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Editorial blog

24 hours as Corinne Lapierre

12 Sep 2018

Your day

What time do you wake up and what does your prework routine look like?

I usually wake up at 6.30am, before anybody else. I love this quiet time of the day and it always feels very precious to me. I like to sit at our kitchen table with a good coffee and look at the birds in the garden. If it is a sunny day, I go and sit outside. I use this time to reflect upon my day ahead and plan what needs to be done. By 7am all peace has gone as my children are up and getting ready for school. Breakfast, shower and we are usually out of the house by 8am. I give them a lift to school and go straight to the office.

You get into work – what does a typical morning look like for you?

I have a quick catch up with the production team and grab a coffee while I read my emails and messages on social media. I usually make a list of things to do, see what can be delegated and deal with anything urgent. Olivia who manages all trade accounts arrives a little later, so we usually have a short meeting to share information and tasks. We use this time to plan production, sales or marketing. The rest of the morning is usually spent responding to emails. As a small business we all need to be very adaptable and deal with many aspects. I do like to be involved with trade customers and suppliers, so I do spend a fair amount of time on communication with them. If I am preparing a show with Create and Craft TV, I will also allocate a good amount of time to sending proposals, calculating costs, putting together a special deal for their viewers or designing a whole new product exclusively for them. Before a trade show, my time will be spent preparing the catalogue, reviewing the offers and looking at promotion. I like to keep some time to work on marketing and connecting with magazine editors or working on designing our adverts.

What time do you take lunch, and what do you do on your lunch break?

We all take a break at 12.30pm for lunch and sit around the staff table. It’s a good time to catch up with the whole team and be sociable. It is very important for me to know my team on a human level too, not just as employees.

What do you typically eat?

I tend to have a home-made salad for lunch. I love big salads with as many ingredients as I can possibly find. In winter I am a big fan of soups.

How does a typical afternoon take shape?

I usually finish working on anything I did not complete in the morning. In the afternoon, I like to be more creative and work on new designs. This is the part of my job I love more than anything: making samples, working out the patterns and instructions. Lately I have been working on my new book on folk felt birds which will be published by Search Press in February 2019. Working on a book offers so much freedom, it is very exciting.

What time do you leave?

Some days I leave at 3pm to be with my children at home. Other days when they are busy or with their dad, I work until 7 or 8pm.

And what kinds of things do you like to get up to in the evening?

If it is a day with my children I make it a priority to be fully there for them and give them my full attention. They are growing up too fast, so time with them is precious! They are all very talkative, so we have wonderful conversations, usually around the dining table. I guess I have stayed very French in the sense that meal time is very important family time. If it is an evening when my children are with their dad, I try to catch up with friends and go out for a meal or to the cinema. Some evenings I must admit that I just want to be by myself and watch a film.

Finally, what time do you typically go to bed on a work night?

Around 11pm with a good book or audio book.

A bit about you

How did you come to work in your current position?

I used to be a fashion designer but left when I had my children. I studied millinery and completely fell in love with felt so I learnt to make it myself. Within a few years I was selling my felted accessories at craft fairs. Leading up to Christmas, I made a felt gingerbread man kit and it was an instant success. I realised there was a gap in the market for quality adult kits, so I decided to explore this and designed a range. After a couple of trade fairs, it became clear I had found my niche and the business grew from there. Working with Create and Craft TV really helped in establishing the brand and publishing books with Search Press too.

What advice would you have for someone looking to get into your particular industry?

Only do it if you are truly passionate because there will be many long hours and stress. The rewards are incredible though and the reward of growing your own brand doing what you love is priceless. I would strongly advise to find your own style and not be tempted to copy what others are doing, even if it is successful for them. Copying is a big issue in this industry, but customers are always aware of it and your credibility will suffer. Your authenticity and passion are your biggest assets.

What are the best parts of your job?

I feel incredibly lucky to have complete freedom to express my creativity and do what I want. I always love the contact I have with customers too and I feel like I have got to know some of them pretty well over the years. This is one of the reasons why I love exhibiting at trade and retail shows. People are always so supportive and generous. I see my customers as friends.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

As a small business it has to be cash flow! The business has been growing continuously for the past six years, which is great but it also means that profit gets reinvested to sustain growth and explore new markets. Deciding to get a new employee or outsourcing can be a juggling act but it always pays off in the end. It can be a lot of fun too, a little bit like playing monopoly.

What does 2018 hold for you?

We started exporting to France last year, with a distributor, and to Australia and Japan this year. This has been extremely successful, and we are now looking at entering the American market as well as the rest of northern Europe. We are on a mission to take over the world with felt.

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