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Facetime: Sally Brown

Sally Brown GM of Sales and Marketing – The Handmade Food Co

Sally Brown was raised on a farm in New South Wales, with her citrus and cattle farming parents. While initially wishing to grow up to be a nurse, Sally made her career by studying a Bachelor of Business.

“My parents were citrus and cattle farmers on the Central Coast of New South Wales. I am the baby of the family, my older sister Brooke who now resides in the UK and my brother Scott who lives on the Central Coast.

“Because we lived out of town, I attended a small school with less than 80 students, it was a real community! Weekends were spent helping out around the farm, riding horses and motorbikes.  At the time my father was trying to get his father’s farm into good working order and the only times I remember venturing into town was when we were dropping off the fruit for the local markets.

“I had an aunty who was a nurse, and from a young age I always wanted to follow in her footsteps, until I realised that I couldn’t deal with the sight of blood.

In early high school I changed my direction, and decided that I wanted to be PE (sports) high school teacher, until I took a GAP year in the UK and worked in a high school teaching ‘sports’. Controlling a room full of 14 years olds what not a skill I had at the age of 18, I quickly came home and changed my University degree to Bachelor of Business.

“From there I completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Management and Marketing at the University of Newcastle. Looking back I think they were some of the easiest days of my life, I remember struggling to get out of bed to make an 8am tutorial!

“My first job was in Brumby’s Bakery in The Junction Newcastle which I worked at during uni. I quickly showed that I was a responsible employee and managed the 5am daily opening (or was it that no one else wanted the early morning shift!).  Through this position, I learnt about franchising and was trained extensively in customer service.  It was a great building block to my leap into fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).

My first taste for blue chip FMCG was working for Brands On Show mechanising for Procter and Gamble, Pringles to name a few whilst I finished my University degree.

“I have been very fortunate to work for some amazing companies who have empowered me to think differently, develop as a leader and collaborate in cross-function teams which, in turn have helped me grow both personally and professionally.

I spent 13 amazing years at Mars.  In the Snackbrand division (now Chocolate), I held various roles as a Territory Manager Grocery, National Account Manager- Metcash and then I moved to the Food division as In Market Manager, National Account Manager- Woolworths, National Account Manager- Foodservice/ New Business and Project Lead for Promax Implementation.

I was given an opportunity to lead the P&C and Foodservice Channel at Mrs Mac’s and for two and a half years the team won multiple awards across the industry, for their passion and dedication to the customer and most importantly the consumer.

“Following on from Mrs Mac’s, it felt like the natural fit for me to move into another family owned business (The Handmade Food Co.) with a passion to provide consumers with busy lifestyles with a quality meal solution. I feel very proud to be working for a business that manufacturer in Australia and that buys local ingredients!

The Handmade Food Co. is a leading food manufacturer based in Brisbane, making sandwiches, wraps and croissants daily with a brand that consumers trust. Our ‘Every Day Café’ brand range is created with years of experience in the cafe market and draws on world inspired flavours and traditional recipes- it all about ‘Good Honest Food’.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the leadership team of a great family owned business to steer future growth. The Australian consumer has grown up with the sandwich, it’s a popular snack or meal during the day and The Hand Made Food Co. are taking the sandwich to the next level!

“I am very blessed to have a very supportive husband Warren and two healthy children- Bonnie, ten years old and Angus who is seven. On the weekend we spend time attending all the dancing classes and soccer games, we like to get outdoors bike riding, going to the beach and on the long weekends we like to sneak away to the country and camp- no phone reception, ugg boots and a fire!

We have a much-loved puppy Billie who is a six-month-old Blue English Staffy, who is more excited to see me at the end of the day than the children. It took me many years to give in to getting a dog; however she brings unconditional love to each of us.

“Over the next five years, I plan to continue to learn and grow both personally and professionally. I love the food industry and I am excited to be part of change that it brings to convenience. Consumers fascinate me- how they purchase, what they consume and how they think and by understanding this and looking at the trends in other markets we can really explode the on the go meal options in the Australian market.

The Handmade Food Co. team are passionate, dedicated and driven individuals. Our aim is to deliver the best service to our customers, by providing insights and a clear vision to deliver sustainable growth. Its mind blowing if I think what we ‘could be’ in the next five years!

Advice for retailers

Food provides your store with another reason for consumers to visit and will bring new consumers.

Ensure you have a breadth of range to ensure you tap into the consumers need.  The Handmade Food Co. can provide a wide range of Sandwiches, Wraps, Toasties, Croques Toasties, Turkish and Premium Ciabatta products to fulfil these needs.

By providing them with a quality offer, you will be become a destination for food, and will drive other purchases across the store.

Advice for suppliers

We need to be more strategic and think across categories (not in silos) to provide the consumer with an offer that will drive value and loyalty.

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