Kai Clarke

CMO, COO American Retail Consultants
Kai Clarke
Charlotte, NC 28278   LinkedIn:


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.


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.

(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.

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

Private, Consumer Electronics & Products, 100+ Employees, Founded 1992

(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%

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

Public, Computer Hardware & Digital Signage Technology, 201 – 500 Employees, Founded 1983

(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.

Public, Consumer Goods, 1,001 – 5,000 Employees, Founded 1896

(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 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.

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.

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
  • Posted on: 05/23/2018

    Best Buy’s Geek Squad is now available by subscription

    This is a great concept which I am surprised was not already in place. The subscription model drives greater profits, happier consumers and higher renewal rates. In this space, where this service could be an integral part of the product sale (or after) is that it keeps Best Buy at the top of mind level with their customers and elevates their satisfaction. It also serves as a distinguishing point of customer satisfaction between Best Buy and its competitors. What is there not to like for Best Buy and its customers? Great move Best Buy!
  • Posted on: 05/22/2018

    Amazon bans chronic returners

    Amazon's return policy is one of the reasons why it has seen incredible sales growth and success. Banning people, or threatening to do this, especially in the face of errors in making these decisions is not a good move for any retailer. Amazon's 1 percent of sales (11 percent of 11 percent) being fraudulent returns is nothing excessive in the retail environment, especially the online environment where things are not as they appear, including fit of clothes, taste of food or performance of product. Most importantly, it is not Amazon who pays for these returns, but the vendors who supply Amazon along with the consumer. Amazon charges more than 1 percent for its returns, and suppliers expect this as they calculate their selling price to Amazon. For Amazon's model to work, and continue working, it should not change this part of their retail formula. Why change a winning strategy?
  • Posted on: 05/21/2018

    Sexism is still alive and well

    We are still focused on sexism the more we differentiate "men" and "women." We are all people, and our approach should be gender neutral. Our discussions, reports and positions should reflect a gender neutral position in the company, as should all decisions. As soon as we identify one sex over another we are sliding down a slippery slope from which we cannot gain traction. Instead we should be employees, people, associates, assistants, managers, etc. By removing any reference to sex, we eliminate all of the issues of gender, sexism and the bias these represent in the workplace.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2018

    Will store-within-a-store concepts make Hy-Vee’s more attractive destinations?

    This is too much of a "side" sale. Hy-Vee is in danger of becoming seen as a higher-end HBC retailer rather than its more traditional supermarket position. This will narrow their appeal to their overall target market and minimize their sales. The tremendous amount of square footage dedicated to this will probably fail to return the ROI that other mixed build-outs would provide (i.e. high-end cheese, wine, natural sections, farm-to-market, restaurants, etc.).
  • Posted on: 05/18/2018

    BJ’s Wholesale Club is going back to Wall Street

    BJ's is simply trying to cash-in while they can. Their model is not growing in the face of incredible pressure from Costco and Sam's (and Sam's just closed 60+ stores), as well as Amazon. Going public will force greater transparency and improved profitability, if this is even possible for BJ's. The clock is ticking and the private equity firms who own BJ's know this. Good luck!
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Managing the dark side of workplace friendships

    Attempting to manage work friendships, or any relationships at work is difficult if not impossible. Every organization from school to work to church, etc. has to deal with friendships and the dynamics of relationships at the group level. Controlling these at the organizational level is not what an organization is built upon nor should it ever be a focus of the organization. As people, we tend to form relationships around personal things and controlling these factors has never succeeded. Recognizing this and working around these factors is the best advice, rather than trying to control or "avoid" relationships.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2018

    Amazon plans to become the fresh food safety leader

    Amazon is using data to better manage food safety. Amazon has a distinct advantage because of their data, and parlaying this into changes in products, operations, systems and processes, will enable Amazon to create new inroads into food safety, customer satisfaction and the retail systems built around this.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2018

    Will Target Restock undercut Amazon’s Prime Pantry?

    Target is trying to make their model work against Amazon's, and it cannot. The numbers do not add up. Amazon still has a Prime surcharge to help offset their expenses. This is a tremendous advantage from a cost perspective. It's also a data management tracker and a market differentiator. Target has to either do the same with its model or define a fee that will offset their increased costs, including freight.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Retail loyalty programs are no longer in the cards

    These moves by major retailers are simply the reflection of the end of cards. Any card. Why tie your future and the participation of your target markets to your loyalty program to a dying concept (store cards)? Instead, by making these virtual, stores are better able to plan, prepare, and collect data in the cloud, and use it faster and easier. Stores will find greater satisfaction with their customers and better security and controls with their loyalty programs.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Target sees stores as key to meeting its distribution challenges

    It is great that Target can utilize its stores like DCs. However, this also points to another issue which Target has to address: the amount of inventory kept in each store, vis a vis the demand "seen" by the store. The ability to respond to increased demand from Target's online efforts also points to a lack of inventory control reflecting the SKU velocity and the ROI in each store. Decreasing the amount of inventory at store level will free up cash flow, decrease the ordering quantities and allow Target to better control both its cash on hand and the resulting inventory at store shelves.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    Is American Patients First good for retail pharmacies?

    Even recognizing that reforms are needed is a huge step in the right direction. Removing the politics from a health care crisis will take time and leadership, but it must be done if we are to survive as a society. This will happen, but the true question is when. Only time will tell what issues are addressed first, and when the key issues of drug reform and patient communication (clarity) can be fixed.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    No. Like all inelastic demand subscriptions and products, Amazon's Prime membership is both a cash cow, as well as a great way to create more profits with very little expense. $119 is a great price for the next 5 years, until we see Walmart/Jet catch up, and other specialty .coms become a stronger presence online. This is a smart move for Amazon, and should have been done long before today.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2018

    Why brands need to use Amazon to acquire customers

    Brands, and many companies are still in denial on not only listing their products effectively on Amazon, but also on reflecting the same information on their own website. Optimized, keywords, maximized for SEO should be reflected in any brand listing whether on Amazon or a corporate website. Most importantly, the company should recognize how robust Amazon's listing capabilities are and should maximize each data field, listing space, and picture/video listing space. Knowing this will help many organizations utilize Amazon's prowess and incorporate this information into their own listings.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2018

    McDonald’s newest restaurant has international flavor

    A broader, more diverse flavor offering is clearly in demand in the USA as well as other cities around the world. McDonald's would be remiss in not offering the concept as well as the alternative menu items in different cities since it competes with a broader palate for people of a more diverse background in today's modern cities.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2018

    Will Gen Zers push personalization toward individualization?

    Gen Z is really no different than any other group (Gen Y) who wants things personalized, to fit their needs. Who doesn't want a loyalty program that gives their customer enough flexibility to feel like it was "customized" for them? From baker's dozen (your 13th is your own choice and free) to frequent buyer discounts, we have been dealing with loyalty programs in customized versions for years. Gen Z will push the shopping experience to be more technology driven, but the demand for individualized satisfaction tied to the customer loyalty program will not change ... only how it can be customized through technology.

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