6.45am My alarm goes followed by rushed dressing and breakfasting of our three children (Io, 15, Cy, 12, and Rex, nine). Living in the country and having three kids all at different schools means that my husband and I are both involved in the school run. I tend to take Rex, as he is the clingiest. We pick up two other kids along the way and twist down little muddy roads listening to local radio (argghhh!) to the local school, which is tiny. After drop-off, I head out over the moor to work, often making calls on my hands-free on the way as it is a good 20 minutes’ drive. I always get cut off at the top of the moor as reception is patchy. So then I have time to think… Amazingly, we only moved the business out of my home about a year ago (how my husband put up with it for so long I don’t know) and we now occupy lovely offices just outside Richmond. From here we run the wholesale side of the business, as well as the website and the accounting side of things.
9.15am I arrive at the office and make a cup of tea (usually the first food of the day for me), open my computer and start checking emails. Kate, who runs wholesale, and Clare, our Bookkeeper, will both be there as well as one or two sales girls. We occupy one huge room, which is great as it means that it is very easy to discuss any issues that need addressing with any of the girls. Other than design, which Lucy and I do together in concentrated patches, I also tend to do all the image selection for the website and write the copy (which is surprisingly time-consuming). I liaise regularly with Anna, our Website Marketing Director, regarding campaigns, ideas and assembling images for e flyers. I like to oversee wholesale and try to keep on top of any developments with Kate and in touch with all our agents (we now have nine worldwide and counting). Lucy and I tend to speak two or three times a day either about design or some other aspect of the business. Being old friends and also business partners means that we are very in tune with each other and rarely disagree. I think we both enjoy the reassurance of having another person to rubberstamp a decision. This applies as much to design as to other aspects of decision-making. As much of the day can be spent firefighting issues that crop up, I take my laptop home every night in the hope that I can catch up in the evening after the children have gone to bed.
3pm As I am quite often in London for meetings (probably every other week for a couple of nights), I try to collect Rex from school, which means leaving work at three. However, I do share a school run with a couple of friends and we take it in turns to have each other’s kids back from school so on those days I can stay until five or six o’clock. I like to make the house cosy when I get home, so I always get some logs and light a fire before I do anything else. Then I will cook supper, which we eat with the kids and chat over our day. If I have some pressing work issue, my husband will cook, which is lovely. There is always a glass of wine involved to help me unwind. I put Rex to bed at eight but Io and Cy stay up to do homework or watch TV.
10pm or 11pm We all head off to bed.
6.45am Alarm goes off. Turf kids from bed (which has been easier since arrival of our puppy). Turn into short-order chef. One wants scrambled eggs, one pancakes and one bacon butty. Depends on the night before as to how amenable I am!
7.45am The older two, Archie, 13, and Poppy, 12, leave the house and go to school on the tube. Two down, one to go, and I leave with Nell, eight, and walk her to school at eight. From there, I walk our Parson Russell Terrier dog in Hyde Park. Getting her has meant that not only am I doing a bit of exercise for the first time since the business started, but it also gives me a chance to see other dog-walking friends. This is again a real treat as life has become so hectic that taking time to see friends has taken a back burner, with the focus on business and family. It is amazing how all-consuming starting a business is.
9.30am I get to my office where I tend to start by going through my emails; and then the day takes off. My Marketing and PR Manager, Jane, is there with the day’s business. We rarely stop for lunch, which consists of a sandwich over the computer. We are grading samples, putting together the brochure, arranging sampling, sourcing fabrics, sorting shoots, overseeing the business. There is never a time when I feel all is finished, when there is nothing to do. I don’t stop until I realise I was meant to be at the school gate ten minutes earlier. Panic
4pm–5pm Panic ensues and I rush to pick up Nell . I always try to be the one to collect her, but quite often fail. Luckily, she has lots of fabulous friends and is more than happy to go to their houses for play dates.When we are designing the collection, it is a different situation. Sophie and I tend to go out of London and spend a week focused on just design and my husband looks after the kids. Sophie and I then work long hours and will discuss ideas into the night. These are the best weeks of my working year, when we get to be purely creative.
5.15pm I make sure I am always back when the older two get in and from then we have homework. There is far too much in my eyes; I wish that when they got home that was it. We try and sit down to supper all together and catch up on the day, perhaps collapse in front of some television.
10.30pm Go to bed. But if I get on to my emails, I can burn the midnight oil trying to get ahead of myself. It has yet to happen!