Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Behind the Scenes - Julian Alubaidy

Ever wondered who is behind a name, a business etc? I always do. We take things for granted without thinking what hard word is behind the success of a business. I want to change that. So I will be going behind the scenes in food & wine to interview the people who make or break a business. My first 'victim' is Julian Alubaidy of Bubble Brothers. He is the man behind the Bubble Brothers Blog where you can pick up great tips on wine but also other interesting 'rantings'.

Julian Alubaidy

Bubble Brothers (6 people incl. Julian)

Customer Supplier Service

He worked as a bookseller (hence his wit), he is a qualified gardener and he played drums (now that is a combination)

How did you get your current position:
He replied to an ad where people with languages were needed. He speaks French and English. That was 6 years ago and the rest - as they say - is history.

What challenges did you face at the start:
Julian had almost no knowledge about wine and had to learn a lot in a short period of time but his training as a bookseller helped him (same principle as booksellers are dealing with agents, distributors and authors - in wine you have agents, distributors and vineyards). Learning about international trading was another challenge and to actually use French in a working environment.

What are the highlights of your job:
The flexibility. No 2 days are the same. The wine trade is a very sociable business and one always continues to learn about wine, countries and people

The Lows:
It is a small business and faces a lot of competition. As a lot of people don't know much about wine, it sometimes needs to be 'handsold'. Also Christmas is a big challenge as the workload is immense (and trust me, I am adding to it big time :-)

What would you do if you didn't do what you do:
Working as a gardener and playing the drums.....

Do you have plans for the future: far.

How many hours do you work in average:
about 45 - more around Christmas

Is it worth it:
Yes, absolutely

Would you do it all over again:
Oh yes.

What do you recommend to people who would like to work in the wine business:
It can be quite difficult as there is no formal apprenticeship. You need to get involved, learn about wine, get in touch with people in the wine business, join social networks and read as much about wine as possible and of course.......taste it, talk about it and share it. Jobs are not advertised in the normal media, so make sure you read wine publications, blogs and websites.

Do you advertise wine at home:
Very carefully. Mostly he gets approached by friends if they need advice.

Would you mind if your children follow in your footsteps:
If they want to, but he hopes for more (Julian has 2 children aged 4 & 6 - so there is lots of time :-)

It is important to keep an eye on the competition and try to stay ahead of them. Bubble Brothers has a policy in which they only source and sell wines that are not otherwise available in Ireland. Decanter is one source of making sure. BB are also very much aware that they have a limited supply of New World wines - a result of careful sourcing to keep shipping costs etc down. They started to stock an Australian wine currently and are still in the lookout for more.

Thank you Julian for your time and the interesting chat. I enjoyed it very much.

My next 'victim' is Simone Kelly of Interior Living. Read all about it on Friday.


Julian said...

Thank you, Elke, for kindly overestimating my significance in the Bubble Brothers scheme of things. Empty vessels make the most noise and all that. It was a pleasure to talk to you, and I look forward to reading about future interviewees.

Elke said...

Julian....I never exaggerate :-). It was a pleasure doing this interview with you and I hope that the others are just as enjoyable as you were ...

Watch this space