Find out Victoria Green's secrets to achieving a great work/life balance.
1. Tell us a little bit about your company Victoria Green, and how it all began?
I’ve been designing for the British high street for 20 years, starting out as a textile designer for Laura Ashley, then going freelance and designing products for the likes of M&S, Heal’s and The White Company. I’ve designed everything in my time from bedlinen to candlesticks, and always enjoyed it, but something just clicked when I started designing beauty bags. They perfectly combined my love of colour and pattern with my practical side (I’ve always been a very organised packer!). I spotted a gap in the market for affordable, attractive and functional bags, Debenhams snapped up my first collection, and the rest is history!
2. What does a typical working day look like for you?
The alarm goes off at 5.30 so I can get some work done before everyone else gets up. This is often the only peace and quiet I get in the day, so I use the opportunity to plan ahead or get something done that requires my full concentration. I get the kids up at 7.30 and we all have breakfast together, (with lots of coffee for me!) then after the school/nursery run it’s off to the office.
I love the fact that my working day is always varied, I can be researching new print trends, standing with a clipboard in one of our outlets talking to our customers, sitting in a meeting with one of our stockists, or discussing the latest viewing figures on our website, sometimes all in the same morning! I must confess I’m usually so busy I have lunch in front of my computer, but always make sure it’s something healthy, even if it’s leftovers from the night before! My treat in the afternoon is a big pot of tea and a couple of squares of very dark chocolate. I find it helps me get through my mountains of emails and curbs my hunger pangs until teatime! I always leave work at 5.00 so I can pick up the kids, and I try to make sure we all eat dinner together most nights. Healthy eating is really important for me, and I do my best to cook something from scratch, even if it’s pretty simple. After tea it’s homework for my oldest, and bed and bath time. I love to snuggle up with them and read them a bedtime story, but by the time they go to sleep at around 8.00 I’m pretty exhausted! All I manage to do in the evening is have a bath and go to bed. I do love to zone out in front of the TV but it doesn’t happen very often!
3. What inspires your beautiful prints and designs?
I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, whether it’s spotting a beautiful vintage wallpaper on my travels, rooting around in thrift shops near my home in Brighton, going to a fabulous exhibition, or just being inspired by the wonderful colours of autumn leaves or pebbles on the beach. I do keep an eye on fashion trends because although my style is quite classic I like to put a modern twist on it.
4. What is your favourite beauty bag from your collection?
Hmmm… tricky! I think I love my hanging traveller best of all, as it’s spacious enough for full-sized bottles, but still has smaller zipped transparent pockets so I can organise my products and keep them safely stowed away from inquisitive little fingers! I love the fact that it hangs up neatly so it feels like a bathroom cabinet on-the-go.
5. Tell us how you manage to achieve your balance when you are the mother of two young children and run a growing business?
I try really hard to fit things into my day that are just for me, going to a weekly yoga class, getting out for a walk in the fresh air, or even just having a relaxing bath. I’m so busy most of the time I get run down if I don’t look after myself, and that doesn’t help anyone! I also make sure I find time to look after my skin and put a little bit of make-up on in the morning. If I look refreshed and alert when I glance in the mirror it makes me feel better!
6. What does balance mean to you and how do you seek to achieve it?
Like every working parent I constantly struggle to find a balance between work and family life. I have to be very strict with myself about not looking at my emails when I’m supposed to be bathing the kids, and not looking at photos of the kids when I’m supposed to be working!
7. What is the most challenging aspect of running your own business and the most gratifying?
The most challenging is that I have ultimate responsibility for the success of the business and my employees, and that can be really scary!
The most rewarding is when I read customer reviews, or comments on our Facebook or Instagram pages and know that my customers are enjoying my products. That makes me really happy.
I’ve also got to keep pinching myself that I’ve actually got my own label, and it’s what I’ve always wanted. It’s easy to forget how lucky I am and get bogged down in the day to day running of the business.
8. Could you share a little bit of advice for someone wanting to set up their own business?
Be honest with yourself about the gaps in your knowledge and get some help! No-one knows it all, and there’s so much support out there for small businesses, with mentoring schemes, free advice, even just talking to fellow entrepreneurs. I’ve learned so much since I started, by talking to some really brilliant people and soaking up their advice like a sponge!
9. If you could only have 3 beauty products in your makeup bag what would they be?
Balance Me Radiance Face Oil – And I’m not just saying it! Even if I don’t have time to put on my foundation I find this oil gives me a lovely glow and really hydrates my skin – especially great for air-conditioned offices!
Benefit They’re Real! Tinted Eyelash Primer – I either use this on its own as a mascara if I’m just going to work or doing the school run, or underneath my mascara when I’m going out. It lengthens my lashes and makes me look awake, even if I don’t feel it! Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturising Lip Colour Balm – I find these so easy to apply and really moisturising and it’s nice to have a little bit of colour on my lips too!
After a long working day I unwind and relax by… Having a lovely warm bubbly bath.
Discover the Victoria Green collection here
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