From paper boy to semi-professional footballer and part-time DJ, Parfetts buyer Livi Laycock talks to Better Wholesaling about his career so far.
“He’s black, like me, and he’s funny – people say I’m a bit of a joker. He plays a character that goes from rags to riches and it reminds me of my life…”
What do you like most about your job?
Meeting people. I’m a buyer but the way we operate at Parfetts is with an ‘open door’ policy to customers so anyone can knock on my door. I’ve ended up getting really friendly with some of the reps. There’s one I’ve known about 20 years. He’s retiring soon but we’ve exchanged numbers so we can keep in contact.
What is the most challenging thing about your role?
Time management is the hardest thing. I get so many queries on general issues from customers, suppliers, internal questions that there are never enough hours in the day.
What was your first ever job?
I had a paper round. I did it with one of my brothers – until we both got sacked because he got caught nicking sweets! I loved that job, although, I wasn’t too keen on the little dogs that used to chase me, especially once I got a bike.
After that, I became a DJ. My dad set up a mobile disco with one of his friends and when the DJ left the youth club in Wythenshawe in Manchester, they asked me to take his place. I had to mix in all the records, not like today – it’s all computerised.
If you didn’t work in wholesale, what would you be doing?
I think I’d be doing something in sport. I used to play semi-professional football, but I had a family when I was young – my first daughter arrived when I was 18 – so I had to do something that gave me a regular income. How would your colleagues describe you?
It’s hard to say, but I think they’d say I’m approachable and helpful. My door is always open and I get on well with everyone.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Eddie Murphy. He’s black, like me, and he’s funny – people say I’m a bit of a joker. In Trading Places, he plays a character who goes from rags to riches and it reminds me of my life in some ways, although I’m definitely not a millionaire!
My parents came here from Barbados and worked hard but didn’t have much. I’ve come from having very little to grafting to make a living for my family.
What do you like to do outside work?
I am the manager of a Sunday league football team – Chorlton Sports and Social. It actually takes up a lot of spare time: contacting players, writing reports, sorting out events, insurance and more.
I’m also a season ticket holder at Manchester City FC. I don’t know how my wife puts up with me!
Who in the public eye inspires you?
I’m not the greatest romantic and it might sound cheesy but my wife is the person who inspires me the most. She started volunteering after school at a care home and then went on to work in nursing homes until she had to stop because of her health (she has spondylitis, which is arthritis in the neck). She works at Manchester University now and a few years ago we started fostering children, which was all her idea. She cares for everyone – she even took in a waif from the streets and brought him home to clean him up.