Last week’s blog was a guest post from Nicola Cook. I’ve asked several of my friends and colleagues to answer some questions on my blog recently, so I thought I would answer the questions myself and let you know a little more about me…
A brief introduction to me…
Lara Morgan: serial entrepreneur and investor in products that improve lives and save time.
I’m sports mad, both as a player and support and I live in the eternal belief that a bit of sweat brings a resilience and strength to get the best out of myself and hopefully others.
I founded Pacific Direct and successfully exited having built a global brand licensing company manufacturing and distributing gorgeous, luxury branded toiletries.
Other work experience:
As a child I worked in McDonalds and learned the importance and value of the sentence, Do you want fries with that?
I learned to serve in a twenty-four-hour store called Seven Eleven, and I also worked in Croydon asking people off the street to come and sample products in a hall and give feedback about which product was cheesier! These jobs were all work experience and perhaps even the making of me.
After my father’s bankruptcy my first job was selling any kind of product branded for companies called promotional merchandise sales, learning about all types of manufacture, print and distribution. That was a gift of a job and despite having no formal sales training, I soon found that listening to the customer first was a priceless experience of using common sense to solve problems.
After that, the formal sales brilliance taught to me by Yellow Pages sales in the Middle East, and selling in the Middle East, plus running a sales team across the Gulf States gave me the skills to build and drive a sales team in a professional way which has paid dividends all my life since.
Working with Fay Pottinger
Fay was the first recruit I mad in my Pacific days who had a degree. She was more qualified than I was but actually at the start of her business life, and by that point I was five years into Pacific Direct and almost ten years into my sales career so at least I could teach her something. Practical, down to earth and intelligent, I admired her desire to learn and grow and question things from the outset. She has an unbelievable talent to discover, and a thirst for knowledge and learning like few I have met.
How is it to work with Fay on Scentered?
Scentered would not exist without Fay’s utterly determined desire to produce blends that not only “do what they say” in terms of mood therapy, are gorgeously attractive and appealing to all but additionally deliver the vital impact of our STOP INHALE RESET invention to give people back a moment of time. She also worked relentlessly without much support in the early days of everything that is the brand today.
What have you learned from working with Fay?
Fay’s attention to detail, considered approach and beliefs help me all the time, reminding me brilliantly of my own inadequacies! The complementary skill set that she brings to my somewhat impatient, commercial approach have been priceless in bringing Scentered to market and together we are evolving the brand in line with consumer feedback to remain wholly unique in our portable approach to the modernisation of a “whatever and whenever” approach to delivering mood change improvement and positive outcomes through aroma. I feel that Fay and I complement each other perfectly in this venture.
What is your favourite thing about your work?
I lead a very varied and frankly very lucky life; I have worked very hard to bring about the choices that I make, the investments that I have and the time I spend with valued family and friends. In terms of Scentered, I genuinely believe that I have found the most extraordinary product concept where I can literally sell a product that delivers the most valuable commodity of all: time. I have often heard that you cannot buy time but actually Scentered allows someone to value much more highly how we approach the hectic times in life and how we can manage naturally through aroma our own enjoyment of these challenges.
What has been your hardest obstacle to overcome in business?
Focus – or lack thereof!
Which achievement in your business are you most proud of?
The company I built, Pacific Direct, survived and thrives in a private equity owned transition. Whilst I was a shareholder and had no influence I am proud that the business was then sold once again and continues to employ many highly talented people today. Ultimately I created jobs and together we built wealth.
If you could give one key piece of advice to someone starting out in business today, what would it be?
Learn to sell!