In your own words, how would you describe what you do everyday?
Work bloody hard. It’s amusing because coming from the film industry I was fairly sure I understood the nature of hard work. What one never understands until you do it is that retail, and whole distribution in my case, is relentless. There is not much ‘down time’. Thank god I have a spectacular team of people around me whose company I actively enjoy and that I have the chance to work with the most beautiful product imaginable. Every day there is a new angle or new light on said pieces so my visual cup is replenished regularly. There’s the travel too, that certainly helps.
My role at Spence & Lyda is to set the direction in product acquisition and display, and brand communication, be it digital or physical. The buck stops here for most other things too but my specific area is that. I travel extensively but also keep my ear to the ground through printed and social media, world news and events to understand what is happening in the world generally, to then interpret that into living and interiors trends, and choose product more specifically. Sounds esoteric but that is the way of it. I find new brands and sometimes watch them for several years before I approach them; it all depends on how I feel about where I want the showroom to go, and personally what I would like to say. Spence & Lyda is unlike most other showrooms, we are not just looking for product to sell, and if I were, I would carry a vastly different range of product. It’s possible that it means I will never make a million dollars, but I would probably have chosen a whole different path had that been my motivation.
You strike me as someone who, above experience and knowledge, follows their intuition. What has been the best-learnt lesson throughout your career?
I guess it depends on what your definition of intuition is. For me it is the concept that we are all tapped in to the greater experience, so if we listen, the information is there. Learning to trust that is one of the hardest and best lessons to learn. There is no substitute for being prepared, however, only then are you able to be nimble and respond to 'chance' with the knowledge that you can fall back on the strength of your preparation.