The Electronic Retailing Association

An Introduction from Jonathan Gregory, Chair of the APAC Chapter

Jonathan Gregory, Managing Director, Oak Lawn Marketing International, Shop Japan, Chicago

I came into this industry a little less than 15 years ago, and completely by chance. I happened to meet our former president Mr. Harry Hill, completely randomly in Nagoya where I was living at the time. Much to my good fortune, Harry took an interest in me, and offered me an open invite to come and see the company.

Now honestly at the time, I really didn’t watch much TV, as I was not interested in the Japanese programming, and should I have come upon an infomercial, I would have just zapped past as it was … an infomercial. I had no idea what Shop Japan was, or what it did, past the explanation that Harry had given me. But I was working in a job where I was bumping my head on the ceiling, and had a pregnant wife, so after about a month, I decided to go and see Harry, and what this Shop Japan thing was.

My company has changed my life. As simple as that. This industry has changed who I am.

Working in our office in Japan with all our wonderful staff, learning about this industry, travelling to industry events like the ERA, and meeting all of you has all brought me countless moments of joy, and experiences that have, day by day and year by year, grown in me a love of this industry, and all with whom I get to share this journey. It has been a true blessing upon my life.

6 years ago, I had the fortune to be sent to look after our Chicago office. Here I have found an extended family, and a dedicated, and marvelous team. We are working with our head office in Japan towards the next evolutionary stage of our company and loving every day. These are exciting times.

We are all still growing and developing our businesses in time with the pulse of our customers, ever following their eyes and adjusting our targets to match them. In Japan we have expanded our media mix and added greater sophistication to our business on multiple levels. Around the world we are all exploring different technologies, techniques, products, and strategies to survive and to grow. And therein lies the importance of our ERA Global organization.

From the day that I joined my company and our industry we have come to these industry events, not only to find products, but to make new friends and business partners, improve and enrich relationships, maintain pride in what we do, but above all else, we have always attended to learn and share. This is why we all come together: to learn and to share so that we may become better and grow our businesses through our collective and shared experiences and knowledge.

Jonathon Gregory, Chair of the APAC Chapter, addressed the attendees at the inaugural meeting in Budapest, June 2016

It is with great pride that I accepted the position on the ERA Global board and have taken the challenge of developing the APAC Chapter. Although I may not be living in Asia currently, after 20 years of my life spent in Asia, finding my wife, having our kids, finding my life and my passion, my heart will always be there. I sincerely look forward to working with our Asian members in growing the Chapter so that we can share and learn and so that we all may develop and grow together.

The APAC region is fast developing, and dynamic. And in its continued development, there will be successes and failures, peaks and valleys, winners and losers. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience that we all can share of our successes and failures, that can enrich and propel the businesses of those around us and our own. As a community we are all better off together. We are only as strong as we allow each other to be through our openness and willingness to share.

ERA Global will be reaching out shortly to plan our first 'out of show' event in the APAC region.

I would like to ask the patience and partnership of all those who wish to grow ERA Global and ask all those in the APAC region to get involved. We will be reaching out shortly to plan our first 'out of show' event, and I sincerely hope to see a great turnout. Stay tuned for more info. Julian will be sending a survey to help determine a location that is logical and convenient, and we plan to have this event early next year. Please watch for his mail, and if you don’t see it mail him at joberndoerfer@era-europe.eu

See you there, and in Amsterdam.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Gregory, Managing Director
Oak Lawn Marketing International. Shop Japan, Chicago.