Daniel O’Neill, managing director and founder of ProCook speaks to Retail Week about his life working in retail.
What was your first job in retailing?
It was when I was 14 or 15 volunteering at a grocer market. My brother and I would offer to help them unload the van in the hope that the owners would ask if we would like to stay and help out for the rest of the day.
Which retail company do you admire most and why?
I admire different ones for different reasons. I admire John Lewis for its longevity, ethos and brand identity; Apple because it has created an amazing aspirational brand desired by all; and Toolstation because it arrived into an established market but brought with it better systems and efficiency to help it prosper.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I worry that I work at a million miles an hour and forget to thank people for a job well done.
Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?
I wouldn’t say that I have learned from anyone in particular but have taken inspiration from the layout and range of department stores and transferred that feel to our shops, while providing high-level customer service reminiscent of independent cook shops.
What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?
Create and build your own brand.
What keeps you awake at night?
I guess thinking about what we can do to improve as a brand.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Designing the products and seeing them on the shelves.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Opening our first two stores in the US last year.
What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?
I would be a software writer.
What’s your favourite shop and why?
It may sound obvious, but ProCook is my favourite store.
What was your last purchase?
Probably the new iPad Air.