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
  • VIEW ARTICLES
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  • Posted on: 07/19/2018

    Seven ways Gen Z is different that don’t include tech

    Some of these findings, from different surveys, are different because their basis is different. Ernst and Young, Morning Consult, Zillow, etc. We only see the top line "findings" here, but not the survey basis. Some of these numbers seem odd, while others obvious. Perhaps most important here is how do these compare to Gen Y, Gen X, from the same surveys? Comparisons should be included with every survey that is quoted so that we have a firm understanding of each basis. Overall, none of these seem to point to any particular marketing faux pas that is being missed. Perhaps my overall question is, what does not wanting to take on more debt, or be a saver, relate to how Gen Z is different that doesn't include tech?
  • Posted on: 07/18/2018

    Target’s inside app continually crowdsources design ideas

    Target is not focusing on their core competencies when so much is at stake. Finding and engaging possible customers with designers and crowdsourcing ideas does not build upon the billions of dollars which Target has invested in retail, their retail customers, and their needs. Instead of better focusing their online efforts, or finding another way to decrease OOSs, or increase customer service, Target has decided to focus resources on this? Where does the Target customer draw benefit from this investment? What would their shareholders say if this was one of Target's highlights at their upcoming shareholder meeting? Will this drive their stock price up? Hmmmmmmm....
  • Posted on: 07/17/2018

    Walmart and Microsoft team up to slow Amazon’s roll

    This is a well-timed announcement to keep Walmart's technology presence "in the picture" during Amazon's Prime Day. From a functional perspective it only raises the question, what is so wrong with Walmart's current cloud computing and AI providers and equipment? Why would the world's largest retailer have ever been moving forward with technology that doesn't give it an edge over Amazon? That is what this announcement hints at.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Need a nap? Casper opened a store for that

    This is a very expensive, very limited way to offer customers the chance to take a nap on a Casper bed. For a large city like NYC it might make sense as a way to market and allow the public to self-educate (while minimizing returns), but offers very little else. Especially since there is a store next door that can market, educate consumers and sell mattresses, the more appropriate question might be, why wouldn't Casper use this nap space to better enhance their marketing and sales of mattresses?
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Can Papa John’s recover from its founder’s racial slur?

    Papa John's is a corporation, not an individual. Yes, it can take further action to improve its position as a "new" company. Scholarships, increasing all hourly employee pay, enhanced diversity training -- all will help Papa John's recover. However, the key ingredient will be time. John Schnatter owns one-third of all shares and he will still have some say in how the board votes and how the company is run. It is doubtful that he will "sell" all of his shares, nor could he, with such a large number of shares of stock, in a company that has been steadily declining.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Ellison shaking things up at Lowe’s

    Yes, Marvin Ellison's previous Home Depot experience will help him tremendously, but so will his growth during his tenure at Penney's. He needs to shake up Lowe's corporate team and their positioning of products. Lowe's is too busy trying to be like Home Depot rather than being better than Home Depot. Their pricing on major products needs to be lower, their OOSs need to be managed better, and Lowe's needs a fresh promotional approach to their line, especially their online presence. Increased discounts for omnichannel marketing or online purchases and volume purchases will be keys to Lowe's future, and the faster they recognize this the quicker they will grow and develop a loyal following.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    Survey: Customer experience tech rivals personal attention from staff

    This is a non-issue, when comparing customer service, and offering technology to customers. Direct customer service is what consumers crave and business thrives on. Consumers want personal interaction not technological options. Other than basic connectivity, consumers enjoy being helped, not finding help, and this is the key to successful retail.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Will America win the trade war?

    Everyone loses in a trade war. Unencumbered trade thrives because it has proven time and again that trade is the economic lubricant of success. Its impact on US jobs, products, and economic performance cannot be overestimated. Retailers should encourage their employees to push their congressperson to close the trade loophole which empowers the president to impose trade tariffs unilaterally during "time of national security". The power to tax is vested in Congress except for this exception which Congress passed in 1962. Only Congress has the power to revoke this.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2018

    Toy City pop-ups look to fill the gap left by Toys ‘R’ Us

    This is a play by Toy City that will have limited appeal, since it doesn't solve the true issues behind the demise of Toys "R" Us. This solution doesn't address the ecommerce strengths that consumers are expecting (and the free freight, unlimited returns and guaranteed satisfaction) with today's online or online/onground models. Toy City is going to see some increase in purchasing since they are expanding their offering, but they are not expanding their online presence, nor addressing the keys that make a successful online model successful in the retail toy market. Until this is done, I see this as a simple band-aid with limited rewards for Toy City.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2018

    Former CEO wants to bring Toys ‘R’ Us back from the dead

    TRU went bankrupt for a good reason; they have an outdated model. Bringing back a retailer who has a bad model requires even more money and financial and human resources than just starting one from scratch. A successful TRU would have to have extensive lines of credit, an eCommerce first position, and slim stores which offer easy buy online, pick-up instore options.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Analyst: Prime perk could eventually double customers at Whole Foods

    Limited Prime discounts do not account for the actual pricing of key grocery items. Until Whole Foods can compete with Aldi, Lidl, Walmart, etc. the doubling of customers is but wishful thinking. The grocery business is a price sensitive business and just offering a greater savings will not be enough. The entire basket of goods needs to be priced better, offer a superior shopping experience, and give consumers a better reason to switch. Anything less than this is a hollow perk that will not fulfill its potential.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2018

    Dollar General pilots scan & go tech

    The scan and go technology is the future of retail, since it increases the customer experience, and makes sense for most simple purchases (and dollar stores have many of these). Being able to translate this into higher customer satisfaction and lower selling prices (and sharing this with the customer) is one of the secrets to this technology's success.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2018

    Home Depot to make same- or next-day deliveries virtually everywhere

    Same or next day delivery brings Home Depot into alignment with the "Amazon Age" of retailing. HD needs to adapt or perish when it comes to their business model, since the other DIY hardware stores are rapidly doing so and HD knows this. Recognizing its pro customers only allows HD to better balance these 2 market segments as it adapts its model to the ever changing retail landscape. Best of all, HD already is established as a pseudo warehouse where products can easily be stored, managed, and shipped from.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2018

    IKEA says no to plastic

    Yes, other retailers will follow IKEA's lead in eliminating single-use plastics, like straws. McDonald's is already considering this and once they discover a viable (paper?) solution, other retailers and QFCs will follow suit. The same holds true for bags and other solutions used to hold and carry products.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2018

    To catch a Walmart return thief

    This level of return fraud is an anomaly. It is leveraged by expensive electronics, with internal parts that cannot be easily seen. The majority of returns are easily reviewed, managed and properly returned. It is the few, especially at this level, who distort and hurt retail return policies for the many. Retailers need to better manage their returns without stopping them altogether. This will allow for a control of fraudulent returns while still embracing an open return policy.

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