Neal Slateford, Co-founder of Lovehoney, tells Retail Week about his life working in retail.
What was your first job in retailing?
While I was still at school I worked on Saturdays stocking shelves at Bejam (think Iceland, only in the 1970s). For a laugh we used to lock each other in the ‘cold room’ – a giant frozen stock room. I remember my eyelids freezing.
Which retail company do you admire most and why?
Zappos.com. I went to its HQ in Las Vegas and was made ‘King for a Day’ by the Zappos Mayor – an amazing place to work. The first web retailer to use truly remarkable customer service as a marketing tool.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Indecision. I think.
Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?
Seth Godin and Laura Ries [both authors].
What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?
If it’s online, go niche or go home.
What keeps you awake at night?
Too many ideas and not enough hours in the day.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Still being good friends with my business partner.
What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?
In a previous life I was in the music business and would have liked to have been an A&R Man (that’s a talent spotter).
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Getting feedback from customers thanking Lovehoney for saving their sex lives.
What’s your favourite shop and why?
Strand Books, New York. Brilliant place to while away a few hours. Eight miles of books.
What was your last purchase?
A book, The Final Days written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and The King of Kong, a documentary, both from Amazon.