Jacqueline Gold, executive who tapped into female libido, dies at 62
She set out to change that, starting with refreshing the thinking of the board.
“Their attitude was, ‘Women aren’t interested in sex,'” Ms. Gold said, proving them wrong by marketing sexy lingerie, swimwear, sex toys and novelty items to women. , who she discovered were hungry for them. According to news reports at the time, by 1995, Ann Summers was selling 300,000 vibrators a year; over the next few years, she said in interviews, the figure soared into the millions.
As she said in the 1995 interview, “That says a lot about what women want.”
Among its biggest initiatives, introduced in 1982, was the Ann Summers party, similar to a Tupperware party, where a host sells kitchen goods at her home, except the goods sold at an Ann Summers party were gender-related. She got the idea, she said, when she was invited to a Pippa Dee party, a British company where clothes were sold by party hosts. When the other guests learned that she worked at Ann Summers, the conversation took a steamy and celebratory turn; Ms. Gold realized that this was the perfect format to sell sexy products.
Soon there were hundreds of Ann Summers parties a week, and then thousands. The company also expanded its store network; there are now dozens in Britain and beyond. In 1987, Ms. Gold was appointed general manager.
Many of the countless newspaper articles about her in Britain over the decades made reference to her being surprisingly glamorous herself, which fit well with the image the company was trying to project.
“Impeccably dressed in a silk floral skirt, a set of cotton twins and strappy sandals as uncomfortable as the patent leather thigh high boots sold by the Ann Summers chain,” the Daily Telegraph wrote in a 2002 description. typical, “she’s groomed within an inch of her life.”