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WIA Profile: Stephanie Keating

Each month, XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry’s most influential female executives.

From We-Vibe to WOW Tech to Lovehoney Group, there have been plenty of big changes behind the scenes at the home of brands like Womanizer, Fifty Shades of Grey and pjur, but at least one thing has remained the same: Sales and Marketing Director Stephanie Keating.

I am very passionate about leadership and creating a positive work environment for my team.

A rarity in the pleasure space, Keating has spent her entire industry career with the same company. Instead, it’s the company that’s changed hands multiple times while Keating has risen and bobbed with the waves like an experienced ship captain. Indeed, Keating has managed to forge the kind of career path that eludes most: the old-fashioned American dream of finding a great employer and climbing the ladder from within.

Today, Keating still has both hands in crafting brand messages and effective marketing, even while leading a happy, thriving sales and marketing team that keeps Lovehoney Group ahead of the trends. In an industry where you can be just about anything, including your true self, Keating chose to become a passionate purveyor of pleasure — and to devote her energy to being the best boss she can be. This combination makes her the kind of manager for whom would-be sex toy sellers dream of working.

Now, as We-Vibe celebrates its 15th anniversary, XBIZ is hoisting a congratulatory banner for Stephanie Keating as WIA’s Woman of the Month.

XBIZ: You’ve been with Lovehoney Group for quite a while now, since the company was called We-Vibe. How long has it been this year, and how has your career evolved since you began?

Stephanie Keating: I started working for We-Vibe/Standard Innovation almost 12 years ago as a marketing specialist and my first responsibility was the marketing launch for the We-Vibe 3. I was then promoted to merchandising manager, and I developed and executed a global display program for We-Vibe that included the We-Vibe tower display. Next, I was the brand manager for We-Vibe and I expanded the product line from four to 15 products. Those were a busy couple of years. In 2019, after the We-Vibe and Womanizer merger, I became the marketing director for the Americas region for those brands and also pjur. Then, we expanded the portfolio to include Romp and Arcwave. Now I am the sales and marketing director for the Americas.

XBIZ: How have your job duties changed throughout your many transitions within the company and following the mergers?

Keating: I have been the marketing director for a few years now. However, in August 2022 I was promoted to sales and marketing director. My primary marketing responsibilities have not changed very much since the merger of WOW Tech and Lovehoney. My focus continues to be engaging our customers and providing them with creative campaigns, high-quality marketing assets and educational resources to help them sell our products. However, since the merger, my role has expanded from the responsibility for the We-Vibe, Womanizer, Arcwave, ROMP and pjur brands to now include Fifty Shades of Grey and Happy Rabbit. My team has been working diligently to expand our marketing support for Fifty Shades of Grey and Happy Rabbit along with all our brands and we are excited for what we have in store for 2023.

XBIZ: On that note, what are some of your most important responsibilities as a marketing director?

Keating: Overall, the marketing director plays a critical role in the success of the organization by creating and executing effective marketing campaigns that help to grow the business and enhance the brand’s reputation in the market. You must stay up to date with the latest industry trends, consumer behavior and competitor activities, to develop marketing campaigns that are both relevant and impactful. In addition to this, you need to work closely with the sales team to ensure that the marketing efforts are aligned with the sales objectives, and that the leads generated by marketing efforts are effectively converted into sales. This is one of the reasons why LHG decided to expand my role to include sales.

XBIZ: Besides being able to offer a lot more products, what are some of the biggest differences at the company between now and when you first began with We-Vibe?

Keating: When two companies merge, they bring together their employees and expertise, which can significantly increase the size of the organization. In our case, we saw a big jump in the number of people working here. Having more people means we have a more diverse set of skills and knowledge to draw from. It’s led to more specialization within the company. We have more departments and roles that are focused on specific areas and we can now go deeper into projects.

XBIZ: What do you enjoy the most about leading your team from a directorial standpoint?

Keating: I am very passionate about leadership and creating a positive work environment for my team. For me, leadership means empowering others to succeed and encouraging them to do what they love. I believe that when people are given the opportunity to do what they are passionate about, they are more engaged, productive and happy.

As a leader, my main focus is on creating a space where my team members can thrive. This means providing clear direction and goals, while also giving them the autonomy to take ownership of their work and make decisions. I believe in giving my team the support and resources they need to be successful, while also challenging them to grow and develop new skills.

XBIZ: Has anything evolved or changed as far as what initially inspired you to work in the pleasure space and what inspires you now?

Keating: Throughout my career as a marketing director, my passion has evolved from a customer-centric focus to a leadership focus. Initially, my main goal was to understand the needs and wants of our customers and create marketing campaigns that addressed those needs effectively. I came to this industry because I was passionate about helping couples find happiness and joy in their intimate relationships. In the last 12 years my purpose has evolved to empower people to discover and embrace their pleasure, which extends into my leadership role.

XBIZ: How will you and your LHG team be working within the industry this year? What are your plans to keep the company moving forward?

Keating: We have some exciting products and new innovations launching this year. It is also We-Vibe’s 15-year anniversary, and we will be celebrating with some fun campaigns, exciting promotions and special products to mark the occasion.

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