On Sunday I ran part one of fashion entrepreneur Donna Ida Thornton’s Day in the Life. Today it’s time for Part Two. Donna is the owner of one of London’s best independent mini-retail empires. She opened the first Donna Ida boutique in Chelsea in October 2006, and the brand has subsequently grown to include three more boutiques, & an online store. (She gave me such a wonderful insight into her world that I have split it into two parts.)
I jump in a taxi to a lunch meeting to prepare for an event next week. I’ve been asked to speak on a panel about sales and how to sell effectively to women. I love this sort of thing – I could talk about it all day. Women aren’t hard to sell to – all you have to do is listen to what they’re saying and give them what they want. Woman are very focused and direct and even if they don’t tell you straight away, they always know what they want. The trick is getting there quickly.
By 1.45pm I’m in a buying appointment in Soho and half an hour later I’m out again. I never take long at buying appointments – except for our very top brands where concentration, research and sales reports are vital – if it’s a brand that makes up less than 5% of our sales all I need is 30 minutes. I can quickly see what will work for our customers, note all the styles, take photographs, and I’m off again.
3pm and I’m back at the office in a meeting with our architects. We’re refurbishing our Chelsea boutique next year and we’re finalising the layout and budget. Shop layouts are so important. I don’t like to look at drawings, I want to walk around the space, visualise customers in the shop and where the stock will sit. Once it’s been built you have to live with your decisions so any concerns and changes have to be voiced early on.
By 5pm and I’m back at my desk responding to emails and reducing my inbox. At the same time I’m signing off articles for our website blog….have balls…can juggle.
Then it’s to The Arts Club to meet a friend for a dinner and drinks to thank her for taking part in the Jeans for Genes fun run I organised in September. I’m a Patron of Jeans for Genes and raise at least £20,000 for them each year by roping in friends and suppliers to help me, and to do that requires a lot of pleading and thanking. By 11pm I’m heading back up the motorway trying to calculate how quickly I can get undressed, take my makeup off, shower and get into bed and close my eyes. I need at least 5 hours sleep – 6 is so much better – so I can start all over again at 5am the following day.