Day in the Life: Clare Hornby

Next up in my A Day in the Life series is the founder of womenswear label ME+EM Clare Hornby.  She launched ME+EM in September 2009, and now has a flagship store in central London and a thriving online business. ME+EM is underpinned by the idea of comfortable and chic everyday laidback luxury for busy working women, and its fans include Rosamund Pike, Thandie Newton, Claudia Winkleman & Emilia Fox.

Clare is 43 and married with two little girls, Maddy, aged eight and Grace, aged seven, and lives in West Sussex and Bayswater, dividing her time between the two.

Over to you Clare:

I get up at 5:45am and three times a week my personal trainer arrives at 6am; I find that an early morning workout prepares me both mentally and physically for the day ahead. We spend an hour doing a combination of yoga, Pilates and stretching, all using a TRX .

At 7am, I get my two daughters (8 and 9) up, we have breakfast together and either my husband or myself take them to school.

I then bomb up to London from my house in West Sussex, stopping once at Starbucks on the side of the A3 for a much-needed double espresso, and again for another one, once I arrive into London.

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By 10am and buzzing on caffeine I’m in the office and sit down with our team for a trading meeting. We all feed our ideas into each other’s roles and discuss any burning issues for the day ahead. I aim to get finance meetings done in the morning when I am most focussed, allowing me to look forward to the afternoon. I have the most incredible Finance Director and Director of Merchandising, and so I spend each meeting in awe of their financial genius.

Day in the Life: Clare Hornby

After lunch, I devote my time to either my production or marketing team. Either a fit model has arrived or my production team have compiled new designs, samples and colour swatches for me to go over with our in-house designer.

Day in the Life: Clare Hornby

I meet with my Fit Technician and Head of Buying, both of whom work part-time as they are mothers to young families. By hiring these ‘returning mothers’, I have been able to employ really talented women who can offer so much knowledge and experience to our creative projects.

Day in the Life: Clare Hornby

The afternoons are spent planning campaigns, reviewing the most recent photoshoots, and working with our merchandiser to underpin the creative projects with commerciality.

Day in the Life: Clare Hornby

If I’m off home to Sussex, I leave at 5pm to maximize my time with my two daughters, so I can help them with their homework and music practice. If, however, (as often happens!), they’re too busy socialising, I leave the office at 6pm and pop into our flagship store at 21 Connaught Street in W2 to get feedback from our sales advisers – a brilliant way to understand our customers and collection.

Day in the Life: Clare Hornby

Afterwards, I head to Granger on Westbourne Grove for quick business drinks, and then cross the road to my flat to change for supper. By 8:30pm, I’m ideally sitting down to a delicious supper at The River Café with friends. Often however, I have supper with my husband, Johnny Hornby who owns the ad agency CHI, and the conversation inevitably turns to business.

From 11pm I spend a couple of hours going over emails and crunching numbers before falling into a deep sleep. By morning, I’m over to Granger again at 8am for a business meeting, and that much-needed morning coffee.


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