on the board On the Board

Jo Sanders – UK and Ireland Sales Director for LSA International

What is your career background? As an early 90s business degree graduate, I initially started working for Nokia, at the time a global FMCG paper company long before it was famous for mobile phones and before we had a computer in the office – just the telex machine! From there I moved into a product development role at Mothercare. After 10 years working in FMCG I decided to move into a sales role within a creative/designer owned business at Baskerville. Whilst having children I worked part time with Joseph Joseph, Gilmore Space and Aram but I was keen to return to a full time role and spotted LSA were looking for someone. I loved their products, and knew they were a popular, well-loved and respected brand; but I didn’t know much at the time about the company and history. It was an added bonus when I found out they were a family owned business with Polish heritage and a great team working there – many of which had been there for a long time and were keen to help a newbie. I have loved the last 15 years working for LSA and I’ve made a lot of close friends. I still get excited seeing new product launches and spotting LSA pieces in stores, hotels and people’s homes.

Tell us about the company you work for LSA International is a London-based design studio specialising in contemporary handmade glass. We are a family business built on a culture of design and craft, of people and products, and of the world around us. Janusz Lubkowski co-founded LSA International in the swinging sixtys London, during a period of cultural and social change. We specialise in designing considered products, made with care, and seek to build relationships with like- minded companies who share our values, and whose stories and specialisms complement our own. Monika Lubkowksa-Jonas continues to

develop her father’s vision and culture of understanding that defines our company’s past, present and future. We are conscious of our responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment, working ethically and transparently with our team and partners to explore sustainable practises.

What is a typical day like for you? I’m a lark, and I like to get up early and

March/April 2021

have some time to myself before waking my family and getting them ready for the school run. At the moment in lockdown, my day is mainly spent on the laptop or mobile checking in on the team, my colleagues, and our customers. Ensuring we are doing all that we can to support customers in these challenging times as we launch our new Spring collections, and prepare for retail and hospitality partners in the UK to reopen their doors. At this time many partners have changing needs, therefore, working in such a dynamic business we have the opportunity to listen, offer flexibility and respond quickly with solutions around instore & online execution and communicating our core brand values; our Heritage, Specialist Craft, and Design Integrity.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? It’s the people and products for me. I am incredibly passionate about doing my best and working as part of a fabulous team. I am so proud to work for LSA – it’s a very important part of my life and who I am.

What is the most challenging part of your job? At the moment it’s obviously being in lockdown, and the affect it’s having on customers and colleagues. I believe in the importance of listening and offering help to customers who we have known for a long time, but who might be struggling with lockdown and having to close stores, make staff redundant all whilst dealing with Brexit and Covid. I feel fortunate that I am able to help them prepare for reopening and also provide assets which will support our partners as they move into a digitally-led world much quicker than many expected.

What new products have impressed you in the industry? LSA - Borough, Canopy and Vessel Other Brands I love include - Ercol, David Mellor & Daylesford

What challenges are suppliers facing? Currently it’s the closure of stores and the high streets having such a low number of visitors. We must continue to innovate and create experiences – reasons to shop, buy once & buy well, socialising at home, staycations and family gifting.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen? Covid has accelerated huge shifts in the

way people shop, work & live, and it’s also sped up changes in the retail environment. We have seen a rise in the consideration of how we choose – thinking about buying well in terms of sustainability, quality and design. For those who value this we must continue to innovate, offer new experiences, great service and show that we care. It’s more about collaborating and engaging with the community in order to help retailers stand out. We recently created our first pop-up space, which was open back in December in Islington Square, London. It was themed around ‘A journey through a winter’s day’ to really create an immersive experience for customers where you could browse pieces for bar, table and decoration, all within a sustainable setting.

What advice would you give someone starting out in this industry? Go for it - it’s a friendly, helpful industry and great fun! It’s given me the best time over the last 25 years and I hope for many more to come.

What do you enjoy doing on weekends and in your free time? Before lockdown it would usually consist of driving my kids to various sporting and social activities. I love to cook, enjoy shopping, socialising, park runs and swimming in the Serpentine at Hyde Park. I’ve also since lockdown started a marathon training programme – I’ve just finished phase one so can proudly say I have achieved a ½ marathon last week and hope to complete a full one by June, ready for my birthday! I look forward to the day that restrictions are lifted so we can socialise again, and since it will soon be 30 years since me and my husband Simon have been together I hope we can celebrate properly for that with a party at home with family and friends.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you? Nespresso machine and capsules, silk pillowcase and photobook of my family. | 11

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32