My Donaldson journey is probably a little bit different to most, because although I’ve been with Kitchens International for a decade, we’ve only been part of the Donaldson Group Family since 2021.

I have to admit I couldn’t help being a little apprehensive about the acquisition to start with, but I needn’t have been! The Donaldson Group culture is very similar to that of Kitchens International, it is a very creative and supportive place to work, where everyone pulls together, and bounces ideas off each other. Group processes are slightly different to what I was used to, but people took the time to help and support me as I adapted.

The biggest change for me was moving from working on just one brand to five! I’m now responsible for Optima Kitchens, Smith & Frater, Stonecare, MGM Kitchens and Kitchens International. I thought it would be overwhelming, but I’m really enjoying the variety. I worked exclusively on Kitchens International for a long time, and I know the demographic very well, but it’s been really exciting to work on new brands and learn new things. I think I’m a lot more engaged.

I studied Business Management at uni and was considering a sales or marketing role within the licensed trade after graduating. Whilst studying, a part-time role came up with Kitchens International, so I took it and before I knew it, I was working there full-time. Initially I was effectively working as a designer when they bought creative development in-house. It was a nice role to start in – I was designing point-of-sale materials and print ads, I established the social media channels, worked on the website, and was involved with events.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m delighted with how my career has progressed. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills, met a lot of interesting people and been given a lot of incredible opportunities. My biggest highlight with the Donaldson Group has been joining the Group marketing team. I’d been going to team meetings for months, but wasn’t formally part of it, so officially joining the team was really nice. There was a welcome lunch and a night out, so it felt like a real celebration.

As Head of Marketing, I oversee the creative development of all of our Interior Divisions brands; plan and manage events (that could be a dinner or exhibition, or sometimes it’s working at events with key contacts); develop strategy and annual plans; manage budgets; analyse how our website and socials are performing; prepare award submissions; and get involved in the future development of team members.

It’s a varied role and – cliché alert – no two days are ever the same; we work on similar key tasks, but for different brands with demographics, objectives, and target markets. I spend a lot of my time working closely with branch and studio managers, for example, working with them on objectives such as ways to increase engagement at branch level. My biggest achievement in my current role has to be developing and designing a kitchen selector tool for Kitchens International, it’s revolutionary within our sector and gives us a real edge. I’m very proud of it.

There are plenty of opportunities here – alongside the support and training you need to make the most of them. With a dedicated budget for training, we have freedom to choose specific courses that will benefit us and our role. Everyone has a quarterly review where we identify two things we’re doing well and two things that we can improve – and we’re given the support we need to actually make those improvements and develop new skills.

Just a year ago I only had experience of managing one brand, but since we became part of the Donaldson Group, I’ve become heavily involved with planning for all of the Interiors brands and have been promoted to Head of Marketing for the division. That’s pretty good career development if you ask me!

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

When I first joined Donaldson Group as a Digital Marketing Executive, I thought I’d mostly be doing social media activity. Fast forward four years and social media is only a small part of what I do!

The offsite portfolio I currently manage is made up of several different brands and I work on Donaldson Timber Systems (DTS), Donaldson Direct (DD), Donaldson Timber Engineering (DTE) and Rowan Manufacturing. There is a lot of variety as each brand has a different offering, focus and target audience. This keeps things interesting and means that I get to be involved with a lot more than I expected to when I joined. I’ve been able to work across so many brands – which you just wouldn’t get from a one-brand business.

During my time here I have gained great tactical experience and now I’m building on my commercial and strategic experience, so I’m getting real exposure to the full marketing function/mix.

No two days are ever the same in my role! My days can range from annual planning, monitoring project progress and activating campaigns to internal marketing meetings, presenting strategies or budgets, carrying out CMS changes, creating digital content, drafting press releases and working closely with third party agencies.

We are also able to get out and about which I love. This can range from organising and attending trade show events and attending awards dinners to external meetings or site visits with agencies, suppliers and customers – where I have ended up climbing up scaffolding to get onto a customer’s roof!

With the variety of brands that I work on comes a variety of people. I get to work closely with lots of different stakeholders and teams, internally and externally, who all have their own character and culture. This includes people at all levels, so it’s not unusual for me to go from a meeting with one fo our Managing Directors to a briefing with a member of our IT team.

My biggest – and proudest – achievement (so far!) is working on the launch of Donaldson Direct. I was involved from the initial concept through to branding, positioning, overall project and website planning to brand launch and actually seeing sales come in. I feel like it’s my baby! One of the reasons I feel so invested is because it was the first time I’d been involved in a project like this from start to finish.

The chance to take ownership is one of the things I love most about working here, it’s been great for my career development and confidence. I’ll be honest, when I started, I felt pretty clueless, and I only expected to be here for a couple of years. But now I feel confident that I know how to do my job and I can see my career pathway opening up which gives me something to work towards.

There’s a direct line of progression, loads of opportunities and no ceiling. I’ve had lots of great training and support, including completing my Digital Diploma earlier this year. There’s also been on-the-job support and coaching every step of the way. I’m genuinely proud to tell people where I work and what I do.

I feel valued – and that I add value to the business. I have built great relationships with people across our business and  can see the results of what I do and how it impacts on the success of the business.

It’s a great team, everyone’s supportive and there for each other. You’ll hear us talk about the Donaldson Family, it’s more than the family of businesses within the Group, it’s the feeling of a real family we all have here. I really feel I’m part of it.

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

I joined Donaldson Group as a Digital Marketing Executive in September 2020 but have recently been promoted to Brand Manager, so my role has progressed a lot in just a couple of years.

When I first started, I worked on specific brands (which included Buzz Home Office and Timber Cut4U, as well as helping other members of the team with their own projects) and my role was quite focussed on key metrics reporting – from sales to analytics. Now my role is to manage the Group brand and James Donaldson Timber (JDT), and is much more focussed on messaging, building the brand and brand communications, so it’s a lot more creative and varied! I’ve been involved in everything from producing our in-house magazine, Woody, to our recent Group rebrand.

Launching the Donaldson Group rebrand is my biggest achievement to date here – and the biggest challenge so far. It was a massive undertaking as it was a six-month long project, and I didn’t have much project management experience when I started on it (that definitely changed!). It was an amazing feeling to have played a part in getting the project over the line, seeing the results and how we now get to take it forward.

Working here has been interesting since day one. In my initial role I was involved in the launch of Buzz Home Office which was a great introduction and it was really interesting because it included three different businesses within the Group, meaning I had the opportunity to work with lots of different people. I also worked on Timber Cut4U which was much more technical, and sales focussed, which helped me learn a lot about the industry overall.

I have a degree in Business Management from Heriot Watt, so whilst I have a good understanding of how business works in general terms, the timber industry wasn’t something I really knew much about when I started.

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ here – my role covers everything from activating Group-wide emails, teaming up with HR to work on colleague comms projects, working on social media to planning at a strategic level. I manage internal and external communications at Group level – the internal comms element of the role is colleague and culture focused and our One Donaldson Family culture is really important to us! There’s also a lot of project management work where I do a lot of project planning and co-ordination.

Being more involved in project management is one of the ways my role has evolved since I joined. I’ve only been here a couple of years and I’ve already had the chance to lead projects and take on more responsibilities which has helped expand my knowledge and skillset.

A highlight for me was putting together my first edition of Woody – our annual in-house magazine – with my team. This project really helped me develop my project management skills as I was responsible for managing the process, from content planning, collating content, writing copy, and working with a third-party design agency and supplier. The timescales were really tight as there were a lot of internal changes happening in parallel during production, but we did it!

As part of the Group’s five-year strategy, we’ve been able to set our career pathways. It’s a really good benchmark for seeing my potential line of progression and it’s encouraging to see how far I have come, knowing that we are always being supported and encouraged to take the next step in our development, as opposed to being in the same role for a long time.

One of the things I love most about working for Donaldson Group has to be the team! Especially now that our team is growing, there are more of us which is a really exciting time and means we are always learning and developing together.

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

Having joined Donaldson Group three months ago, I’m still very much the newbie but I already feel right at home here.

My route into this role is a little unusual in that I didn’t go to university, and I gained all of my marketing experience and qualifications on the job. After started my working life as a professional groom (I still have horses and ride a lot in my spare time) which I enjoyed for several years. Following a freak accident, I ended up transitioning to office-based work and temping for a six-week period with Tayto Group as a Marketing Assistant. It was there that I discovered a real passion for marketing. After my initial placement, Tayto Group offered me a permanent contract and put me through my CIM Certificate and during my term I progressed to Marketing Exec. I have since enjoyed marketing within FMCG, agriculture and retail industries, as well as starting and managing my own ecommerce business, before joining Donaldson Group as a Brand Manager.

I manage a number of brands including Perform Panel, MGM Timber, TimberCut4U and Plane & Simple – so my days are really varied! From creating artwork, producing email campaigns, social media engagement and reviewing SEO content to developing annual plans, organising in branch events and campaigns, and getting involved with creating video and other collateral such as brochures and flyers. The role is both analytical and creative, so I can be writing copy in the morning and analysing sales after lunch.

Although I’ve not been here long, there are already several things that I’m proud of having achieved since I joined. The biggest one was being involved with the latter stages of a successful new product launch, just two weeks into the job. I’m also proud of the fact that I’ve got up to speed with the brands so quickly, and that I’ve pushed myself out there and established good relationships with the teams already.

The support I’ve received since starting my role has been amazing – the wider team have been fantastic in helping me to find my feet and combat that pesky imposter syndrome! Now, just a few months in, I feel empowered to take on meatier challenges and bring so much value to the Group, and that’s been a real confidence boost.

That’s the thing about working here – it really is like one big family. During my interview I remember thinking “this is where I want to be” and that instinct was right – there’s such a warm and welcoming vibe here. Members of the team throughout the whole Group take the time to chat to you about how you are and your family, not just about work and your role within the business. I find that personal connection really inspiring and motivating – I’m really pleased to be a part of the Group and can’t wait to see where this journey will take me.

Ready to launch your marketing career? Take a look at our latest graduate opportunities to find out more.

James Donaldson Group shortlisted for s1jobs Awards

We are proud to announce that James Donaldson Group has been shortlisted for the s1jobs Awards in the Best Employer Training and Development category.

April 16, 2018
 

James Donaldson Group shortlisted in the Best Employer Training and Development category.

We are proud to announce that James Donaldson Group has been shortlisted for the s1jobs Awards in the Best Employer Training and Development category.

The Best Employer and Training category is for companies who have shown evidence of commitment to their employees and how their practices distinguish them as an outstanding place to work.

Speaking on the shortlist, Mandy Cooper, Human Resources Manager said ”As one of our core values, we aim to empower our people with opportunities in a safe workplace, and that also means ensuring we are developing and upskilling high potential employees to be the managers of the future within JDS’’

The winners will announced on Thursday, April 19th at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow.

James Donaldson & Sons Group wins Fife Business Award

“James Donaldson & Sons has been operating as a family business in Fife for over 158 years and it’s always a great honour to be recognised for our hard work and values."

March 27, 2018
 

JDS Group recognised for outstanding business achievement at the Fife Business Awards

We are delighted, to announce that we have been recognised at the Fife Business Awards for outstanding business performance in the previous year, on our contribution within the economy and community in Fife.

Nominees for this category were put forward by Fife Council & Fife Chamber of commerce for companies showing outstanding achievement in a range of areas including; strong growth in number of employees and revenue/profit; demonstrating a clear vision for the future; and recognition for supporting the local area and community.

Michael Donaldson (Commercial, Director) and Jean Paul Malum (Group Marketing Manager) accepted the award on behalf of the Group at the Glen Pavilion, Dunfermline. Speaking on the win, Michael Said: “James Donaldson & Sons has been operating as a family business in Fife for over 158 years and it’s always a great honour to be recognised for our hard work and values.

“The Donaldson family has done tremendous work to become an integral part of the community, and the business my forefathers created has had a major impact on generations of other families living and working in the area. Most importantly, I would like to thank all of the employees whose contributions make this company the success it is today.”

The Awards celebrate the very best of Fife businesses, and nominees range from small start-ups and individual entrepreneurs to long-established companies, once again demonstrating the sheer breadth of business success and ambition in Fife.

MGM Timber and Nu-Style products shortlisted for Scotland Excel Supplier Excellence Awards

shortlisted in the ''Environmental Practices'' and ''Value for Money'' categories respectively.

January 25, 2018
 

MGM Timber and Nu-Style Products have been shortlisted in the ”Environmental Practices” and ”Value for Money” categories respectively.

We are delighted that both MGM Timber and Nu-Style Products have been nominated for the 2018 Scotland Excel Supplier Excellence Awards in Glasgow. MGM Timber is nominated in the category of “Environmental Practices” for its efforts in tackling climate change by reducing waste. Nu-Style Products has been nominated in the “Value for Money” category which recognises companies that showcase efficiency as well as value for money without compromising on quality. The winners of this year’s awards will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on the 20th of February at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

MGM Timber has recently invested in a new computer system in order to create a paper free ordering and invoicing system. Additionally, MGM aims to reduce landfill through improved recycling. Nu- Style’s nomination in the category “Value for Money” recognises their efforts in efficiency, meeting clients’ exact requirements and competitive pricing. “We are very proud for being shortlisted in both categories as they recognise our efforts to tackle climate change as well as efficiency and meeting our customers’ requirements. Sustainability and integrity, which are recognised in both these categories, are two of our five core values and at the heart of what we do.” Said Scott Cairns, Group Managing Director for James Donaldson & Sons Group

About James Donaldson & Sons Ltd:

Founded in 1860, the JDS group has grown into a family of businesses that are market leaders in their respective fields of timber engineering, saw-milling and distribution, merchanting, roofing and cladding distribution and laminate manufacturing. MGM Timber became a wholly owned subsidiary of the group in 2005, while the group acquired Nu-Style Products Ltd in 2016.

Welcome to our new website!

Please explore the site - you may discover things about the JDS group you never knew!

December 18, 2017
 

After months of meeting, planning and writing, we are delighted to finally unveil our new website!

While the various businesses have been focusing on delivering excellent products and services, the team at JDS have also been beavering away in the background to bring the group to life online.

JDS has achieved a lot since we last built a website, and we wanted something to really showcase our values, businesses and people. That’s why you’ll find lots of interesting areas on the site, including our history timeline, people profiles of different experts and professionals who work in the businesses and of course our values tree.

So please explore the site – you may discover things about the JDS group you never knew!

A big thanks to everyone who helped with this project – including the staff who allowed us to shoot photography and video while they worked away in the background, those who contributed to the planning and those who helped with content. It was a real team effort and we are delighted with the result.

James Donaldson & Sons wins at Family Business Awards

“James Donaldson & Sons has been operating as a family business in Fife for over 150 years and it’s always a great honour to be recognised for our hard work and values."

December 12, 2017
 

James Donaldson & Sons Ltd took home gold last week in the Rural Family Business category at the Herald Scottish Family Business Awards.

Scott Cairns (Group Managing Director) and Andrew Donaldson (Director) accepted the award on behalf of the company at a ceremony in Glasgow. Speaking on the win, Scott said: “James Donaldson & Sons has been operating as a family business in Fife for over 150 years and it’s always a great honour to be recognised for our hard work and values.

“The Donaldson family has done tremendous work to become an integral part of the community, and the business they created has had a major impact on generations of other families living and working in the area. Most importantly, I would like to thank all of the employees whose contributions make this company the success it is.”

Now in their sixth year, the Herald Scottish Family Business Awards celebrate the success of the diverse, dynamic and innovative family business sector, and the contribution these firms make to the wider economy and the communities in which they operate.

James Donaldson & Sons is a wholly owned family business, with control passing directly from father to son for the past five generations. The company began in 1860, when James Donaldson started selling timber from Tayport in Fife, and it’s now a UK-wide company with 23 branches and over 150 years of experience.

JDS Makes The Sunday Times Top Track 250

For the first time JDS made it into the Sunday Times Top Track 250 companies in the UK and I attended the awards dinner in London last night.

November 21, 2017
 

For the first time in the company’s history, JDS made it into the Sunday Times Top Track 250 companies in the UK.

‘Honestly, in my own head I was smiling!’ – Scott Cains

For the first time JDS made it into the Sunday Times Top Track 250 companies in the UK and I attended the awards dinner in London last night. To give you an idea of the calibre of some of the companies on the list I have noted a few below….It’ll give you a flavour of the prestigious company we are now in when I tell you that the winner was a little know car manufacturer called McLaren.

We were number 207 but to be credited on the list at all is a great achievement. I met some amazingly talented and well quoted people last night, some of them household names and the message from all the speakers and guests about British business was one of positivity, can do and encouragement….something I hope is echoed for our industry by the chancellor in the budget this afternoon.

So, trust me I was smiling inside, in fact I was/am pretty chuffed and you all should be as well. The recognition is for all of us.

I’ll work on showing some teeth when I smile in future…at least turn up the edges of my mouth!

Cala, Robertson, Miller, Avant Homes, MKM, Walkers, Howarth Group, Story Homes, Ridgeons. Chelsea Football Club, Rocco Forte Hotels, Caffe Nero, Aston Martin, Sky Betting and Gaming, Baxters, Walkers Shortbread, Fat Face, Timpson, Edinburgh Airport, London City Airport, Dobbies Garden Centres to name but a few.