Interview with Mox Sanjenbam, Managing Director of Woodnet Lifestyles, by James Green, 2k Tiger
Take us back to the start, Mox, how did you get to where you are today?
My name is actually Mojca, but people know me as Mox. I’m from Slovenia and a few years after moving to the UK I met my husband Ash with whom I now have two beautiful children with. I’m a qualified optician and I’ve worked in the industry for about 20 years. When I lived in Slovenia, I was also a radio and TV presenter.
As I spoke English, I interviewed some high-profile musicians and I picked this up again in the UK while doing voiceovers for the Slovenian market.
Since then, over the past six-seven years, Ash and I have been occupied with our business Kingfisher SEC, providing physical security in sectors like property and retail. One of our largest sources of business is the events industry. With Covid-19 and lockdown, however, events were cancelled, and the business began to struggle. We started to think about how we could enhance safety in unprecedented times. That’s how we came upon the concept of hygiene stations.
How did you feel when lockdown was announced?
It was a very difficult time. Not only did we have to work from home and home school our children, we were also uncertain about the future for Kingfisher SEC and our staff.
Tell me about how the idea took off…
From concept to production was about a month. Initially I was sceptical. We’ve had other business ideas along the way and Kingfisher SEC was the only successful one. I wondered how it would work – investing in the products, importing them, and then they might not sell. However, once we sat down and worked it out, we realised it was feasible. The emphasis was on keeping people safe and bringing confidence back to the workplace, and we wanted to be a part of these safety measures. In both our businesses, this is the primary aim.
Could you explain your market research process?
If I’m honest, it started with a lot of internet research. We spoke to friends - Ash has a network of businesses all over the world and we got in touch with them. We did a lot of market research to ensure that our sanitiser stations were competitively priced. Interest came from several countries, including India, South Africa, America and Canada.
Have you had any negative feedback?
There haven’t been any negative reactions so far. We believe our prices are competitive compared to some other products in the same space. We aren’t trying to profit from the products – our primary aim is keeping people safe. The most important aspect for us has always been promoting safety and helping people get back to work.
Who were your first customers?
We began by talking to people in our network. That was difficult because we don’t like selling to people we know. We began by asking for their opinions on the product. It turned out they were looking for a product just like ours, so it seemed we were in the right place at the right time. Our first products sold almost simultaneously to the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and Venture X.
What do you think makes your product unique?
Our flagship product, the SaniPro Station, has everything you need in a single unit. It’s an innovative product featuring an automated hand sanitiser dispenser, four compartments for disposables such as gloves, masks or tissues, and a general multi-purpose bin. We’ve also developed another product[MM1] , the SaniBasic Station, which is anautomated hand sanitiser dispenser with fewer features.
Tell us about the design…
Our partners in Slovenia designed the products. We provided them with feedback as they worked on the design, and that’s how the products became what they are today. There were modifications, for example, the SaniBasic stand didn’t have a drip tray in the initial design.
Do you see the sanitiser business as short-term or long-term?
At the beginning, we thought the product would last up to six months. Our thinking and vision has changed. We now believe this new way of life will become the normal. So, the sanitiser products will have a place in the market longer-term - but only as long as we keep ahead by innovating and scaling up the business.
What are your future aspirations for Woodnet Lifestyles?
We’re hoping the business will continue growing. As a new company, we want to see our products in lots of places. As the effects of Covid-19 reduce, we hope to take our acquired expertise and develop the business into other sectors, such as the furniture industry.
You’re juggling two businesses and two children. What would you advise others juggling work and home?
This is the hardest question so far! What can I say? A glass of wine in the evening always helps! No, no, when it comes to home schooling, we try to ensure our kids don’t spend too much time using electronics. But it’s hard setting an example when we’re working on our laptops! At weekends, we spend as much time as possible outside in the fresh air. It helps a lot, keeping weekends free for family time.
How can people find out more about your products?
Anyone interested in our sanitisers or other products should contact me directly at Mox@sanistationuk.com or visit our website: https://sanistationuk.com.