Interview With Sasha Conlan, Director, The Barbie Girls

Sasha, you're Managing Director at The Barbie Girls. Tell us a bit
about your role – what does your day-to-day routine look like?

Every day is different for me. I always start early, whether from home, my office or with an 8am meeting to kick start the day and to enable me to savour a strong coffee. I look at my to-do list for the day – my days are so busy that I generally focus on one day at a time.I prioritise my work for the day, keeping in mind the activities of the children after school.

My day can include anything from chatting to my supplier of King salmon in New Zealand about how they are snowed in and are unable to get the fish out to us, to speaking to AVA Singapore about some of our new products we are trying to import, to researching new products and talking to potential suppliers. I spend time with my team every day and try to get to our warehouse at least once a week. Some weeks I travel, visiting potential and existing new suppliers.

I employ a very dedicated and hard-working team of 9 people (currently 9, we are continually expanding), who really do keep me sane when things are getting crazy busy.

I try to finish my day by 5pm so I can spend time with my children. If they are playing in sporting matches, I might finish earlier to go and support them. This is very important to me and I would rather start the day early and finish early, to ensure I have quality time with my children.

What first prompted you to set up The Barbie Girls?

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I was frustrated by the lack of good quality meat and fish produce in Singapore to feed my family. If I managed to find products that tasted good then I had no idea what was in them or where they were from, so I began a journey of sourcing and importing top quality, ethically sourced and fully sustainable meat and seafood, delivering it directly to customers in Singapore.

Tell us about the products you supply. What are your top sellers?

The Barbie Girls provide an extensive range of fresh and frozen meat and seafood including beef, lamb, pork, poultry, King salmon, wild blue cod, Scottish smoked salmon and New Zealand scallops.

I am committed to sourcing the very best meat and seafood products, so I take the time and effort to visit farms and organisations, witness their sustainable-farming practices first-hand and sample their products all before we commit to them as a supplier for The Barbie Girls.

One of our best selling products at present is our grass-fed Australian Black Angus beef. Grass-fed meat is more tender than grain fed, and it is packed full of Omega-3 fats (the good ones to help lower cholesterol), so it tastes great! Another product that is very popular is our British pork sausages. They are award winning sausages from Wicks Manor Farm in Essex, UK. The pigs are fed a natural diet and they are allowed to roam free in their natural environment, resulting in excellent tasting sausages and pork products. Our other top sellers are our range of incredible seafood from New Zealand and our local fresh chicken.

All of our products contain no growth hormones or antibiotics, and all have been ethically sourced and are fully sustainable. So as well as providing great tasting products, we can guarantee there has been minimal impact to the environment too.

You were born in England but moved to Singapore in 2008 – what was
it that first made you move abroad?

My husband and I wanted a new adventure and we decided Singapore was the perfect location. We still believe this is true today. Singapore is definitely home for us and we are not leaving any time soon.

What do you find the most challenging about being an expat?

Being away from friends and family in the UK, but we try to spend time there every year. I miss the buzz of London too.

Conversely, in your opinion, what's the best part of expat life?

Having the opportunity to experience a new country and culture and to give this experience to our children. I love the melting pot that is Singapore. I meet people from all over the world, every day, and they are often fascinating. My team consists of someone from Hawaii, Singaporeans who are Malaysian, Indian and Chinese and a Filipino! I love the cultural diversity.

We are lucky enough to have a holiday home in Margaret River (Australia) where my family and I spend many school holidays. This region is full of beautiful produce so is perfect for us!

Do you have any plans for new products or ranges? What can we expect
to see from The Barbie Girls over the next year or so?

We will continue to expand our product offering and bring our customers a greater variety of top quality, ethically sourced and fully sustainable products. We are likely to expand our gourmet food section and are always looking to introduce new seafood and meat.

We have recently starting selling wine so we hope to grow this area, and be able to offer our customers food and wine pairing ideas.

When you're not sourcing quality food products for hungry expats,
what do you do in your spare time?

If I am not with my children, you might find me exercising, having coffee with a friend, or enjoying dinner with my husband and/or a group of our gorgeous friends.

The Barbie Girls is a Singapore-based business that sources top quality meat from around the world. For more information or to place an order, take a look at TheBarbieGirls.com.


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