A day in the life: Peter-Guy L’Amie

10 December 2018

Peter-Guy L’Amie is Global Sales Director at Lawton Yarns. Having been with the manufacturer for over 15-years, Peter’s passion for the textiles industry is unrivalled.

Responsible for leading wool sales across the business and around the world, he is dedicated to championing the many benefits of the ‘wonder material’ to manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike. And with a focus on sustainability, Peter is at the very fore of the industry’s future.

We caught up with Peter on his day-to-day activity, and Lawton Yarns’ exciting plans for 2019 and beyond.

How did you get started in the textiles industry?

My father was in the textiles industry. He started in the linen trade in Ireland and Belgium, and went on to produce rope for Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

In the 1970s, he went into wool carpet yarn spinning. So, I guess you could say I was born into the trade. As a youth I spent my summers as an operator, and 25 years later I’m still immersed in this world of wool spinning. I love it, so I’ve stuck at it. It’s in my blood.

What are your main responsibilities?

I’m responsible for all wool sales across Lawton Yarns, in the residential and contract markets, and for actively identifying new commercial opportunities for yarns such as the felted and rug markets.

Who makes up your team?

The team comprises agents across Europe, Australasia, Asia and America, with my main focus being the UK.

Our product development team is based at our factory HQ in Dewsbury, and as a department it’s become increasingly important. In reflection of this we have invested in the latest M-Tuft machine, which converts yarn into carpet samples – 90% of all new business comes from product development so it is a vital part of the company.

This forms the centrepiece of a brand new product development lab, which will enable us to work directly with our customers to create new and innovative carpet collections.

Paired with the opening of our new showroom, we’ve created a hub of innovation in the heart of Yorkshire.

What does a typical day look like?

As you might expect, I spend a lot of my time on the road – I know the M1, M6 and Manchester Airport extremely well!

Every day involves meeting with customers in some capacity, whether working on a new product for next year or the coming season, or problem solving – such as improving lead times, refining runnability and reducing our packaging.

A key priority for the entire team is striving to improve our runnability and service. This plays a daily part of my work and involves touching base not only with our customers but with our global agents and product development team – getting feedback, analysing and creating yarns and systems to improve our customers’ experience and becoming instrumental to their success.

I really love the commercial aspect of developing a brand new product, especially when you know through our yarns we have created a beautiful looking carpet which makes it to market and ultimately sells well – that is an awesome feeling!

In many industries, a supplier might only play a small part in the chain, but Lawton Yarns now plays a fundamental role at every stage of the carpet making process.

We are involved right from the start, sourcing the raw material to manufacturing any kind of yarns and finally, in partnership with our customers, developing innovative carpets and rugs that meet consumer demand.

We have been able to become integral due to the large investment we have made – effectively becoming a one-stop-shop for the industry.

The most recent investments have been in a brand new product development facility including an M-tuft, which is led by an experienced product development team.

We have invested in a new dye house so we can service both the contract and residential markets. Plus state-of-the-art felting and chem setting equipment to service the high end market.

Are there any standout projects you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of?

You’ll see from the average length of service at Lawton Yarns that there’s an overwhelming sense of pride amongst our team as a whole. And that consensus comes across in everything we do.

The project we’re currently working on is perhaps our most crucial to date. From board level across the entire team we are making sustainability a priority with the aim to become a key part of the circular economy.

To do this, we are looking at every part of the business and considering how we can make it better, make it circular.

It’s a proper team effort, and looking further than that, it’s a huge global topic. The key is to ingrain this in our DNA, making it part and parcel of everything we do. For instance, we’re working with some really innovative partners in the backing world, which manufacture 100% recyclable backing to complement our natural wool.

We’re just at the start of our journey but it’s something that I’m really passionate about – we’re ‘walking the walk’ on the road to a much more sustainable future.

Project-wise, our yarns have featured in some of the world’s most important buildings. So, of course, we’re extremely proud of that!

Can you tell us something about your job that might surprise us?

Not only do we manufacture woollen yarns but we promote wool as a material. And this is a campaign that we’re proud to be at the forefront. It’s also the reason we developed our new showroom, which helps us get retailers through the door to learn more about wool’s many benefits.

In fact, our customers have reported increased sales figures following factory visits made by retailers, illustrating real, tangible benefit to the activity.

Although our customers are carpet manufacturers, I’ve spent a lot of time with buying groups to understand their challenges and needs. They are, after all, on the shop floor – the consumer ‘face’ of our products.

Did you know, for instance, that wool carpets eat VOC? This is the kind of information we want consumers to understand. Buy wool and breathe easy!

How have you seen the textiles industry change since you joined?

The wool industry has massively changed over the years. Wool used to occupy a good portion of the low to medium end. Now, it sits in the mid to high section. Increasingly, wool is now viewed as a premium product.

Due to this, there’s been a retraction in the market, with those that survived having had to be flexible and innovative. This is exactly what we’ve done. We have concentrated on making products that meet consumer demand and more so than ever before launching products that have a certain ‘wow factor’ to appeal to changing consumer needs and expectations.

To tell you the truth, even though business might be tougher today than 10 years ago, I much prefer the industry as it is now. Creativity is so much more important enabling a very exciting workplace. It’s less about price and more about service and creating the right product that meets expectation. Everything must be carefully considered to ensure a consistent point of difference.

Do you have any advice for those looking to start a career in the textiles industry?

It’s a great time to join the industry, as it’s now more creative than ever. Lawton Yarns, and British manufacturers in general, are tightly run ships, and so there is a real sense of comradery with everyone doing multiple jobs. The diversity of what you will get involved with means there is never a dull moment. It’s also pretty cool to work with the best fibre in the world!

There is no traditional hierarchy, which suits people who can think on their own feet – who are flexible, self-starters, not scared of making decisions. We are always looking for outstanding talent and our past history shows that once you join you won’t want to leave!

But, above all else, passionate people truly shine in this environment – it’s hard work and the hours are often long, but we’re driven by an emotional determination and a genuine love for our trade…all whilst having a bloody good laugh!