21st October 2019
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Meet our Head of Trading – Jan

 

The next in our series of team #BeluWaterStories features our Head of Trading, Jan Roberts. 

JAN, WHAT DO YOU DO AT BELU?

I joined Belu as Head of Trading in February.  I’m responsible for leading our sales growth, managing our customers and engaging them to be long-term ambassadors of Belu.

YOU WORKED AT DOREL JUVENILE BEFORE JOINING BELU. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO LEAVE THE WORLD OF BABY PRODUCTS FOR A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?

I was fortunate to work for the global leader of juvenile products for almost 12 years. I got to work with great brands and a wonderful team and (somehow) managed to have 3 children while in my role. But after almost 12 years, I was seeking a fresh challenge and was fortunate enough to secure this role with Belu. Both the social impact of the company and the small team appealed to me, especially as I had only ever worked for big corporates in previous roles.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES FROM WORKING AT DOREL TO BELU?

The ethos is very similar – work hard and ensure all your stakeholders (customers, wholesalers, consumers etc…) are satisfied with your brand and your service. The key difference is as a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to WaterAid, it makes you even more conscious of the end to end profitability of the business.  Everyone at Belu is constantly striving to transform as many lives as possible from our profits. We share the same goal as WaterAid: getting water, toilets and hygiene to the millions of people still living without these basic human rights. This drive was infectious right from my induction and has continued throughout. It is a wonderful feeling to be working for a great brand that makes money to help make a real difference to people’s lives.

DO YOU THINK WORKING AT BELU HAS CHANGED YOU?

I have become much more environmentally conscious and aware of my impact. Having met some of the WaterAid team who work in the field, I am acutely aware of how easy we have it in this country. It was particularly emotional listening to WaterAid employees from their country programmes share stories about walking two hours when they were small children to fetch water before school, water that would ultimately make them sick. We often forget how fortunate we are to live in a country that has ready access to clean water. It’s what drives me to increase our sales as much as possible to transform even more lives across the world.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS/BRANDS?

Karen, our CEO, recently introduced me to the beautiful products of Elvis & Kresse. They recycle old fire hoses and make them into stylish lifestyle accessories like bags, belts and purses. They also donate 50% of their profits back to the Fire Fighters Charity.

As a dedicated tea drinker, I’m also a big fan of Nemi Teas, who provide employment to refugees, and Café Direct who reinvest profits back to the farmers to improve sustainability and livelihoods.

Enjoyed this? 

Read more in our team #BeluWaterStories series:

Meet our Head of Operations – Nolan

Finding work-life balance in a social enterprise, by Hannah Plackett-Smith.

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