great marketing ... attaching a current "personality target" to a brand. Coke is a great brand. So is Budweiser and Subaru. They don't need AI to do this for them. Attaching the driving "Barkley" dogs to a Subaru car gives it more personality. This has been true for years, since great brands attached benefits to themselves that personified their audience. Artificial intelligence will not make brand personalities come to life, only great marketing can do this.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Will lower everyday prices boost Target’s traffic and sales?

    Yes, lower prices will certainly help Target grow traffic and sales. EDLP (Everyday Low Pricing) has been a mainstay for Walmart and other retailers for years. In the omnichannel age, where shop online and pickup at store is becoming a goal of more retailers, Target has to be able to react quickly and have competitive prices on all of their items, since comparison shopping is just a click away.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2017

    Do grocers need to reset the center store?

    Intermingling healthier products in an effort to cross-merchandise to increase appeal is not a new concept. Creating an accepted standard that allows the consumer to become familiar with the store layout without "thinking" is part of the issue which needs to be addressed. So is the shift to natural foods, healthier foods, and better foods. Retailers need to align their stores to this (which is what Whole Foods did) to become successful. The model is shifting rapidly and Amazon is leading the way. We can see the changes at our local Costco as they shift to healthier eggs, milk, etc. Other savvy retailers need to follow suit.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2017

    Should drones be used for data collection in addition to deliveries?

    The collection of data from cars, drones, satellites, planes, etc. has already been done. Ask any realtor. Integrating this data, as a drone makes a delivery, seems to be an obvious "yes" for Amazon to do, so that their information becomes current, complete and reliable. This also gives Amazon an up to date "edge" in managing their logistics, as well as their competitors (like Walmart/jet).

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