MPB Insights: Kevin Hannan, National Sales Manager, Karlin Foods

Today as a part of the ongoing MPB Insights interview series Christopher Durham, founder of My Private Brand, talks to Kevin Hannan, National Sales Manager for Karlin Foods. The series feature short interviews with executives from private brand manufacturers consisting of five questions. The project is based on one main principle: the less useless words, the better. The goal is to give readers as much thought provoking, insightful information as possible. Less is more.

Christopher: How did you get your start in the private brand business?
Kevin: By accident really. I was working for Colgate Palmolive and I had a friend who worked for Fleming Foods. He was relentless in wanting my resume for a Private Label Sales leader for the Topeka Division.

I had the opportunity to be trained by Pepsi and Colgate Palmolive. Fleming Foods was instrumental in my being introduced to the Private Label industry. Fleming asked me to move to Bentonville, AR. and manage the Walmart business as they were entering the grocery segment. My office was inside the Walmart corporate office. The opportunities that I have been afforded are many and each of them plays a role today. I have retail, wholesale, broker, branded and private label food experience that has allowed me to have an understanding in managing my business with customers today.

Christopher: What is your proudest accomplishment?
Kevin: Selling in a premium paper to Walgreens while working for Georgia Pacific. This changed WG senior management view of premium private label items/programs.

Christopher: What will private brand look like in 20 years?
Kevin: Own Brands will play a much greater role within the online segment. This will be accomplished by having cleaner and simpler ingredients that have solidified themselves in the natural channel today. Will Amazon’s Own Brand lineup dominate in 20 years?

Christopher: If you could give retailers one piece of advice what would it be?
Kevin: When sales dip, double down on your Own Brands. Don’t run to the brands for promotional money as this money will dry up and you will be left with little customer loyalty.

Christopher: What keeps you up at night?
Kevin: Amazon!!!!

If you would like to participate in the interview series, please fill out the below contact form.



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.