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: 11/12/2019

    Amazon confirms it will open a grocery store not named Whole Foods

    Perhaps the real question here is what is the main driver that has Amazon focused on building these new grocery stores in new locations. I believe that we need to focus on these as "warehouses" that can be grocery stores, rather than just grocery stores. If we look at these new grocery-enabled "warehouses" as part of Amazon's grocery goals AND their next-day delivery goals, we suddenly have more locations with lower logistical costs for thousands of SKUs, in addition to grocery. This brings Amazon even closer to their overall corporate retail goals in addition to their grocery growth.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2019

    Kroger to make fresh marketing start with a new logo, tagline and ‘Krojis’

    Kroger's new logo and tagline and Krojis will do very little to improve sales or even really re-position Kroger against its competitors. However, eliminating its grocery pickup fee through the holidays is a great idea, and one that Kroger should keep after January 1.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2019

    Can J.C. Penney reinvent itself with its offbeat lab store?

    No, this move by J.C. Penney to reinvent itself with a lab store will fail. The reason is very straightforward; malls are failing and so are department stores. Like all department stores, J.C. Penney is trying to keep a dying dinosaur alive. It cannot. The retail shopper is going online, not to malls, and certainly not to department stores. J.C. Penney would have more success by converting all of its' remaining stores to hardware stores, which are still in a fast growth stage, instead of continuing to redefine a dying department store model. Why not?
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Should the recent Instacart strike concern retailers?

    Yes. Retailers should be concerned about the Instacart strike, since tips are a big part of their compensation. Tips should be earned and not mandatory, so the better drivers will understand this and will go out of their way to ensure heightened customer satisfaction and better tips.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Food halls drive mall traffic, not clothing sales

    Yes, food will continue to drive traffic at malls. However, retailers have to do their part to embrace omnichannel marketing and enhance their appeal to their target market.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Should McDonald’s CEO have been fired over a ‘consensual relationship’?

    Personal freedoms away from the workplace are not within the boundaries of workplace rules. Who a person is in their private life should not hinge on their position or where they work. McDonald's should wake up to the 21st century and realize that we are people first and not workers of a company beholden to corporate rules in our private lives. Our constitution guarantees many freedoms and America was founded on these freedoms. This doesn't give a corporation the right to impinge on these with a corporate policy. Dictating personal freedoms, by a company, is just wrong.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Best Buy is ready for Christmas with free next-day deliveries for almost everyone

    Speed of delivery is key to winning each category in the online delivery race. Since Amazon and Walmart are all standardizing on the next-day free delivery, Best Buy has no choice but to match it or better.The real question is, how does Best Buy stand out from their competition once they have the delivery time matched with Amazon and Walmart?
  • Posted on: 10/11/2019

    Will Sam’s Club CEO lead Walmart’s U.S. business to greater success?

    Clearly the move to omnichannel marketing is a top-of-mind focus for Walmart and it is, and will continue to be, their greatest challenge alongside logistics (including last-mile delivery), warehousing, and profitability. Competing with Amazon in a shifting online environment is key.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2019

    Google Shopping gets an upgrade

    Google is offering a solution to a problem that is already being addressed (by others -- easily) with no advantage. Just being another online marketplace doesn't give Google an advantage over Amazon or Walmart. I don't see over 100 distribution warehouses or thousands of specialized delivery vehicles offered through Google. Google is not in the same league as either Walmart or Amazon.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Will becoming a UPS pickup/drop off point drive craft sales at Michaels?

    The success of driving more business through their store by including a UPS pickup/drop-off point in each Michaels store will not mirror the success that Kohl's has had when they joined with Amazon and UPS. It is the Amazon drop-off/pick-up partnership that really adds value and sustained time in the store for the increased customer traffic this brings in. You cannot confuse the massive Amazon numbers with the slight UPS numbers. The next quarter will really bear this out as Amazon drives even more year over year customers through Kohl's stores.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Are legacy CPG brands just naturally digitally-challenged?

    Innovate, adapt or perish is what most CPG brands should be realizing as they try to become more digitally diverse. Their reach must include sales, marketing, customer service and operations at all digital levels. Measurement of each of these metrics with numbers to define success, as well as clearly targeted goals and objectives should be part of the organization's mantra each day. Anything less will allow the old branding to stay fixed within a non-digital, insulated, position which leads to eventual failure of the brand and often the organization.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Walmart sells ModCloth, seeks Jetblack spinoff and cuts Bonobos jobs

    These reductions, sales and alignments towards its key business platform reflects the strengths which Walmart already has in place. This reaffirms Walmart's commitment to its core competencies, and demonstrates that it doesn't need to purchase other organizations to grow, redefine or clarify its business model. These are smart business decisions by Walmart and should be continued as Walmart audits its business structures, especially those from external growth and acquisition.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should Amazon rent out its Just Walk Out tech?

    Amazon's goal of renting out its Just Walk Out technology is clearly to grow Amazon Web Services (AWS) or its "cloud" offering. Amazon's own efforts to make the Just Walk Out technology profitable, and failing, demonstrate that it is not a reasonable effort for any retailer to use it. Frankly, it is a solution that is looking for a problem -- at any cost. Most retailers will see this from the beginning and will opt for less costly, (i.e. more profitable) solutions from less competitive alternatives. This is a very expensive solution that has been tested and failed at offering profitable solutions at retail. Why would anyone else want to utilize this?
  • Posted on: 10/03/2019

    What is Amazon’s ultimate Alexa strategy?

    Amazon believes that Alexa will be its next big stepping stone into the future as we move to a voice-based input system for our device controls. So far, this has yet to be borne out in usage or demand. Alexa is a solution for a problem that has yet to appear. As such, Amazon has to be considering other alternatives in order to ensure that they are prepared for the future on all fronts.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2019

    Do Carolinians have Wegmans on their minds?

    There is a definite attraction to a new player in the grocery space, and the larger metro areas do well with these new players (Lidle, Aldi) who compete with the more established Harris Teeter, Publix and Walmart. However, only time will truly tell if the market can support another player or if this is just a short-term attraction because Wegmans is new.

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