In April of this year, lotus823 was lucky enough to have Nancy Kohlreiter join our PR and digital marketing team.
It has been our honor to have Nancy join our lotus823 family to lead our business development team, bringing along her impressive 13 plus years of product development experience.
We sat down with our new loti to talk about what brought her to lotus823 and her plans for the future.
How have you made it to the place you are today?
NK: I think it evolved over time. I kind of suspected within the last year that I wanted to do something with lotus823. David was working with me very closely in my last position and I knew I needed a change from what I had been doing for so long. I knew that my experience would apply in other environments.
I didn’t know for sure where this path was going to take me. David and I have had many conversations over the years, mostly me questioning, “What am I going to do when I grow up?” I was waiting for him to say, “you should come work for us”, or give me some advice on what I should do. It’s always easier for someone to say to you here’s what you should do as opposed to sitting back and saying how can I apply what I’ve learned throughout my career into a completely different environment.
When I was at CES in January and I met with some of the lotus team, it flipped a switch at that moment. I knew I really wanted to be apart of this organization. At that same time there were major changes happening with my previous company and I knew this was the time to do something different.
I sat down with David and Allison and we decided that now is the time, lets do this. We all felt as though I could help grow lotus, in a different way based on my retail experience and on the work we’ve done together in the past.
What were some challenges you faced along the way that have helped you grow throughout your career?
NK: There are always environments that change or opportunities that shift and take you to different places. At one point, I was living in Rhode Island. I was given an opportunity that was perfect for me given my past experience in the luggage industry. I was able to apply my skills in such a way that allowed me to develop a new store concept. This was one of the most challenging and fulfilling opportunities. Ultimately, I realized I missed the warmth of Florida, so I moved again for the next great challenge.
When I returned to Florida I went to work for a start up company that eventually filed for Chapter 7 and closed. This time I decided to take a step back and try something completely different.
I studied wine and became a certified sommelier. I was planning on going into the wine industry but realized it would be a great hobby and not a career that would suit my lifestyle. For the next 10 years I got back into the retail world focusing on supply chain and planning.
In my experience as challenges are presented, I always make choices to take slightly different paths to learn different areas of business. That’s why I was a merchant for over 10 years and then went into supply chain to understand another aspect of the business. When you’re a buyer, you pick out product and make assortment strategy decisions, and when you’re a planner you have to think about lead times to get to the point where the buyer makes their decision.
Keeping trends in mind are important, too. I try to look for trends where opportunities exist. Similarly to coming to lotus823 because what David and Allison have built here is a company that is really cutting edge and what’s trending for marketing. It’s more of an integrated plan. It’s about all the different components of building our clients’ brands and not just about public relations. It’s not just a website, it’s also getting found online through optimization and the social aspect; how do you get the word out? I see this as a huge growth opportunity, both for myself and for the company. Otherwise, why would we do it?
I think when I’m faced with a challenge, I always look for what will help me grow and where the opportunities are that make the most sense for growth and development, personally and professionally.
Are there any aspects of your job you would change if you could?
NK: For me to make a statement on my current role, I’d say it’s too new to want to change anything. I’m so thrilled, I still feeling like I’m a sponge and learning from everyone here. So here, no.
I think that once you get involved in any position, it takes at least 6 months before you could really make a good assessment about how things should be, and how things should be done. So, in past roles, I may have come in with a preconceived notion about what the company is already doing and how they could change for the better. It isn’t until you actually examine each process that you can come to a good intellectual decision that’s sound for the business. I always think that there are opportunities for improvement, there’s nothing that’s perfect. It’s about really sitting back, understanding and making adjustments based on that knowledge based scenario. I think those opportunities present themselves over time, no matter where you are.
In the past you’ve done a lot of traveling! How has that shaped you as a professional?
NK: I love to travel. I really do. I love it personally and professionally. I think there is nothing better than a face-to-face meeting. A lot can be achieved through technology today where you don’t necessarily have to be in the same room as somebody. There’s really something about the experience of sitting across the table from someone and having a meal with them, or taking them through a presentation and being right next to them. Really being able to read body language and all of that is very important. I think from a business perspective and being able to go into someone’s place of business or their manufacturing facility, or whatever environment they’re in, is really fascinating. I think travel is great, I know there are a lot of people who hate it but give me a plane ticket and I will be happy.
You learn so much from different cultures, too. You don’t even really need to leave the country to see different culture. David and I were in Denver recently, and we looked for places to get lunch and we constantly research to see what we can experience. We fell into some artisan empanada making shop. It was amazing. Then there’s a new talking point to connect with your potential client on that business trip in Denver. Traveling really gives you a connection with others because people are passionate. They’re passionate about places, music, food, culture. If you can experience different things then you can always find something in common with someone.
What would you say in the most rewarding aspect of your current role at lotus823?
NK: That’s a tough question. I like seeing things move in a positive direction and for business development, landing a new client is exceptionally rewarding. Converting a prospect to a client and impacting the clients growth potential really gets everyone excited. The client is happy and the team at lotus is happy. Success!
If you had one piece of advice for someone who’s interested in business development, what would it be?
NK: From a BD perspective you have to understand who your prospect is and be able to zero in on their needs. Tell them what they need, and why they need it. Understanding who’s sitting across the table from you is, in my mind, the most important thing. Clarity!
We’d like to thank Nancy for taking the time to give us insight on her past, present and future with lotus823. We’re so happy to have her and continue on this journey together. Don’t forget to connect with her on Twitter @lotus823_Nancy!