Proud Father, Husband, Runner, Sales, Marketing, Buying, Accountant, Non-Food Product, Toys, MBA, Hornby, HTi, Vivid, Asda, British Army
Added Smile is the culmination of a career of hard graft and never say die passion that means our founder has a significant amount of grey hair and wrinkles from a sustained period of furrowed brow.
Nathaniel Southworth, only ever wanted to be a soldier when he was growing up and to the dismay of his parents even considered dropping out of school to join the Army Catering Corps due to the fantastic camaraderie and skills he learned in a summer job in Germany. He often tells us of the excitement that can be had of making sure “your whites should be white”, and your baton carrots should be uniformly cut. However, he persevered with his studies and went to Leeds University studying Accounting & Finance where for the first two years of his course he focused on his time in the Officer Training Corps. Attachments with the King’s Regiment, and Irish Guards followed before he realised that maybe he wasn’t destined to follow in to the family business.
In 1999 he joined Computer Sciences Corporation and quickly excelled through their finance departments and qualified as a chartered accountant (ACMA). In 2002 he joined the Asda (Wal*Mart UK) Commercial Finance team reporting through to one, Sean Clarke now CEO of Asda, and learned all about the profitability of non-food businesses. He describes switching in one breath from discussing the margin of Christmas decorations to the pricing of a towel. It sounds so exciting! It was a golden age at Asda offering the keen and hungry incredible experiences at a young age. He initiated their first foray into barter trading before moving to a buying role for toys. During this period of his career he set new benchmarks for buying with global sourcing, and own label product development. He brokered possibly the first direct to retail licensing deal with Disney co-branding a range of Asda private label pre-school toys. The toys department grew its profitability faster than it grew its sales line, and the sales line was enjoying double digit growth. He often says it was the best job in the world, and yes it was like Tom Hanks in Big!
After a fantastic report card Asda wanted him to go to another category in the food sector but with a head and heart full of toy industry experience he went to join Vivid Imaginations. A U.K. leader in the toy industry and a chance to learn from Nick Austin one of the U.K.s leading entrepreneurs. Nick was featured in “How I made it” and Nat is privileged to have worked with another “How I made it” alumnus, Mark Mills, at HTi. A total of 12 years in the toy industry followed including roles in Buying, Marketing and Sales.
Until 2016 he was the Sales & Marketing Director of Hornby Hobbies Ltd which is the main operational company of Hornby Plc. He has worked on some of the most recognised brands globally with WWE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Peppa Pig, Hornby, Corgi, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol, and don’t forget to ask him about Churchill plush. In fact he himself admits even he is amazed with the experiences he has managed to pack in. He was nominated by the BTHA as one of the most promising talents in the industry in 2005 and in 2014 he was proud to be elected as a BTHA Council member.
In 2017 he decided he would return to Leeds University and study for an MBA on their Executive programme. This time University isn’t all about volunteering to rope out of helicopters and evade capture by the enemy somewhere in the woods near Catterick. It is about using the experiences of a career driving business performance forward and leveraging the academic knowledge imparted by the tutors. A quarter of the way through the course Nat has already volunteered as the student representative and relearned the lesson “never volunteer for anything”. When the time machine is invented Nat says he wouldn’t change anything as he’s loved every minute of this life, and he is looking forward to using all the experiences to make a difference in as many businesses as possible.
When Nat isn’t working he is a keen runner Nat enjoys setting himself personal best challenges at a range of distances, and trying to wind the clock back to former glories.
Nat’s up to date LinkedIn profile can be accessed here.