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20 Questions with Rob Godwin, Director of Lovehoney ANZ
Rob Godwin has more than 18 years of experience in the B2C markets and e-commerce, but did you know what his favourite joke is, or how he typically spends his mornings? We asked him 20 questions to find out a bit more about his interests, hobbies and who inspired him along the way.
1. What is your favourite part about your job?
The favourite part of my role is the interaction with a vast range of people. Our staff, our customers, our partners and industry colleagues – all of them make my job a pleasure to do. From having started Lovehoney in a spare bedroom with one staff member, to eight years later with 60+ staff running a seven-day-a-week operation.
Our staff live the Lovehoney values and make Lovehoney the #1 adult pureplay retailer in Australia and around the world. Our customers embrace our market positioning of inclusion, empowerment, and positive sexual wellbeing. Our partners like our ambassadors and core suppliers share in our mission to normalise sex and sexual happiness, as well as our challenges and successes. I am very honoured to represent Lovehoney as market leaders with some amazing industry colleagues and promote the sexual wellness industry.
2. What do you enjoy most about this industry?
Our e-commerce industry never stops. You can never stop learning and expanding. There is always something new to do – we’re constantly presented with new opportunities, potential to reach more people and new technology to embrace, whilst enjoying the growth, expansion and development of our most important asset – our staff. Our industry is forever moving forward which is really exciting.
3. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up wanting to be a professional sportsman or pilot. Our family has a significant air force background and it was either being a pilot, pro rugby player or sailing instructor. I came close to all three occupations, with my temporary visit to Australia to watch the British Lions and race yachts, but my entrepreneurial spirit led me into business, and I have been in Australia for over 20 years doing just that.
4. How do you define success?
Success to me is capitalising on and delivering potential. I am very driven in the pursuit of never letting any potential slip, and maximising opportunity. This has best been illustrated in opportunities over the last two years to drive the business forward, gain market share, significantly increase sales, whilst being a mindful and engaging retailer and employer. I think we have balanced this well, and overall been successful, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
5. Do you enjoy online shopping?
Yes – I love online shopping. I actually love shopping on other sites to see how they do it and review their processes and customer experience. I’m more interested in this versus the actual products! So it’s a learning curve for me to find out what we can do better – there’s always something to learn. I love buying sporting gear, art, and tech, but buying from companies like Flora & Fauna, Adore Beauty, Rebel Sport and Maison de Sabre. It gives me a bigger buzz to see how they do their packaging, distribution,
email communications, customer service etc.
6. What was the last thing you bought online? And did you add express shipping?
The last three items I bought were flowers for my Mum in the UK, a celebration hamper for a colleague to recognise their hard work, and a guitar amp for my girlfriends birthday. I added express shipping as standard. Overall, each of these purchases provided a very good experience and the desire for express shipping in Australia is the highest in any country Lovehoney operates in. Aussies love and need express shipping.
7. What are three words that best describe you?
Passionate, driven, caring.
8. Did you have a childhood hero?
My Dad. He is, and always will be my hero. He died at a very young age when I was six, and he has been an idol, and the fire in my belly to live life to the maximum. He was a passionate Chelsea fan (which I share), a great Father (which I try to aspire to) and a very engaging and funny person (which I work on daily).
9. What’s your favourite joke?
Arsenal Football Club – if you know…you know!
10. What was your first job?
I worked from a very young age – paper rounds, cleaning a pub, and waiting – but my first job as an adult was teaching sailing and windsurfing, which I loved.
11. What has been the proudest moment in your career?
It is very hard to pinpoint just one moment, but I think picking up the Excellence in Retail Award this year at the Power Retail All Star Bash Awards from Phil Leahy was very special. This was presented in front of the whole e-commerce industry at a prestigious event and a great honour. But more important than that was seeing one of our casual staff members who came to us through a disability employment service, becoming a full-time staff member at Lovehoney. Not only has he excelled, but the smile on his face when he was given a full-time role and becoming one of our best staff, will forever be etched in my memory. That was so special. Giving people of all abilities to shine, is something special to myself and Lovehoney.
12. What are the first three things you do when you wake up?
A quick cuddle with my dog Frankie, a very large and strong coffee, and checking my calendar for the day.
13. Are you binge-watching any TV shows right now?
I’m a bit behind on current TV shows as I rarely have much time after work and use any spare time I do have with my sons, partner and getting involved in sporting activities. But I have loved the new episodes of Sex Education on Netflix. The positive context of embracing your own sexuality, dealing with issues around sex and growing up, and the strong message of diversity and inclusion is truly amazing.
14. Have you picked up any new hobbies in lockdown?
Being based in Brisbane we have been very fortunate not to have the high number of lockdown days as seen in Sydney or Melbourne. But I have focused on yoga and meditation. I have practised yoga for a few years, but this gave me the opportunity to really embrace the pure yin practices.
15. Do you have any secret talents?
I love my cooking, especially Italian food, and cook a mean risotto. My best talent is endurance running, and I have done nine marathons and a few 100km runs. Earlier this year, I am extremely proud to have raised $25k+ for TIACS mental health charity in the Gold Coast marathon. The event itself was cancelled but still ran it – in TradeMutt budgie smugglers!
16. Do you have a favourite social media platform?
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with social media – I believe it’s needed for business but our brand faces a lot of tough restrictions on many platforms, making it hard for us to deliver important messages around sexual wellbeing and empowerment. Instagram is my personal favourite but I can get sucked into the whirlpool of content.
17. What inspired you to enter the e-commerce industry?
Potential! I’ve always been tech-savvy, and when I was CEO of Sexpo, I realised there was no one catering for the female-dominated sexual wellness category in Australia. Lovehoney was doing this in the UK, so I worked with the founders to fill the gap and launch the brand here, and the rest is history. Lovehoney recently merged with Wow Tech from Germany to create Lovehoney Group, a business worth US$1.2 billion.
18. What’s your favourite ad on TV right now?
Lovehoney’s new #LoveHowYouLove TVC of course! As shown on most free to air and Foxtel stations. Fun, sexy, inclusive and positively engaging.
19. How do you unwind after a long day?
I struggle to unwind. I have a long day, as I start early, leave work early to see my sons when they are with me, and then get back to work at night with our UK office. My brain never gets out of work mode. My sons and coaching their sports help, as well as walking the dog, yoga and running. Also some nice wine!
20. Is there any advice you’d give your 16-year-old self?
I would tell my 16-year-old self to do four things:
● Buy a house earlier in my life;
● Learn to ignore the negative people in my life – embrace my positive nature;
● Thank my Mum more often for being the most important person in making me who I am today;
● Cut off that ponytail with shaved sides, which I had for my state rugby career – I looked so stupid!!!
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