60 seconds with… Lisa Rutherford

John Lewis’ stationery buyer talks to PGBuzz about her highlights of 2017 so far, challenges to the industry and her dream car.

Buzz: How did you get involved in the industry?
Lisa: “I have worked for the JLP for 23 years and I came into buying in 2003. My first buying role was gift food buyer shortly followed by Christmas shop buyer for eight years. After my second child I came into the world of seasonal events, stationery, and greetings cards which I am thoroughly enjoying.”

Buzz: How’s business been over the past few months?
Lisa: “Over the past few months trade has remained steady. My highlight is definitely Easter where we saw a very exciting 10% year on year uplift ons decorations and Easter gifting.”

John Lewis Leeds' stationery department
John Lewis Leeds’ stationery department

Buzz: What are you most looking forward to over the next few months?
Lisa: “The next few months will see peak trade of the Summer Party campaign – early signs are really encouraging. It’s really exciting to see how that will play out this year. I’m delighted with how it’s looking in store.”

Buzz: The beginning of the year is always busy with trade shows, which ones did you attend and what trends have you noticed?
Lisa: “I have attended the Stationery Show and Spring Fair so far this year. Not a huge amount of new trends but plenty of opportunity in emerging trends from last year. One of biggest opportunities is in writing where we have launched a small range of calligraphy products.”

Buzz: What’s the one biggest challenge facing the greetings card industry today?
Lisa: “I think the biggest challenges are value players and multi buys. While there is a place for all this, the amount of it really devalues the market and makes it harder for the category to be as profitable. I think it also puts pressure on publishers too.”

Buzz: Gazing into the crystal ball, five years from now, what do you think you’ll be doing?
Lisa: “In five years I hope to be a true expert in my field. I will also have a teenage daughter in five years which I’m anticipating being quite different from what it’s like now.”

Buzz: What was the last greeting card you purchased and who did you send it to?
Lisa: “The last greeting card I purchased was a Gemma Correll ‘Support Bras’ card as a thank you for someone who has been good to me.”

Captain Jack Sparrow would be a good choice on a desert island!
Captain Jack Sparrow would be a good choice on a desert island!

Buzz: If you were stranded on a desert island, which one person would you want with you?
Lisa: “If I was stranded on a dessert island I would want Captain Jack Sparrow with me – he has a habit of making it back onto dry land.”

Buzz: What is your dream car? What is your real car?!
Lisa: “My dream car is a Range Rover (new top of the range Land Rover Sport!). My current car is a VW Sharan – super for ferrying kids about in.”

Buzz: If money was no object, where would you retire to?
Lisa: “I would retire to South Devon. Big house on a hill overlooking the coast.”

Buzz: What would your darts walk-on song be?
Lisa: “I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan – maybe Beat it or Bad”

Buzz: Imagine you were Prime Minister for the day, what one law would you pass?
Lisa: “My law would be that the working week is only four days long. Three day weekends are more energising and therefore we would all be more productive and there would be less sickness in the work force.”

Pictured at top: Lisa Rutherford

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