Q+A with Sarah Hoffman - our tenacious Trade Manager

February 25, 2022

Sarah Hoffman, Mr Ralph Trade Manager, smiling

Trade has always played a vital role here at Mr Ralph. We were lucky to have support early on from some local designers who put up with viewing lighting products on Rach's home veranda. Now, some of our closest business relationships are with our trade customers. We get a real kick out of seeing their projects progress and their designs come to life. If they have happy customers, then we know we've done our job right! 
It takes someone with expert problem-solving skills to juggle the ins and outs of trade. Especially when you factor in large scale orders, global supply shocks and tight deadlines.

Sarah Hoffman manages this business stream for Mr Ralph and loves nothing more than a challenge. So it's fair to say that with the current covid environment causing supply and demand shortages and many headaches, she's in her element.  

Sarah, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I love interacting with people and have had many customer focused jobs over the years.  Yes, I do love a tricky situation and the ability to resolve a situation comes in very handy in the trade sector.  I personally oversee any query or order that comes through from any of our trade clients, which can range from what light bulb to use to requiring 100 units by a specific deadline for a large commercial job.  I am constantly liaising with our warehouse and logistics manager about incoming stock and how best to supply our trade customers with what they need, when they need it.

What do you see as some of the biggest perks about being a Mr Ralph trade customer?

I would say that the largest perk by far is having a dedicated individual who will get back to you generally the same day that you email. If there is something that we are unable to provide, I can offer alternative options that fit within the budget and timeframe.  This saves our busy trade customers a ton of time.

What do you see as the biggest frustration for our trade customers right now?

Stock availability – this is a huge nationwide issue.

What is Mr Ralph doing to support these customers?

We are working our best to maintain a constant stream of stock – and if we don’t have it available, we do our best to provide a fairly accurate eta.  I also work quite hard to set aside stock for large specified jobs so these jobs can install to their deadline.

What trends have you seen in terms of lighting a commercial space?

iO Maker shades have been very popular in the last 12 months along with clusters of The Gang.  I think there is a real shift to making commercial work spaces beautiful environments to work in, and what better way to do this than to have amazing feature pendant lighting.

iO Drum with Black Tips from Maker
 'The Gang' Opal Glass Pendants hanging in a cluster

'The Gang' Cluster

What is the best part of your job?

I adore the team at Mr Ralph and I have also been able to meet some really cool, talented and inspirational individuals. 

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

I would have to say The Great Glenorchy Base Camp, Bar Magda in Auckland and the Edwards White Architects office refurbish.

Bag Magda in Auckland with the Manhattan Coloured Glass Pendants, Alfie Glass Pendants and the 14cm Amber Cloche hanging from the roof.

Bar Magda - Auckland

What do you do outside of Mr Ralph to relax?

If I am not at the gym training to take the next step class, you will most definitely find me lying on the couch, drinking Prosecco and shamelessly watching the most trashy telly I can find.

And lastly, all Ralphettes have a favourite light - what’s yours and why?

Henrietta - really hits the spot.  Not only does it look great in a commercial setting, but placed in a stairwell, entryway or over a dining table it makes a dramatic statement.  Also, the Klaylife Dome - sophisticated and humble at the same time, the Dome has a colour palette and size to suit all interiors.

Henrietta Rattan Pendant hanging over a round table

Henrietta Rattan Shade


Demin Klaylife Dome Pendant hanging over a dining table

 Klaylife Dome Pendant