Me & My Job - James Carter, buyer, QD Stores

James Carter, buyer, QD Stores - image: QD Stores
James Carter, buyer, QD Stores - image: QD Stores

How did you get started in the industry? I have had a passion for growing plants since I was a child. By the time I was 16, my dad encouraged me to start working in the plant department of an independent garden centre in Brigg, Lincolnshire. This role was the foundation stone for building my knowledge and career.

What advice would you give to others starting out? If you’re passionate about plants, gardening or growing, start now — the industry is always seeking good horticulturists. Go to college. Garden centres need staff with outstanding product knowledge across all divisions. Remember that this business is ultimately about the healthy production of live products.

What does your typical work day involve? My daily routine involves buying products from Holland, Germany and Italy on a weekly basis. Range planning and selection take place at various times of the year and I am sometimes ordering as far in advance as 18 months prior to stock input. I oversee a stock count of nearly 4,500 lines.

What is the best aspect of your job? The buzz of retail once all buying is done and dusted and a bank holiday approaches. There’s no better sense of achievement than a plan coming together when the weather is on your side.

And the worst? Probably when the weather is against plant sales. Travelling long distances to see the products on the ground can be a slog.

How do you wind down after work? I continue in my own garden. I chat a lot with people locally about plants and I am a gardening expert on BBC local radio.

What are your plans for the future? My ultimate aim is to own my own garden centre. But if this never happens, I am going to carry on working with key players in the market like QD and ensure I drive the business to achieve unlimited success.

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