Leighton - Head of Creative

Joining the brand as a Customer Centre team leader in 2006, Leighton has worked across many areas of the business to become our current Head of Creative. With his own unique approach to success and a true knack for learning on the job, we asked him to share his story of evolving with the brand and why Liz Earle is a company he really believes in...

How did your career begin?
“I left school after my A Levels and started a HND in Music. Around this time I also got a part-time job in retail and soon realised how much I loved the variety and pace of the job. Before long, I decided to quit my studies and work full time. It was a bold move and I’ve often wondered whether it was the right thing to do, but I’ve come to realise that there’s something rather liberating about the fact that you don’t necessarily need to have an academic background to do well in today’s world. There’s so much value in learning on the job. I’m a great advocate of lifelong learning – I’ve always got my head stuck in a book, watching a TED Talk or learning from my colleagues. I think the ‘hands on’ experience makes you more adaptable, more resilient, somehow. I realised there’s no blueprint. Success comes in all shapes and sizes.”

Tell us a bit about your journey at Liz Earle?
"I have been so fortunate to have had so many amazing opportunities at Liz Earle. I joined the Customer Centre in 2006 as a Team Leader. I was inspired by the amount of amazing knowledge the team have and the way in which they could advise these women in their own homes without having seen their skin – it’s a real talent. This led me to my role in Service & Education, where I was able to apply all this insight into developing our service model and induction programmes for our roll-out in John Lewis, and later, Boots stores. From here, I moved to look after our Flagship stores, ensuring that the experience our customers received was second-to-none, and reflected the very best of our brand. I loved this role and was fortunate to move to a newly created role as Head of Brand Activation where I looked after in-store events and marketing activity to support our latest launches. More recently, in September 2017 I was appointed Head of Creative. It really is my dream job and I feel so privileged to be responsible for the creative look and feel of the Liz Earle brand."

"Two products I use absolutely every day are Eyebright™ Soothing Eye Lotion and Brightening Treatment Mask"

What key learnings have you taken away from each role?
“Working in the Customer Centre gave me a real passion and energy for our brand and customer. I was always fascinated to hear first-hand from customers. It made me realise the importance of building loyalty and trust with a brand. Our customers genuinely think of us as a friend and it’s great to have that connection.

My time in Service & Education reinforced my life-long belief that developing and coaching your team really is the key to success – and it’s an area that is so often overlooked. It’s an over-used phrase but simply put: if you look after your employees, they’ll look after your customer.

In my role today, I’ve learned that you must always continue to evolve and develop – not just as individuals but as a brand. The world is a fast moving place and if you don’t keep up with your competition, you’ll be left behind before long.”

What do you most enjoy about working for Liz Earle?
“I think it’s incredibly rare to find a brand or organisation where you feel such synergy with the value and principles it holds that you genuinely enjoy getting out of bed in the morning. I work with some great people – we have fun and we achieve some great results together. I am so proud to work for Liz Earle. I am incredibly passionate about the brand and I love to share the story with anyone who’ll listen!”

How has the company changed since you first started?
“First and foremost, it has grown immensely. When I started there were probably around 200 people, and today, of course, we are a team of close to 1000 people. I think one thing that is remarkable is that despite our growth, changes of leadership, changes of ownership, we have always kept the customer at the heart of everything we do – and people, too. This is clear testament to the strength of our brand and our culture. Because we care more, everyone is passionate about keeping the spirit of our beloved brand alive.”

What are the key attributes that have ensured your continuous development within the company?
“I think it all comes down to three things. The power of personality: staying true to your authentic self is such an important lesson to learn. It’s so tempting to try and model yourself on someone else that you see as being ‘successful’, but I’ve always found that by simply being ‘me’, you get the best out of others.

Embrace change: change is one of those things that everyone struggles with to a degree – but the working world – and retail, in particular, is so fast paced that it’s essential to embrace change. I’ve always believed that in every change there’s an opportunity – it’s a hard lesson to learn, but embracing change rather than trying to resist it is definitely a key driver for development.

Build a strong team: I remember a mentor once telling me to ‘always hire better than yourself’. It’s true. None of us know everything – and by hiring a team that have complementary skills, you’re able to do things better, smarter, faster than trying to go it alone. I’ve been lucky to work with some really talented people over the years and I’ve seen first-hand the difference it can make when you have the right people working on a job. When it comes to hiring my own team, I always apply the logic ‘hire the attitude, coach the rest.’”

Best things about working for Liz Earle?
“I think one of the best things about working for Liz Earle is that everyone genuinely makes a difference, every day. It’s almost like running our own business. We’re empowered to make decisions – and that’s really rare. I think we have an incredible amount of opportunity – to work on projects that are new, that are outside of our normal day-to-day. And of course, the generous product allowance comes in handy, too!

"Working in the Customer Centre gave me a real passion and energy for our brand and customer!"