Name: Helen Clegg

Age: 26

Job title: Senior account manager

Company & location: Flavor Sampling, remote working from Lancashire.

Education: I didn’t go to uni, I jumped straight into working instead, which I feel massively benefited me!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? To either have my own cake shop/bakery, or be a pop star… sometimes both at the same time.

Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? It wasn’t really a conscious decision, it kind of happened naturally. It’s clichéd but I wanted to work in a challenging industry where no two days are the same, which led to me to Flavor.

Sampling (when done well) is a really powerful marketing tool in the fmcg world, so I really found my groove working with our various food and drink clients – I love how much variation there is in this space.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I manage strategic integrated sampling campaigns from beginning to end – including planning, execution and measurement.

I’m the main point of contact for clients (including Gen Mills, Asahi, Yfood, Kind, FrieslandCampina, Taylors of Harrogate, Gosh, Holy Moly and many more), and head up a team to make sure all our clients are looked after to the highest standard.

“Skip the typical job application processes where possible and head straight to the hiring manager’s inbox!”

What does a typical day look like for you? Honestly, no two days are the same in this role.

One day I will be creating a hyper-targeted digital sampling campaign from my desk, and the next I will be on site at a festival or train station with a team of our brand ambassadors distributing thousands of samples to eager commuters.

There’s always a few campaigns live at any one point and we are 100% remote working, so central to every day is checking in with my team. Remote working is the only way I’d want to work – but regular catch-ups are really important to stay aligned. 

Tell us about how you went about applying for your job: I saw the job advertised on LinkedIn, but bypassed the standard LinkedIn application process and emailed our MD directly with my CV. I knew from the job description that this role was for me, so wanted to make sure I’d be noticed. 

I was invited to an informal first stage interview with the MD, which was mostly a chemistry session, then went on to a more formal second interview with a response to brief task to complete. I really enjoyed the interview process, it felt much more like a mutual discussion than an interrogation, which was great.

Flavor Integrated Sampling montage

What’s the best part about working for a food & drink company? The free samples, of course! Only joking(ish).

For me it’s being able to work with so many household brands, and seeing the behind the scenes into how these brands work. I always find that everyone in the industry is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable too, so it’s a really positive space to work in.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I’d say the range of roles available. Before I started working with Flavor, I never realised product sampling was a whole industry in itself, and the same goes for loads of other roles! There really is something for everyone.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? It’s so important to find the right fit for both you and the company. If the fit is good, then it feels natural and progression comes almost naturally.

The best route in is the most direct route, reach out to the people in charge, get your name out there. Skip the typical job application processes where possible and head straight to the hiring manager’s inbox!

What’s your ultimate career dream? I feel really lucky to have joined Flavor as a startup, I genuinely value the company as if it’s my own. It only launched at the end of 2019, but is a genuine player in the industry now and works with some incredible brands. My career dream is to continue the growth of Flavor, and take us international. Watch this space!

Interested in finding out more about food & drink careers? Check out GrocerJobs for the latest vacancies