A Chat With March’s Profile, Martin Smith, CEO of MindWare
CS: What do you think would have become of your career if you hadn’t gotten involved in the catalog/multichannel industry?
MS: Having found it [the catalog/multichannel industry], I’ve got to believe that if I hadn’t found it when I did find it I would have found it later, because it’s the only place I can imagine myself having the level of challenge and enjoyment that I get from it.
CS: What kinds of things are done at MindWare to keep the environment fun and light-hearted for your employees?
MS: The products themselves help achieve that objective. We’re dealing with engaging products and we get engaged with those products just as we hope our customers do. We of course see many products come in the door here which don’t, for one reason or another, ultimately get picked up and featured in our catalog or on our Web site. Some of the products that come in are certainly entertaining. We’re a bunch of grown-up kids. I don’t want you to believe that we’re sitting around playing toys 40 hours a week, but they’re a large part of our life and they provide a healthy level of amusement.
CS: And getting to know the product like that (first-hand use) can help you to market it more effectively?
CS: Have you had any mentors in the business that you’ve leaned on for advice over the years? Have you been a mentor to anyone involved in the industry?
MS: I’m not sure that I’d be happy in answering that question without specifically checking with any names that come to mind to see whether they’d mind being referenced. In general terms, I’ve kept in touch and do keep in touch with former co-workers. Before I came to MindWare I spent close to 20 years at Avon Fashions, which later became Newport News, which is still a major factor in the women’s apparel area. Even though I left Newport News seven years ago now, I still have quite a few friends that I keep in touch with from that company. We talk about work-related topics quite a bit. So I suppose the professional links continue in a way.