Posted in Features

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day Posted on 8 March 2022

Debbie Sampson

Debbie Sampson, store manager at Dulux Decorator Centre Falkirk, tells us about her job.

Can you give us your full job title and a description of your role and main responsibilities?

I’m the store manager at the Dulux Decorator Centre Falkirk branch, leading a team of four people. I ensure that we have great contact and engagement with our customers, as well as handling back of house, health and safety checks and other procedures. We’re a small team but really close knit, and we work hard to ensure that the shop is a great place for both our customers and staff.

How did you get into the painting and decorating industry?

I joined Burger King as manager when I was 18 and did that for a couple of years. Then the assistant manager who I’d previously worked with at Burger King said she was leaving her job at the Dulux Decorator Centre in Falkirk and encouraged me to take on her role. I successfully applied at the store and, just eight months into the job, my store manager at Falkirk left. During the time I’d spent at the business, I’d built up a rapport with the customers and introduced new changes to the store, which I think helped as I was then hired as the store manager – being chosen over two senior men who had also applied for the job.

What makes Dulux Decorator Centre standout as a business?

I would say how invested they are in their staff. There are so many great opportunities for progression if you put the work in and show what you can achieve. We create personal development plans that we can share with our line manager to show what we want to do, and we can then make it happen. There are also so many different sectors within the business that you can get involved in, which adds to the diversity of the job.

Can you share any highlights of your career so far?

Being able to bring in my own team has been a highlight. When I first became store manager, I hired a new assistant manager, Paul, and trained him up to the level he’s at now. I now know that if I were to be away from the business for an extended period of time, he’d be comfortable to cover for me. You want your colleagues to be as engaged and committed as you are, and we’ve built up a great team here.

We’re also about to start working with the Dulux Decorator Centre Stirling branch to expand our van deliveries in the wider region, which is a prime area for new housing developments. It’s a great service that a lot of our customers rely on – there’s not many places where you can order paints and tools the day before and have it that morning, or order in the morning and have it that afternoon.

What are your personal experiences of working in P&D? What challenges have you had to overcome while working in the industry?

Overall, it’s been a great experience. I came into the industry not knowing anything about painting and decorating but Dulux has a brilliant support team and training available to everyone who joins. Once you have a good amount of knowledge and can build that relationship with your regular decorators, they then start to trust you.

I still get some customers who assume that Paul is my manager and speak to him first, but when Paul then comes up to me to ask a question, they soon realise who I am! Your customers become someone you speak to every day and a lot of them rely on you and become really close to you. Many of them may come in to talk to the boys about football but some like to come to me to talk about the more sensitive side – for example, I’ve got a couple of customers who like to talk to me about baking cakes!

Would you recommend that other women consider a career in this sector and if so, why? And do you have any advice for other women looking to join the industry?

Absolutely. There are so many different jobs available, and options are there if you have a family and need a better work/life balance.

For anyone considering a painting & decorating career, I’d say just give it a try. My advice would be to find a woman in the industry, go and meet them and talk to them first, especially if you’re younger. I’m happy to speak to anyone interested in joining. We’re all lovely people in the trade!