This article originally ran in the April 2014 issue of AVN magazine.
Family members doing business together is nothing new in this industry, but the mother-daughter combo who created adult distributor and drop-shipper Honey’s Place stands out.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Honey’s Place has built its reputation on a tradition of hands-on customer service, visiting boutiques, doing over-the-phone consultations, and using their state-of-the-art computer system to help stock new stores.
Honey’s Place was founded in 1994 by Helene Kusens, mother of current owner Bonnie Feingold. The company began, literally, as a small boutique-style distributor, operating from a renovated beauty shop in Los Angeles. Today, the company is located in San Fernando, Calif., and has operated under Feingold’s leadership since Kusens’ passing in 2002.
“We started and remain a family business,” Feingold said. “Helene worked hard to support and build a strong customer base using the foundation our company stands by today: offering great customer service and creating solid relationships while keeping our customers’ best interests at heart.”
Kusens carved out a niche for herself by focusing on customer service. And not just any customer service—she would go to stores and help the retailers think strategically about their clientele. Her advice on redoing wall displays, making the atmosphere softer and more inviting, and following trends in the novelty business had clients coming back to Honey’s Place again and again.
More than a decade ago, Kusens’ daughter, Bonnie Feingold, took over the reins of the company while still keeping it a family business focused on strong customer relationships.
But that’s not to say there haven’t been challenges along with the rewards. Maintaining and growing a distribution company means keeping up with technology and the ever-increasing speed of business, Feingold noted.
“We need to be sure our sales team is well versed in each and every product we carry, through product training, creative marketing techniques and even product reviews,” she said. “Our sales team stays ahead of the curve through the maintaining of extensive product knowledge and being open to product suggestions to remain up-to-date and on the cutting edge of market trends.”
From the start, Honey’s Place wanted to be all things to all customers, Feingold said. Striving to meet those goals is what sets the distributor apart from others, she noted.
“We value diversity in providing the warehousing, offering a large selection of products to accommodate all of our customers, from the large carry-everything store to the small specialty boutique and everyone in between,” Feingold said. “We do not have a ‘minimum order’ requirement, allowing our customers the ability to add ‘one more thing’ if they need it. We always provide value to our customers with our knowledge, product offerings and through innovation, like our BuildTheStore.com platform.”
Powered by Honey’s Place’s extensive inventory of more than 15,000 items, Build the Store is a solution for individuals looking to open their own online store as well as retail stores that profit from a web presence. Build the Store handles all the tough pieces of creating and running a successful online store: product inventory management, credit card processing, shipping, customer service and more. Build the Store allows owners to customize categories, edit products, choose manufacturers, set the pricing and even add their own products.
Innovations like Build The Store have helped Honey’s Place grow and thrive through the years, but there are other factors in the company’s success, Feingold noted.
“At Honey’s Place we strive to make business personal by building relationships rather than just building business partnerships,” she said. “Our customers appreciate the extra effort to provide them with customer service that goes above and beyond what is expected.”
That has led to seeing Honey’s Place’s 20th year in business start off with record sales, Feingold said. She also credits an expanding product lineup, excellence in customer service, growth in product knowledge and an exceptional staff.
“We have, of course, run a few ads touting our milestone and the success accompanying 20 years of building our customers’ success,” she said. “We do have a few surprises ahead, so keep an eye on Honey’s Place in 2014.”
For more information, visit HoneysPlace.com.
Pictured above: Bonnie Feingold in 2012 at the Honey's Place booth at the International Lingerie Show.