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Are you an avid outdoor enthusiast?
Yes, I have always loved the outdoors and, in particular, I enjoy running through one of the many forest trails in and around Cape Town after work.
How did you get involved in buying for Cape Union Mart?
I studied Cape Union Mart for a university project and became very interested in the company as a result. I was fortunate that there was an opening for me in the year after I graduated.
Do you find that gadgets for camping are getting more and more high tech?
While many gadgets are becoming more high-tech - like our GPSs for example - many projects are becoming more technical in terms of their fabrication and construction. Take, for example, some of our new sleeping bags or backpacks. Many of our daypacks now come with waterproof zips and splash covers, security pockets and adjustable harnesses and straps. The technology involved in developing them has also increased dramatically in recent years. In addition, many of our knives and multi-tools are now made with tougher materials and also boast more features.
Name one of your best sellers for outdoor fun?
Our K-Way Kilimanjaro daypack is a real winner - both for adventurers climbing Kilimanjaro and for everyday explorers who need a convenient pack to use around town.
What kinds of products do you buy to supply the store?
Everything from camping chairs and mattresses to sleeping bags, backpacks and GPSs. The equipment category even includes things such as trekking poles, weather stations, water bottles and purification tablets, cooking sets, picnic baskets and much more.
Do you do a lot of travelling for your job?
Being a buyer does mean that there is a fair amount of local and international travel involved. We visit our own stores around South Africa regularly to keep up to date with sales trends, stock levels and display techniques. We also travel internationally once or twice a year to attend trade shows and to visit some of the best outdoor and adventure retailers in the world.
Are you required to test the products ?
We regularly test our own merchandise. Much of our staff training is conducted in the mountains where our staff are guided and educated by our product specialists.
What is the best place you've been to on a camping trip?
I don't have one favourite place. I really love the Cedarberg - the stars are fantastic and it's wonderfully clean and clear. I travelled overseas as a student and some towns in Europe were a lot of fun.
Name the item from Cape Union Mart that you always have on you, and why?
I'm a big fan of the small Maglite Solitaire torch - it's small enough to be kept on your key ring and you'd be surprised how often you end up using it.
What is the best part of your job?
I wish that more people around South Africa could experience nature more. The best part of my job is that my actions ultimately result in people enjoying the outdoors.
Do you think that SA has a large population of outdoor enthusiasts?
Although there might not be a lot of people who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, there are millions of South Africans who've enjoyed a rugby game at Newlands or who've walked their dogs on the beach and we consider all of these people outdoor enthusiasts. - Andrea Nagel