- Justine talks about creativity, strategy and why it’s important to employ people better than yourself.
- Why exercise is her coping strategy
- Her motto: ‘Don’t count the days, make the days count’
Justine Rouch is the Founder & CEO of La Pochette – accessories that help you achieve your day, without the need to compromise. She talks to 35 Thousand about growing her own brand, the importance of family and her coping strategies.
Describe yourself in 3 words…
Driven, loyal, resilient.
Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?
I split my time between Richmond, London, and the Cotswolds.
What parts of your work give you energy?
The creativity of designing products at La Pochette gives me energy. I love the diligence in choosing fabrics and trims together with ensuring that the designs have integrity.
What parts of your work drain you?
I’ll be honest, logistics!
Most pivotal point of your career so far?
Moving into the luxury sector after 10 years in The Sports Industry gave me a completely different direction. Launching La Pochette was also an important moment. It felt like it was the culmination of my career.
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?
Recruit people that are better than yourself and give them every chance to succeed.
What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!
I remember one incident when I was CFO in Japan; I entered a meeting room full of people and naturally just sat down. Noticing that nobody else did, I was a little confused. Because I was the boss, I had to sit in a particular seat at the table, in the centre. Having not done so, nobody else could sit down. It was only when my translator told me that I realised my mistake with the protocol. Now I look back and think it’s quite funny.
Pets, hobbies, external commitments?
Family has always remained especially important in my life.
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?
Absolutely, I think everyone has been affected.
The brand’s strap line used to be, “Let’s go anywhere.” Whether that was to the gym, office, or beach. Unfortunately, during lockdown, nobody was going anywhere!
However, for years people spoke about wanting more of a work/life balance with the flexibility to be able to work both from the office and remotely. Of course, successive lockdowns proved that this was possible. La Pochette’s brand ethos has always been about being able to get as much as you can out of your day, and as we transition to a hybrid lifestyle, the ability to “pack up your day” has become even more relevant. Thankfully La Pochette have the products to be able to do this effortlessly.
Although the pandemic was incredibly difficult for la Pochette, I believe we are now in a much stronger position and have solidified what we represent as a brand.
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?
Emails that I read last thing at night and then ponder over, but I’ve recently set up ‘Sleep mode’ from 10 pm to combat that…
What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?
Exercise has been a coping strategy for most of my life, even as a hormonal teenager I would be sent for a run by my mum because she knew that by the time I returned I would have a different mindset. Sound baths have also been amazing for me when I have been very stressed, even just listening on my iPhone during lockdown works for me.
What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?
Probably, and predictably, Zoom has kept me sane. Just the ability to maintain connected with others has been so important.
Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?
Yes, absolutely. I adore travelling. I have a number of trips already planned for this year and can’t wait.
Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”
A few La Pochette bags.
What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)
I’m lucky in that I have a dedicated office space at home, I can shut away work at the end of the day. Peloton has also been a massive help and walking in the green spaces near my homes when I needed somewhere to escape to and think.
Describe your style?
Classic but with a relaxed edge.
Name your 5 essential items of clothing?
A white cotton shirt, blazer, pair of jeans, maxi dress and a baggy cashmere sweater
How do you see your business or career in two years from now?
I will be continuing to grow La Pochette, both internationally, and into new product offerings.
What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?
Making croissants from scratch and going to New Zealand.
What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?
Trust your instincts.
Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?
Don’t count the days, make the days count.
Take a look at the La Pochette website here.