Business Development Manager
I was familiar with the European food and beverage sector. An opportunity came up in Zambia to sell European fine food and wine and to do it really well. During this period the Zambian economy had high growth and an influx of international visitors meant greater demand.
Mr Fargeton visited Zambia on a business trip and we found ways to improve profits. Angelo’s Emporium (AE) was a successful company that imported high quality Italian and French food and beverages comprising fifty delicatessen fresh foods, thirty-three groceries and fourteen well known Italian wines.
When I first started there was minimal European wine for sale. I sold a range of Italian wine, Prosecco and Champagne. In the following image, my Prosecco is in the centre of the top shelf.
My company’s annual sales turnover reached US $967,460 and the “Return on Capital Employed” (ROCE) was 13.33%.
Between 2006 and 2013 I recruited and trained 22 employees in a flat organisational structure.
I continuously adjusted my sales strategy in order to keep ahead of the competition. I was the buyer and importer of all products that came from Europe. This decision making was made easier by electronic data interchange from the key accounts.
I gained valuable treasury management experience in and how to minimise risk by hedging currencies. I had to monitor prices of olive oil, durum wheat and tomatoes in world markets.
Managed two distribution hubs and a deli shop that in total catered for countrywide supermarkets, independents and trade e.g. hoteliers and caterers.
Responsible for all pricing and on the shelf promotional campaigns negotiated with major retail chains.
I built an excellent list of contacts and specialised in high-end products for the Executive Chef at the Royal Livingstone based near the Victoria Falls in Zambia.
I negotiated many supply contracts with the biggest and most popular supermarket chains in Zambia. With them on board, I was able to launch many new food products.
I set up two distribution warehouses with refrigerated cold rooms in the capital Lusaka and Kitwe northern Zambia. The head office in Lusaka also received customers in a small delicatessen shop. My shop was the perfect location to train the sales team and prime with interesting product information. In Lusaka, I also had a preparation and packaging section where large volumes of vacuum-packed salami, Parma, San Daniele ham and various cheese products were manufactured for the supermarket chains.
Livingstone is the tourism capital of the country notable for Dr David Livingstone who was the first explorer to see the Victoria Falls.
I recruited and trained a sales executive to be responsible for this town.
They visited all clients once a week, generated new orders and collected any returns and slow-moving stock.
The image shows my olive oil products displayed at one of the major supermarket chains when they launched a new store in Lusaka.
This comprised a tiered product offering as follows.
A first press luxury oil targeting the most affluent citizens, residents and expats.
A standard olive oil targeting working professionals.
To make this product stand out on supermarket shelves I negotiated the end of aisle displays as close as possible to the cash tills/point of sales with premium retail supermarket chains including Food Lover’s market, Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Spar.
An economical oil ideal for high volume caterers and trade.
All customers benefited from my regular airfreights of fresh food for example;
Parmesan cheese, Grana Padano cheese from (Ferrarini Italy), cheddar and French cheese (Lactalis France), Mascarpone (Parmalat Parma) and regularly restocked San Daniele ham and Parma ham (Vismara Italy).
I had identified strong demand from supermarket retailers for fresh European products of excellent quality, protected by a tried and tested cold chain of distribution logistics. There was a growing, mainstream segment of the market with office workers and aspirational citizens looking for higher quality products and better variety at a good value.
I designed my own adverts such as the one opposite. It was published in magazines popular with young professional citizens, expatriates and trade.
I am proud to have supplied luxury five-star hotels including Sun International with their two hotels next to the Victoria Falls, the Hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka, private hotels such as The Africa House, Chaminuka Lodge, The Bushcamp Company and Flatdogs Camp. The latter two are located in the beautiful and world-famous Luangwa Valley National Park.
My team was well known for their beautiful arrangements of special delicatessen (Italian ham, cheese and wine orders) for private residents, expats and diplomats.
I decided to run a bonus system for all sales and customer-facing staff. This proved to be a win-win for everyone.
I closely monitored all visits to all stockists of my products and ensured my sales team were accountable for the following duties;
Accompanied the majority of deliveries and merchandising in the majority of stores,
Uplifted damaged or expired products,
Reported any price errors,
Monitored competitor products.
Spotted at a European trade show, this drink had a high potential for success given its brand logo was an eagle really similar to the national bird of Zambia, the Fish Eagle. (Visualise the American Bald Eagle.) With our marketing support, it turned out to be an excellent challenger product as a less expensive Red Bull alternative. The competition was intense with many competitor brands on the market. I ensured the marketing mix represented a quality product, value for money, fighting to take and retain market share.
I negotiated exclusive distribution and launch of this energy drink that was made in Austria.
The above image is from a charity fundraising dinner dance in Lusaka. I co-sponsored the event and in return, I was able to display banners advertising Fire Bird. The organizer ensured all proceeds from the event were donated to a children’s orphanage in Lusaka.
Used branded fridges positioned in high footfall areas, nearest to points of sale in all popular shops and events.
Radio commercials: wrote the script for several adverts aired on national radio at the prime time e.g. the 7 o’clock news.
Price strategy: to be one of the most competitively priced European energy drinks on the market.