Born in the early 70’s and brought up in Croydon, South London, on a multicultural council estate. My loving, working-class parents with an extremely fun sense of humor, encouraged me into being streetwise at a young age, as in those days we spent all day creating adventures like playing in the woods, skateboarding, hide and seek in the street amongst many other fun activities. (I do sound ancient – I am not I assure you) I always had dreams to travel the world and experience different cultures, food, and music. A sense of adventure & mischief has been with me, since the days of roaming the woods behind our flats, building camps with my big bro, looking up to the sky at the aeroplane that, at that young age we never dreamed in a million years we would ever go on.
Blessed with 3 sisters, 1 brother and now 1 gorgeous nephew. One sister being the original traveler of the family, having travelled far and wide at a young age, sharing her experience of many countries and cultures with us all. Another sister, still living in Dubai in the Middle East successful in the media and events industry.
When it comes to roots, I’m told I am a bit of a mix when it comes to genes, with a mix of English, Irish, German, Spanish and South American. I tell you this, as it will explain my sometimes ‘crazy head ‘
My education was average. I would say the education of life and experience, has taught me way more than I learned at school, but that’s just my experience. Both are essential I believe.
My adorable husband of 7 years, runs his own business in France, Germany, and Italy and speaks fluently in all languages. Always a bonus when working with those countries.
I have a bright and open outlook on life with a ‘live for today’ attitude although have been forced to grow up over the past decade and plan life a little. Boooo.
A passion for creativity and growth, food, shoes, people and how different we all are, has led me to work with some amazingly inspirational and talented people over the years.
I love my ‘spare time’ work which involves helping people of all cultures and religions struggling with social difficulties, developing people with the hope of giving them believe in themselves and what they can achieve.
Some would describe as slightly eccentric and a little scatty...I can't argue.
A foodie with a keen interest in nutrition – if only I could sit still long enough to study.
Love of the 40,s, 50,s and 60’s fashion, Classic cars, music. However, my music tastes span a wide variety finding joy in almost everything. Mood driven.
Feed me when I'm hungry. Fast or I turn into Witch Woman.
A bit of an Imelda Marcus although struggling a bit with the platforms these days. The heels are getting lower !
How my experience can help you...
I was always somehow linked to food, whether it be stacking shelves, completing stock takes, Mr. Patel teaching me how to order at cash and carry or advising the consumer on which vegetables were in season. This started at the age of 13 years old, where I worked after school and at weekends stacking shelves and fridges with tinned and fresh produce, in the local Spar convenience store. Later to also have my ‘favourite’ part-time job where my main function was to ‘rotate the vegetables’. So we can safely say, I have worked myself up. Also, known as a bit of an Arthur Daley at school, as you would often find me behind the gym at break time, selling Mints and Chewing gums to make a few pence. (for those not familiar with 1980’s British TV – Arthur Daley was a likable salesman in a popular TV series)
Advertising Sales & Marketing for 27yrs is the career I flew off into, mainly selling but some buying & management across Print, TV, Radio, Digital (when it arrived), Outdoor, Events, Data, Experiential across many different industries from back street car scrap yard dealers to International Motor Dealers , Business Opportunities, Home, Finance, Food, Retail, Entertainment, too many to mention. My work over these years, I am proud to say saw me win many awards of recognition for my work. I preferred the holidays.
With always a part-time job in the evening between the age of 17 and 28yrs old, mainly in bars and pubs, serving pints and food to the people of Croydon in South London. So we could say, I have always been somewhat of a workaholic. Played very hard, but worked very hard too.
Arriving in the Middle East (Dubai) in 2013, I was thrown into the world of Trade and Export, with Dubai being the trading up of the Middle East. This was a world I had no idea about, certainly not the Middle Eastern economy. I had to learn fast, which saw lots of evenings and weekend beach days reading about the Middle Eastern economy, with a focus on the UAE and its foreign trade partners in and out of the UAE. I had lots of meetings with Trade Commissioners of countries across the Western world, Asia and GCC, advice from good, knowledgeable people within the industry. It soon became apparent that it was the Food & Beverage industry that was the billion-dollar gold mine for the UAE and countries/brands wanting to trade here and sell their products.
Trade & Export ME took care of connecting people from across the globe by arranging massive Country Focus events where all countries involved could meet, network and educate each other on the benefits of working together. Connecting countries and their brands such as Turkey, Pro Ecuador, Brazil, Canada followed later with brands such as The Pro Chef ME and BBC Good Food ME by New Zealand Trade, Oz Trade, Ireland, Peru and much more. My work then stepped into understanding what the Exec Chefs here in the UAE want for their kitchens and menus, followed by the experience of working on the Foodie consumer side and understanding the ever-changing and latest foodie trends in the UAE market and making sure I found the right products to feed these trends.
A 1 year stint in the supply chain industry in Dubai, working for a very reputable distributor (there are not many I am told) allowed me to really get my teeth stuck into the whole process (some would use the word ‘headache’) from country – across seas – to the consumers' plate. From working very closely with Exec Chefs of massive 4 and 5* hotel groups, cinemas, hypermarkets and coffee chains, to helping source the products from across the globe, sample and understand the tastes of each of the Exec Chefs I worked with, this was quite an eye-opening that set off a passion to bring in good quality and unique products to the market and make them success they should be.
All that was needed was, honest and upfront advice with realistic timelines given and to be fair on pricing, so all parties were happy. Not greedy, but ALL happy and making their desired ROI.
Ymakan was born more out of the many frustrations that myself and Sarah Motwali (Co-Founder and CEO) had encountered when working with brands through their journey from their home country to the consumers' plate or shopping basket. We witnessed many great brands that should have been a phenomenal sales success here, having to withdraw the products after spending fortunes on offices, salespeople, trips back and forth and much more. Good brands working so hard to get their products into retailers, hotel groups via distributors and then NO ONE BUYING their amazing product. The consumer didn’t know it was there? It just sat on the shelf in hope that someone might spot it and read the unique benefits of that product, then go out and tell 1000’s of people. Doesn’t quite work like that…… Marketing …. Yes, that thing that helps you sell your product on mass to people that are highly likely to want to try it?? Ping….
Although Dubai was first time work out of home country, spent many years travelling for fun & leisure from Girly Party destinations to Quiet Hilltop villages & Beach Huts mixing in with the locals way of life:
Of Course the UK with Roadtrips around Southern and Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales
US – Roadtrips Calafornia, San Deigo, LA, HollyWood, Vegas, Yoesemite Mountains, Route 66 (part of it), Santa Barbara,
St Lucia, Fiji,
Europe – France including Paris, Hamburg, Belgium,
All of the Baleric and Canary Islands
United Arab Emirates