PROFILE

Kai Clarke

CEO, President- 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: 07/28/2020

    Has retail adaptation become more about survival than competitive edge?

    You cannot fix the economy without first fixing COVID-19. Retail adaptation depends on this to even exist. It is adapt or perish. We have already proved that pushing people to do things without social distancing, using masks and staying clean, will only result in horrific disease acceleration. Should we continue to do this, the lessons will only get more horrific and the dead bodies will continue to mount. This will start with pushing children to go to school before we have a vaccine in place. These children will become carriers of the virus on a tremendous scale the likes of which we have never seen. They will spread the disease to their friends, families, neighbors, and classmates. We will not be able to respond to this accelerated spreading of the disease fast enough.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2020

    Can Trader Joe’s shake off its racist branding tag?

    No. This is a take on Trader Joe's name. Since TJ's is not claiming racist branding, it is a reverse rant about racism and the very loyal TJ customer is going to quickly forget about this.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2020

    Is a federal $15 minimum wage virtually a done deal?

    Business has spoken. The minimum wage is an antiquated concept whose time has long perished. When Walmart, Target and most other businesses are already moving in this direction, it indicates the significant impact that underpaying your workers has compared to giving them a livable wage where families can flourish, not just exist, and employees become loyal.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2020

    Did Amazon just put its Go technology in a shopping cart?

    This is really a solution looking for a problem. Self-scanning lines at stores are not much different than this. They have special lines, coupons are scanned at the register instead of the cart, and most self-scanning customers have fewer than 2 bags of groceries, so they are fast and nimble. Unlike the Dash Cart, you don't need to sign in, or access any account. Simply take your products, scan them at the register, pay and go. The Dash Cart doesn't seem to offer much of an advantage, and it will certainly cost money ... Hmmmmm....
  • Posted on: 07/16/2020

    How murky has COVID-19 made retail data?

    COVID-19 has not been around long enough to truly have a formidable impact on retail data. COVID-19 is a five-month phenomenon, not even two quarters and certainly not a full retail year. Reacting to COVID-19 after five months is premature and ignores all of our current, historical retail data. We cannot be so reactive in this dynamic, online retail environment, simply because there is a new force that changes our very short term perception of the omnichannel and online environment. We can accommodate the current changing environment, recognizing that it is a transition and flexibility is critical.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Starbucks becomes latest retailer to make masks mandatory

    Starbucks and the majority of states in the USA are taking an ethically correct and smart position. Wearing masks in the middle of a pandemic is simply smart and respects the health of others. There is no constitutional "right" to not wear a mask when on private property. This is just like there is no "right" to smoke cigarettes on private property. We need to handle wearing a mask like smoking. You can smoke in your home and on your property, but anywhere else, especially where it impedes upon other's ability to breathe, is not allowed. The same is true of wearing a mask. You don't have to wear a mask in your home and on your property, but anywhere else, especially where it puts others at risk, you must wear a mask. It is this simple. We have done the same with safety belts, speed limits, unleaded gas, pollution controls for cars and factories, etc. If you want to enjoy these things, you follow the requirements established by law. You don't have any "constitutional right" to ignore these and put other people's lives at risk.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Retailers need way more fulfillment space to keep up with booming online sales

    This is a difficult reply to a simple, direct question. The amount of retail space available reflects the direct need for products, both online and on-ground. How retailers approach this is the crux of omnichannel retail, and really the future shift of retail. The Covid problem is not going anywhere for at least 3-5 years, if ever, and the exposure and lessons we have learned will stay with us forever. People who are active for these next 3-5 years, in both retail as well as the new work environment will adapt, and their demands will reflect this, in new ways, in new environments.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Can a socially distanced event launch a sneakerhead hub?

    Launching a new model in a continuously changing retail and social environment is sheer folly and a poor business decision. You cannot ignore a pandemic, especially in NYC and say that it applies to everyone but you. It would only take a few moments to ask yourself why all of the stores around you were so empty and people only came downtown in fear, for any businessman to put the brakes on supporting this environment. Staffing and attending this event is sheer folly and really just a bad decision. Respect this pandemic, respect other's lives and respect what we still don't know about this medical monster, let alone what we need to know to do business while surviving it.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2020

    Will expanded fresh and frozen food selection drive Target’s pickup business?

    This will increase Target's pickup business, their customer satisfaction (from more SKUs) and their competitive position in the marketplace. Most importantly, it will increase their reach into other categories and thus their sales overall will benefit from this.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2020

    Would Amazon and Google benefit from publishing fake consumer reviews?

    No. Publishing fake reviews is akin to deceiving your customers and questioning the veracity of the product being mentioned, as well as the manufacturer, and of course the web retailer. Reviews should be edited to maintain a high level of truth, and reinforce an ethical position for the website as well.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2020

    Target wants to be known as the best place to work in retail

    Great start for Target! But it has to follow through for all employees on free, great benefits and healthcare, better pay ($20 per hour minimum), more paid holidays including one additional day for a paid voting day, a bonus paid birthday holiday, greater employee discounts to encourage more in-store shopping from all employees, one friends and family virtual shopping day per year, educational assistance for tenured employees (full college tuition paid for all "A" grades, partial assistance for all "B" grades), corporate matching for select donations chosen by the employee, store driven committees to improve employee communications and input, and Target daycare placed in all stores for all tenured employees who are working that day. Changes like these will make Target a great place to work, a place that people want to go to work, and a place for people to stay and work (especially daycare).
  • Posted on: 06/18/2020

    Can a box of pancake mix be racist?

    This is pushing racism in many ways. I am Irish, yet I am not asking that Lucky Charms be changed since it promotes a denigrating image of the Irish. Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's, Mrs. Butterworth's, Colonel Sanders, Chef Boyardee and many others all have questionable histories which denigrate and set apart people, yet they are not the focus of this story or any other ones which are identifying racist brands and images. Perhaps the real question is where do we draw the line?
  • Posted on: 06/17/2020

    Should stores relax dress codes to let workers show support for Black Lives Matter?

    No, no, no. If the retailer provides a "uniform" as a condition of work in the workplace, then individual dress is not an option for employees. When you check in for work, you are to wear the assigned clothing, not something which you have decided is appropriate. The consequences of individual "freedom of speech" being reflected in individual dress is not a component of the workplace in companies who have invested and developed a dress code for everyone to follow. Not adhering to this leaves open personal interpretation of individual clothes, what message it sends and the consequences of this. This results in chaotic messaging, rebellious dress and a mess for other employees to endure.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Walmart teams up with Shopify to give Amazon a run for its money

    This is a great move for Shopify, and just a good one for Walmart. The real question here is why is Walmart going to a third party for a solution that it should be doing itself and controlling in-house? Unless it is going to buy Shopify ... hmmmmmmm....
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Should Children’s Place’s future be digital?

    Yes, CP's future is digital. They should be emphasizing this migration as rapidly as possible, since they are competing with not just children's stores in this space, but any retailer. They compete for retail dollars, in a digital world. This needs to be their focus and future mantra.

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