Name: Damien Westerman (34)
Region: Northern Region
Job Title: Managing Director
Years in this position: 6
Company Name: Valemount Trading (Pty) Ltd
Entry Category: Entrepreneur
Damien completed his articles in 2011 at KPMG Johannesburg. With articles ending and not wanting to stay in corporate, an opportunity arose to buy a small bird seed business in Durban with his father. On 1 March 2012 the transaction was finalised and 1 May he opened the Gauteng branch renting 150 m2 in Krugersdorp. One customer at a time he started selling bird seed from the boot of his car. Six years later − including the acquisition of its largest competitor − Valemount Trading has grown to the largest bird seed wholesaler in South Africa with 12 000 m2 of warehousing, a fleet of 26 vehicles, and 180 employees including four CAs(SA) across four branches, being Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
Having established a foothold in the bird seed market, Damien set a course for diversifying his business as much as possible. Although bird seed remains their core business, Valemount has expanded its basket and secured exclusive agreements to import parrot and cat food from Europe, as well as a global accessory brand, MPETS. Adding to the synergies created in their distribution network, Valemount has been awarded the national distribution contract for a leading dog food brand, Jock Dog Food. Valemount has also developed private-label bird seed ranges and working closely with Builders’ Warehouse, developed the exclusive Fauna range. (Fauna is the leading pet brand in the Massbuild group.)
Damien has developed a diverse set of skills while building Valemount due to his involvement in logistics, importing, warehousing, production and wholesale, to name a few. Currently Valemount imports more than 20 containers per month from more than 10 foreign suppliers. Valemount has a basket of goods of over 800 SKUs, delivers almost 2 000 tonnes of product per month, and is forecasting turnover in excess of R180 million.