My Career Story – guest post from Rachel @ Cotswold Outdoor

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My current job is as Regional Marketing Manager for Cotswold Outdoor, it’s a very new role and one of only 2 that exist in the company at the moment, the other is in London. As you would expect we have our main marketing team based at Head Office in Cirencester and as great as they are it does present some geographical issues when you are dealing with over 70 shops Nationwide. To help with this within each of our shops we have a staff member dedicated to Local Marketing and ensuring we are supporting our community and national affiliate accounts at a local level e.g. local scout, rambler, guide groups.

My role allows us to support other more regional groups that would not ordinarily get noticed by our head office due to time restrictions and geographical awareness. Being based in the Lakes means I can make sure that we are able to support local outdoor providers, local events and groups.

My brief is simple ‘ Support our Community’, I love that, it allows so much scope and freedom to really tailor my marketing focus into whatever is happening and relevant for each shop – and they are all so different.

I have been with Cotswold Outdoor for 6 years now, I started in the Keswick Shop as a Sales Assistant on £5.77/hour. Within those 6 years I gained as much experience as I could and took every opportunity by the horns. As a result I have had some amazing experiences and have truly grown as a person and developed into a career path that I would never have imagined 6 years ago.

When asked if I wanted to be the in-store Visual Merchandiser for Keswick – I said ‘Yes!’. When asked if I wanted to go on a 2 week placement setting up a new shop – I said Yes! When asked if I wanted to be on the permanent shop fit team – guess what? I said yes! A year of travelling around the country opening a new shop every 2 to 3 weeks was an absolutely brilliant way to see our company grow, meet loads of new staff and get a tour of the country. It wasn’t long before I was promoted to a Regional Visual Merchandising Manager, which as it turned out was not the right job for me. So I took a step back and tried something else, an in-store Local Marketing person in our Grasmere Shop, I enjoyed that!

Then one day, the lad that was doing the Company Weekly newsletter resigned asked if anyone wanted to take over, my email was short and to the point – ‘I’ll do it’ – that was 4 years ago and I’m still doing it. I announce new jobs, new products, share good stories, great feedback, run competitions and generally communicate the companies activities to all the staff.

Cotswold Outdoor is an amazing company to work for, in my 6 years I have been trained in:

  • Winter Mountaineering
  • Climbing – trad and scrambling
  • Technical Outdoor equipment and clothing for all the brands we stock
  • Correct footwear fittings, measuring feet, assessing issues and matching feet to boots/shoes with modifications if required
  • Camping equipment and maintenance
  • GPS and navigation skills

With the company I’ve daggered up no.4 Gully onto Ben Nevis, paddled in a remote fjord in Sweden, scrambled on the Orme in North Wales,  scrambled up tryfan with Plas-y-Brenin, sat in a spa at the end of a magic mountain day, learnt how to use an ice axe and crampons safely, built a snow hole, met some truly inspirational people like Dave Mcleod, Andy Turner, Sir Chris Bonnington (and loads that aren’t famous as well – often just the guy or girl on the shop floor next to me) and finally, learnt how to enjoy the outdoors safely in all kinds of weather – all I have to do in return is pass the love, passion and knowledge of the outdoors onto our customers – done deal!

Before I worked for Cotswold Outdoor, well, that was a different lifetime altogether are you ready, I’ll keep it brief….I started out as a waitress while at Uni studying a Bachelor of Business (Management), after Uni I continued in Hospitality working my way through the functions department, into Concierge and ending up in Guest Relations. Then I opened a couple of bakeries making artesian bread from scratch after a few years of this, I changed to the job I had always wanted. I became a Veterinary Nurse, studying and working at the same time. After 5 years of this a few life changing moments had me working in a Government Tax Department and then in the Department of Defense….’enough I said’, what do I want to do, ‘I really don’t know’ was the reply. So I sold most of my possessions, put the rest in storage, packed my bag and came travelling with my dog..6 years later and I’m working for Cotswold Outdoor as a Regional Marketing Manager and loving it – who knew!

My advice to anyone about to start their working life, you are going to spend at least 70% of your life, day and week working, make sure you enjoy what you do – if you don’t QUIT! (A boss said that to me once and I quit…so I know it works ;-))

 

Thanks Rachel! If you would be interested in writing a post for the blog, email careers@cumbria.ac.uk

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