POPS HQ: POPS for a Summer
When I walked into the POPS office I was greeted by a huge framed collage of the multitude of magazines and influencers who were in love with the products. Celebrities littered their social media from Miley Cyrus to Bella Hadid to athletes and comedians. I have to say I was very impressed. However, through my time at POPS I learned that behind every one of those celebrity smiles was the hard work and dedication of a group who genuinely love what they’re doing.
I was no stranger to POPS having first encountered them catering the May Ball my first year at St Andrews. That night I sat faithfully alongside the POPS cart eating about half the stock they had to pass out. Two years later I found myself the POPS Sales and Exports Manager with unfettered access to a giant freezer full of my favorite frozen treats. This position gave me a sense of truly contributing to POPS as I was regarded not as an intern but a vital part of the team who could be trusted with important projects and tasks. My first task as Exports Manager was doing market research into countries across the globe who were desperate for our ice lollies. This doesn’t seem that unique compared with the average experience of those of my uni friends working for banks or law firms. However, working for POPS meant presenting my work at Monday team meetings where co-founders Harry Clarke and James Rae were excited about my contributions.
The sales side of things was equally gratifying however this meant working closely with a Mr. Tom Lorimer who has sales enmeshed in his DNA. On my first day at POPS after a morning crash course in all things POPS I was passed along to Tom. Instead of letting me remain shy and unconfident in my sales ability, Tom preceded to throw me straight into the thick of things. By the end of my first week, my long-standing hatred of phone calls ceased to exist. I found myself with a new confidence and equipped with an advantageous new skill. I had gone from being too scared to ask a person’s name to being capable of convincing a stranger to try something totally new.
Although I was given the title Sales and Exports Manager, I wasn’t limited to those areas but was exposed and encouraged to take part in every side of the business. The hands-on nature of POPS that epitomizes the startup experience was the best part of my job. As a result, I went from making hundreds of calls to businesses throughout the UK (many of which I added to a list of places to visit), to sampling in Whole Foods, to visiting Tesco stores across London to speak with managers, flying to Dublin to get consumer insight, and perhaps best of all at fantastic events. Although the work in the office was challenging and often exciting, the events were a completely different side of the business. As a member of the POPS team I got to sample new products at the DASH Water anniversary party, stroll along the river bank at the Henley Royal Regatta, and admire the ponies at Chesterton’s Polo in the Park. As an Event Manager at Polo in the Park and Henley I was able to interact face-to-face with customers, coaxing them into giving the insanely tasty Chilly Mango a try and watching with satisfaction as they realized just how good POPS really are. One woman at Polo in the Park actually beelined for the POPS stand saying that she stocked her freeze with POPS. At Henley a lobbyist loved the Watermelon Martini flavor so much he decided to use his skills to ensure everyone who passed tried them.
High energy, fast pace, intense, a bit silly and a lot of fun, that’s what you can look forward to if you’re lucky enough to see the team at POPS in action. It’s not everyday that a group of 20-somethings are able to come together to build a successful company in four years’ time around a revolutionary food product. At POPS that’s simply the everyday and I was lucky enough to be a part of that for a summer.