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
  • VIEW ARTICLES
  • VIEW COMMENTS
  • Posted on: 02/25/2020

    What are the biggest barriers to AI adoption for retailers?

    We first have to define what AI is and how it will be applied at retail. Just throwing out the word AI is too broad and indiscriminate. The AI areas touched upon in the article are basic information or cashier assistance points, and more mechanized or communication robots. These are still just being identified and growing at retail, since they are in their infancy. We have to wait and see how AI matures and is applied by retailers as they better compete for the consumers attention.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    IKEA tests the value of time as a sales incentive

    This is a great idea that only needs to properly applied for the right audience. I especially like Timberland's plant a tree donation concept for each customer. Anytime you can give back to a customer in a special way, this makes them feel special, and often encourages them to return again as a customer.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Are loyalty cards key to online-to-offline attribution?

    The better question here is why wouldn't you see the data from loyalty programs serving as a data bridge to connect different data sources to multiple categories? We are in an omni-channel sales age that requires omni-channel marketing to bridge the divide of information and communication. Successful businesses will recognize this and leverage this data early on.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2020

    New Vans store designed as an homage to LA’s skate history

    Intriguing concept, approach and thoughts. Vans does this so well that we have come to expect cutting edge experiential approaches to any retailing, products and partnerships involving Vans. Good job and unique approach, Vans!
  • Posted on: 02/06/2020

    Should retailers brag about doing good?

    Yes. Sharing their position on how a retailer should be helping their community is only a good thing. The public at large should always be reminded of the position that a retailer takes to assist their local community and the things that they do.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2020

    Which commercial won the Super Bowl?

    Bill Murray's take on Groundhog Day and pushing the new Jeep was a great ad; it was memorable, delivered a message, and made a lasting impact for its product. All of these factors make for a great ad and this commercial was clearly one of the best Super Bowl ads.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2020

    Is hot food the ingredient Amazon Go has been lacking?

    Amazon Go needs a consumer that is comfortable with the technology, and hot food and drink to fully expand its offering. Developing a following, clarifying their market positioning, and creating a category presence is key to Amazon Go becoming a market presence.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2020

    Is it ethical for resellers to raise the price of Kobe Bryant merchandise?

    Resellers should be managing their inventories, pricing and promotions of Kobe merchandise just like they do any other merchandised product from a superstar who has passed away (Babe Ruth, Deacon Jones, etc.). Resellers are in the business of selling merchandised product. Taking this away from them would be removing their living, so it is definitely ethical for them to sell and manage the price of all of their merchandise.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2020

    Are retailers ready for the coronavirus?

    American retailers are not ready for the coronavirus, because we don't know what to expect or how to curtail the impact of the coronavirus. There is not a path of well-defined cause and effect leading up to infection of the coronavirus, and how to stop it from spreading. Until they do, retailers, are very exposed and cannot be prepared for all of the different scenarios.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2020

    Will investors sleep on Casper’s IPO?

    Different, different, different. And profitable. Casper needs to prove it offers a unique value proposition in the market, especially as it extends its reach to a larger market in more categories. As the blown foam mattress competitors continues to grow (and prices fall), Casper will have to stay in front of their competitors in this category and make money. This is a difficult goal for any company, but especially one where the barriers to entry are low, competitors are increasing, and profits are falling. Only time will tell how investors respond to Casper's IPO.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2020

    Forget football, the Super Bowl is all about the food!

    Yes! In addition to selling food, grocers can also sell (and introduce) football themed products, jerseys, hats, balls, etc. All things football and super bowl specific can sell for a grocer both before and after the game. This also ties into all super bowl marketed items from major sponsors in their stores (food, HBC, drinks, snacks, etc.) The super bowl is a huge win for everyone who participates, and any grocer who wants to take advantage of this, should....
  • Posted on: 01/25/2020

    Move over plant-based meat, lab-grown meat is coming

    This is the classic example of a solution looking for a problem. Plant based meats are not necessary (or desired by the marketplace), nor are lab-grown meats, which offer no advantages over traditional meat. The consumer will not pay more for a substitute that offers no advantages over meat, no matter where it comes from or what it is made from. Instead, the market will eliminate these choices from the category and stick to its preferred meat.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Will store closures worsen in 2020?

    More stores will close their doors in 2020. Physical store locations are a dying model (unless they back up a robust online presence) and the majority of brick and mortar stores are doomed to close. The online model is faster, more efficient, lower cost (offers more profits), and more competitive. All of this points to an adapt or perish position for brick and mortar stores.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Is Rite Aid already headed for a turnaround?

    Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. Where is the online presence of Rite Aid and how does this factor into its turnaround? The fact that this article, and the leadership team at Rite Aid, is not even focused online or the rapidly growing presence of Amazon shows and alarming avoidance of the facts. The drugstore/pharmacy model is rapidly changing and the rest of the world is preparing for it. Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Boots/Walgreens all have a strong presence that is getting stronger by leaps and bounds. Rite Aid needs to adapt or perish as the online world passes them by...
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    Are return rates out of control?

    This is a poor perspective on the online business model. The extrapolated rate of returns (which this article cites) is not a valid business profitability tool, and has not been for the simple reason that it is included in the COGS of the retailer, manufacturer, etc. Focusing on this only distorts the rest of the equation that any balance sheet reflects, and any good investor or businessman references in their decision making. It is absurd to even believe that a 26 percent increase from UPS (who by the way does not handle returns as a separate portion of its freight management system), for one day, means that all business has a 26 percent increase of their return rate. Even worse, this does not account for the return allowances that all suppliers must pay as part of their business with Amazon (and other retailers), which many times goes unused.

Contact Kai

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.