Ten Minutes With – Dave Smith

We caught up with Dave a friendly socialable member of the Guild who uses the Guild as a base when he is not out in the field running Vegwares sales team.

We started with What’s your favourite Leonardo Di Caprio Movie?

Wolf of Wall Street…it was a mad insight into the world of Wall Street.  His character had a very odd philosophy, in the end I suppose it was just his way of getting the job done.

Then we asked Dave to guide us quickly through his career so far

The common theme is that I work with people.  I like to pride myself that I’ve got good relationship skills.  Relationship skills and sales go hand in hand.  Sales is a technique, if you have good relationship skills, you’re half way there, people buy from people.

I left school at the age of 15 to play rugby.  That lasted for a few years until I had a bad neck injury which put paid to my rugby career. So, I got into my first sales job in Donaldson’s Furniture Shop in Carlisle.  I stayed there for three years and decided I wanted to be a sales rep on the road.  So, I got a job with a bed manufacturer based down in Dewsbury covering an area from Central Scotland to SW Scotland, Cumbria and part of Lancashire selling Cosy Sleep products. 

After three years I fell out of love with sales a bit.  I had worked as a volunteer for the Living Well Trust as a youth worker.  The role involved working from a kitted out single decker bus based in Raffles.  So, I left sales and became a full-time youth worker focusing on sports development with disengaged children.  These children weren’t in school and we needed to find out why and give them purpose.  We did this by getting them into football and rugby which worked really well because of my sports background.  I moved from Living Well to Saint Aiden’s School to become a behavioural support worker within the PE department.  We worked with children struggling with lessons.  We took groups of them out to figure out what was going on and try to get them back into the main stream schooling.  Doing this through the PE Department.

When Saint Aiden’s and Harraby merged to form the Central Academy there was a lot of job insecurity because I wasn’t a full-time teacher, so I took the opportunity to get back into sales.  I joined 3663 (now Bidfoods) working as a business manager in Cumbria for their Gateshead depot.  There was a lot of learning to do to get to grips with the food industry.  After four years I was promoted and moved over to the non-food side (catering equipment, cups and packaging etc.).  After four years in non-food I was head hunted by Vegware for the job I have now.   The offer came because I had sold Vegware at Bidfood so I knew the people and when they had an opening for a sales manager, they offered me the role.

This is a long list of bizarre changes but they are mainly sales. 

We then asked what his favourite thing about the Guild was

My favourite thing about the Guild is the diversity of the people in the Guild.  Before I started, if you had tried to put me in with such a diverse group, I would never have said it would happen.

It’s the friendliness of the people. I came from homebased working where you have to be very disciplined in your approach to work.  I think just over a year ago I was under pressure and went to see the doctor.  She said that home should be home and work needs to be work.  So, there was a clear definition between the two AND that’s what the Guild does. 

The Guild has lots of people with different ideas are all there to help.  It’s a nice working family.

Bearing in mind Daves experience with child support we asked what advice he would give children.

Go with your gut

Go with what you think is right because nine times out of ten your gut tells you if it is the right thing to do.  In sales especially sometimes you’ve got some quite big decisions.  I always think if it feels right it is right, believe in yourself.

We then asked what was next for Vegware

It’s a very competitive market place.  We need to establish ourselves more, we have become the ‘hoover’ brand of compostable products.

I think we need to strengthen our brand further.  We need to establish ourselves within the compostable market and we need to be ready to and able for change the way we do things.

We then asked Dave to explain coworking to someone who didn’t know what it is

Coworking is being open to work with people from different walks of life. It’s a chance to take on different ideas and to form a family outside of work.  We all work separately but together.

The Guild helped me work.  Sometimes I could sit at home all day and look at a piece of work and just not get it done.  Other things got in the way; the washing machine was there with dishes on the side.  Whereas with the Guild when I walk out of the door in the morning I come to work and I’m not in my house and it’s an office environment and I’m far more productive here.

If it’s a working in day I’m in here. It’s so much more productive.  You talk to people, they’re all around you.  You’re not as lonely as homebased, random conversations like do you want a cup of coffee just make such a difference.

For anyone that is struggling working alone I would hugely recommend coworking because for me it has changed the way I work, it’s made me more effective in my job.

Finally we asked for Daves three top tips

Always believe in yourself

Live today like it’s your last.

Never be afraid to ask a question.  No question is a silly question.