Name: Chloe Wakefield
Job title: Assistant brand manager
Company & location: The Savourists
Education: Biomedical science, Durham University
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? In truth, I hadn’t really considered a career in food and drink until after university. I studied biomedical science with a strong interest in viruses. This led me to a first job at a healthcare communications company. Despite enjoying being part of new research, I found the healthcare industry quite constrictive. I wanted to pursue a career that was challenging, pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to use my creative side. Food and drink just seemed to tick all the boxes.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): As one of two in the business, it’s safe to say I wear a lot of hats. My main areas of focus are all things marketing, e-commerce and sales.
What does a typical day look like for you? Visiting potential customers, shooting for social media, writing newsletters, monitoring and analysing performance of ads on Amazon.
Tell us how you went about applying for your job. I applied through the jobs board on Escape the City. Would highly recommend if you’re looking for an atypical city job! There were three interviews – one phonecall, one video interview and finally a face to face to ensure good team match (which is really important in a small team). In the final interview I was asked to present on a series of questions relating to the company. I think the hardest thing to remember is that the people employing you are often the people you will be working with, so being your genuine self on interview day is probably the most important thing and hard to do when you’re nervous!
“I wanted to pursue a career that was challenging, pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to use my creative side”
What’s the best part about working for a food company? I get to talk and think snacks all day long. I think the industry as a whole is incredibly supportive, especially in the challenger world. If you’ve got a problem you can guarantee someone will have encountered it before and can work as a sounding board for how to solve it.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That it’s easy to launch a food and drink brand. Naively I felt the same prior to joining the team. Getting products onto shelf is just the start of it – there’s so much more to building a brand than listings. You need build genuine relationships with your customers.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? If you’re keen to be in an environment that constantly evolves and requires you to be on your toes, this is a great industry. If you’re applying to a food company and haven’t heard of them before, go out and try their product. It will show the team you are genuinely interested in the company, and if you don’t like the product it’s potentially worth finding something you do like. You’ll be talking about it every day, which is a lot easier if you genuinely love it.
What’s your ultimate career dream? I’d love to run some kind of food community one day. Think woodland retreats, where everyone brings something to the table. I guess the premise of Burning Man festival on a smaller scale, bringing people together through food, drink and music.