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: 06/27/2017

    Is e-commerce making vendor compliance programs more important?

    Vendor scorecards were intended to improve communications and align expectations between the retailer and the supplier. However, it often becomes a tool to punish failure to comply with retail expectations, and more often than not an additional revenue stream for the retailer. When corrective actions are received they do not reflect actual costs, but instead a punishment designed to also create a revenue stream. This creates a relationship of mistrust and punishment, rather than a symbiotic one of trust and success, between the retailer and the supplier.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will Sears get traction with its new appliance and mattress store concept?

    This is a great idea which Sears should continue, however the mattress play might not be their best alternative. Craftsman tools combined with Kenmore appliances makes more sense from a success standpoint. This might turn out to be what Sears stores of the future look like anyway.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    What will a Nike/Amazon deal mean for the brand and other retailers?

    Why wouldn't Nike sell directly to Amazon? This is perhaps the better question. Thousands of major brands already do this. What is it that has held Nike back from doing this that other key brands have been doing for years? This is perhaps the better question, and one which Nike has to resolve internally before it gets together with Amazon. I am confident that there are many perceptions that are not reality in Nike's case ...
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    Should brands ditch the slang?

    Differentiate your message according to your target market. Marketers need to treat slang like they treat another language. If their target uses it, they should use it and only use it for their target market. It is like posting a message in Spanish to a non-Spanish market ... don't do it.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    This is a great idea and the concept has been proven by a few other online retailers, so I am surprised that it has taken Amazon this long to implement it. This will not only change shopping, but will hasten the demise of the shopping mall. Why go out when all of your friends can come in and everyone can have a clothes party at your place? In larger cities delivery can take only a few hours, which means there is no worries about planning or waiting. Another great concept brought to life by Jeff Bezos and company!
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Will UPS’s Black Friday delivery surcharge have retailers seeing red?

    This is another way for the logistics companies to make money and hasten their eventual demise. It is these positions that "forcing" companies like Amazon (and soon Walmart/Jet) to seriously consider alternative means to delivering their own packages and creating their own delivery solutions and fleets of carriers. Every penny charged only brings these companies closer to their untimely death. Adapt or perish should be UPS and FedEx's key mantra, instead of charge or perish.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Did Amazon just patent tech that could end showrooming in its stores?

    There is an important notation to this showrooming technology. You have to be connected to their Wi-Fi in the store for this to work. Most people who are on their cellphones are not using a local store Wi-Fi, unless they have been there before. Along with this and the advance of 5G in the next year or so, and other incredible cellular "seamless" solutions to data access, the real question might be when would this "patented" technology be used? I think that this is much ado about nothing, while distorting the use of a technology patent.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2017

    How smart is Jet.com’s decision to delist Costco’s Kirkland brand?

    This is a smart move for Jet. Supporting your own (Walmart) brand over that of any other brand, including those manufactured by your competitors, should come first. However, it is also important that your own house brand is market competitive, since making money is still the most important part of every business.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Is Walmart’s innovation leader right that the AR revolution is a sure thing?

    Yes, AR or some form of it will eventually shape and change our perceptions of ecommerce and online shopping, but it is not retail that is driving this. Instead, it is gaming and video sharing which drives this technology and its adoption. At this point, it is still a nascent technology solution looking for a problem.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2017

    Are retailers selling their souls and giving away customers to Amazon?

    Perhaps this is a concern. However, retailers are truly in the business of filling their customer's needs. Great retailers recognize this and have factored this into their success. Offering Alexa (at full pricing) can be used to get customers into the store and demonstrate how great your retail pricing, performance, customer service and model is, as well as showing off Alexa. Great retailers should think of themselves as a phone store, rather than a dedicated store for just one type of phone.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2017

    Will customers try Kohler showers before they buy?

    There is a line that should not be crossed in "try before you buy" sampling and using an in-store shower has certainly crossed this. Going to a strange store to take a shower in a strange bathroom is certainly not my idea of comfort or developing an enhanced experience or a better sense of what something is like before buying it. This has clearly pushed the envelope too far. I am just fine with a small display in a store showing me the shower mist, adjustability and other features.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2017

    Is a self-service model Macy’s ticket to success?

    Yes. Self-service is clearly a viable option for Macy's and other stores which should be considered as a makeover of their models. There are clearly many other issues which Macy's needs to turn around in order to survive, and perhaps not even as a department store as we know it. Adapt or perish is the phrase for the department store model, and this should be Macy's reminder every day.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2017

    Can offline word-of-mouth be used to drive business results?

    Yes, offline word of mouth drives business results. Most would agree that depending on the category and the age group, the offline impact is a greater component of the shopping experience than we would be able to measure. Ignoring this is a perilous move, for any marketing organization.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2017

    How should retailers balance personal versus impersonal experiences?

    Actually, this is not as simple as the author claims. We are not a society of personal vs. impersonal interfaces in our shopping experience. There is much more complexity to this, including such factors as "cool" shopping, placement shopping, ease of shopping, rapidity of shopping, selection, price, location, etc. There has always been a trade-off between more personal experience and less personal ones, especially as technology advances and allows us to more easily choose between these (i.e. online).
  • Posted on: 05/22/2017

    How should self-checkout be incentivized?

    Self-checkouts will continue to grow until all checkouts are replaced by the smart shopping cart. Once consumers place a product into a cart, the cart should be able to read the products in the cart, show a detailed list of which products are in the cart along with their prices and then simply charge the consumer's payment system (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Pay Pal, Visa, etc.) as the consumer leaves the store. Simple, easy and cheap. The cost of connecting carts to a wireless network in the store (which almost all stores in the U.S. already have) is less than paying for cashiers, POS systems and the consumer aggravation of waiting in line.

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