Built with Lottis love
“A lot of people might find it difficult to have their spouse as their business partner, but for us it is simple,” said Jody-Ann Sittol, co-founder and director of Lottis Projects Limited, as she described the natural synergy between herself and her husband, Ravi. The entrepreneurial duo, with roots anchored in architecture and construction, decided to venture into the world of designing, planning and building, when they realised that their conjoined passion for the field was a worthwhile venture to embark on together.
Both registered architects, they have come up from the Harold Morrison+Robert Woodstock Associates (HMRW) and Atelier Vidal (architecture) firms to launch Lottis Projects Limited, which is a contractor-project management company that undertakes residential and commercial renovations. After three years in the business, Lottis Projects has recently branched out to include the rental of industrial equipment.
“We were always business partners long before we got married,” laughed Ravi as he reflected on the multiple businesses they created before they started Lottis. “When BlackBerry smartphones were a thing, we sold BlackBerry skins and did phone repairs. We also did etching on glass and mugs, and sold them,” explained Jody-Ann. Their ingenious partnership was built on a foundation of mutual respect for each other’s level of professionalism, which created an avenue for interpersonal growth and development.
The couple met in the halls of the Caribbean School of Architecture at the University of Technology campus in 2007. “He was a year ahead of me and I would see him every now and then, but we really started talking when I was in fourth year,” said Jody-Ann. “We had a great foundation because we started out as friends and we were able to share not only our life goals with each other but (also)our career goals,” she continued. With over 10 years together and five years of marriage, they are both deeply aware of each others attributes and shortcomings. “She complements everything I do. I am the person who comes up with things and she executes. Someone actually said to me if it was not for her, most of my ideas would never get done,” said Ravi.
“There is a challenge occasionally with separating church from state and we have been blessed enough with being able to find that balance,” said Jody-Ann, who admits that more often than not, their main focus is on the volume of projects the company has to execute instead of personal time. “Every now and then, we need to catch ourselves and say enough about work let’s talk about something else,” she laughed.
With her husband’s undying support and love, Jody-Ann was able discover her calling and create a niche for herself within the business. “There are so many facets within architecture, but I found my niche in the building aspect of architecture. I like to be on site witnessing things being built as well as taking part in building them. He is more of the architect, where he would stay in office doing the designing and drawing,” stated Jody-Ann. “I knew I could survive being married to her when she went to the Florida for two and half years to complete her masters. If we could survive that distance, then we could survive anything,” stated Ravi.
Ravi, who was also the co-director of Skycam (one of Jamaica’s formative Drone media companies), has now launched his own architectural firm Ravi Sittol Design Studio (RSDS). He was named as one of the finalists in the National House of Parliament design competition, where he was the lead architect for the Atelier Vidal firm.
Their unique relationship has allowed the integration of design and built. “We both have an understanding and respect for each other’s roles. With her architectural background, she has a better appreciation of my designs and knows how to adjust certain things without affecting the overall look of the project,” said Ravi. Jody-Ann mentioned that were she not his wife, she would still need the changes and the practicality of a project. “People find it weird that we are able to maintain that architect/contractor relationship but it is very simple. Work is work,” said Jody-Ann.
With their Lottis Projects and RSDS companies, the couple hopes to offer a unique service (perhaps the first in the market) by merging the design and execution of architecture, modern aesthetic and interior design, providing all services from inception to implementation.