Me & My Job - Helen Evans, Director, Covent Garden Market Authority

Helen Evans, Director, Covent Garden Market Authority - image: Covent Garden Market Authority
Helen Evans, Director, Covent Garden Market Authority - image: Covent Garden Market Authority

How did you get started in the industry? I applied to work for Covent Garden Market Authority and discovered the world of horticultural wholesale markets.

What advice would you give to others starting out? Be prepared for hard work and antisocial hours, and never lose your sense of humour.

What does your typical day involve? I start around 5.30am, so it gives me a chance to see what’s around, how trade is going and to catch up with wholesalers and customers.

What is the best aspect of your job? Walking the market, seeing the first of scented narcissi, sweet peas, peonies, asparagus or cobnuts come in.

And the worst? Meetings — a necessary evil that suck so much time out of the day.

What has been your biggest achievement at work? British Flowers Week. We worked hard on the fruit and vegetable side to increase the volume of British produce on the market with great success, but on the ornamentals side it is harder. Only around 10 per cent of what’s on sale comes from Britain. There has been a renaissance of smaller, almost artisan growers, but the volumes of roses, xanths, etc that used to come from the Channel Islands and the South West have gone.

How do you wind down after a hard day at work? The moment my slightly bulky Labrador shoots down the hall to meet me as I open the front door any worries or niggles disappear.

What does the future hold? A new flower market in 2016 and a completely new New Covent Garden Market by 2022. We have the builders in with knobs on. The whole site is being redeveloped around us. But it’s not just about new and better buildings. Our vision is to showcase the best of produce in the heart of London. If you want to know more, visit brand.newcoventgardenmarket.com or just get in contact on info@cgma.co.uk.


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