Total years spent working within the industry?
How did you get into Hospitality?
I worked in a supermarket wine department for 7 years and was taken on by my then mentor to do sales training.
What was your first job in Hospitality? At this point were you aware of the paths possible beyond this?
On-trade sales, and yes, I wanted to progress to be more involved with buying and imports
What was your most job recent (or current)?
Founder of MJ Wine Cellars and Co-Founder of BAME wine professionals
What do you most enjoy about this industry?
The people you meet, the wines you taste and the occasional trips!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I manage the account for UK supermarkets, working with companies like Aldi, Lidl and Majestic Wine. There is a lot of negotiation, negotiating better prices from our suppliers who of course want bigger volume commitments and negotiating prices with our customers who of course want to get the best possible cost price from us. I could be selling a few pallets of wine or tendering for large supply contracts with one of the multiples. My job requires a lot of people skills, I think that’s more important than wine qualifications or industry experience. Mistakes happen but its how you react and manage the solution that will determine if they would use your company again or not.
Tell us something we might not know about your field/sector?
It's amazing how involved you can be if you put your mind to it. You could be choosing bottle weights and shapes to writing tasting notes which will appear on the back label of supermarket wines in 6 months’ time. It's such a feeling of pride when you walk into a supermarket and see a wine on the shelf and know what part you played to get that bottle there.
The single most important piece of advice given to you?
Just do it, don’t think about it, don’t question yourself, no what-ifs. If you have a dream in mind, just do it.
Big break, or career-defining moment?
The transition off the shop floor into the wine industry was the hardest one. With no sales experience or trade experience, it's hard for companies to take a punt on you. I was fortunate to meet someone who was willing to take me under their wings, nurture me and empower me.
Advice you would offer to your younger self when you first entered the industry?
Have more fun!