A day with an eager entrepreneur
My morning routine is defined by my children – and it’s earlier now as they’re getting older. Edward’s my alarm clock, Rachel takes herself off to the academy then I drop Edward at school and begin my working day.
As the owner of a luxury gifts, furniture and interiors boutique, a good portion of my day can be focused on my supplier relationships, whether it’s sourcing new products, re-ordering those flying off the shelves, or negotiating a really good deal – affordability is key so my customers get the opportunity to treat themselves, or someone else, without breaking the bank.
The main aim of the business is to offer unusual and beautiful pieces from brands shoppers will struggle to find elsewhere in the city so I’m really focused on spending time handpicking the most stylish and quirky pieces, whether that’s pre-loved, upcycled and new furniture, high-quality interiors, home accessories or special occasion gifts.
Sometimes, though, I’m out and about – I’m often asked to showcase my products at local events, from Children’s 1st fundraisers at The Marcliffe to Gok Wan’s fashion show at the Village Hotel.
Although I’ve got a few members of staff now, serving in the boutique and chatting to customers is one of the most important (and best) parts of my day. So, often I’ll try to be there over a lunchtime and make sure I’m getting to know my client base. I pride myself on a customer service offering that’s second to none – recently, I got an e-mail from a customer living abroad searching for a present for someone in Aberdeen. After asking some questions about the lucky lady, I was able to quickly put together a gift with the client’s mother in mind. And, because the recipient lived locally (and the client didn’t), I popped by and delivered it to her door, gift-wrapped and looking gorgeous.
Of course, examples like this mean chatting – instead of eating – is the priority, so lunch is more often than not a quick sandwich on the hoof. But it’s worth it – we’re all so busy on the hamster wheel of life that sometimes it’s good to stop, take stock and give people your time.
No two days are the same but, sometimes, I’m working on the other arms of my business – my bespoke home styling service (interior-related support on a sliding scale from updating a room to preparing a house for sale, based on the idea that we’ve all got a vision of how we want our home to look but sometimes need expert advice to bring it to life) and my fashion advisory brand, Pret A Porter, which is all about ‘remerchandising the wardrobe’. So, I could be chumming ladies of the north-east around the clothes shops, debating wallpapers in a beautiful Aberdeenshire home or tucked away furiously typing up notes to catch up with my last few clients.
Alternatively, it could be an afternoon meeting with a supplier, or a get-together with my PR and marketing consultant – I need a little coaxing to shout about my business and my achievements so she’s always on hand to publicise award wins or share photos of my latest products on social media.
My evenings can consist of family, friends, church, PTA meetings – and, naturally, work!
When I’m at home for the night, it’s about family meals around the kitchen table with my wonderful husband and two fabulous children – and mum if she’s up visiting from Linlithgow.
Alternatively, I could be hosting an event at the boutique – I’ve offered everything from furniture upcycling sessions to seasonal shopping evenings to sold-out charity ladies’ nights championing north-east entrepreneurs, like Jamie from Cocoa Ooze, Lynne at Esker Spirts and Julie at Marigold & Mo. I love supporting other local businesses – and charities, so make sure I raise funds for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland every time.