The entrepreneur and founder of the fashion editor’s favourite accessories and clothing brand Rae Feather, on running the entire company by herself, her newfound love of Peloton and why she misses driving during lockdown.
(Note the above personalised face masks will be available from next week)
Q: What’s your context outside of work?
A: “I live in the countryside in Oxfordshire and have four sons and 2 dogs – a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy that is handful and a little terrier that is very old and very blind.”
Q: What is your day-to-day life like now?
A: “I like routine and in the current climate, routine is really important to me. I work out in the morning, walk the dog, sort out my kids and go to work.
I’m running my business single handedly which is a great privilege in so many ways but challenging. My team are furloughed so I have a lot of plates spinning and I have had to learn a lot of new skills in the last few weeks.
I am mainly in despatch in the afternoons and when Royal Mail departs, I tidy up, do a supermarket shop and get home to prepare supper. Dinner every night has always been family time and never has it felt more important than now. We all get to catch up on our day and have quality time.”
Q: How has it impacted you personally and professionally?
A: “Personally it has been amazing for me to spend real time with my kids. I have a Peloton and have got quite fit as I have been religious about working out almost daily. I have also been way more experimental in the kitchen and also quite creative with ingredients. There have been some disasters but also some great successes.”
“Professionally there are positives and negatives. I have engaged with my customers in a really positive way. I am ‘Customers Services’ so I pick up the phone and speak to people and without exception they have all been so lovely! I have gone back to where I started and I am running my business alone and making my own decisions and that feels really good.”
Q: What are you finding challenging?
“I’m finding the the uncertainty challenging. I try to live for the day but for so many businesses this is really tough. For so many individuals, their future is really messed up.”
Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?
“I am an optimist and think a lot of good has come from this. Both professionally and personally Professionally, it has allowed me to reassess so many elements of my business and I can see the mistakes I have made along the way.
Personally, I have got to know my kids even better than before. You think you know them but this time has tested us all. I have found their weaknesses and their strengths – long term this is so beneficial as I can support them in the areas they struggle with.”
Q: What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?
“I miss driving. I know that sounds odd. I take detours now so that I can sit in the car and listen to music for a few minutes more – is that crazy?! I also miss swimming, I knew I would miss it but not as much as I do.”
Q: “How are you getting through? What are your coping strategies?
A: “My belief is that this is out of our hands. We are told to adhere to the guidelines/rules laid out very clearly for us. I try to respect those rules for the sake of others.
I find working out is key – getting daily exercise is uplifting. Experimenting with new recipes has been great and creatively satisfying. I have also really enjoyed engaging more with my audience on social media.”
Q: What is your mindset about how to use your time at home (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)
A: “I have some good days and some bad and I have a terrible habit of working in bed. Some days I am still in bed at 11am planning and researching. I get a huge amount done but I find I chase my tail for the rest of the day.”
Q: Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?
“I am mentally pretty strong, obviously like many, I have had bad days but I think it’s important to take the good with the bad. I made a rule very early on, that when the going gets tough, go to your room. It works and everyone respects it.”
Q: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this – a silver lining perhaps?
“For me this time has been life changing, particularly professionally. I am back at the helm and that feels so good and positive. Personally, I think the world has had to sit up and listen, whilst this time has brought so many negatives and great sadness to all those who have been affected by the loss of loved ones, environmentally and sociologically this time has brought many great positives.”