It is our pleasure to announce that Emma Watkinson is highly commended in the Inspirational Speaker category as part of LCF Careers Industry Partner Awards, which celebrates all the amazing work businesses and industry people have done with LCF students.
Emma, CEO and Co-Founder of SilkFred.com, a new online destination for emerging designers and independent brands, was nominated as one of the most Inspirational Speakers because of her constant involvement and willingness to share her experiences with students. Emma has shared her incredible personal stories of success, hard work and the reality of having your own business – giving powerful messages and tips to students who want to follow in her footsteps.
Understandably, we at LCF News wanted to find out what it was like to be Emma, so we asked her to walk us through a regular day on the job at SilkFred. Here’s what she had to say…
I wake up… at 7 and make some coffee. I’ll retreat back to bed to go through the sales from the previous day and check over my “to do” list. I use the Wunderlist app to track my tasks and I only pay attention to my “immediate priorities”.
When I get into the office… I catch up with my team – our Designer Liaison, Charlotte (who looks after our designers), Head of Marketing Rob, and Aimee from Customer Service. We’ll talk about promotions, stock and anything sales related. I’ll then catch up with our CTO, Josh and we’ll talk about progress on new features we’re building and any issues that might have cropped up.
My mornings… are always different and it really depends on what we’ve identified as a priority for the business. It could be overhauling our email marketing strategy, releasing a new version of the website, talking about how to improve our experience for customers or going to investor meetings.
What’s important though, is I try to be quite disciplined with how I start the day. I’ll tackle the most important things first and try not to touch my emails until later in the afternoon or even the early evening. It’s really easy to get caught up in “day to day” tasks and not spend enough time working on strategy or next steps for the business.
Lunch… is normally around 1.30pm though it’s not unusual to have arrived at 4.30pm and have completely forgotten! I usually grab something from Itsu or Pret though if I have a lunch meeting or I’m able to get out of the office for an hour, I’ll head over to Ozone on Leonard Street.
My afternoons… usually involve a bit of over-spill from the morning, especially if I’ve had to take a few calls. I try to arrange any meetings late afternoon so they don’t disrupt the day too much but if I’m in the office, I’ll work with one or both of my co- founders. I love working out how to keep driving growth or, even though it can be stressful, thinking about how to handle difficult challenges.
I’ll go through plans for new designers joining SilkFred with Charlotte and also highlight some potential designers we’d love to bring on-board.
I’ll also go through our social media accounts. Our main sales channels are via social media. We’ve grown our Facebook fans from 3,000 in Jan to 115,000 in just seven months. Currently we’re applying the same attack with Instagram, Twitter and Google ads so it’s important to stay on top of our efforts across the different channels.
Charlotte and I will also have a Diet Coke/ coffee break to get us through to the end of the day!
I leave the office… at 7pm but there have been times where I’ve stayed until the early hours of the morning. I once slept in the boardroom!
It’s hard to pin down a time I actually stop working, as I’ll work on emails on the bus home (I’ll jump in a cab if it’s late!) and then well into the evening. I’ll spend some time on the phone to my co-founder Stephen, going through the day’s sales and plans for the rest of the week.
In the evening… I’d like to say I make it to the gym, but that’s wishful thinking! If I’m staying in I’ll put on some music, bash through my emails and read for an hour. I just finished reading Last Exit to Brooklyn (brilliant but miserable) and I’ll sometimes read business style books like, Peter Thiel’s Zero to One.
I like to catch up with friends over dinner and wine – I grew up in Spain where I met my best friends and I’m lucky enough to have them here in London. We work in totally different industries (fashion, art, hospitality, marketing) so it’s great to hear what they are up to. We’ll share the thrills and spills of being a twenty something in London. It’s really important to surround yourself with good people and they can help you put things in perspective when things feel a little difficult.
I’m not particularly great in the kitchen so if I’m at home, I’ll just pick something up on the way home (there’s a great Italian café/ deli near my house that has an amazing salad and hot food counter) or if I’m feeling naughty I love getting a burger from Five Guys!
If I’m having dinner with my friends, we’ll go to Mr Buckley’s or head over to Broadway Market. We also really like Ceviche in Soho. Anything with lots of tapas style sharing plates with a few healthy options.
My favourite part of what I do… is working with the designers, promoting their brands, working out the best ways to sell lots of products for them, hearing about their plans for the future, helping them out with other challenges in their business. I think being independent is a really powerful thing and this is why I support the designers who’ve made the choice to go it alone.
My advice to those who want to follow in my footsteps… Go work for someone else! Try working at a big company, small company or a start-up. Learn as much as possible and always be hungry for opportunities. Nothing can fully prepare you the first time you set up a business, but arm yourself with as much experience as possible. When I finished university I had a very different idea of what role I wanted to eventually take on, it was only through trying different things and working out what was right (and wrong!) for me!
Businesses should offer work experience to students because… we all have to start somewhere. Companies also have a lot to gain from working with students, especially if the student has been learning about something that allows them to contribute in a meaningful way.
The students I’ve taken on from LCF on placement were… brilliant! They came with a willingness to take on any task given to them and to learn as much as possible.
We would like to say a huge congratulations to Emma for her amazing work, and we look forward to working with her again in the future.
- Read more about the Industry Partner Awards
- Follow Emma on Instagram @emma_watkinson
- Check out SilkFred
- Find out more about LCF Careers
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