What are the main aspects of your role?
I am Executive Assistant to British Fashion Designer (Creative Director & CEO) Sophie Hulme. I have been working for Sophie for almost 2 years, and every day since joining has been different!
The main aspect of my role is to support Sophie both professionally & personally across all aspects of her work and personal life. However, I also work closely with the Management team across all departments and in particular manage the Instagram & social media accounts and support the PR team with events and special projects.
What is your morning routine before you get in to the office?
My alarm goes off at 6:45am every day (occasionally I will treat myself to a 10 minute snooze!) and the first thing I do is check my emails and the diary for the day. I like to know what’s ahead of me! Following that I spend most of my time deciding what to wear…which drives my boyfriend mad! And lastly try to cram in a smoothie using my nutribullet.
I take the bus to work which is around a 20 minute journey, but I’m thinking of getting a bike and cycling… watch this space! It all sounds a little bit chaotic when I put my morning on paper doesn’t it!
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
The studio opens at 9am, but I usually aim to get in around 8:30/8:45. I’m a morning person, and am most productive first thing when the studio is quiet.
What time do I leave…that’s a tricky one! I aim to leave every day by 6:15pm, but as most EA’s will tell you its hard to be out of the door before 8pm. There are times where I will work until 10/11pm at night. I would have a really un-restful evening if I left something open ended. I like to leave feeling prepared for the following day.
What does an average day look like?
Super busy! No two days are the same. That said, an average day could go something like this….
First thing I’ll make a cup of coffee, and print the diary for the day and address any urgent emails. I will then meet with Sophie for half an hour at the start of the day to run through the diary and any urgent questions or documents for her to sign. I will then spend an hour working through emails and addressing anything that impacts the day or week ahead.
During the morning I could be in meetings discussing preparations for a press dinner in New York, catching up with one or more of the Management Team – that could be with the Head of Design or Merchandising Director.
Throughout the day I post onto our Social Media accounts and sometimes generate new content with our Creative Projects Manager.
I am constantly keeping a check on the diary and emails throughout the day, and spend time back and fourth to mine & Sophie’s diary allocating time or scheduling various meetings and appointments. If there is a particular business trip coming up I will spend time working on an itinerary and preparing travel arrangements.
Where possible I try to spend some time giving Alan some attention! (Sophie’s adorable Beagle), and at the end of the day I ensure I’m prepared for the following day and remainder of the week. The days fly by!
What do you have for lunch?
Our studio is in Islington, London. There are certainly no shortages of places for a yummy lunch. That said, taking a lunch break proves tricky most days with managing Sophie’s busy schedule. Where possible I try to make it out to one of the little local cafes or coffee shops. There is a lovely place called Maison D’etre on Highbury Corner that does the best toasted sandwiches with mushroom, cheese and kale. Then I usually pick up a piece of cake to share with my assistant Zoe back at the studio when we need a 3pm pick me up!
What is the hardest part of your day?
I certainly get the 3pm lull… Being an assistant is quite a reactive role. I am extremely proactive and organised, but when it gets to about 3pm each day I usually start to run out of steam a little. Usually an afternoon cup of tea or some fresh air with a walk around the block helps to pick me back up again for the final few hours
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The variety. This is certainly what keeps me going from one day to the next and helps me retain the excitement I have for my job. I like not always knowing what’s around the corner and being prepared to tackle the next task that’s given to me.
I love the industry I am in. It’s extremely fast paced and forward thinking. Being around designers in a buzzy creative environment and seeing Sophie design new pieces each season is super exciting.
I am a people person, and really care about people! Ultimately I love having that 1-1 relationship with my boss and supporting her.
What has been your career highlight?
Every time I see a feature in the press about Sophie or a Sophie Hulme product in a magazine on the tube traveling home I have an overwhelming feeling of appreciation and gratitude for my job. I feel incredibly fortunate to work for such an inspiring and influential woman in the Fashion Business. It sounds cheesy, but sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself!
Right now – my highlight absolutely has to be the launch of our official e-commerce website! I work for a brand that is stocked in all major stores and boutiques all over the globe, but for the first time we will be having our very own store, online, for customers and fans of the brand to experience. It’s so incredibly exciting and a real milestone for the brand. I must now direct you all to our shiny new website! www.sophiehulme.com
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
I have a gym membership, which I try to maximise where possible in the week, but social plans always trump exercise! I try to see my friends as much as possible. We go for dinner or drinks to catch up after work in the evenings. Going out for dinner with friends to new restaurants or cocktail bars in London is one of my favourite things to do! Especially after a crazy day at work!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Positive thoughts and affirmations (as voodoo as it may sound!) really can impact your day. Take each day as it comes and remind yourself that we are, after all, only human. Though, to most people I swear the work of a PA seems almost magic!
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
That’s a tricky one! …. I never set out to be an assistant or career PA. But in all honestly, I cant imagine doing anything else! Most recently I have been spending a lot of time planning Sophie’s wedding for next May. So I think now, I could see myself as Jenifer Lopez in ‘The Wedding Planner’ running around with a head set feeding the Best Man his speech!
What is your favourite app or piece of technology that you could not do your job without?
My favourite app has to be Hailo or Uber..! Never underestimate the power of a convenient and responsive taxi service when going from meeting to meeting across London!
I am a huge fan of iCloud and how it syncs everything together across all of my devices. Most impotently the calendar app in iPhones. It would make my job almost impossible to co-ordinate Sophie’s diary without it, and we both have such instant access to any updates or changes. Although I do sometimes miss picking up a paper diary and nice pencil…