There was no official announcement at the time and no chance for him to say ‘thanks, and good-bye’ to his numerous vending friends and customers. Indeed in January, to all intents and purposes, Nathan Little disappeared off the face of the Earth, writes PV Editor, Ian Reynolds-Young.
Part of the deal, when Vianet acquired Vendman, was that some of the key players stayed on board for a couple of years, to ensure the transition was seamless. When that time was up – and happy that the business was in safe hands – Nathan sought pastures new. ‘I must admit that I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to let people know what was happening, but it is what it is’, he says.
As is often the case, when one door closes, another opens. ‘Emma’s uncle’ – (Emma is Nathan’s better half) – ‘owns a large-format digital printing business called Dominion Print’, he says. ‘Dominion is a one-stop-shop for quality visual marketing solutions, with products such as banners and stands for many industries including high street retailers and high profile corporate and hospitality events. Part of the organisation is a ‘concept shop’, called ‘one19 Creative’, and an opportunity arose for me to take the reins, with a view to building that part of the business. It was exactly the fresh challenge I was looking for.’
Once in vending, always in vending – and it wasn’t long before Nathan was looking at the capabilities of his new team and assessing how they might be applied in a marketplace he knows like the back of his hand…
And then, lockdown happened. It wasn’t all bad news for the Little family. Nathan’s wife, Emma, gave birth to a daughter, Phoebe, a sister for Felicity. ‘A lockdown baby’, Nathan grins. ‘You can imagine her telling that story to her grandchildren who’ll be in awe of her!’
Now we’re going forward into the new normal, Nathan is brimming with ideas. We’ll get into the technological possibilities next week in the second part of this story. For now, though, there’s an immediate business opportunity Nathan is eager to discuss. ‘We can design and produce face coverings under the brand name ‘Let’s Face It’’, he says. ‘For the foreseeable future, we’ll be required to cover up, particularly when the 2m social distancing rule is relaxed. Vending operators have very high standards when it comes to the personal presentation of their field-based staff. Most vending operators provide staff with smart uniforms and insist on immaculately kept vehicles. I think they will see the requirement to wear face coverings as an opportunity to build on this professionalism. I can’t see them settling for random face masks.
‘With Let’s Face It, we can produce high-quality face coverings in virtually any colour, incorporating logos and so on, designed to enhance a company’s reputation, rather than simply tick a ‘compliance’ box’, Nathan said. ‘What’s more, we make it possible for operators to approach their customers with a new sales proposition. Thanks to our ability to turn top-quality products around very quickly, they can offer to produce custom face coverings for their customers, for distribution through vending machines.
‘I’ve been around vending long enough to realise that the owners of operating businesses are a resourceful breed. I’ve been reading that many of them expect some shrinkage in their vending park and that those machines that remain will be under scrutiny. They’ll have to make money, or they’ll be pulled. The market needs ‘in-demand’ products that deliver a decent margin and our Let’s Face It face coverings do just that.
‘I’m really looking forward to getting in the car and resuming my friendships and associations with the vending trade’, Nathan says, ‘and let’s face it, when I do, I’ll have a whole lot more to talk about than face coverings…’
Contact Nathan: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEXT TIME: Nathan lifts the lid on Media Content Management, vending machine surrounds and stand design, AI, Facial Recognition software and much more…
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