Getting to know Alex, Senior Account Manager

by Karen - Copy Writer for The Prop Factory

Wednesday 15th January 2020 10:18:40


Over the last few months we've introduced you to the prop makers who make all the unique one-of-a kind-props on our inventory. Making props is what we are all about, but that's only half the story - there's no point us making a warehouse-full of fabulous things if they just sit on our shelves. Behind the scenes, there's a small, but perfectly formed, team of worker-bees making sure that hiring props from us is a lovely and stress-free experience, from the time you first look at our website until your props arrive on your doorstep. 

Probably the first person you'll speak to when you phone the Prop Factory is Alex, our Senior Account Manager. So, in the interests of putting a 'face to the voice', I chose to chat to her for our next 'behind-the-scenes' blog.What's your role at the Prop Factory?

My job is all about making sure that our customers are happy. For a larger corporate client this might mean meeting them and finding out what they need from us. For a wedding customer it could be helping them make choices about which props go well together and building an order with them for their big day. I'm often the first person that new customers speak to on the phone and I need to be able to answer all types of questions about our props. It's important that I know a lot about the items in our inventory, so I can make suggestions that customers might not have considered. I also get to show people around our 'warehouse of dreams'!What made you want to work at the Prop Factory?

I first came across the Prop Factory when I was planning my own wedding and quickly followed the main instagram page. I had a customer facing role in retail at the time and really wanted to use the skills I had, but in a more creative environment. The Prop Factory seemed the perfect fit for that and I kept in touch with [Prop Factory Director] Carmen for a while until a suitable vacancy came along.Which of your skills do you find most useful in your job?

People want to hear a friendly voice on the phone and I hope that I achieve that! Customer service isn't all about selling - especially in a business like this one. I really enjoy helping people find the props that are perfect for them - not everyone knows exactly what they want and the vast amount of props available on our inventory can panic people a little. I try and use some vision to help them see what items go together well and will work best in their space. They might, for example, have focussed in on one large, expensive, prop, when actually a few more, but smaller, things might suit their space better. I'm also very organised - important when we have last minute orders - and I'm constantly working with our logistics and warehouse team. We always try to make it happen if we possibly can.Do you have creative skills? How do you use them in your spare time?

Well, I really like making pom-poms! I started making them as wall decorations for my wedding - I'd find myself watching tv in the evening and idly making a pom-pom at the same time - it's very therapeutic! They'd fit right in with the lengths of bunting and pom-pom backdrops that we hire out here. I also made a ribbon backdrop and, for table decorations, I gathered lots of mismatched vintage crockery as well as crystal glasses. I scoured charity shops, car boots and the recycling centre - it was a lot of fun! I think I'm a collector at heart - I love a rummage in the tip or a skip! I've found a few brilliant bits of furniture that I've sanded down and repainted and I've currently got a project on the go that needs a bit of upholstery.What's your background before arriving at the Prop Factory?

I have a degree in photography, so there is a creative background there. I really enjoy portraiture and one of my most memorable projects was following a group of wrestlers on tour. I took photos of them before and after they were in the ring - you can imagine the difference! After university I spent some time working on cruise ships - including a 'round the world' cruise. It was a great way to see the world and it's pretty exciting to travel through the Panama Canal! Working on board in a retail role certainly gave me plenty of customer service experience.We're making a lot of new props at the moment. What prop are you most looking forward to seeing and why?

It's got to be the Moon and Stars Photo Seat. I've been watching it come together from a design on paper to the actual prop in front of me. It's a beautiful example of craftsmanship and an ingenious design. It's really very clever the way it all fits together. The backdrop will be deep velvety blue - amazing.Do you have a favourite prop? Anything caught your eye in the warehouse?

The Emily furniture always looks great - I love the different textures of the wooden frames with velvet upholstery - and the mismatch of colours that somehow all work together. It seems to look particularly special when it's used outside. I also love the turquoise and pink furniture - colours that you wouldn't naturally think would work well together but somehow do - you'd never find this to buy in a shop. The whole Willy Wonka theme - with the giant freestanding sweet sign - all comes together really well.

What do you hope to achieve in the next six months?

I'm looking forward to working more closely with some of our customers. I'll be getting out of the office a bit more, going to events and watching the transformation from an empty venue to a fully styled event. Knowing how our customers use our props will help us understand more about their needs and enable us to provide a more personalised service.Describe an average day at work?

I'll be out and about more after Christmas, but at the moment it's dealing with customer enquiries - on the phone and by email - answering queries and putting together proposals. Pulling together a theme can be very satisfying. You're taking someone's vision and turning it into reality. I often take a wander into the workshop and see what's in the process of being made - then I can offer the very newest props to our customers. There's plenty of multitasking - lots of talking, communicating and sharing ideas, passing on information and helping out in other areas if there's a rush on. Then, of course, there's always biscuits. I seem to have become responsible for keeping the tin stocked up with nice biscuits!

How do you take your tea?

In a company of tea drinkers, I'm in the minority with my coffee. Mostly I like my coffee with cake, but plenty of milk in first is good too.What's your favourite day of the week?

Fridays are satisfying. The loading bay is usually full, with all the orders I've been working on ready to go out to waiting customers. Props are being finished off before the weekend and everything's coming together.

Do you have a favourite party theme?

How about a circus with a bit of a dark twist? I really love our brand new illuminated letters that spell out 'circus'. Four feet of bright red gloss with colored lights in a fancy font - they're proving really popular to hire already. I'd put them with our lion cage tables and the enormous red and white concertina entrance. All the really big props that would dress your party in an instant!

See all the props that Alex loves here.

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