How did you get into the industry? I started working at my father's garden centres - Clows Garden Centres - as a schoolboy. Before I had left school, I was hooked!
What advice would you give to others starting out? Work in all areas of the business - don't get stuck in just one department. Understanding how the many different aspects of a centre work is so important. Spend time learning about plants because they are the element that makes us different to all other retailers.
What does your typical day involve? I'm normally at one of the Hillview centres. I get involved in everything from recruiting to buying, selling and occasionally cooking. I talk to the managers every day about how the business is progressing. Evaluating new opportunities is another big part of the job. In the evenings I catch up on anything to do with Garden Re-Leaf Day (charity fundraiser founded by Douglas-Davies - see www.gardenreleaf.co.uk).
What plans/projects are you working on? We have a planning application in the system for our Studley centre and we've just received planning for work at Hilltop. I'm looking at a number of new sites as we're looking to further grow the Hillview group this year. Garden Re-Leaf Day is also rapidly approaching (14 March) and the ambassadors and Greenfingers team are doing a lot of the work on this with me right now.
What has been your greatest achievement at work? Starting a garden centre business just before the worst seasons anyone can remember.
What does the future hold professionally? The company will continue to grow. We've established the foundations now. As an industry, we will continue to see major changes in our customers' buying habits and we need to embrace those changes.