I am particularly pleased that this week’s A Day in the Life is from Rachael Wood, the co-founder of one of my favourite English labels, Chinti and Parker.
Using super-soft fabrics, flattering cuts and a palette that combines key neutrals with fashion-conscious colourways and prints has become the brand’s blueprint, providing the building blocks of the perfect capsule wardrobe.
It’s not just their clean and beautiful designs that I love, but their wholly admirable ethical stance. They use the strapline ‘Conscious Cloth’, and each garment comes with a tag stating its individual ethical credentials, so you can see clearly whether it’s organic, fair trade or made within the EU
Over to you Rachael:
My name is Rachael Wood and I am the co-founder of Chinti and Parker. I started the business with my cousin Anna Singh in 2009.
I consider myself a jack of all trades but I suppose you could call me Creative Director among other things. I oversee the design and aesthetic of the brand and its ethos.
I stay healthy because I like a lot of sleep. I try to never get less than 8 ½ hrs but if left unattended I could quite possibly sleep for 12 hours. That said I have to get to the office so I’m up around 8. I take no more than 30 minutes to get ready. I am not a fussy dresser; normally I’m wearing jeans with a Chinti shirt and cashmere sweater. I generally wear flats because I’m constantly on the move so the heels come out on special occasions only. Then it’s a light breakfast and out the door.
Coffee collected before arriving at the office in Marylebone and I’m ready to go.
A normal day at Chinti does not exist. No two days are ever the same and I need to be able to switch hats throughout the day every day.
I normally try to catch up on emails first thing. Then I’ll briefly chat with the team about what we need to prioritise. The business is only in its fourth year but the team has grown from 3 to 10. Anna and I often arrive at the office wondering who all these people are.
I oversee design, production and online retail so the first item up for discussion is how the website is trading and what we can do to react to the numbers. Talya (Ecommerce Manager) and I will look at our marketing calendar and social content for the upcoming week. We are both proactive and reactive as a team, so a change in weather, for example, will spur us on to create a summer feature of some kind to run as soon as possible.
Then it’s time to catch up with the design team. At the moment we are working on our SS15 Cruise collection. It’s our debut cruise collection so we need to make sure it has real impact. With the introduction of a cruise collection, we will now be working on 3 collections per year. In addition we work on exclusive collaborations with some of our stores e.g. Net-a-Porter, Matches and Colette.
The design team is always busy and always switching from spring to summer to autumn to fall. The creative is however the best part of the business. I make sure I tell myself how lucky I am to be able to do what I do every day.
Lunch is normally at 1 and I am usually famished by then. I think I eat quite a lot compared to most of team. I’ll normally have a ‘proper lunch’ which would ideally be warm and include protein and carbs. Otherwise I’m hungry by 3pm. Lunch is eaten in our ‘cosy’ kitchen and eaten at high speed, I don’t do slow and ladylike. If I have a business lunch then we normally head to one of Marlebone’s lovely local restaurants, a favourite is Defune, delicious but it’s not for everyday.
In the afternoon I’m currently met with sales appointments and store visits. It’s that time of year where we are selling our Spring Summer 2014 collection and delivering our Autumn Winter 2013 collection to stores.
Sales appointments occur in our pop-up showroom within our office and are split between myself, Anna and the lovely Sophie who has been with us since almost day 1. Selling is not only fun but informative; we hear direct feedback from our stores. What people like, what they don’t, and what they’d love to see more of in the collection. It’s also great to see the reaction of people as they view a new collection for the first time.
Being close-by to many of our stores means that we get to visit them throughout the season. Today I’m planning on popping into Selfridges, Liberty’s and Browns to see how Autumn Winter is going and to discuss product with the staff. This store visit is always a treat because I used to work there so I get to catch up with old friends at the same time.
In the evening I force myself to go the gym and try and make excuses why I don’t need to go until the very second I’m in there and can’t leave. I keep it fun and interesting by doing classes, I am yet to enter the actual gym this year. I do a lot of dance based exercise because I find it a great de-stressor.
Then it’s home for supper with my boyfriend. He cooks.
With the final hours left in the day I work on the re-build of my house and planning for my wedding next year. It is a good thing I like to be busy.
To relax…I am a telly addict. Sit me in front of the TV and I will happily zone out for hours.
THANK YOU Rachael! And here I am in my favourite Chinti and Parker piece