WiW Top Talent: Jess Douglas, Marketing Manager, Confex

Jess Douglas[1]

Jess is the Marketing Manager of UK Buying Group Confex which is headed up by Nicky White – her mum! Jess says that despite being male heavy, wholesale is on an exciting path to change. 

How long have you worked in your current job?

I’ve been at Confex for 5 years but I have been Marketing Manager since September 2017.

What are your day to day responsibilities

I look after all the Marketing and PR at Confex. This includes facilitating any press presence, PR, advertising and general marketing of the Buying Group. I also help put together our numerous events, including Trade Shows, Business Sessions and more every year.

Confex was my first experience in the wholesale industry. Before this, I worked in journalism and publishing. 

I collate, design and publish our seasonal brochures and our wall planners and any branded material. I make sure the marketing monies from Suppliers is allocated correctly.

I manage our Green Wholesaler Award nominees and the judging of the award. I also now handle most of the HR in the business and manage five staff and our promotional activity through our new App.

How long have you worked in wholesale?

Confex was my first experience in the wholesale industry. Before this, I worked in journalism and publishing. 

I have found the need to prove myself… quite a personal challenge in many ways, especially starting after motherhood when career confidence can be lower

What’s been the toughest moment in your career?

There’s no exact moment but people would think going into a family business is an ‘easy’ option but I have found the need to prove myself to not only other colleagues but family members quite a personal challenge in many ways, especially starting after motherhood when career confidence can be lower than it was prior to children.

How did you over come it (assuming that you did!)

I worked and carry on working hard and to the best of my ability.

I enjoy the fact that our business is fundamentally about helping other businesses grow.

How about the most rewarding / greatest achievement?

Launching our industry-first white label App and also redesigning our Website, which not only looks great but enables our Members to access all the relevant information they need at the click of a button.

What do you love most about your job / what would you change?

I enjoy the fact that our business is fundamentally about helping other businesses grow.

A lot of Members’ businesses are also family run for generations so making sure they survive and continue to thrive in an ever-growing conglomerate-dominated world is rewarding. I also like working with great colleagues, of which some are very strong, determined women!

Where would you like to be in five years?

I’d like to be where I am now but helping Confex and its Members still be part of the bigger wholesale picture. Making sure Confex is always on the ‘wholesale map’.

How do you like your eggs: boiled, scrambled, poached or fried?

Poached for sure and preferably picked from the hen house at the bottom of the garden – nothing beats freshly laid free range eggs.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never expect too much and you won’t be let down. And don’t rush….something I still struggle with.

What’s the best book or film you’ve ever read?

Too many to choose! The best film I’ve seen recently is A Star is Born – I absolutely loved the music and found the issues of depression, addiction, love and female recognition were dealt with in a such a sensitive yet raw way.

I look up to my mother – the managing director of Confex. She lives by the motto of ‘you get out of life what you put in’.

If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?

Nothing about my job really but just the general work/ life struggle alongside motherhood – it would be nice for the children’s admin at school/ life to be less!

Is there anyone you really look up to – who is it and why?

My mother – she is Managing Director of Confex. She fills so much into her life and still hardly ever says no to anyone or anything. I think she definitely lives by the motto of ‘you get out of life what you put in’.

Why is it important to you to support Women in Wholesale’s objectives?

I don’t think today should be about whether you are a ‘feminist’ or not – I want to work towards a world where we are just equal as men and women and sex shouldn’t even be a relevant discussion point.

I’m a mother to boys and I want them to grown up in a world where there is no doubt that their girl friends can achieve just the same in life as their boy friends.

Wholesale is a predominately male orientated industry but I think it is on a good path to change and we need to keep up this momentum for the future and for women working in the sector now.

Confex is a privately-owned company with a Group turnover in excess of £2.5bn, employing 19 members of staff. Confex is an associate member of The Landmark Group.

confex



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