Lawnside 1992 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Saffron Hare

I am incredibly lucky that I am very interested in what our family business does. James Hare is a fabric wholesaler which specialises in supplying the fashion and interior trade.

As Creative Director, I direct and manage the new fabric collections with our design teams. The nature of our business means I might be working across the current collection, the next one in the pipeline and starting work on the collection after that - it’s a fast moving industry. We are possibly unique at James Hare because we have both interior and fashion fabric collections. Trends from the catwalk run almost parallel to those in interiors now. It keeps me on my toes but it’s so exciting working across both industries.

I travel a great deal, both meeting suppliers and overseeing production, but also selling the collection all over the world. I still get a buzz visiting new countries. I am the fifth generation of the family to be involved. When I was younger I didn’t really think that would be the way my career would go, but inevitably one gets drawn in to it. James Hare has everything - a British heritage and obviously a strong family ethos so in the end I couldn’t resist any longer and, actually, it’s a huge privilege to be part of it. I have worked there for 20 years but everyone starts at the bottom, even the family, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I have learnt all aspects of the business from every department and that’s invaluable knowledge to draw on.

Every day is different. Often there are deadlines to meet and lots of meetings, but then I might need to turn my attention to something else unexpectedly. That’s what makes a day fun and I really enjoy a sense of achievement, especially when a collection is finalised and I can present it to the team.

What does success look like?

For a family business, success is not purely financial, it is about handing over a company which offers the next generation opportunities. Creating a fantastic environment for people to work in, being a pioneer in your industry and having a business with ambition.

What is your best piece of advice?

Find something which excites you. A stimulating job will fulfil your life.