13 Oct 2017By John Gatimu
Stephanie Weightman, the product creative director of the Ideal Shopping Direct Group which runs the Create and Craft TV shopping channel, tells us about her day
I live in beautiful Derbyshire which is where the Craft Retail Innovation Hub is based, although our head office is in Peterborough. I live with Karl and our two dogs Betty the Dalmatian and Darcee the Labradoodle. I have always worked in the craft industry and absolutely love it! My biggest passion is for sharing education and inspiration with crafters to make sure that they can always get the most from any product that they purchase.
What time do you wake up and what does your prework routine look like?
Normally I wake up at 4.22am (random I know!) and then spend the next two-and-a-half hours trying to get back to sleep. I often cat nap until I pick up my phone and start checking emails. I like to clear down any urgent emails before I leave the house just to give people time to respond. I normally allow 15 minutes to play with Darcee and Betty, grab a glass of iced water and head out of the house.
You get into work – what does a typical morning look like for you?
I head straight to my desk and empty my bag of any work from the night before. I’m usually offered a cup of coffee by one of the lovely team (whoever is first in!) and wait for the first one to come over with a question about design work. I usually bring a yogurt with me to eat at my desk which constitutes breakfast and the coffee has normally gone cold before I drink it because I’m already starting my busy day! Mornings pass really quickly, signing off artwork, going through show plans for Create & Craft with the show building team and catching up with overnight replies from around the world.
What time do you take lunch, and what do you do on your lunch break? What do you typically eat?
Lunch is always at my desk, usually one of the team offers to pop to the shop for everyone. I look on lunch as a five-minute treat where I catch up on news headlines, check the exchange rate and even have five minutes reading celebrity gossip. If I’ve asked for something naughty for lunch (depending on who goes to the shop) I’m usually told that the shop didn’t have any and my request is substituted for whole-wheat pitta bread and hummus!
How does a typical afternoon take shape?
Afternoons are always good fun as results from the morning’s design work start arriving and we’ll collectively join together to discuss customer desirability, pricing and commercials. I like to include the creative team as they are a true reflection of our customers. With over 1,000 products being designed a year, the pace at which everyone works is critical. At some point I will have a catch up with our Social Media team to see what is happening or if there are any customer queries that we think need an educational video or a quick live clip, We discuss the upcoming launches and plans to promote and inspire people to watch the shows. I try and allow time to pick up on any ideas that I’ve had from the previous evening or those that I’ve written down overnight and get those into some sense of order. Every day at some point, where time allows, I research trends and corporate intelligence articles across the internet. I have a few favourite websites that I subscribe to and these are normally the trigger for product development.
What time do you leave? And what kinds of things do you like to get up in the evening?
Typically I leave the office between 6.30pm and 7.30pm but I do tend to take some nice creative work home with me! Mostly I’ll have a glass of wine while Karl cooks dinner (I do cook sometimes!) and have a catch up with Nancy. I normally try and watch half-an-hour of TV but am often distracted by reading something work related. At the moment I’m actually researching building an earth shelter as a home as it’s something Karl and I want to do.
Finally, what time do you typically go to bed on a work night?
I try and get to bed between 11pm and midnight but often wake up in the night with an idea which is why I always have a notepad and pen by the side of my bed!
How did you come to work in your current position?
I was always self-employed and worked in the craft industry. I joined Create & Craft as a presenter while running Craft Channel Productions Limited and when we were acquired by Blackstone I was offered my current position of product creative director.
What advice would you have for someone looking to get into your particular industry?
Research the industry thoroughly, get into the habit of identifying and understanding trends, competitors and customers. Decide on your route – are you licensing your design or selling it yourself? Work out your marketing/ sales/product development plans and most importantly never give up.
What are the best parts of your job?
My team! I love every bit of the industry but my absolute favourite part of the whole thing is the team that I work with on a daily basis, both in Derbyshire and Peterborough. I am so lucky to work with such talented designers, crafters, demonstrators, presenters and also not forgetting the incredible background staff who keep everything running smoothly in the office.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Staying focussed when there are so many exciting new product development ideas!
What does 2018 hold for you?
It’s probably going to be one of the most exciting years yet for us! We have some major exclusive products that will come to market and allow us to interact with our customer as well as inspire and educate them which goes back to the beginning of this chat – my passion for sharing the information!