We get to cover one of our favourite yada co-conspirators this week. The lovely David Coveney of 10 Degrees C and brand ambassador of our favourite bev, Copperhead Gin. Who will be providing drinks for our networking take over this Thursday. So here are a few interview style questions that we put to David about his battle with work life balance as a drinks brand ambassador in the city.
Start-up projects and entrepreneurship are a big talking point right now with a move away from faceless corporate jobs towards the dream of ‘making your stamp on your industry’. But what is it really like for a young adult trying to make their way in an ever-condensing market of brands and foodie start-ups? Read David’s answers to find out.
What is your role now and what are the main responsibilities for you?
My current role is that of an ambassador for a small but increasing portfolio of super-premium gins and tonics from across the globe, called 10 Degrees C. We import and distribute in the UK. My role is to develop the brands we look after in gin focused venues, high end hotels and with key accounts along with developing relationships with key partners, press and boutique festivals where we can showcase our range.
How long have you been doing this for and what did you do before?
I have been in this role for 13 months, previously to this I spent 14 years in the hospitality industry, from city wine led venues to 5* country house hotels and London cocktail bars.
Can you think of any key challenges you had to overcome and how did you battle them to get to where you are?
The biggest challenge coming out from behind the bar and “onto the other side” if your goal is creating your own network, getting the right conversations with the right people to ultimately meet the targets that have been set. Then you have to get out there. At the beginning this felt like an uphill struggle but maintaining my ethos of creating and maintaining relationships in a relaxed and friendly manor helped me build not only great business contacts with some of the country’s best bars but some of these contacts are now great friends of mine.
What is the dream, or where would you like to see yourself in five or ten years?
I am very keen to start my own drinks distribution and brand development agency helping small niche producers build their brands within the International drinks sector. Possibly focusing on small independent British brands or maybe looking father a field, only time will tell.
How do you find balancing lifestyle and downtime with your job?
This can often be very difficult due to the fact I can have meetings with the press or restaurant sector early morning but appointment times with cocktail bars, speakeasy’s and in hotels can often be much later in the evening and seen as more “social calls”. Time management is key to this business and I always like my customers and clients to know that I am always at the end of a phone or email no matter the time of day. So I split my days up as best I can and try to get rest bites at the weekend- when not travelling across the country doing gin festivals of course!
If you could give one piece of advice to a young spark looking to start their business, what would that be?
If you have an idea which you feel can work, you have to run with it. I think that in this day and age having an entrepreneurial character will always help you succeed. Also use your ears, listen to others and take advice. Do not be arrogant, be humble and most of all- enjoy yourself. Luckily for me I get to work with some of my favourite brands, with great friends and within a sector that I have always wanted to work in. If you have this too, it is a marriage made in heaven and will, in the end, pay off.
What has been your favourite event you have attended this month? If not month, this year?
I couldn’t possible name one event from 2016, we travelled across the UK doing gin festivals and shows from Plymouth to Bath to Birmingham to Edinburgh. These festivals are always a success for us and although very hard work, especially on the vocal chords, there is nothing better than leaving an 8 hour session knowing everyone you talked to loved the products you are working with and left with a good amount of knowledge too. It is a warming feeling and a bit of an adrenaline rush too!
And finally, what do you think is the best part about being an upcoming, self-employed business owner right now?
Although not strictly a “self-employed business owner” I work very closely with the director of 10 Degrees C in setting up initiatives and meeting our targets. I think we live in a very creative world these days and day by day we are getting less and less red tape to hold us back. The best part for me about working with an independent company is the power to ask “what if?” every day. Some ideas may be crazy, but in there somewhere is an idea that could easily change the shape of the business, and even the whole sector that you work in.
Thank you so much for talking to us and telling us about your experiences! We can’t wait to catch up on Thursday for some #drinkswithyada!
If you’re in Spitalfields on Thursday (6 p.m) come down to our networking takeover at WeWork Spitalfields for a drink and a chat and hear some live music from
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