Richard Longhurst, co-founder of Lovehoney
1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?
The sexual wellbeing market is growing and online shopping continues to get more popular – a double whammy of good news for Lovehoney. We’ve also noticed that the internet goes everywhere and people have sex everywhere so the international opportunity for us is enormous. And with our new investors Telemos we are better placed than ever before to take advantage.
2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?
We’ve been doing this e-commerce thing for 16 years but we’re still only just getting the hang of it. Somebody keeps moving the goalposts too. We can do everything better – the biggest challenge is deciding which opportunity to go for next.
3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?
We would have recruited more people sooner. We’ve always had a massive “to do” list, so in hindsight it was daft not to have had more people working on it.
4. What is the future of the physical store and the high street?
Fewer shops, more showrooms, more places to eat, drink and have fun.
5. What technology-related plans have you got for the next 12 months?
Too many to mention but personalisation and loyalty will be big for us in the next 12 months.
6. With the issue of digital wildfire how do you understand and control your growing digital landscape?
“The time will arrive when you will learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world, without trusting to the gossip of others. Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” As true in 2018 as it was for Edgar Allan Poe in 1845.
7. What other retail business do you admire?
Oak Furniture Land. Jason Bannister has built a mightily impressive omni-channel business from nothing.
8. If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do?
Before starting Lovehoney I reviewed computer games for a living – would happily go back to that if anyone would have me.
9. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement?
I’d give myself a strong six, maybe a seven. But self praise is no recommendation.
10. Who would you place in the Top 25 Movers & Shakers in Retail?
The Weather – seems to be responsible for as much success or failure as any one individual.
This is one in an ongoing series of Q&A’s with individuals that are featured in the annual ‘Retail Insider Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report.