As this year marks the 50th anniversary of Lovell Johns, we thought it would be a great idea for you to get to know more about the staff, and their background. Therefore, we have decided to run a series of team stories, which will help you to better understand the history of Lovell Johns, and the individuals that make the company what it is.
I’m often asked how I ended up working for a mapping company and the simple answer is just by chance. However, Lovell Johns quickly became more to me than just another company to work for.
I completed a degree in Criminology at Lancaster University in 2000, just before the internet started being used widely and when essay researching still involved carrying 10 books back to the halls of residence from the library.
Having realised that I didn’t fancy a career with the police or probation service or anything else even remotely related to Criminology, a career in marketing beckoned. A few years later and Lovell Johns were advertising for someone to develop their new custom wall map business. At the time this area of the business was only a couple of months old and was to be Lovell Johns’ first toe dipped into the eCommerce world.
It was interesting times for Lovell Johns when I joined, digital mapping was gearing up, but at the same time my first few years here were probably the last few years of the “mega clients”. Cartographic Services is still a key part of our business, but back in the early noughties it was the main part of our business, and a significant amount of this business was driven by several key clients within the publishing industry. Of course as the publishing industry has been changing over the last decade so has our business.
So, getting into different areas of mapping services and products was an important and necessary directional change for Lovell Johns. The custom wall map business quickly started to grow and my colleague Kevin Horan and I nurtured it through its first couple of years, between us doing the marketing, sales support & quoting, map production, printing, finishing and shipping for our customers – phew! This area of our business, now marketed through the Business Map Centre brand is still growing today in revenues and in its product and services range.
After a couple of years I moved over to start developing Maps International into a wall maps product business, and soon got deeply involved in online marketing. We already had some wall maps in-house; World maps, Continental maps and British Isles maps, and so the website started with about 10 products on it. However it soon started to flourish and since then it has shown growth year on year. After 12 years it is now a sizable part of our business. If you visit Maps International today you’ll find hundreds of products each available in several finishes and available to ship to many corners of the globe.
Time to hit Lovell Johns’ traditional business and to get my head around cartography, technical GIS solutions and selling and marketing services not products…… and that’s where I am now, juggling the sales and marketing for a diverse range of products and services across all areas of Lovell Johns’ business.
Well, apart from the fact that last year I was given the opportunity to purchase Lovell Johns from the South African owners that had owned Lovell Johns since 2000. David Stephens and I completed a Management Buyout in November 2014 and the company I always knew I could never leave actually became something I could say I owned a part of.
In our 50th year of business there is no doubt that things have changed as they have for every small business out there. In my time with Lovell Johns, we’ve successfully weathered a few hard years not helped by the recession, but we’ve come out stronger and with better people, ideas and strategies. What’s to come in the next 50 years, who knows, but I do know that it’s going to be a good ride.