Q+A with J (Janine), Mr Ralph's stylish Customer Relationship Manager

February 09, 2022

Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Mr Ralph?

I moved back to Taranaki after 16 years away and set up the New Plymouth Mr Ralph studio

My current role with Mr Ralph is all about getting to know our customers -especially our commercial customers. Knowing what projects they have coming up, understanding the environment they are working in and where their challenges are and then support them with lighting solutions, delivered to their deadlines.

As lighting designers and manufacturers we have control over our products, volumes, and lead times. This has proved to be hugely important to our customers in these challenging times.

My role also includes identifying new commercial customers, where we can add value by what we can offer. Whether it is an apartment block, a retirement complex, or a commercial space.

Tell us what you love most about your job?

I get to see some amazing homes and businesses and I often help in design phase of a project, which I find particularly satisfying. It feeds my soul!!

I’m solution focussed and have always loved working with people to get the best outcome.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

There is definitely a compromise having chosen to live in New Plymouth when most of my work is in our main cities. I regularly travel to Auckland for my job and getting and co-ordinating appointments is a challenge.

Either nobody is available, or everyone wants the same time and day!

What’s your top 3 pearls of wisdom that you could share with anyone building or renovating right now? 

  1. Plan, plan and plan some more…
  2. Give yourself plenty of time and have all your ducks in a row, particularly in our currently environment, with delays on product supply and shipping.
  3. Make sure you enjoy the process!

Do you have a project that you're most proud of?

I have just finished working with a couple who have bought a stunning heritage cottage/villa on a beautiful lifestyle block in the Wairarapa.

It is a major renovation project and I loved working with them on their lighting plan. They knew what they wanted to achieve but were open to ideas and suggestions.

They have great taste and wanted something a bit different, the unexpected, which I love. Can’t wait to see it all finished, I’ll be definitely making a trip down!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression…

What upcoming project are you most excited about?

We have been working with a young guy in Wellington, who is building with his mother and the house is being filmed by ‘Grand Designs’

They are using a large cluster of our beautiful POTT range from Spain in the entrance, along with pottery lights in the bedrooms.

I’ll be heading down there when they are ready to install, and work with the electrician to make sure the lights are hung to the clients specifications.

POTT Lighting - Exclusive to Mr Ralph.

What lighting trends are you seeing right now?

In the commercial space, designers are wanting XL statement lights…Vintage is popular also, as well as colour, Rattan and wall sconces 

All Ralphettes have a favourite light - what’s yours and why?

Frankie - He’s a plug in, go anywhere, be anything kind of guy…Whether its down to his naked bulb, or dressed up in velvet or iO shade. Or just playing around with Ella and Nina…..or Billie!! He’s a free spirit…I like that!

 Frankie Wall Light with Fred Glass Shade in Amber.

What do you do outside of Mr Ralph to relax?

I love innovation and great design. I love designer fashion, beautiful fabrics, timeless pieces, interior design, art, picking up preloved bargains and refurbishing old furniture with gorgeous fabrics…. I would like to do more of this!

J's apartment in New Plymouth reflects her love of interior design and art.