comment STEVEN RAEIndependent sales agent in Glasgow, covering Scotland and Northern England On the road

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Being on the road means racking up the miles and staying away from home sometimes. City centre driving can be a somewhat stressful experience at times. I’d say they are my least favourite parts of the job - but it’s all part and parcel of life on the road.

What car do you drive and why? A Volvo V40. It’s comfortable and great to drive. It’s also got a good size boot, which is perfect for carrying around all my samples.

What's your background? I used to work in retail, selling electronic equipment such as TVs and laptops. I then joined the housewares industry and became an area sales manager with Dexam in August 2013, carrying out this role for just over three and a half years. An opportunity arose, and I became a self-employed sales agent starting up SR Agencies in January 2017.

What brands do you represent? I currently represent Dexam, Mistral Brands (who distribute Mepal, Bovictus, Zone and Ad Hoc in the UK), Auteur, Muurla (through Treacle George) as well as Cherith Harrison.

How do you spend an average day? A normal day is spent on the road selling new and established products and ranges into my wide variety of retailers, working with buyers on promotions and listings. I also spend some days working from home, following up on emails and carrying out administrative work.

Which of ‘your’ products do you use? I do my bit for the environment using my Stojo by Auteur, which is a reusable and collapsible coffee cup. I can grab a coffee on-the-go and once I’m finished, the cup collapses and fits into my bag, taking up very little room. I always use my Mepal Cirqula Bowl: it really is the

bowl that does it all! It can go in the microwave, freezer and dishwasher and it’s 100% leakproof. I also love the Scion range by Dexam. My kitchen textiles are all Scion designs, as well as my kitchen scales to match.

What’s the best aspect of your job? I enjoy being somewhere different every day visiting my customers. I’ve never been keen on a 9 to 5 office job. The housewares industry is very friendly and everyone, from my customers to other reps and agents, are all very easy to get along with. I also love seeing the new products that my agencies launch. Working with great brands means there’s always something exciting to look forward to.

October/November 2018

What do you do outside work? I have a keen interest in music so I enjoy going to live concerts and play guitar to a basic level. I love watching sport too, so I go along to the football on a Saturday when I can, and I enjoy going to the gym to keep fit. Socialising with friends and family is also something I do on a regular basis.

“ We’ve seen trends quickly come and go but

the awareness of single-use plastics and how they’re

affecting our environment is here to stay ”

What’s the biggest issue facing the housewares industry? The traditional high street is becoming a thing of the past. There are empty shops appearing on a weekly basis, which keeps people away and drives them to either shop online or go to out-of-town shopping centres and parks.

What are the biggest challenges facing retailers and suppliers? We’ve become a bit of a throwaway society where people are happy to buy the cheapest version they can of something and don’t worry about needing to replace it a few times, rather than buying quality and having something that lasts. Wrongly so, some consumers look at independent retailers as being more expensive, so won’t give them a chance to buy from.

What are the biggest opportunities facing retailers and suppliers? We’ve seen trends quickly come and go within the houseware industry. However, the awareness of single-use plastics and how they’re affecting our •

The Mr Fox design is part of the Scion range by Dexam

The award-winning Mepal Cirqula Bowls by Mistral Brands

environment is here to stay. It’s not a trend but a way in which people are changing some daily choices in their lives. It opens endless opportunities for both retailers and suppliers.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the housewares industry? From a field sales perspective, listen to your customers. They are the ones who are dealing with consumers day in and day out - and they are the ones with their fingers on the pulse with latest demands, feedback and comments from their customers. This advice can also be applied to any new or established suppliers as well.

• Steven’s contact details are: Mobile: 07517204373 Email:

Stojo - the collapsible and reusable coffee cup by Auteur | 33

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