What’s your role at Barkers?
I’m a Regional Manager. I cover 5 Auckland stores; 3 lower North Island stores and all of the South Island
(6 stores including our new Queenstown store). I started at Barkers as a Corporate Sales Manager which I did for just over 2 years.
But as my background is retail it felt natural to take up the Regional Manager role.
How long have you been at Barkers?
4 years give or take a couple of months.
What’s involved in a typical day at Barkers?
I have little ones at home, so they function as a pretty good alarm clock which usually goes off around 5am.
Monday’s an office day. We have sales meetings to review the previous week’s results and then I climb into the paperwork.
The rest of the week is store visits which involves a lot of travel, but it’s essential to catch up and make sure our people are
feeling good, motivated and to give them support. I’m the face of Head Office.
What’s the best part about the job?
The people. It’s cool to make a difference by keeping people motivated. I’ve come from store level so I know how things work
and the best ways to do things. I can teach people and advance their careers. It’s great to have a big influence on culture by
creating a place to work that’s fun where people can grow and learn.
Did you always want to work in retail? How did you get your start?
I wanted to be a Stock and Station Agent when I left school, but fell into retail while I was studying
a Wool Certificate at Lincoln University. My uncle helped open a sports shoe store in Christchurch,
I helped him unload a container and the guy that owned the store noticed that I could chat a bit and offered me a part time job.
Progressed from there into a full time role and that was that - I was destined for retail.
If you weren’t in retail what would you be doing?
Running a good cellar door in Central Otago, talking to people about wine and drinking it with them.
Or if I won Lotto - living in Ireland, watching the world go by.
Quite the wine enthusiast then?
I have got 2 papers left in a wine certificate endorsement to be a wine maker from EIT in Hawkes Bay.
I’ve also have done a couple of courses from WSET. I’m hoping to finish by the end of the year. I knew a couple of wine makers
and I’d go out with them and they’d start talking about wine. I’ve always loved wine, even when I was a young man,
everyone would have a couple of beers and I’d be on the red wine. There’s a mystique about wine, every bottle is different.
Where do you want to take it?
When I get closer to retirement I'd like to be running one of the big cellar doors in New Zealand and spending more time
with the family - giving people fantastic service, enjoying the wine and having a chat.
What do you get up to in the weekends?
We have 12 month old triplets, Quinn, Louie and Remy so life has changed for us. We were pretty relaxed and used to try
and get out to breakfast and make the most of Auckland.
We’d also get down to the Hawkes Bay and enjoy good wine country.
But now, we appreciate weekends as a big chunk of time to spend together as a family.
We still go for breakfast sometimes but have to take into consideration what cafe's have good play areas!
When the sun’s out where would we find you?
We live near One Tree Hill so we like to go there for a run or take the boys out for a walk – it’s a nice part of Auckland - a farm
on your back door. Before we had the boys we’d try and get over to Waiheke Island and hang out at Cable Bay in the sun.
I’m a big sun lover.
Favourite place to eat and drink in Auckland?
When we used to go out our favourite was The French café– but only a once a year thing for Emma (my other half) and I.
Exceptional food. Quite a big fan of Orleans on a casual basis too.
Rumour has it you completed the Gobi March Ultra Marathon in 2005? How did you end up entering it?
I was living in Christchurch after living in Melbourne for 3 years.
I’d always had a bet with a good friend of mine, we had a couple of beers and he said I’d never do it.
So I said I’ll send him the receipt once I’d paid for it in the mail. I needed a challenge and didn’t have that many commitments.
I was up for seeing what I could put my body and mind through.
How was the experience?
It was brutal. Really tested your limits – everything was spent. It was relentless, it was hot, you had to carry your own food
and two days before it was finished I lost some of my food. I also had to cut my shoes off on the last days, due to blisters.
Hardest thing I’ve ever done, but very rewarding now to sit back and know I did it.
Not my cup of tea, but well done! Who would you like to sit back and share a glass of whiskey with?
Sir David Gower, he was a great cricketer in the 80s. He was all class, but determined too – I like that in a wine as well.
Or Gary Lightbody, lead singer from Snow Patrol – apparently good fun on the booze - we could sing a few tunes,
play guitar and have a few drinks.
Any other dreams or future plans?
It’s a goal to write a book one day – may be on having triplets “How to survive 3”. It would be a cool challenge.
It may never happen but it’s always good to dream.