#seemaontheedge #housewares #sda
So I completed 25 years in this wonderful industry last month.😳 Do feel free to say “surely not” or “you look too young ”. But the truth is I am that old.
I thought I’d take a little look back (some of the words are from an old blog called The alternative CV). No I’m not looking for a job!! And yes this is a little indulgent.
All companies mentioned exist and are real as are the people I’ve met along the way. Some haven’t been able to lose me!! I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone – blame the menopause!!
Cole & Mason(Farnborough)
I joined when my daughter was 6 months old . She’ll be 26 this year! The building is right by the dump- especially yummy on hot summer days. Only the planes from the air show made the location worthwhile. I met my sister from another life here @Debbie Acquaye . It’s not a salt and pepper pot I learnt- it’s a mill. Not any old mill but a Cole & Mason mill. We hustled and beavered away to make it a success. Long awaited rounders tournament every summer that created heated competition and memories. This is where I learnt the art of detail, process and knowing your numbers thanks to @Nick Cornwall. This is also where I entered the world of Ambiente, Elite (Exclusive Housewares) and The Progressive Housewares Dinner. They all definitely deserve their own entries another time. Hard work but what fun! All that air kissing …@Ashley Rogers @Rebecca Wilson @Liz Saunders @Nadia Swinney @Freda Cronk @Andrew Thornton.
Tefal to Groupe SEB (Langley)
This is the brand that gave me my second husband. Not sure if it’s part of their ongoing ranges. I also picked up some other WOTEs (women on the edge) along the way @Louise Hickling @Laura Starkie and @Meeta Patel. Those that transition from being colleagues , to work friends to friends for life. Working for the French was a pleasure and gave me exposure to non veg veg food! They just didn’t get it in those days.Nearly 10 years of my life. Surely deserves its own private hearing. The non stick years with a few plugs thrown in. It gave me confidence and taught me the phrase “soft launch” thanks to @Ian Mackey and “more champagne “ thanks to @Glenn Meek. I fell in love with Jamie Oliver and had Conference overload and laughs with @Steve Punter @Jeremy Taylor and @Paul Neiss Too many shenanigans to publish. I perfected the art of air kissing, juggling and showing how it’s done with an all female team and learning to work with Marketing muppets as a sales tosser (@Ian Watkison) or box shifter!🤦🏽♀️ And they were the best Marketing Muppets around @Chris Gee and @Dominic Worsley being two of the best. This is also where I began my OU career which has led to me currently trying to finish a Masters in Classics after completing a History Degree – don’t let anyone say you’re not capable or outside pursuits will impact your work!
DKB (Cole & Mason all grown up)
I continued my love of Jamie Oliver here but may have shifted my loyalties to a certain guy called Ken Hom. I accumulated a kitchen full of tools and gadget that could chop/peel/prep any fruit or veg you care to throw at me. I learnt the value of TK Maxx -“It’s not just clearance”, whilst being a John Lewis junkie and a Lakeland luvvie. And I perfected my art for schmoozing and building the wonderful Housewares network of colleagues,friends and acquaintances. I learnt a new word “cardrobe” that depicts my mobile life. @Mark Avery @Lindsey Hoyle @Jo Adger @Louise Ayres.
The Belgian chocolate makers. No no – not unhealthy chocolate but healthy ceramic non stick. Ready to conquer the world with high energy, gusto and fabulously designed products. This business gave me my first Directorship and allowed me to spread my wings thanks to @Zouhair Yahia. It also allowed me to travel to China and HK, alas on economy. Not a good look when your buyers are ahead of you in business 😂. I learnt how to be independent, build a great team (Angela Hodgkinson Sharon Murphy Matt Sampson Guy Furby) and be even more determined.
Now at BHETA and Exclusively Shows it’s a pleasure to work on behalf of the industry with @Will Jones . Not only allowing me to stay in touch with old industry peers such as @Tony Dorgan, @Geoff Gorst @Sam Bagga @Veronica Davison. But also Strong females like @Kate O’Neill who I gave know for this entire period and @Jane Mason since she had her first son!
As you will see for me it’s always about the people and challenging and stretching myself. Work is always there. Things change and will change again. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some standout people on the retail side-@Anna Berry, @Phillipa Simons, @Kathryn Farrel, @Caroline Rowell, @Amanda Reed @Amanda Ranson @Kate Carrick . Oh look an all female cast. But I can’t leave out @Ben Phillips who was always a great sounding board. And how could I forget @Jo Howard, @Warren Lomax and @Jakki Brown who always seem to have been around keeping us informed.
How the retail landscape has changed though. Woolies used to be my biggest account. And how silly was I to keep passing up on the Amazon opportunity . Could have been running my own digital start up by now 😂🤦🏽♀️. Working on the promo calendar for Debenhams used to keep me busy all year and gave me the skills to duck and dive between them, Allders and HOF. The gorgeous shops that were Steamer Trading. But we now have what the consumer has created and wants (for now at least). I love the fact that there are so many Independents still going strong – adapting and working with suppliers to be just what we want on our doorstep.
On a personal level too much has happened and I keep getting told LinkedIn is not the place. But I disagree; work is a part of you and it is the full 24hours that make you not just a 45minute zoom call. And I know no one is asking for any advice but here goes …work with passion, enthusiasm, have fun and be kind. Here’s to a few more years.