Rob Godwin is the Australasian Director at Lovehoney Australia, Australia’s leading and largest adult retailer, established in 2013.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My career started in the UK, I did a degree in Business Management at the University of Lancaster.
After that I spent a couple of years in Europe, teaching sailing and windsurfing, which was a great lifestyle. Then I moved back to London, to pursue my chosen specialty of marketing and ran an advertising agency in Soho.
I decided to move to Australia, over 20 years ago and haven’t left. Keeping with my advertising background, I started my Aussie career as Sales and Marketing Manager for a resort in the Whitsundays.
Later I moved to Melbourne and researched the biggest adult products retailer and wholesaler, writing to them for a job – which they gave me. I started as an executive manager and then Director of Marketing.
I also used to license adult films from around the world and distribute them in Australia. I was the number one salesperson for five years. From that, I got offered the job of CEO of Sexpo and ran that for five years expanding around Australia and into London and South Africa.
I then moved to Brisbane for my wife’s job and was working with Lovehoney on a pitch for Fifty Shades of Grey which we won! We got distribution rights for the Fifty Shades of Grey collection and opened the Lovehoney offices here in Australia eight years ago.
I am the Australasian Director of Lovehoney. Lovehoney Australia started in a spare bedroom, with one phone line and two computers and has since expanded to the market leaders in sexual wellness products.
We are an award-winning company with over 50 staff, operating 24 hours, seven days a week. Each member of the team lives and breathes our six core values, which include ‘it’s nice to be nice’, going the ‘extra inch’ and being free from judgment, embracing diversity, and inclusivity.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I am an early riser, usually up at 6am and I take the dogs, which also are our office dogs, for a quick walk. Then if I am on drop off, I will take the kids to school and if not, I’m usually in the office by 7.30am.
I start with setting my “go for it” goals – so three goals that I want to achieve for the day which is our way of prioritising tasks when there is a lot going on and only so much time in the day. I then plan my day out in terms of meetings and touch base with all the department heads, regarding their own “go for it” goals by 11am.
After lunch, I work on my projects, and three goals for the day. I have a very flexible working day, so I will aim to leave the office at least twice a week at 2pm to pick up my boys and do some sports activities with them.
Then I will go back to work at least three times a week in the evenings jumping on Skype calls with the UK team.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
At Lovehoney, we have always had and encouraged flexible and remote working strategies, even prior to COVID. All staff have laptops and the ability to work from home. We focus on being goal-orientated vs time in the office.
With our customers being the focus, we also incorporate flexible working with our warehouse staff, starting later and working until 6pm allowing for orders to be packed and picked up twice daily. Our customer service team links up with the UK and US teams so they can seamlessly provide 24/7 customer care.
For me the flexibility allows me to be a dad whilst also being Director ensuring the global needs and local activities are being met.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
As a self-confessed workaholic, I love my job and what Lovehoney stands for so would probably work 24/7 – But my kids and being a dad are my focus!
So, the work-life balance might not necessarily be best practice, but the flexibility that my job provides allows me to be a good dad whilst also allows me to project manage from both a global perspective and locally.
I am here to facilitate my team, so my working day is based around them, and my evening hours are based around our UK head office. And in between, is my time with my boys to help them with their sporting and academic achievements.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes, I am a very strong supporter of having mental health Employee Assistance Program initiatives for all our staff and myself.
I promote and utilise the EAP services and have a monthly call with our councillor which has been a massive assistance to the stressors and demands of a COVID working environment. It’s also been beneficial to our staff and one of the best things we’ve done on a company level.
In addition, I have put a large focus on my health and diet over the past three months and taken up marathon running. It helps me get regular exercise and clear my head. I also make sure I do yoga once a week and meditation to allow my mind and body to recharge and keep that balance.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
For podcasts, I have two key ones. The first is Add to Cart by Nathan Bush. It has superb business insights for the e-commerce community – showing how people have succeeded and failed.
It’s a massive learning curve and provides me with a benchmark for how I work as a Director and how we operate as a business. It’s one the best business podcasts and has featured business like SurfStitch, Catch of the Day, Beer Cartel and LVLY so offers great perspectives from a range of industry leaders.
The other one is ListenABLE by Angus O’Loughlin and Dylan Alcott which gives a really good insight into disability, living with a disability, and how disability shouldn’t inhibit progress in the world. It emphasises how diversity and inclusivity should be vital subject areas.
I always enjoy listening to and supporting Dylan, but the podcast is amazing and it’s humbling to listen to people’s stories about not letting disability stand in their way.
As for a book, I only really have one recommendation at the moment, which is Catch of the Decade by Gabby and Hezi Leibovich – creators of Catch, Catch of the Day, menulog and eat now. It’s a golden read for anyone in business.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
There is one app that I literally can’t live without called LibreLink. I have Type I diabetes so it’s a little sensor, I insert it into my arm and it’s held in place with tape. I then open the LibreLink app and tap the sensor and it will record and give me my blood sugar level. The app provides a reading every 5 minutes so it makes managing my diabetes that much easier. It is a brilliant piece of tech.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
This is a really good question and I have a couple. From a business perspective, I would love to read one from either Mark Bouris founder of Yellow Brick Road as I am a big fan. And also Kate Morris from AdoreBeauty, would be really interesting.
From an inspiring story point of view, Kurt Fearnley a gold medalist in the Paralympic games.
And on a more personal note, the one I would love to read most would have been my father – he passed away when I was quite young. He was an air traffic controller, mad sportsman and crazy Chelsea fan and now that I am a father, I would love to know how he balanced his day – as I just don’t know how he did it.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I would strongly recommend contacting the Centre of Wellness or mentally well workplaces. That has been the best thing we have introduced into our company to get a good work-life balance and enable our staff to have someone to talk to outside of work.
At Lovehoney, we have a culture of acceptance, openness and speaking your mind. Which lends itself to a very positive and productive work environment.
However sometimes you do need professional help, and I am a big supporter of mental health and to have EAP services is a great asset to our staff. So it is a must-have for any business or employer and for anyone that doesn’t have it, will significantly benefit from introducing it.
And dogs in the office!
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