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: 10/21/2020

    Will Whole Foods draw more Prime shoppers with one-hour curbside pickup?

    Yes, yes, yes. This is larger, more convenient, and costs nothing more with your Amazon prime membership. This will drive more people to purchase more Amazon prime subscriptions and increase the appeal of Amazon on all fronts.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    Has Walmart come up with an answer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad?

    Yes, yes, yes. Walmart should be in the complimentary service business for their electronic products. Having a TV hung in a home, a new phone setup and having the data transferred, or having increased consumer electronic sales because the client feels that they can trust you more since you are transferring all of their online data to their new computer, is tremendous. This offers service before the sale for many consumer electronic devices, as well as repair after the sale.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    Will downsizing (food packs) bring a merry Christmas to Sam’s Club?

    In a year highlighted by Covid, high unemployment, an economic depression, and an aggressive electoral environment, this makes sense. Smaller packs cost less, so that members can purchase more items, and hopefully spend more.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Retailers say the new stimulus plan can’t wait until after the election

    Let's be clear on some facts. The stock market is NOT the economy. The markets can be doing very well (they are) while we have record unemployment, minimal job growth, poor business growth and earnings and low interest rates with no economic response. This is what is real and what needs stimulus. The Fed can implement programs to help offset this, but we need more funds for the Fed, States, Cities and local economies, as well as federal investment in infrastructure programs to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2020

    Will Levi’s Secondhand store give the brand a sustainable advantage?

    The secondhand store for Levi's will simply add to its image and produce an even greater demand for their products from customers who cannot afford (or do not want) new Levi's clothes.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?

    Preselecting products and grouping them together is not a key to successful online shopping, where it is so easy to compare or find other products with just the click of a mouse. Instead, this approach seems to ignore the competitive appeal that price plays when shopping online, as well as the basis that broad selections offer men when shopping online. No, one site cannot make men love shopping online. Instead, maximizing customer service, convenience, price, selection and delivery will encourage men to better enjoy their shopping experience ... as all customers do.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Are employees or execs holding back data-driven cultures?

    No, employees are not holding back data-driven cultures. The article mentions data resistance as being one of the issues, yet does not define this. Change and growth are always about better preparedness, including an understanding of the changes and why.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Will 2020 be the year the holiday selling season changed forever?

    No. Black Friday and other key holiday promotions will not be pushed aside by Amazon's move from their Amazon Day in July (now delayed to October) and the other retailers who have added other days to their promotional calendar. In the end, it is the consumer expectation, combined with the large number of religious holidays in December, who expect to purchase heavily discounted merchandise starting on Black Friday and moving into December.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2020

    Will Amazon’s new online store disrupt the luxury fashion and beauty business?

    No. The luxury market thrives on having their customer experience include come to them and surround them with products which they select. Buying a car means having it shown, test-driven, and delivered right to your door step. The same applies for service. The high-end jewelry market has done this for years. High-end clothing, especially custom clothing, is all done at the customer's location. Offering this online is trying to make the online experience fit all customers, and now is not the time for this.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2020

    Will locals choose Brooklyn over Bezos?

    This is a very "cool" community effort that needs to be refined from a business perspective in the grocery world. Most grocers do not have an additional 9% of their gross to pay for delivery. Instead, having a top-line delivery charge is more transparent, more reasonable, and communicates the overall total cost to the customer in a more positive way. Also, everyone would love to pay their employees $20-$25 to box groceries, or restock shelves, but why spend an extra $5-$10 per hour on employees, when instead you can invest in the workplace for every employee through things like free childcare, free meals during each shift, flex hours, etc. Happy employees are much more important than just paying more money.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2020

    How can grocers help ease home cooking fatigue?

    Grocers need to go back to basics to ease home cooking fatigue. Out-of-stocks are a huge problem during this pandemic, and grocers would do well to offer multiple alternatives to their best sellers on the shelf. OOSs are the 3 worst words in retail, and grocers have ignored this as they focus on other less important issues. It is easy to have home cooking fatigue when your access to different food choices are continually minimized by OOSs on the grocer's shelf.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2020

    How can indie retailers build lasting brand equity?

    My first tip would be to ignore some of these tips. The key to success is not having your employees and yourself chanting your corporate mantra, and showing your corporate logo everywhere, but instead to have your customers chanting your corporate mantra, and logo, as they share their pleasure with their friends, family and neighbors. Success is built upon the shoulders of your customers, not on your employees. Make a customer happy and s/he will come back to your store multiple times and bring 20 of their friends, family, neighbors and associates with them. To do this requires a happy employee. Make your employees happy, pay them well, give them more than they expect so that they are loyal, and then have them share your excellence with your customers for an excellent customer experience. That is how to build lasting brand equity. Walmart, Costco, Starbucks, Home Depot, McDonalds, the list of American success stories shows this every day.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2020

    J.C. Penney rescued. Will it now find success and save the mall, too?

    No. Simon and Brookfield got $.50 on the dollar for Penney's assets and then leveraged these out to keep the current operations running for a while. However, this will not save the mall model, nor will it save J.C. Penney. There is no success with an outdated mall model, especially in this age of the pandemic. Simon and Brookfield will leverage their real estate, sell it for more than it is currently worth, and keep their mall tenants alive as long as reasonably possible. However, this will be just another failing in the eventual closing of retail malls in America.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2020

    Walmart pilots its way into the drone delivery race

    We should not forget that this is only a test. This is not a race, not a competition, not a one-up position. Tom Ward may have many statements in this article, but he is forgetting Sam Walton and his main position ... the customer. Unlike Tom Ward, I met Sam Walton several times as he brought hats and donuts to stores outside of Bentonville, when I lived in Tulsa, and called on many Walmart stores in the Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas area in the early 1980s. His pride rested with making his customers and his employees happy. This was translated into world-class customer service, loyal customers, and beautifully run stores that were his pride and joy. It was not having the latest technology or running the race for the first to have a new system in place.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2020

    Has COVID-19 revealed pickup’s pain points?

    Communication, communication, communication are the top pickup's pain points. The consumer needs to communicate when they want the order. The retailer needs to get the order ready before the consumer arrives. The retailer needs to communicate when the order is ready and where to have it loaded into the consumer's car. The consumer needs to communicate when they arrive to pickup the order at the previously communicated pick-up spot. The retailer needs to communicate and confirm that they are loading the order into the vehicle and thank the consumer for their support.

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