Getting to know you: Neal Slateford, founder & chief executive of Lovehoney

We talk to Neal Slateford, founder of Lovehoney, about his inspirations in business, and find out what advice he’d give to someone just starting out.

What do you currently do?

I’m the co- founder and co- CEO of Lovehoney. We sell adult toys on the Internet.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Couples who use adult toys in their relationships have better sex lives and enjoy happier and healthier lives. It’s a very positive thing. Yet in 2002 there was nowhere to buy them unless you wanted to go into a dodgy licensed sex shop and be confronted with pornography, or buy online from websites that sold pornography too. We thought there was a gap for a well run, customer focused website that sold these products in a non-sleazy way. Enter Lovehoney.

What defines your way of doing business?

It’s a cliche but we treat everyone – our staff, our partners, our suppliers – as we would want to be treated ourselves. I don’t subscribe to the notion that to be successful you have to be super aggressive, get up at 5am every morning and vow to ‘smash it’ every day. I’m a firm believer in karma!

Who do you admire? 

Well you have  to admire Jeff Bezos for the sheer scale of his ambition and what he has achieved. I’m not sure if he  subscribes to Lovehoney’s management style though!

I’m a big fan of analyst Scott Galloway, he’s usually on the money.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? 

We would have hired more, bright people earlier on and learned to let them get on and do what they do better than us. We were guilty of doing too much ourselves in the first 5 years. We would have grown faster if we had invested in good people earlier.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Nobody knows anything. 90% of success is showing up. Hire people better than you are. Don’t overthink things. Trust your instincts and do it!