Spring has arrived in London with the usual mix of rain showers and sunshine, but we’re going a little further afield for our March Campfire blog. We caught up with Rigby’s Export Manager Maria Gil, who works from home in her native Spain, to see what her job entails and what 2022 has in store.
Please can you tell us a little more about your role and what a typical day looks like for you?
Since the first lockdown took effect way back in spring 2020, I have been working from home, and now that home is back here in Spain. I travel back to the office as much as possible to catch up with the team, but it is wonderful to be based in this sunny country! There’s no such thing as a typical day at work for me – every single day is different, which is one of the many things I love about my role. However, there is a structure to my day and my weeks which I can share with you here.
I begin each morning by checking my emails, trying to answer as many as I can before breakfast. After that I check in on the web orders and the all-important export licensing system before I jump on my daily call with Tony and Jérôme (Tony Sinnett is PA to Marc and Jérôme Lanoue looks after international sales). Tony usually gives us a very positive update on website sales and Jérôme is keen to get serial numbers for guns he is quoting. Every Tuesday we do this as a video call to help foster a communicative atmosphere in our great little team.
I have a weekly meeting with the guys in the workshop to check how they are doing with the Big Games and Highland Stalkers so I can organise the exports. Brexit has given me a little extra paperwork to do to export out guns, but thankfully I know the system back to front so it’s not too tedious. I make sure we are keeping to all our deadlines for repairs, keeping in touch with customers and sending them pictures of the progress. They often send me pictures of their hunting trips and I love seeing them enjoying the rifles we made with all our heart. It is fantastic to be part of the Rigby family and our customers become part of this family from the moment they place their orders, enjoying the full experience.
What have you been working on since the start of 2022?
So far this year I’ve been working a lot on our new accessories. Rigby has always stocked a small collection of accessories and clothing, always useful and elegant, but now we are expanding that range. We’re including some exciting new accessories that our customers will want to use not only in their hunting trips, but also in their normal life. I am also trying to find ways to ship our rifles around the world in a more cost-effective way, which is not easy since Brexit came into effect.
Are there any exciting projects you can share with us?
We have a few exciting projects coming this year, but I am not sure Marc will let me tell everyone yet! So, all I can say is that it will be something completely new for Rigby and I can’t wait to see the final project take shape. Now that we have the Rigby cannons, the Defenders, the Safari tents… What can it be? I’d love to see what people come up with for their guesses.
What are you most looking forward to at Rigby this year?
I am very much looking forward to the exhibitions and shows we have planned this year. 2021 saw some return but travel wasn’t always easy, so this year we’re raring to get back out there. We are going to Le Salon de la Chasse, Deauville, Jagd und Hund, The Game Fair and Adihex, plus a few more too. It is always a pleasure to see our customers at home and abroad, and to make new friends who share our passion for fine arms.
Have you been out hunting recently, or do you have any trips in the pipeline?
I went hunting in France last winter and I am preparing to do my first Monteria in Spain. The Monteria is a traditional form of hunting here in Spain which consists of big European game, such as red deer or wild boar, being driven with dogs. I shall be sure to report back on that as it’s certain to be an amazing experience.
I am also trying to save up my holiday allowance to go back to the Kalahari, as it was one of the best experiences ever. That plan might be upset by being invited to rather a lot of weddings this year (a happy interruption to my plans you might say!) so I may have to delay those plans for hunting in South Africa to another year.