Kai Clarke

CMO, COO American Retail Consultants
Kai Clarke Charlotte, NC 28278   LinkedIn: 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 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. 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. 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 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
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    How profitable is online selling?

    Online selling is not profitable. Amazon makes its profits from the cloud and offering its fulfillment and warehouse services, along with website selling listings for additional fees to the suppliers. The article quotes "valuations" like those of Casper, but confuses these with actual profits, since valuations are a stock market perception, not a reflection of profits. Following in the footsteps of Amazon by leveraging your investment in "the cloud" to sell this to your partners, or other services to better leverage your online market space, is the true way to create profits for an online sales and marketing company.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2019

    Why did it take At Home so long to decide to sell online?

    At Home is still confused about their position in the retail and the online marketplace. They need to fully define this and then stick to their placement. This also requires them to become a full online retailer, including their plans for a buy online, pickup in-store retailer. They already have enough "warehouse and retail" physical locations, and an active website. Making the leap to full online retailer should be the next step, and needs to be done in less than a year, not in three years. Survival and adaptation is their concern here, and slow growth will not work.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    Is Amazon Go heading for a hard stop?

    Yes. We are not ready for this technology at retail, and there really isn't a need for this solution. This is the classic "solution looking for a problem." It is not a big deal to walk through a self-check area and spend a few minutes more concluding your shopping experience. This minimizes costs compared to the Amazon Go technology -- it reduces overall costs at store level, keeps product prices lower, and can still enhance the customer experience.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    In power move, Walmart expands Delivery Unlimited

    Welcome to the great world of subscription revenues, Walmart! Amazon does it to create a profitable bottom line. So does Costco, Sam's Club (part of Walmart), and many others. Applying this to the grocery channel, where delivery has even more of presence, is just a no-brainer. Increased profits, more on-time deliveries, and happier customers. This empowers the store to conduct better forecasting, minimize out-of-stocks, and create an entirely new audience. What is there not to like?
  • Posted on: 09/09/2019

    Ace Hardware builds through acquisition in the do-it-for-me market

    This is a great move by Ace. By creating a 360 degree solution for home DIY, they ensure their customers that they can always come back to Ace to get the job done should they realize that they need help. For Ace this compliments their current product-based offerings, while expanding their marketing exposure in the hardware industry through increased hardware services. This ensures more customers as Ace broadens their appeal.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    Yes. This is the right thing to do, and Sam Walton would have wanted it this way. Our political leaders are being swayed by fear, minor PACs like the NRA and outdated political positions. Retailers like Walmart, Kroger and others have had enough and are no longer going to empower this misperceived status quo, since it is not reflected by their customers' needs. Now they are responding to their customers' needs and their business requirements.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2019

    Is it time for retailers to create a tech strategy for pop-up shops?

    Trying to create a tech strategy for a temporary retail location (this is what pop-ups are) is self-defeating. Pop-ups are short-term reflections of consumer's needs. Pop-ups don't have to be small, or tech focused, but instead should be nimble and flexible. This is at the core of their model. If you are trying to focus on a tech strategy you are shifting to an additional requirement which will only increase the burden of the pop-up model. The key here is to have the ability to create an environment which reflects the needs of the consumer who is in your store at that moment. This does not necessarily require a tech strategy, nor should it.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Trump’s tariff war escalates

    This "trade war" is what happens when congress relinquishes its constitutional authority to act as a check and balance to the Executive branch. This was done as part of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, which allows the president to implement tariffs during a national emergency. This is the key act, but there are also several others which need to be repealed to bring our system of checks and balances back into constitutional balance. Also, Tariff wars can only be lost, not won, since imposing a tariff impacts everything coming into the country, from cradle to grave, as a primary product, secondary product (in the manufacturing process), tertiary product, and further down the line. As well as products that are being sold internally or exported. Amplify all of this in a global economy, and the leverage is so negative that any countries who are hurt by a tariff only have a "way out" by retaliating with their own tariff. And the process just gets worse. Realize that tariffs don't just impact the products they focus on, but also the financial markets which depend on these revenues and loans, and monetary “float” becomes another economic casualty. Add to this the uncertainty that this environment creates, and the stock market, the financial markets and for business in general, and soon everything becomes more short term focused. This translates into a risk-averse, position and withdraws future growth plans, extended business vision, and other positive economic positions. We must bear in mind that the lack of action by the Congress to correct this and the unchecked empowerment of the Executive branch allows for this condition to continue. Each of us as Americans, have the direct freedom to voice our concern with the Congressional and Executive branches of government until action is taken. These freedoms are guaranteed to us as part of the Constitution and each one of us, as Americans needs to exercise these rights.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Is technology really making stores more like the web?

    No. Stores are simply reflecting the use of available technologies which their customers prefer. Using touch pads to communicate has been around for over 10 years. That stores are using it more and more is only a reflection of sharing their understanding of the ease of use which their consumers prefer. There really is no making something "more like the web" since we really don't know what the web looks like. When I read my digital book, is it more like the web, or has the web become more like my digital book by embracing this medium? What about when I watch content on my internet connected TV? Am I still watching TV or is this TV more like the Internet? It is not the technology which makes stores like the Internet, but the Internet access which makes stores. We cannot confuse these two...
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney?

    Too little, too late. JCP is trying to revive a retailing model that is past its prime. Add to this the financial and marketing hole it has to deal with, on top of the logistical nightmare of rapidly outdated, outmoded, expensive, product in their stores and warehouses and you have a recipe for continued failure. JCP needs to have a fire sale, reduce stores, eliminate inventory and restructure itself to be something other than a department store.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2019

    Can H-E-B win the autonomous delivery vehicle race in Texas?

    Patience. This is the tune that regional grocers need to be humming. Autonomous delivery vehicles can offer a solution, if there is a problem to solve. Using AI and complex computer hardware to control a vehicle compared to a driver has very little advantage. Some would argue that the costs of the driver are far less than the specialized vehicle and the complex software needed to interface on all sides of the logistics equation. In light of the small number of home grocery deliveries, these do not offset. Again, the regional grocer's best tool is patience.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2019

    Grocers develop their own tech responses to Amazon Go

    This is a solution looking for a problem. Regional grocers aren't going to lose market share to Amazon because it has discovered a way to do this (it has but at a tremendous cost). There are so many other issues which need to be addressed rather than using AI to empower checkout-free technologies in a grocery store. Pricing, out-of-stocks, broader availability, non-gmo alternatives, etc. Amazon's boast about building hundreds of stores like this over the next two years is nonsensical and unbelievable.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Have emojis become digital’s ice breaker for consumers?

    Yes. Emojis have become just another way to rapidly express our feelings without having to type more words. Best yet, they offer an alternative without misconstruing the writer's meaning. However, with that being said, using emojis in formal writing and any type of non-correspondence is inappropriate.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Can Victoria’s Secret recover from its founder’s past relationship with Jeffrey Epstein?

    Yes. This is not a case of bad press but one where the CEO was personally taken advantage of by a pedophile. At no time does having $46 million of your personal monies stolen by a convicted sex offender equate to your aligning yourself with them. That Mr. Wexner had Jeffrey Epstein steal $46 million from him should be enough. Now he has to go through more public embarrassment, and shame, by having thoughtless organizations align him with Jeffrey Epstein is a gross abuse of power and frankly, sounds alot like blackmail (he has to join their organization?). How does joining an organization change the fact that Jeffrey Epstein stole money from him? Wexner made a personal, financial mistake that has nothing to do with RESPECT nor the fact that RESPECT was not even around when this was done. Finally, hearsay allegations, are not necessarily true and should be treated as such until they are proven. Shame on RESPECT for reacting and demanding these actions until they have been proven true. Demanding that Wexner join their foundation is corporate blackmail. There needs to be a separation between VS's issues and the personal financial issues of its CEO.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2019

    CVS subscription program goes big to outdo Amazon Prime

    Where is the real value that CVS will offer over Amazon? Amazon prime members pay nothing more to get 20% lower prices on prescriptions, plus free 2nd day delivery. CVS is only offering their products at a 20% lower price, which doesn't help for all of the national branded prescription drugs! CVS needs to understand that as a retailer, it must offer better prices, availability and ease of use for all customers and all products to beat out Amazon.

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