From Monday to Friday, my alarm goes off at 6.15am. Although I like mornings I don't really feel like a morning person so I need a few essentials to get me going. I always start the day with a cup of tea, English breakfast is my choice. I have tried the healthier options but I always go back to having a straightforward brew! I am very spoiled in that Roddy, my partner, makes it for me and sits it on my bedside cabinet so I can wake up in comfort. As I start to wake up, my thoughts turn to the day ahead, and the numerous things that need to be done, I often write a to do list in my phone and email it to myself. I always have good clarity of thought first thing in the morning so getting things noted down is always helpful as the day can get really busy and my mind quickly becomes completely full.
I always try to exercise first thing in the morning. It's the best opportunity to do so and it also sets me up for the day with a clear head. I love to get my headphones in, blast my music and move. I find it such a great way to work through any issues or challenges I have, whether that's work or homelife or the menopause! I have tried a mixture of exercises over the years from HIT classes at the gym with some friends to running and online classes that I do in my living room. For the last while it has been a mix of the latter, either 30 minutes of online cardio exercises or a 30 minute run.
Exercise is always followed by a hot shower, then I make my bed. My dad always said making your bed in the morning is one of the best things you can do to start the day well and I have to say I agree! Breakfast is another daily essential, usually a bowl of muesli or cornflakes with blue berries, and often a mix of all three.
Of course, it doesn't take long to pick out what I am wearing since it's usually FINDRA. Some days I might be a bit rebellious and wear a non FINDRA piece but I always feel a little bit guilty and never quite as comfortable!
It's very satisfying to wear products that you have designed yourself and I always feel privileged to spend my working life doing something I love. My favourite piece that I wear with pretty much everything is the Fern Stripe Base Layer, its so easy to wear, lightweight and comfortable and goes with dungarees, jeans or even with smart trousers if I am heading off for a meeting. The versatility of FINDRA products makes life so much easier, and has really reduced the amount of laundry I have to do, which is a massive bonus for me and the planet.
Luckily the FINDRA warehouse and office, otherwise known as the Wool Store, is just 7 minutes along the road by car and about 15 minutes by bike.
The building is a renovated old woolen mill and is a beautiful light space which we share with other creatives and producers.
I try to cycle to work, taking the cycle path which follows the winding and very beautiful river Tweed. It's a stunning landscape and I always feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such natural beauty. It’s easy to be inspired by the ever changing colours and textures which have always influenced my design work.
My partner Roddy also works in Walkerburn, every morning he takes our black lab Horace with him in the van. Horace loves to sit and watch the world go by, whilst getting lots of attention and claps from the staff. Before I head into the office Roddy and I will walk Horace along the river side and through the field.
Throughout the Day
I am usually at my desk for 9am and check in with my other team members, there are just 4 of us in total. Cups of tea and coffee are aplenty at FINDRA. It feels like we are all attuned to the perfect time to start brewing another round and everyone takes turns to prepare them throughout the day. Essential for productive work!
I have my own office, which is split into two areas; 70% my creative space where I design and develop all of the FINDRA pieces and products and the other 30% my office space were I have my laptop and desk, I felt it was important to create these two distinctive spaces to help me focus better.
My days are very full and varied and I often have to go from one thing to another, switching in and out of the various aspects of the business from product development, social media, marketing, business plans, stock, sales, investment and more. Afternoons are usually as busy as the mornings, with online meetings or team meetings, there is always a lot to juggle.
I sometimes visualise my head being full of lots of little compartments with doors and signs that say ‘design’ ‘customer service’ or ‘finance’ etc. as the day unfolds each door gets opened and I enter the compartment and deal with any issues within that specific area. It can be fun but also mentally pretty exhausting!
We are a small business with big ambitions. There is always a lot to do but I am grateful that I have a fantastic team who work hard to grow the business and build the brand.
When I started FINDRA I had over 20 years of experience working on the knitwear collections for global luxury brands like Chanel, Calvin Klein, Brooks brothers and more. I had a little bit of business experience but not lots so I had to learn a lot of stuff and learn fast!
The best piece of advice I was given very early on was to “get comfortable being uncomfortable’ and it's very true.
I have to say though i am always at my happiest when i am working on the design or development of a new product, I love the creative process but also finding ways to create something which is also functional and has minimal impact on the planet. It's challenging but I love it.
At 5.15 the office is usually quiet as everyone has left and it's just me. I use this time to catch up on things and plan the next day. My team is fantastic but I do enjoy a few hours without interruption!
I am usually home by 7 and try to leave my laptop in the office so that I can completely switch it off in the evenings. It doesn't always work that way but I try!
Dinner is usually around 7.30 ish when we watch the news and catch up with each other and talk about the day we have all had. Two out of 3 of my sons still live at home, they both work in hospitality, so they work shifts and often we don't see each other for several days at a time. My oldest son works at FINDRA and he pops in to visit on a regular basis.
After dinner, I usually have a bath and try to relax and unwind. I love a good crime drama but I usually have some stiff competition for what's on TV with football winning on most occasions! Netflix and or Prime Video is a godsend!
I am usually asleep by 11pm, and up until recently would always be awake again at 4am, one of the many symptoms of menopause I didn't know was a symptom! I recently started on HRT patches and within a few weeks they had made a massive impact on my ability to sleep right through to my alarm going off. Wow! After 7 years of broken sleep it has been quite a revelation!
So there you have it, a quick run through of my day…hope you enjoyed having this little insight to my ever changing life and a bit of behind the scenes info about the magic of FINDRA.
Pieces of Inspiration
“ Let my people go surfing” by Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia,
I love this book, reading it had a very big impact on me and my approach to business. Inspiring and empowering, it's an incredible read and one which I highly recommend.
Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it's a small price to pay for living a dream.
I am a big fan of Eels - I went to see them at the Glasgow Barrowlands earlier this year with my sons, it was an amazing uplifting gig.