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Aaron Ellis

Developer of online products
Paul's Butchers

Aaron has a degree in Interactive Multimedia Design from the University of Ulster. He has been involved with Paul’s Butchers since it was started in 1992 by his father.

What is your background?

I was born in Melbourne, Australia, but my parents moved back to Northern Ireland when I was very young. Growing up in Londonderry, I went to St Joseph's Secondary School and went on to study for a degree in Interactive Multimedia Design, at University of Ulster, Magee.

Did you work at any casual jobs when a student or teenager?

My father started Paul's Butchers in 1992 so I have grown up around the business. I started working for the company whilst at secondary school and increased my responsibilities and hours during university.

What was your first job in your professional career and how did you come to apply for it?

After finishing my degree in Interactive Multimedia Design, at University of Ulster, I realised that I wanted to use the skills developed through the course to drive growth in Paul's Butchers.
I had built up a lifetime of experience in the butchery industry, so was in prime position to take on the management of one of our outlets.

What did that job entail?

Preparing the store for trading, working with my team to prepare food items, displaying them and reviewing special offers are all part of the daily tasks.

As the business has recently started retailing online through Seasonharvest's web-store, I am also in regular contact with their team. We aim to work together to provide an efficient, friendly and cost-effective service to all our customers -- communication's key.

Quality checks of our products and work to shorten the supply chain and logistics are an important facet of the role. It's important that when people receive their items via home delivery that they are the freshest available.

What did you like most and least about it?

The best is that people are truly passionate about the food they eat so this leads to a lively atmosphere in the store. I love dealing with the public and it's great when a customer comes back with positive feedback about what they've had for dinner the night before.

Since starting to retail online, I've also been enjoying being at the forefront of an innovative direction and revenue stream for the business.

Hands down, the early starts are the worst!

What is most important to you in a job?

Having a great team to work with, being challenged on a daily basis and the satisfaction of knowing that the service or products you deliver are appreciated are all vital for me.

What advice would you give to a student hoping to work in your particular industry?

In this industry energy and enthusiasm are essential, as well as a passion for customer service. Having a love for food is a good start and some industry experience will highlight if the job is right for you.

The opportunities to advance within the industry are numerous and so the early mornings and hard-work will ultimately prove rewarding in the long run.

How do you think the industry has changed since you first started working in it?

The industry has become more convenience orientated. People have become a lot more dependant on variety and oven or pan-ready products such as flavoured items, stir-fry and roasted vegetables.
The growth in online retail is also a significant trend, with more and more people who are opting to do their weekly shop on the internet.

Who has inspired you most in your career?

My father, he started with nothing and through hard work he has built up a successful business.

What was your main ambition when you were a child?

I had thought about becoming a computer game designer and this led me to complete my (BA HONS) in Multimedia Design. Now I just prefer to play them.

Paul's Butchers is now retailing online, how do you see this transforming the business and your role in the years to come?

In only a few short months, we have seen significant growth in sales for our online channel. While I think people will always appreciate one-to-one advice and customer service, many now prize convenience as their number one priority.

I believe our traditional butchers will continue to thrive, but retailing our products through Seasonharvest's online store, we can reach a more diverse range of customers. In the future, I would like to be responsible for driving this continued growth and the utilisation of innovative channels to sell and distribute our products.

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