Pacific Spice is only as good as the wonderful people behind the scenes that are working hard to bring you quality spices and herbs. From the tireless efforts of our delivery crew, to the sales staff who passionately ensure the success of our customers, and the department heads who work together to keep everything running, our Pacific Spice team continually goes above and beyond.
In our “Employee Stories” blog series, we’re peeling back the curtain to showcase some of the hardworking individuals that make up our PSC family.
Today, we’re introducing an integral employee that has driven our sales and marketing departments, and has been responsible for much of our flavor innovation: Susan Perez.
Susan Perez is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Pacific Spice Company. With more than 30 years of experience in the food production industry, Susan applies her rich understanding of market trends and customer needs to the growth and development of Pacific Spice Company.
Susan is passionate about creating and executing innovative marketing strategies, building long-term customer relationships, and fostering a collaborative and high performance culture. She leads her team of sales and marketing professionals with integrity and passion, and we owe much of our global success to her.
Susan took time out of her busy day to sit down with us for a short interview to answer a few questions about her job and what she loves about being a part of the PSC leadership team.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in the spice industry and join Pacific Spice?
I wasn’t planning on a career in the spice industry at all – it was just what I was going to do while I figured out what I wanted to do. I stayed in it because being in the food industry turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated.
After 30 years, the spice industry remains as dynamic and exciting as ever. It’s not just about trading commodities; it’s about connecting cultures, enriching culinary traditions, and continuing the timeless legacy of spices.
Q: How does your department collaborate with other teams at Pacific Spice to ensure high quality products?
It requires a team effort to serve our customers well, so we collaborate often. We partner with our purchasing team to scour the globe in search of the highest quality ingredients, we coordinate with our QA and QC teams to qualify our suppliers and products, and we work closely with R&D to create the products that help our customers stand out. Our production teams are the backbone of our operations. They create the products that meet the strict quality standards our customers expect.
Q: What challenges have you faced in the industry, and how has your leadership contributed to overcoming them?
At every stage of the business there have been different challenges. The way I like us to approach [each challenge] is to always prioritize minimizing the impact to our customers.
The past several years have presented unique challenges, some due to the effects of the pandemic. Notably, we have encountered disruptions stemming from labor shortages. [These disruptions spanned] from farms, to overseas manufacturing, and even our own processing plant. Then came the shipping container shortage which caused long shipment delays. The Russia – Ukraine war also caused disruptions in supply. There have been shortages in fertilizer and seeds, like coriander. Some countries even switched from farming spices to farming wheat and corn to offset supply shortages.
There are always going to be challenges. Our primary focus is to proactively anticipate potential issues so that we can swiftly pivot our strategies and operations in response to changing circumstances. We strive to establish robust plans that ensure a consistent and uninterrupted supply chain.
Q: Walk us through a typical day in your role. How do you contribute to Pacific Spice’s growth and mission?
No two days are the same, but throughout the week I am meeting or working with customers and our internal teams on multiple projects and initiatives.
- Morning Review: Our morning meeting assembles a cross-functional team to review weekly orders, incoming products, production schedules, and pending projects. This enables us to create a plan to meet customer schedules.
- Customer Meetings: I meet with customers or potential clients to review their requirements, suggest products, and design a timeline to best fit their needs.
- Team Training and Strategic Planning: These occur regularly with our purchasing, production planning, and sales teams.
- Metrics Review: I analyze metrics, monitor progress, and ensure we are on track to achieve our quarterly and annual targets.
My role focuses on achieving sales retention and growth by fostering relationships with key accounts, working with our sales team on penetrating new markets, and driving team performance. Additionally, I contribute by aligning the sales strategies with the company’s mission to provide premium-quality spices, ensuring our narrative remains consistent and impactful in all our engagements.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about working in sales and marketing at Pacific Spice and contributing to the spice industry?
I love working closely with our customers to develop a deep understanding of their needs. I’ve worked with some customers for decades, even as they’ve moved companies and grown in their careers. To be able to continue to help them with their spice needs through each transition brings me joy and validates that we’re doing something right. That’s why we are able to win and keep their trust.
Q: How has your journey with Pacific Spice contributed to your personal and professional growth?
Working with Pacific Spice has been an exciting journey. When I first started working here it was a much smaller company; less than a third of the size it is today. The company and the business have changed dramatically in the last three decades and that keeps things challenging and exciting. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to contribute and be very involved in all aspects of the business beyond my role in sales and marketing. We have grown and continued to add capabilities to better serve our customers.
Q: What message would you like to share with Pacific Spice’s valued clients and the broader industry community?
First and foremost, thank you for the unwavering support and trust you’ve placed in our company. Our commitment to delivering the highest quality spices is unwavering. As we look to the future, we’re excited to continue to unveil new, innovative products that align with global culinary trends and ensure that our offerings remain fresh and relevant.
Additionally, our marketing team is exploring the power of social media to forge deeper connections with our customers and provide insights, recipes, and tips that enrich your culinary journey. We value feedback and encourage you to participate in upcoming surveys to shape our future offerings and ensure we’re meeting your needs.
Together, let’s spice up the world and celebrate the diverse palate of tastes that unite us.
For more employee stories like this one, read our previous installment, Employee Stories : Meet Jason, our Technical Manager.