Me & My Job - Steve Austin, product manager, Hillier Nurseries

Steve Austin, product manager, Hillier Nurseries - image: Hillier Nurseries
Steve Austin, product manager, Hillier Nurseries - image: Hillier Nurseries

What does your typical day involve? Most of my time is spent facilitating projects, so one day I can be looking at strategy with the senior management team, discussing targets and promotions with the sales and marketing team or out on the nursery with the production team. There’s a lot of problem solving.

What takes up most of your time? Meetings and planning for meetings. There is so much going on with new product development and we are trying to plan ahead to make sure that marketing, sales and production are all on track. We’ve also started working with Plant Haven to market Hillier-unique product globally for the first time, so I am working with growers in the USA, Australia and New Zealand to make sure they have enough product to bulk up in time to launch.

What is the best aspect of your job? Seeing every plant off a nursery bed go out to customers and knowing that it’s made a profit. Or introducing a new plant, facilitating all its marketing and development, and seeing it sold in garden centres.

And the worst? Fitting it all in by the end of the day.

What is your greatest achievement at work? Introducing added-value products to the Hillier range. Hellebore ‘Winter Gold’ in a basket as a Christmas gift line was an idea we had last autumn. It took time but the market went crazy for them and there were great link sales on the back of it.

How do you wind down after a hard day at work? I hit the gym. I also study, which weirdly helps me relax. I am studying for a masters in horticulture with the RHS.

What does the future hold? We have a big programme of plant introductions in the pipeline, which will now be global, not just in the UK.

My personal ambition is to work my way into Hillier’s higher management.


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