Laura Malkin - Digital Media Executive- Allett Mowers

International Women's Day | Laura Malkin - Digital Media Executive- Allett Mowers

Laura Malkin Allett Mowers

How long have you been working in this industry?

I have been with Allett Mowers for 5 years this April. I grew up on a farm and have always loved the outdoors. Whilst I was at school I worked a weekend job at a garden centre and then after that a six month role at a wholesale nurseries which kept me fit! Before this role and the two garden centre roles I have worked in supply teaching in schools and as a cricket coach. I’ve always been passionate about sport and played cricket for 17 years in a row and football for 10 including playing two winters of cricket in Australia. I got the role after photographing Allett’s pink Sandringham mowers for the Eve Appeal and at the time Allett were looking for someone in-house who could look after their social media and photography side of things. I work 3 days a week at Allett which fits nicely around my freelance sports photography career. At the weekends I can be found at Stoke City FC where I am the assistant club photographer on a freelance basis. I also cover a lot of local sport aswell as the odd international/premier league game- I have a very varied working life! I love it!

What does the average day look like for you?

In the winter I am very much office based. My day to day job is a media executive for Allett mowers. I look after anything digital media based. - Social Media- I am the person you are talking to when you contact us on social media. I never put my phone down! I can be replying to customers at midnight – customers demand instant responses nowdays and I take great pride in making sure I reply as quickly as possible with the most helpful advice. I really enjoy the social media part of my role. Social media is amazing! Allett users can connect with each other all around the world to share tips and advice. We have some amazing photos shared with us from Allett users and I enjoy sharing them. The social media is really picking up now as a marketing tool. A post can be shared to hundreds of thousands of people within seconds. - Photography- both white background and lifestyle shots in homes/gardens aswell as the top sports clubs we sell our machines into. I love going out to the sports clubs we supply to meeting like minded people. I love seeing the customers faces when they use an Allett mower for the first time or when they receive their new machine they have just purchased. Photography is my passion. - Videos-product videos/ videos with our Allett customers- i'll admit videos arent my strong point! - Website- I am in charge of keeping our website up to date with fresh exciting blogs and making sure our product info/dealer info is kept up to date so our customers can find their nearest dealer and begin their journey to purchasing the mower of their dreams. - Anything else- e.g. helping organise Allett shows/groundsmans days

What would you say is the biggest challenge working in this industry/Have you faced any challenges being a female in a male-dominated environment?

My challenges are more on a personal basis. The weather can be challenging. If ever we want to do a shoot we have to make sure we have all the machines available, a venue and then we are hoping the weather is good! It can make the difference between a good photo and a bad one! Another challenge for me can be also finding the time to reply quickly to customers on the days I’m not in the office. I am usually up a mountain somewhere shooting a race or at a football ground so It can be hard to get signal (and the time) to reply instantly. We believe in doing our social media in house with expert knowledge rather than doing what some companies do and have an outside company to run it who don’t know the first thing about the products. We have a company whatsapp group where I can fire off any questions I can’t answer (mainly technical ones) that come through our social media channels so we can reply instantly over the weekend or evenings. In terms of being a woman- I’ve not really faced any challenges. Everyone at Allett Mowers is lovely and I think I hold my own when it comes to workplace banter! (The men will agree!). I have grown up playing and coaching football and cricket and been subject to a lot of discrimination for simply being a woman so this has made me pretty tough and rather blunt and sarcastic! My earliest memory is playing football with the lads at lunch in primary school and getting picked on by the girls (not the boys) for doing this! I love working with men! We have a good mix of women in the Allett sales office though! I am a sports photographer alongside my work at Allett and often find myself the only female in a media room full of 30-40-50 men so I am used to it!

Why did you choose to work in this industry?

My role at Allett Mowers came about by chance really. My best friend lived next door to John (Allett Design/Engineering Manager) and she said they were looking for a photographer to do a shoot for them.At the time I was just getting into photography and had just bought my first ‘professional’ camera. I did the pink mower shoot after having not ever done a studio shoot before and after that was called in for an informal meeting with Austin (our MD) and Leigh (my future manager). I was really inspired by what Allett were offering me. The job seemed perfect to fit around my photography and Austin and Leigh came across as really passionate and bubbly people which encouraged me. The social media and photography aspect really grabbed my attention- I’ve always been known for enjoying my social media- sometimes a bit too much! I think growing up on a farm/working at the garden centres played a part too aswell as genuinely loving sport. The chance to visit some of the top grounds and have the chance to make the job my own and use my own initiative was great. I got the role at the very start of my photography career with very few skills and Allett have allowed me to develop my skills and gain confidence. Austin my boss is very innovative in terms of media ideas which shows in the products we are developing also- some companies are still a bit old school when it comes to social media. I’ve made him do facebook lives and everything-haha- he’s very knowledgeable and passionate about our products which comes across great in the videos we produce (as are the other models I use!) I was given an Allett Kensington by Allett at the start of my role (a kind of extended loan) and since then I’ve annoyed everybody on my social media channels and in the office with my lawn pictures! I’m obsessed in mowing!! The cartridge system is amazing and still shocks me to this day!

What advice would you give to women wanting to join the industry?

Go for it! Discrimination has never stopped me- in fact it makes me want to prove a point even more! If someone tells me I can’t do something I’d do it to prove a point. Follow females in the industry on social media and ask them for advice. I think social media can be very powerful in creating role models (or should I say promoting role models). It’s the same in my sports photography career- if you don’t see/hear about women doing it people are going to think it’s a male dominated career. I would never have known there were female sports photographers around until I met a few on the circuit. Every time I’ve watched a football game live as a fan they’ve always been male. I feel it is my role using our social media to promote the ladies in the industry to inspire others. At Allett Mowers we’re also very passionate about getting more youngsters into the industry and showing that it is a great career choice! I am extremely passionate about getting more females into male dominated roles because of my experiences. There is an obvious lack of females in the turf industry and a few more in the gardening industry. In terms of groundsmanship what’s not to love! If I wasn’t in the role I was in my other dream job would be to work at Edgbaston cricket ground- cricket, sun and cutting grass!

Finally, what is the best part about working in this industry?

The flexibility around my sports photography is great for me. I can more or less work whatever days I want within the week as long as I do my three days – I’d never find another job that allowed me to do that! It allows me to do two jobs I love and works for both me and Allett. My favourite part of the job is getting out and doing the photography at the sports clubs / homes and gardens. It allows me to be creative and also to meet some very passionate people. Passion is a trait that I really like in people. I can then get back to the office and create social media posts with the content which is fresh and appealing to our followers. I really enjoy the social media part of it. We’re really developing a network of users now that love sharing their images with each other of their striped lawns it's like a family! Groundsmen are contacting each other from seeing posts on our page, meeting up and becoming really good friends offering valuable advice to each other! I think there are a lot of opportunities for women in in the industry. Have a read of the blogs we have posted today from the females and see for yourself! Follow our social media here… Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube – Search for Allett Mowers You can find my personal Instagram where I share some of my sports photos/allett photos here if you interested! Here is my website