Welcome back to our 'Spotlight' series where we shine the light on some of the ‘Rising Stars’ within our industry revealed at Scothot2023 , which recognised the country’s most talented up-and-comers…..
Today, our guest is Chris Geary from Raw Culture! (Learn more about Raw Culture here)
What is Chris’s Secret Superpower?...................Keep on reading to find out what it is. 😊
- Can you introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Chris Geary, and I am the founder and Managing Director of Raw Culture. Despite underachieving in school, I’ve had a career that has taken me all over the world and I have now managed to achieve success as a multi-award-winning soft drinks producer. One thing that sets me apart is that I have ADHD, which has presented its own set of challenges and opportunities along the way.
- Where did you start your career at?
Now, you might be surprised to know that I started out as a domestic engineer - yep, I was the guy who fixed your washing machine when it broke down. But after a while, I decided to switch gears and study computer graphic design. And you know what? I worked in a ton of bars and restaurants while I was at it, from dive bars to luxury five-star hotels.
After college, I did some freelance design work before starting my own brand design and development studio in the early 2000s. But after my dad passed away in 2005, I needed a break from the grind of running my own business. So, I took a security job for a while. And then one day, I saw an ad looking for someone who could build intricate models for a subsea electronics company. I thought, hey, that sounds cool - but it turned out to be for producing transducers which is the eye of a subsea sonar system. But you know what? I got into it, and it led me down a whole new path into the world of offshore and subsea technology.
I ended up specialising in acoustics and moving around different equipment specialist roles before becoming an ROV pilot. That meant I got to travel all over the world - China, Egypt, Norway, America. It was a wild ride. But when the oil and gas downturn hit, and I was made redundant. I was out of steady work for two years, but during that time, my daughter came along, and I got to be a stay-at-home dad. It was amazing.
When I got back to work, I designed and developed multibeam sonar imaging systems, and one project took me out to Huntington Beach in California to work on a system to monitor and track sharks. But then Covid hit, and I was placed on furlough. That's when I decided to start Raw Culture. And here we are - making amazing soft drinks and having a blast doing it. Life is funny, isn't it?
- What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
Every morning, my day starts with the school run with my little girl. It's a great way to start the day and spend some quality time with her. After that, I head straight to work at Raw Culture. As the founder and Managing Director, I have my hands in every aspect of the business. From production to sales and marketing, I'm constantly juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities.
But you know what? I absolutely love it. I thrive on the diversity and challenges that come with building a successful business from the ground up. And let's be real, it's pretty cool to be able to offer a unique and healthy product to consumers. So, whether I'm working on developing new flavours, meeting with potential wholesale and retail partners, or managing our production schedule, every day is an adventure and I wouldn't have it any other way.
- What do you do in your current role?
Oh boy, where do I start? As the founder and Managing Director of Raw Culture, I wear a lot of hats. Every day is different, and I handle everything from production and sales to marketing and financial management. I'm like a one-man band, but instead of a guitar, I've got a canning line to build! Right now, I'm in the middle of building my own canning line because we can't afford to buy one. I've designed and tested the electronics and framework, and all I need to do now is fabricate a case. Who knew I'd be a DIY expert? So, in a nutshell, I love the variety and challenges of running a business, and I'm always up for learning new skills along the way.
- What would you do (career-wise) if you were not in this current job?
That's a tough question! But I think I have an answer. If I had to go back to my previous career, I would probably be an ROV pilot again. I mean, who wouldn't want to explore the depths of the ocean and pilot those fancy underwater robots? But don't get me wrong, my last trip was a bit of a doozy. I was only away for 30 days, but it felt like an eternity! I missed my family like crazy, and I couldn't stop thinking about how Raw Culture was doing without me. But if I did go back, it would only be until I can fund another start-up business. Who knows what kind of crazy idea I'll come up with next?
My hero is none other than the incredible Richard Branson! He's a true icon and a man who thinks outside the box. He's not afraid to try new things, and even if he fails, he gets right back up and tries again. As a dyslexic, I look up to him even more, because he's also dyslexic and has proven that it's not a limitation, but rather an opportunity to find new ways of communicating and learning. He came from a modest background and created his own opportunities, which is something that truly inspires me. Richard Branson reminds me that I should focus on my strengths, rather than my weaknesses, and that with hard work and determination, anything is possible!
- What advice would you give your younger self?
Hey, younger me! You handsome devil you. Stop listening to those people who keep you down and start breaking away to find your own path. I know it's tough, but once you learn to believe in yourself and your abilities, your life will change for the better. Trust me, opportunities will present themselves, and you'll be ready to take them on. So don't be afraid to pave your own way and follow your dreams. You got this!
- How do you see the hospitality industry going further/changing?
The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and it's important to keep up with the times. As the younger generations become more health-conscious and environmentally aware, there is a growing demand for social spaces that cater to those needs. People are looking for places where they can work, socialize, and relax all in one go, and the hospitality industry needs to adapt to meet those needs. The rise of low and no-alcohol options is not just a passing trend, but a revolution that is here to stay. Consumers want choices that are free from harmful additives, and it's up to bars and restaurants to provide those options. The future of the hospitality industry is bright, as long as we continue to listen to the needs and desires of consumers and adapt to meet them.
- Why should people consider working in the hospitality/Tourism sector?
Oh, let me tell you why you should consider working in the hospitality/tourism sector! First of all, there's no shortage of diverse and exciting career opportunities to choose from. Whether you're interested in cooking up a storm in the kitchen, managing a hotel, or taking people on unforgettable tours, there's something for everyone.
But that's not all! Working in this field also means you get to meet new people from all walks of life and immerse yourself in different cultures. It's a great way to broaden your horizons and gain a new perspective on the world.And last but not least, there's nothing quite like the feeling of providing excellent service and creating memorable experiences for others. Seeing the joy and satisfaction on people's faces is truly priceless, and it's a feeling you'll never forget.
So, if you're looking for a career that's rewarding, exciting, and full of opportunities, then the hospitality/tourism sector might just be perfect for you!.
- Tell us three things about you that no-one knows?
Oh, that's a tough one! Let me think... Okay, here are three things about me that no one knows:
Believe it or not, I was actually the youngest person ever to attend Aberdeen College! At just 14 years old, I studied electronics and was given special permission to attend night classes.
During my time in San Diego, I had the unique opportunity to train the Harbour police on a new multibeam sonar system. But one day, a call came in about a commercial diving fatality. I worked with the police dive team to locate and recover the drowned diver and his equipment. It was a sobering experience, but one that taught me a lot about teamwork and perseverance.
And finally, I have a bit of a secret superpower - ADHA! That's right, I'm really good at paying attention to details and keeping everything organized. It's a skill that's come in handy in all sorts of situations, both in my personal and professional life.