- How did you get into the industry/your job? (Work history)
By complete and utter accident! I graduated with a degree in materials engineering back in 2003 and after a brief stint working on the railways, I joined a London based lobby firm which campaigned on behalf of businesses for investment in infrastructure. In my early twenties, I suddenly found myself liaising with FTSE100 CEOs and Chairs and having meetings at 10 Downing Street and HM Treasury about projects such as Crossrail and the London Olympics, which was really quite exciting! I worked my way up for eight years before leaving to join a management consultancy. To be honest, that was pretty disastrous for various reasons and soon afterwards I decided it was time to head back to my home city of Lichfield. After some hunting around I came across BoxMart - literally right across the street from my childhood home. I fell in love with their products and after meeting with the Managing Director Joanne Offord, she hired me in the summer of 2012 to manage the relocation of their office and warehouse from Lichfield to larger, purpose-built premises in nearby Shenstone.
- What are your favourite elements of your job?
My role with BoxMart has developed a lot since I joined, which has given me a great overview of the business. After managing the office move I looked after health and safety and worked in sales, both on stock boxes and bespoke packaging. Currently, I'm mostly involved in marketing activity which I love. It's great that despite having found myself here by a bit of a round-about route, it still brings together a lot of my past experience and it feels like it was meant to be! My engineering background is great for getting my head around the constructional design elements of the business (and I'm more than a little bit jealous of our design team building amazing boxes and operating a CAD table all day long!), and my past work in PR and lobbying is obviously very relevant to our marketing work.
- What are the biggest challenges in your role?
Working part time, whilst being perfect for me right now, presents big challenges. The combination of there always being big exciting projects on the go, coupled with me generally being nosey and having an opinion on most things, means it’s really easy to get pulled into more and more work, when I have limited time to get things done. Working fewer hours has forced me to be really focussed about how to spend my time when I’m in the office.
- What’s your favourite project that you have worked on?
I'm really proud to have worked with Sipsmith on their award winning bottle wrap box. I actually went on maternity leave before the project was complete but it was such a fascinating project to get going and I'll always remember that. I even have one of the boxes on display in my kitchen! Right now we're doing a lot of exciting work in the e-commerce sector and have launched some really well-received boxes for online retailers. It's such a growth area and there's so much scope there to tap into new markets. BoxMart is really well placed to work with new and growing online companies to help them develop their packaging, whether it be stock boxes or bespoke. Now more than ever, how products are presented says so much about a brand, I'm really enjoying making sure we continue to be known as a great packaging partner.
- What’s your favourite thing about working for BoxMart?
I love the team I work with and the company has a great family feel. In particular Jo has been very accommodating of changes in my personal circumstances. I left to have children in 2014 and after four years, and two babies later, I came back in September 2018 on flexible hours to a job and company I love. I made sure I wasn't forgotten in that time by regularly messaging her about nice boxes I'd seen, and on one occasion, instructing her to watch Biggleton on CBeebies as the entire set is made of cardboard. It appears to have worked and I consider myself to be very lucky to be back in the fold.
- Any interesting hobbies outside of work?
With two small children under five, finding time for hobbies has been rather a challenge in recent years. Thankfully my boys are showing a deep interest in all things construction, so I'm able to amuse myself learning with them about hydraulic arms on excavators and backhoe loaders and they're fascinated that mummy works somewhere that has two forklift trucks! I've also always loved doing creative activities and once upon a time had a room dedicated to crafting. Alas, this is no more, but I'm often found ferreting around in BoxMart's recycling bins for sheets of board or collecting interesting cut-outs from the CAD table to take home. I recently made a big pirate ship for the boys to play in with bits I'd found around the office. Another benefit of working where I do!
- What advice would you give to someone looking to do what you do?
Well, given I haven't had a particularly straight career path, I might not be the best person to ask. But no matter where I have worked, I have found that listening, hard work, tenacity and a desire to continuously learn and improve will get you a long way. Don't be afraid to speak up, be the kind of person who gets things done and you're bound to get wherever you want to be.