MY SHOREDITCH DAY
Ever wondered what the life of a shopkeeper looked like? Intrigued by the daily diary of a clicks-and-mortar business built from the ground up? Our founder, Zoë, shares her working day running W.A.Green including where she likes to eat, train and play in the East London area.
I annoy my husband so much by making sure my post is up on Instagram before most people have (hopefully) woken up. As he's now awake, it makes sense for him to make us both tea.
7AM: Leave the house
I try and exercise as much as I can. If the weather’s very nice and I don’t have a class booked I’ll walk into Shoreditch which takes about an hour, or I cycle if my outfit allows it. Despite my best intentions I usually end up on the train and use the time to catch up on emails.
8AM: Boxing at 12x3 Gym, Aldgate
12x3 is an amazing boxing gym where you’re trained by friendly ex-professionals who really know how to put you through your paces. I try and do this once a week alongside yoga. Both have the same meditative qualities and set you up for the day by clearing the mind. Afterwards I’ll walk up to Charlotte Road via Spitalfields market. I love seeing the stall holders getting ready for their day.
Before opening the store, I’ll grab a coffee and cardamom bun from Origin Coffee Roasters – the least serious, but oh so serious, coffee house. It’s a great place to mingle with other store owners and to catch up on the gossip - Charlotte Road is a real community. Some shops have put the area on the map (like the famous Mr Start) and there have been great new stores moving into the street with the most recent being the hip but healthy Anatome.
10.30AM: Store admin
I’ll start the day in the shop by wrapping and packing all the online orders. We like to add something personal to each one. It’s a chance to say “hello” to somebody who may not have seen the store, so the presentation is really important. I tell every member of the team to imagine the recipient is the editor of Vogue! I’ll also check the diary to see what deliveries we’re expecting, chat through store re-merchandising and make sure everything is on point (which my team are great at) Just before opening, I’ll spritz the shop with Abd El Kader by Cire Trudon, (we like to think it's our signature scent) and we’re good to go.
11AM: Doors open
Doors open, and customers start coming in, most of them with an Origin coffee in hand! When I’m in the store I like to be on the shop floor as much as possible as I love interacting with our customers. So many have become friends now and it’s always interesting to hear about their lives as well as how they’re using the pieces they’ve bought from us. I think 50% of our collection is bought as gifts for people, which makes me feel happy, as it was when I was struggling to buy a gift for a friend that sparked the initial idea to set up the store.
11.30AM: Online collection
Our online orders are collected daily by electric vehicle and taken to a warehouse to be boxed and shipped. This keeps packaging to a minimum and means there are less smelly vans on the road.
For lunch I’ll grab something from Ruby’s in Charlotte Road. This is probably the best lunchtime food I’ve ever eaten. It’s Italian and everything is made fresh to order and cooked in front of you. The service is great and there’s always a queue out the door. I really ought to bring in a salad or something but hey, I did go to the gym this morning...
The afternoon is a chance to look at different projects we’ve got going on and to plan events for the store. The Shoreditch Design Triangle, part of London Design Festival, is in September and we start thinking about that in May. Last year we ran a series of events called ‘Women Making Waves in Design’ featuring some of our talented designers: Atelier Stella, ParisEssex, Giannina Capitani and Grace Souky. And we’ve started to get more corporate clients and supply local cafés and bars like The Good Yard run by the lovely Oli & George and other restaurants with their tableware and glassware. This also includes private commissions for interiors such as a penthouse outdoor area in Exmouth Market which was massive fun.
4PM: More admin
I’ll spend some time catching up on emails from suppliers and adding new products to our ever-expanding website. I wear a lot of hats as I manage the buying, social channels, events, marketing and website, as well as all the day-to-day admin like staff rotas and paying the bills. It's one of the perks of being a small business owner! Luckily I do have a great accountant who’s wonderful at setting me tasks.
6.30PM. Shut up shop
At the end of the day we close the doors, check for online deliveries and make sure that the shop is ready for the morning. Presentation is everything and if something has been sold we need to re-merchandise if we can’t replace it. I’ll also check the diary for any appointments the next day with suppliers or local artists.
7PM: Grab a drink
We'll sometimes grab a quick drink after work in the infamous Bricklayers Arms opposite or if we’re feeling fancy we’ll go to Happiness Forgets, a tiny but magical cocktail bar in Hoxton Square. If I'm out for dinner, I'll head to Oklava - an amazing Turkish just up the road but, most of the time I walk next door to Bottega Prelibato who's home made pasta coupled with me not having to walk after being on my feet all day is the perfect combination.
If I'm not out schmoozing, we always try to eat together as a family to make sure we can all catch up. Then it's either a terrible documentary my husband has found on Netflix or some terrible trash that he'll refuse to watch. Whichever it is, the temptation to check my phone for instagram messages or emails often gets me in trouble unless its an order coming through and then we all punch the air.
Follow @w.a.greenlondon on Instagram (just not before 6am) for more daily life in the Shoreditch shop and register to stay in touch on our website for events and promotions.