PROFILE

Kai Clarke

CMO, COO American Retail Consultants
Kai Clarke
Charlotte, NC 28278  kaiclarke@gmail.com  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaiclarke/

GLOBAL VP OF SALES AND MARKETING, TECHNICAL COO AND MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE / COO, CMO
CRADLE TO GRAVE MARKETING EXPERTISE / 3PL LOGISTICS OPTIMIZATION EXPERT / AMAZON GURU

Results-oriented revenue and profit driven, global CMO with an MBA and a strong eCommerce, logistics, architectural and LED lighting, consumer products and eCommerce background. Proven road warrior and Amazon guru, 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. This includes managing, creating and overseeing digital, SEO, social media and online marketing (lead prospecting, lead generation, follow up, networking, social media, Nielsen, IRI and customer service). Marketing leader with a strong technical aptitude including expertise in consumer product design (CPG), manufacturing, logistics, Import / Export, architectural lighting and fixture sourcing, eCommerce / Amazon and retail sales, and 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, global OEM/ODM 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
• Knows when to strategize, when to manage, when to escalate and when to execute
• Developing global teams to achieve rapid revenue and profit growth in Europe and Asia exceeding 50%
• Brand equity development and new market penetration managing 260+ people in over 37 countries
• $200 MM+ P&L Management with a bottom line focus and the ability to operate at a strategic level
• Contract, sub-contract and strategic alliance negotiations throughout our supply chains saving 18+%
• Global logistics and account management to grow business throughout Asia (40%) and Europe (50%)
• Extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia over the last 20 years, including living part-time in China over the last 8 years as well as many years growing up as a military brat in Europe.


PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

AMERICAN RETAIL CONSULTANTS, CHARLOTTE, NC 2014 – Present
Private, Retail Consulting and Operational Consulting Firm, Founded in 2014 in Los Angeles

American Retail Consultants, Inc., an American based company that helps establish Chinese companies including architectural lighting and LED fixtures, consumer electronics, CPG hardware manufacturers (and all international companies) create USA focused B2B, B2C, retail, Amazon, eCommerce / Online, distribution sales and marketing, management, development, and consulting company of retail hard goods, CPG, electronics, and consumer products.

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES & MARKETING AND CMO (Reports to CEO)
(Direct Reports: 3 Country Managers and 3 Marketing Managers)
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 LED and architectural lighting operations, processes, and logistics from cradle to grave including overseas manufacturing and domestic sales.
• Elevated KPI revenues to 44% year-over-year growth using strategic direction and operational maximization, with a strong emphasis on reducing expenses while establishing leadership in target markets and fostering technology engagement platforms
• Created new partner growth of 84% for 2013 leveraging Internet, Amazon B2B and B2C marketing initiatives, defining our new corporate focus and set priorities, establishing objectives, plan and allocate resources, lead execution, and results management
• Reduced overall costs by 32% by creating mid-range business plans and yearly budgets, while establishing corrective expense action plans and achievable KPIs.
• Identified 61 new commercially viable market activities, reducing COGS by 6%. Sourced new products to diversify our product portfolio and partnering opportunities, including sourcing new products from new partners in China, and Continually developed superior P&L results by leading global teams to optimize business performance and market development focusing on strategic web, software, and partner marketing activities.
• 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 while establishing leadership in target China markets.
• Identified and created new retail branding, packaging design, EDI, digital, and content marketing and partner efforts for all retail eCommerce / Amazon, electronic and LED products in each of their diverse channels including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, Walgreens, Graybar, Target, Costco, and other key partners.


VIRIBRIGHT LED LIGHTING http://www.viribright.us/ CHARLOTTE, NC 2016 – 2017
Private, Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing, 11-50 Employees, Founded 2010, HQ: Corona, CA

Viribright is a division of Matrix Lighting Inc., which is a subsidiary of Matrix Holdings Limited. Matrix Holdings Limited was established in 1979 and has been listed on the Hong Kong Limited Stock Exchange since 1994. Matrix Holdings Ltd. has factories in China and Vietnam with a total of over 20,000 employees worldwide.

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING (Reported to President and Board)
(Direct Reports: 1 Director and 1 National Sales Manager. Sales force of 35 in the USA)
• Created 28 new SKUs with firm targets and objectives for both the online/Amazon and traditional marketing and sales organizations embracing a strategic top-to-top marketing effort aligned with market requirements.
• Worked with over 85 LED distributors, brokers and key account category managers to cross-merchandise, promote and build our Viribright brand worldwide at accounts like Walmart, Amazon, Graybar, WESCO, Consolidated Electrical (CED), Ace, Do it Best, Best Buy, Lowes, Orgill, Home Depot, True Value and Costco.
• Identified and optimized our new Internet, eCommerce, Amazon, B2B and B2C marketing initiatives to reduce inventory by 45% in the first 6 months by defining our new corporate focus while setting priorities, establishing objectives, planning and allocating resources, lead execution, and results management resulting in new partner growth.
• Improved sales by over 30% in our top 25 accounts through sales team coaching, mentoring, collaborative problem solving and goal achievement to realize a coordinated Viribright marketing position


MIRACLEBEAM PRODUCTS, INC. LOS ANGELES, CA 2006 - 2014
Private, Consumer Electronics & Products, 100+ Employees, Founded 1992

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING AND COO (Reported to CEO and Board of Directors)
(Direct Reports: National Sales Manager, 3 Regional Managers, Sales force of 85, 2 Marketing staff and China Sourcing Office)

Living part of the time over the last 8 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 LED lighting and fixtures and electronic hardware manufacturing, USA online and traditional LED and electronic sales, logistical and FDA focused marketing operations from multiple locations in both China and our USA headquarters every month, to maximize our profitability by managing, and leveraging the company’s resources and assets to grow Miraclebeam’s share of the LED and CPG markets.
• Exceeded 20% revenue growth over the last 8 years by creating and implementing a national architectural lighting and LED / Laser/ CPG electronics, eCommerce, channel distribution, and logistics strategy. Improved product quality in our Chinese Partner’s LED lighting and electronics factories and restored our client Import / Export service levels to world-class FDA standards. Maintained and improved operational and financial performance of the company for our retail partners in branded (OEM) and house-branded (ODM) products.
• Increased client growth (60%+) in 15 different product categories assessed LED/Laser market opportunities, competitive research, trend analysis and evolving global product needs to develop a business growth plan, based on gaining LED and Laser 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 government (GSA), Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears/K-Mart, Kroger, AAFES, Walgreens, Fry’s, $.99 Only, Petco, Petsmart, Publishers Clearing House, True Value, Do It Best, Ace, OSH, Family Dollar, Big Lots, Meijer, 7/11, etc.
• Reduced budgets by 9% through the maximization of our corporate LED and Laser logistics, automation and operational efficiencies to support annual growth plans and improve earnings including LEAN manufacturing and warehousing, and Import / Export development, while providing tracking initiatives for continuous and never-ending improvement (exceeding FDA standards), which were globally communicated, supported, and remotely managed
• Saved over 6% by forecasting annual capital expenditure projections/submissions while actively overseeing our purchase order and accounts payable processes resulting in savings of 6%


COMPACT POWER SYSTEMS (CELLBOOST) LOS ANGELES, CA 2003 - 2006
Private, Consumer Electronics, 50 Employees, Founded 1999

Vice President of Sales and Marketing- COO (Reported to Board of Directors)
(Direct Reports: Marketing Director and National Sales Manager, International Sales Manager, 25 Sales Reps and 12 Marketing Support staff)

As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and COO of this $50 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.
• Created over $17 million dollars in new revenues in both OEM and commercial channels (Cellboost) while increasing store distribution from 10,000 store fronts to over 80,000 store fronts with partners like Fox Entertainment, Disney, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Circuit City, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Staples, Office Depot, K-Mart, CompUSA, 7/11, AAFES and others.
• Produced sustainable and ongoing financial cost reductions of over $200,000 per quarter while elevating service quality, manufacturing and customer service through six sigma best practices and ISO (9001, 9002) implementations
• Responsible for the strategic direction of all aspects of an organization's operational policies, objectives, and initiatives, while attaining short- and long-term financial and operational goals
• Decreased warehouse inventories by over $1 million in 2005, lowered logistical costs by over $200K, while increasing product turns.
• 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


PLANAR SYSTEMS, INC. http://www.planar.com/ PORTLAND, OR 2000 - 2003
Public, Computer Hardware & Digital Signage Technology, 201 – 500 Employees, Founded 1983

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING / GENERAL MANAGER OF COMMERCIAL MONITORS
(Reported to President) (Direct Reports: 24 Sales people and 4 Staff)

Recruited to start-up and develop a new commercial monitor division within the existing company. Responsible for new business revenues of over $80 million in sales, amid 3 years of company reductions.
• Grew the business from concept to over $15 million in new revenues for the first year; over $60 million in the second year by defining our roadmap, creating OLED and LCD products to fill the channels and differentiating these targets by segmenting each market for key retailers and consumers
• Developed 37 new commercial and OEM, SKUs and created all OEM, ODM, Consumer and Commercial sales marketing materials, product collateral, packaging and directed product and business development for the unit’s electronic and traditional OLED and LCD sales and marketing efforts.
• Collaborated with industry leaders like Wal-Mart, Dell (OEM), MicronPC, CDW (OEM), Staples, Costco, Best Buy, Circuit City to create unique products, positioned to appeal to diverse channels, within each retail roadmap segment.


ENERGIZER, INC. http://www.energizerholdings.com/ ST. LOUIS, MO 1999 - 2000
Public, Consumer Goods, 1,001 – 5,000 Employees, Founded 1896

DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL OEM SALES AND MARKETING (Reported to VP Sales and Marketing)
(Direct Reports: 40 Country Market Managers, CMMs and Staff)
Brought in to strategically re-define and reposition our corporate, global, OEM and channel, sales and marketing (e-centric, direct and distribution marketing) strategy. Responsible for over $108 million in revenue. Redefined our marketing team’s strategic planning processes and roadmap development to complement our key global alliance partner objectives.
• Increased sales by over 11% in 1999. Established firm targets and objectives for both the marketing and sales organizations embracing a strategic top-to-top marketing effort aligned with market requirements.
• Created $12 Million in new revenue in 2000 working with distributors, brokers and Fortune 100 Brand Managers to cross-merchandise, promote and build our battery brands worldwide at accounts like K-mart, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Circuit City and Costco. Key projects with Sony, Sharp, Black and Decker, Philips, GE, Stanley, Philips, Disney, and Mattel.
• Achieved 6 new design-wins, created over $4 million in new business development revenue and increased product branding and revenues. Led Philips Pronto and Microsoft Toy energy design implementation from cradle to grave and marketed this to all corporate divisions.


PROCTER & GAMBLE /GILLETTE/DURACELL, INC. SAN FRANCISCO, CA 1995 - 1999
https://us.pg.com/ Public, Consumer Goods, 10,001+ Employees, Founded 1837
GLOBAL OEM MARKETING DIRECTOR (Reported to VP OEM Sales and Marketing)
(Director Reports: 37 Sales and Marketing OEM Country Managers)
Managed our global 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. Created and marketed emerging solutions through competitive analysis, product definition, and the coordination of engineering, marketing, sales and design. Drove alignment and marketing initiatives across product groups and company teams.
• Successfully secured 23 design-wins (hardware, software, service) involving global Duracell strategic partners in 1998.
• Increased revenues by over $36 million in 1998, through new product differentiation in diverse markets.
• Facilitated 11 Mobile, Medical, Handheld, Wireless and battery design-ins with the European and Asia Pacific global marketing teams while managing winning marketing projects worldwide.
• Achieved over $95 million in new revenues in 1997.
• Number 1 performer in 1997 by coordinating cross merchandising and new brand development with key partners in Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco, Kroger, Target, Staples, Office Depot and Home Depot stores.
• Increased Shipments by 60% over an 8-month period and created 9 new design-wins in 1996. Created “Device of the Month” co-promotional campaigns with mobile and wireless devices from Disney, Philips, 3Com, J&J, Sharp, Toshiba, GE and Logitech.


UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX –1999-2016 (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 of 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.

EDUCATION:
MBA-Michigan State University / UOP: MBA – Marketing with emphasis in International Management, Finance, Organizational Behavior, Computer Science, 4.0 – Advanced Graduate Studies toward PHD.
B.A.-Michigan State University: BA - Advertising Management-Minor in Economics and Mathematics
Training: Executive Education in Global Supply Chain Management, Stanford University - GE Executive Training: Global Leadership Management Development; Xerox Advanced Selling Skills (DCVB, SPIN), Six Sigma Champion and Green Belt
Fluent in English (native), French, versed in German and some Chinese
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  • Posted on: 09/20/2018

    What would 3,000 AmazonGo stores do to the U.S. retail landscape?

    Technology and the acceptance of this technology at a reasonable price will be one of the key hurdles for Amazon in its cashierless Amazon Go stores. One of the keys will be getting the stores' format correct. Sticking to just food puts Amazon in an odd space, since even Starbucks offers some products in addition to food. Otherwise Amazon Go competes with McDonald's, Taco Bell and other food-only QSRs that have a key brand and food focus (i.e. burgers, tacos, etc.) which Amazon Go does not. Amazon would be better served to roll this concept out as a convenience store model with limited products and key focus on a limited selection of categories. Less is more, especially once the "cool" technology appeal wears off.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2018

    Are ad agencies history?

    As Big Data becomes more important, traditional agencies are simply going to add more focus to managing this data. Any advertisement still needs creative, managing the ad spend, maximizing exposures, cross platform manipulation, etc. Ad agencies have managed data for TV, Radio and Print for years. Data has always been a key part of any advertising agency since it determines how successful a campaign has been and where it needs to shift to be more successful in the future. Now you just add the online portion and extend the ad agency's reach.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2018

    Is mobile the most disruptive force in retail since online selling began?

    Clearly, we can expect mobile to continue to be a disruptive force in retail. However, the PC is still the dominant player and we are pushing the demise of it too rapidly. Furthermore, traditional on-ground sales are still the preferred method of holiday shopping and just because we see visits to online sites from mobile locations, that does not translate into purchases. This has been the rule for many years, and it will not suddenly change overnight. Everyone already has mobile and its impact built into their retail expectations, so an argument might be made that mobile playing a disruptive role may be overplayed here. We expect mobile to be a retail force which must be accounted for in today's retail environment. We also expect it to play a growing presence in the delivery of information and purchasing. How many purchases are actually made using a mobile phone as a percent of all purchases will be the question which needs to be answered.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2018

    What will it take for consumers to take out their mobile wallets?

    The key for success of the mobile wallet is making it available in more retail outlets. This includes gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, etc. Add to this the availability of all types of pay options (Apple, Samsung, etc.) so that there are more options for the consumer and we have a stronger opportunity to use a mobile wallet without thinking. This is what it will take for consumers to use and offset their traditional wallets and habits, and thus substitute their mobile wallet for these.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2018

    Has Boxed.com solved the melting chocolate challenge?

    The concept here is good, but the costs are still not compared, and this is an essential part of the equation. The other part is what temperature must the chocolate start at, and what temperature will the boxed.com solution keep the chocolate cool to? Here in the south, temperatures frequently hover in the upper '90s during the summer, and 2 days of this might be more than this solution allows. Throw in the 100+ degrees which south Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California face during parts of the summer and there are many questions which are still unanswered for boxed.com's solution.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2018

    7-Eleven gives football fandom an AR boost

    Anything aligned with football is a great promotional investment for the football season. However the incremental costs of AR, to a narrow market segment like this, seems to be excessive. Driving additional purchases because an app offers AR seems to be a solution for which no true data exists. Why spend money on a "not ready for prime time" solution, when there are so many other options out there which will deliver a greater reward for lower cost? Furthermore, measuring the success of this campaign is difficult at best. You cannot measure the app usage, since the app is often accessed for other things. You would have to build-out, promote and then quantify just the AR portion, and then compare these to non-AR stores in the same area. This seems like a lot of work for a solution like AR looking for a problem.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    Grab and go and yadda-yadda

    Prepared foods need someone who continually manages, monitors and restocks. Usually this requires at least two people and most grocers won't dedicate this to such a high demand area, with ebbs and flows, as well as difficult to manage inventory, when they have a full store that continually demands attention, customer service, restocking and out-of-stock elimination.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    Should the outdoor industry welcome selling on walmart.com?

    Yes, selling on Walmart or Amazon should be welcomed by all manufacturers, and threats from local retailers are simply poor attempts to hold back the inevitable changes that are shaping our retail worlds. We all shop at large retailers at one point or another in our lives (think cars, gasoline, grocery, clothing, school supplies, computers, etc.). Partnering with Walmart is not a bad choice, simply another choice. This needs to be recognized and embraced by the outdoor industry.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2018

    Will a bot soon be taking your order at the drive-thru?

    The bridge between self-serve kiosks using current technology and shifting these to AI based kiosks is very small, and we already have voice-based AI from many companies (Alexa, Siri, Samsung, etc.) that is very successful, accurate and strong. Tie this to a visual confirmation of the order complete with a verbal dictation of the order back to the customer and you have a bot who can take your order, rapidly, accurately and using existing hardware with just a simple software upgrade -- this is right around the corner.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2018

    Walmart’s two-day shipping pledge comes with a caveat

    "Out of stock" are the three worst words in retail. To leverage a shipping promise by falsely declaring an item as out of stock, because profits are not sufficient, is heresy. This borders on bait and switch. Walmart needs to examine its commitment to its customer base if it continues to follow this example of a two-day shipping pledge that uses this caveat. This is a poor policy that Sam Walton would certainly not have embraced, and I am concerned as a consumer about what Walmart is doing as a retailer just to compete with Amazon.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2018

    Sears faces Craftsman competition of its own making

    This was a smart move by Sears, when they needed cash, and could not properly manage, market, and sell the Craftsman tools. SBD can do this better, while giving Sears cash flow to sustain itself. This is a win/win for both parties and the public!
  • Posted on: 08/15/2018

    Lampert’s Kenmore offer seems like more shuffling of chairs on Titanic’s deck

    This is just another scheme for Lampert to make short term profits from a transfer of cash. Should Kenmore be sold, we will probably see Lampert sell the brand to another company (probably a Chinese based company like Haier) where some value would be generated, at least in the short term. Either way, Lampert will win and Sears Holdings will continue to fail.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2018

    Walmart.com to offer easier returns for marketplace purchases

    Walmart.com's move to make it easier to return products sold on their website from 3rd party sellers is a smart thing to do. In reality, it is no different than a product that would be sold in their store, if it was being placed their by the 3rd party. Technically, if a product sells before the vendor has been paid by Walmart, this is what happens (and it happens a lot). This concept is going to become a standard as omnichannel marketing continues to blur the retail environment.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2018

    Rite Aid and Albertsons call off merger – what’s next?

    Rite Aid needs to grow through acquisition ... either being acquired by another company or acquiring other smaller regional chains. A possible Amazon/Rite Aid merger would be a possible fit if both retailers decided to move in this direction. The true question is "where is the best value for the Rite Aid shareholder?"
  • Posted on: 08/08/2018

    Report says voice commerce is all talk

    Voice assistants are solutions looking for a problem. There isn't one. We are a visual society, and as such, we are visually driven. We can easily identify something by a picture, rather than its name. This is why the Internet is visually driven (instead of voice driven), TV is so successful, our shopping patterns are visually focused, etc. Voice plays a minor role in our shopping behaviors, interactions and preferences. To this end, voice assistants will continue to be a minor role player in our shopping lives.

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