With interest building for the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer, PG Buzz ‘tracked’ down some of the industry’s own team of ‘medal winners’, aka independent sales agents whose respective and multifarious talents see them overcoming hurdles and delivering glory for both the companies they represent and their retail customers.
Doug Kilby, agent for London, Essex and East Anglia takes up the baton and gives a ‘run down’ of life in his fast track!
What’s in your ‘kitbag’ of companies you represent?“I represent Eco Chic bags, Hammond Gower, Portfolio, Quotables, Smiling Faces, Stop the Clock and Unique Paper.”
What Olympic event is most akin to you as an agent?“I would say the marathon best describes being an agent in today’s climate. It is a long race that lasts the whole year. Just as in a marathon you have to pace yourself accepting that there are busy periods when you have to maximise sales and appointments and quieter times, like in December when you have no choice but to slow down and use this time to reflect on past achievements and think how to move forward with new companies and products. You need to stop for plenty of drink breaks to re-hydrate, mostly at service stations. I’m not sure the vest and running shorts would look good going into appointments with retailers though!”
What have been the hurdles and ‘high jumps’ of trade in the last year for you?“My customers had a tough year in 2019 generally, what with Brexit, rents and rates going up etc. But the products just seem to get better and better. Companies really are pulling out the stops – plenty of ‘personal bests’ performances.”
What is your 2020 training plan?“My ‘training schedule’ for 2020 is to try and maintain what business I did in 2019 and to keep my loyal customers up to date with the best innovative products. Like all dedicated ‘athletes’ it will be about working hard and keeping up the pace. I think eco will be bigger than ever this year and the companies I represent are following suit with lots more biodegradable and eco-friendly products being launched at the start of this year.”