Cheryl Luzet, CEO, Wagada Digital

In our regular #MyFirstMcJob series, industry big shots remember when they were still spring chickens

Cheryl Luzet Wagada min

Hi, Cheryl! Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Cheryl Luzet and I’m CEO of Wagada Digital. We are a digital marketing agency who works with companies to help them build their brands and grow their customer base through digital marketing.

What was your #MyFirstMcJob?

Working for my dad in his sweet shop, age 16.

How did you get the job?

My dad was an engineer and worked in a power station in Staffordshire, which they closed down. They actually blew it up! I remember as a child going to watch them blow the power station up. So after working there for 30 years, age 50 he had to find a new job. He decided to buy a shop because he didn't know what else to do. He bought a really old fashioned sweet shop in Newport in Yorkshire that had all the jarred sweets, and needed someone to help him on a Saturday. Whilst I was quite excited about working in the sweet shop, it was still kind of an obligation.

What did you have to do?

It was a very tiny shop, so people would come in, choose their sweets, pass the jar that they wanted and you'd weigh the sweets. People would buy a quarter of this and that, I'd weigh them and take the money.

What were the perks of the job?

I think the perks were obvious – you got to eat as many sweets as you could possibly eat! It was in a quite a small town, so I got to know the community quite well as it was always the same locals who would come in.

What’s the most memorable thing that happened?

I was originally there for the whole day but I got headhunted by the man who owned the local dry cleaners four doors away who offered to pay me double. My dad was a bit miffed that his compatriot had come along and stolen me. But he really did approach like that: “How much does your dad pay you? I'll pay you double!”

What skills did you learn at the sweet shop that you still use today?

Dealing with people, making conversations and making people feel good about themselves. I do a lot of networking now, so it's a useful skill to be able to keep conversations going with people you don't know very well and make people feel special when you're talking to them.

Are you still in contact with anyone you work with or served?

I moved, so don't see anyone anymore, but I do occasionally meet people that say: “I used to live in Newport.” I say: “Do you remember the Sweet Shop?” and they always remember the sweet shop.

Why is alumni important?

I do a lot of networking and a lot of work on LinkedIn. Keeping in touch with people I used to work with and went to uni with has been really important. Sometimes that's how we get our work. People make recommendations and referrals that I haven't seen for a really long time. Some of our clients have definitely come through that. Those relationships are key because that's how business works. It's all about people at the end of the day.

What would happen if you went back and did a shift at the sweet shop?

I would love it because I actually genuinely love just chatting to people. I would love the mindlessness because I do a very challenging job now. To be able to just go to turn up, pass the time, and leave would be lovely.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to appreciate it a bit more because it was a really enjoyable job. Being on your feet all day was hard, but being in that environment and community was a really enjoyable. I would teach myself that it only ever gets harder. So appreciate the jobs that aren't necessarily intellectually that challenging.

What was your favourite sweet?

Well, that's a really good question. I used to love a cola bottle. But not the fizzy ones, the squidgy ones!




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