Puppy walking, late-night designing, and early-morning emails – it’s all in a day’s work for Under the Rose’s Tracy Gray.
What’s your typical working day?
I have two girls – Caitlin is 13 and Maddie is 10 – so weekends are family time. During the week, first thing in the morning, I check my phone to see what orders have come in and see what the workflow is going to be like for that day. This is all before I’ve even got out of bed, just to check that I don’t have to ping off an email to the team at the studio before I get in.
Then it’s the school run with the girls. It’s a quick walk to the school with Monty, our Jackapoo puppy, who is also the office dog. Then it’s to the studio, only about five minutes up the road, which is fantastic. The team are already here, they start between 8 and 8.30, and then it’s logging in, dealing with enquiries, and looking at workflow, if I need to help with orders.
At the moment I’m trying to design a new collection, so I’m working with the casting company with some of the design changes that we’re doing. I work with Not on the High Street quite a lot: we’re just working on a 10th- anniversary, limited edition piece for them.
It’s amazing how quickly the day goes, before you have to run out again! Ordering stock in, getting the silver in, I tend to do as much in the office as I can, because I still leave at 3 for the school run, then when I get home, I pick up again.
I do quite a lot of my own photography, so I’ve got all the studio lights at home. If I’ve made products during the day, I take them home and photograph them. I’ll add them to the website, working out costings, I’ll try and dip into social media and deal with that. I tend to work right through the evening. There’s always stuff to do, and there are things that need doing that, as a creative person, I’m not very good at. So I’ll recruit help, like with accounts and websites.
We have five full-time staff here, so there’s always things to be looked at. I’m a night owl, but I’m better than I used to be. If I go back, even just a year, when we didn’t have as many staff on, I was still working until 1 or 2 in the morning during our busy times. This last year, I feel – touch wood – that we’ve got the balance right. And while I do do lots of admin stuff at home, I work til about 11 at night which for me, is a reasonable hour!