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With the baking season in full swing, we catch up with David Jack, managing director of Silverwood Bakeware in Birmingham

What's your background? I began my career as a commodities broker in the city and became disenchanted over the years. By chance, I moved into housewares via the Cook Shop at London department store Harrods, and I’ve never looked back. My Harrods role led me to work for a distributor, which I then followed by running my own cookshop at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire for 17 years and finally, here I am at Silverwood.

Tell us a bit about your company. Silverwood was founded over 55 years ago in Birmingham, specialising in handcrafted quality bakeware and cookware. Fast forward to 2018, and we have an award- winning range, a network of independent stockists, and a dedicated following amongst professional and celebrity chefs and keen amateur bakers. Our collection has grown to meet the ever-

changing requirements of our customers, and our comprehensive range of over 200 professional- grade bakeware and speciality tins provides everything to enable both the professional and amateur chef to achieve the perfect bake.

What’s your working week like? There is no normal week; manufacturing doesn’t work like that! You never know what order you may get or what enquiry you may receive to produce a bespoke pie tin etc.

What’s keeping you busy? There’s never a dull moment. There’s always a long list of things to keep me busy. There’s a list of ‘must- do-nows’ and a list of ideas being worked on. Then there are the things that go wrong - a machine that breaks down for example. All of these set the content of the never-ending busy list!

What’s on your agenda? We recently launched a website at www.silverwood- where B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) customers can discover the full Silverwood range, search for stockists and discover inspiration and recipe ideas. This will be an ongoing priority, along with

developing new products, supporting our stockists and commercial clients, and exploring export opportunities.

Most rewarding aspect of your job? Leading a passionate team who work together to make the best products we can - and then seeing those products being used and cherished.

“ Retailers need to diversify and develop web sales as well

as create more of an experience- driven offering ”

Most challenging aspect of your job? For me, paperwork is the most challenging aspect as I’m dyslexic.

What do you do to relax? There is little time in the week but at weekends I enjoy long walks, lazy lunches and catching up with friends and family.

During your time in the housewares industry, what products have impressed you most and why? I’m totally focused on our business with its comprehensive offering of over 200 everyday and specialist tins. We have a wonderful mix of kitchen staples, speciality tins and innovative products, which puts Silverwood in a class of its own.

6-cup Muffin Tray 34 |

During your time in the housewares industry, which retailers have impressed you most and why? Retailers that know and understand their market and clientele, deliver a consistent omnichannel experience, and continually reinvest in their business and staff impress me the most.


9in Fluted Pie Dish

What’s the biggest challenge facing housewares retailers? One of the greatest challenges is the cost of running a business on the high street.

And the biggest opportunity? Businesses need to diversify and develop web sales as well as create more of an experience-driven retail offering.

What are the biggest challenges facing housewares suppliers? Cheaper foreign-made products are a constant threat, especially when some retailers are looking for greater margins and are willing to sacrifice quality to achieve it. This, combined with exchange rates and cash flow are, in my opinion, the biggest challenges at the present time.

And the biggest opportunity? There’s a huge opportunity online and we recently launched a new website – www.silverwood- – which makes Silverwood available direct to consumers for the first time.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen since you joined the housewares industry? The biggest change is that the number of suppliers and distributors has declined, as has the number of smaller innovative companies.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the housewares industry? You need to have a real interest in the sector and cooking. Ideally, you should be a ‘people’ person - and like to drive! October/November 2018

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