Blanco & Gomez, London
Roxane had only been working for Carlos Blanco for one week before lockdown hit in March 2020 and then had to work from home.
Carlos explains how her dedication and commitment from the get-go has continually impressed him.
“As a business we don’t have the infrastructure for employees to work from home, but Roxane made a success of it,” he says.
“At the earliest time of the pandemic, when online sales skyrocketed, even though she couldn’t physically come to the shop, she took on all the logistics and basically made my life a lot easier.
“She was so supportive and generous with her time and this is how I saw she was as an employee. I had only known her only one week before lockdown and she demonstrated such professionalism. This showed me her potential.”
Roxane’s background in “very high-end hospitality” has many transferable skills when it comes to working in wine retail.
“Roxane is the duty manager,” Carlos says. “This is more than coming in and just running the shop. It’s everything we do as a business in terms of logistics, the orders that have to be prepared on a national and international scale, the e-commerce, the private client sales, how to promote the wines … and she is in charge of staff training, too.”
I am a chatterbox, apparently. I always do my best to go the extra mile
Originally from northern France, where she studied hospitality in Le Touquet, Roxane’s first job was as a sommelier in St Tropez. Then came seasonal work in Morocco and Turkey, where she helped to create and build a hotel and nightclub, before heading to Monaco where the luxury hospitality experience exists all year round.
“To get the position of manager in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Monaco is really difficult,” explains Roxane. “I had to work in room service first and then the only chance I had was when one of my co-workers broke his legs. I didn’t push him over; he was playing football!
“I came to the UK because I wanted to improve my English and I worked for a Michelin-starred restaurant in Bristol for a couple of years before coming to London. I loved my job but when I got to 30, I thought I’d like to work more sociable hours and have at least some of my weekends free, so decided to look at wine shops.
“I printed off my resume and visited the wine shops in my neighbourhood, and that’s how I met Carlos.”
Roxane says her favourite part of the job is dealing with customers face-to-face. “Whether it’s online or in the shop, I like that interaction and knowing that I am making the customer happy,” she says.
“I am a chatterbox, apparently, and I like to always do my best to go the extra mile.
“Working for Carlos has been a great experience. He is understanding and empathetic. He would do anything to make things comfortable at work and make sure you have the right training. He also has amazing patience, which I don’t!”