Photo by Andrea Wise
Greg Moniz is our marketing director—the one who focuses on customer engagement and handles trade shows like nobody else. Liz interviews him here to get a sense of his relationship with the company and what he loves about being in Providence.
You've been with the Lotuff team since nearly the beginning. How did you get your start here?
It's kind of a funny story that harkens back to the "throw-away" consumerism Lotuff as a brand stands against. I was a few weeks out of college, totally jobless, and sitting in a Starbucks playing on my new iPad that I had received as a graduation gift from a family member. I called up one of my best friends from school, who had already moved to the big city to take a job, and in the course of our conversation I began complaining about an overpriced plastic imported iPad cover I had just bought. He sent me a link to the Lotuff iPad Case, and I fell instantly in love with it and the brand.
I was enamored with everything about Lotuff--the classicism of the design, the dedication to quality, and its overall vision and aesthetic. Better yet, it was a local company to me as a lifelong New Englander. Within a day, I wrote what is probably in retrospect an overly gushy cold e-mail, and the core team at the time was gracious enough to reply and meet with me. The rest is history!
When you were in college, did you have any idea that this was the kind of thing you’d be doing a few years down the road?
I graduated with a degree in history from a small New England liberal arts school, so I didn't expect that I'd be on my fifth year at a small leather goods company. But looking at it now, it makes perfect sense. As a student of the liberal arts, I was taught to be always analytical, careful, critical, and curious. These are the things I brought with me to Lotuff, and they're also the things that the company has valued in its approach to everything.
When I studied history, I was always particularly interested in what defined an era—what moved, influenced, and shaped people, anything from the way they spoke to the values they held dear to the way they dressed. The forces, both macro and micro, that made the people do the things they did was always fascinating to me. So it's interesting and salient to be a part of a company that is making things as a reaction to a certain demand for quality and minimalism, which itself is almost prompted by a pendulum swing away from cheap, disposable, meaningless things.
In your opinion, what are some of the greatest things about working in Providence?
Providence is such a fun city to work in because its creative juices are ever-flowing. It's historic and beautiful but also gritty and hard-knocked. It's a creative environment with incredible food, complex culture, and very interesting people. It's my favorite city in New England. (Sorry, Boston.)
Is there one opportunity or experience you’ve had here that stands out to you? Or, if that’s too specific, what do you love about working at Lotuff?
I've been with Lotuff for some time now, so I've been able to see the incredible transformation and growth the brand has had. Generally, you don't really experience or appreciate transformation when it's slowly happening in real time. But the ability to take a look at Lotuff retrospectively really crystallizes how much we've done.
So the thing I love most is that I have been part of this transformation from a tiny brand discovering itself to one that can be found in some of the finest stores in the world and carried by the people from far-flung places around the world that I've thus far only been able to dream about.
Given that much of your time is devoted to working with customers, tell me about the best or most validating interactions you’ve had with a customer in your time here.
I love to have conversations with customers about what brought them to the brand. Sometimes the conversations can become "kindred spirit" discussions. The customer realizes that the brand he or she is buying from is just like him or her. We appreciate, enjoy, and covet the same things, experiences, and ways of living. That's the most validating thing to me, knowing that there are people out there just like us.