Where I Work: Amy, a fashion buyer and business owner working from home

Where I Work is a new daily series taking a look at people’s home office setups as coronavirus makes more of us work from home.

We’ve gone inside a home office on a houseboat, seen how a working mum has set up her daughter with a mini desk of her own, and met a barefoot athlete who has no chairs in his home.

This time around we’re looking at the desk area of mum-of-two Amy, who’s working from her home in Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire.

Amy was a fashion buyer for a high street retailer for 13 years before being made redundant when the brand she worked for moved to Dublin.

She started up her own freelance business, @The.Fashion.Buying.Consultant, as well as launching a baby and kids’ sleepwear brand, Little Woodlands, and works both jobs throughout the week – and now from home since the lockdown came into place.

Hey, Amy. Tell us about yourself!

I’m 36, mum to Molly, four, and Jack, two. I was over the stress of corporate 9-5 life and wanted something with more flexibility that fitted in with my family life.

With Molly starting school and as she is the youngest girl in her year, I wanted to be a mum who could drop her off & pick her up. Not the mum who left home before the kids woke up & got home just in time for bed five days a week.

With all that buying experience under my belt I knew I could offer suppliers my expertise in helping them curate & sell commercial fashion ranges back to the high street, as I know what buyers are looking for. So I contacted a few of my favourite most trusted suppliers am am now working freelance at home 3 days a week for an Indian supplier.

I also run a small baby & kids sleepwear brand called Little Woodlands, which I started up whilst on maternity leave with Jack to keep my creative brain flowing.

I mix my two jobs throughout the week depending on the demands of each.

I live and work at home in our semi-detached 1960s house with my husband, children and border terrier called Benni.

How has coronavirus affected your work?

With the outbreak of Covid-19 all the markets have been cancelled, my New York and Los Angeles shopping trips have been postponed, trips to visit buyers cancelled.

It’s a very worring time for freelancers at the moment.

Luckily I was able to visit Barcelona and Paris to do the shops just before they locked Europe down so at least we have some inspiration to work on for next SS21.

What’s your working-from-home space like?

I chose a white desk with wooden feet that I found on La Redoute. The black and white rug is also La Redoute, wicker storage baskets from Ikea & Ollie Ella.

I wanted to keep the area clutter-free and full of greenery to keep me calm on stressful days.

I keep all the samples in stacked white boxes from Ikea. Recently I brought some beautiful wall hangings from Wonder & Rah, Never Perfect Studio & Native State, I try to support small independent businesses as much as I can, being one myself.

Talk us through a working day.

On days I work for my fashion buying consultancy I usually start work around 10am, checking emails, liaising with colleagues, checking trend forecasting websites, doing admin.

If we have been away on inspirational shopping trips I have to create trip reports so they may involve photographing samples & pulling trends together.

When I work for Little Woodlands I will be on social media usually doing a post by 7.30am as this is a key time for parents to be checking their phones.

I update the website, do mini photoshoots, edit images, in the afternoon I wrap and pack parcels to take to the post office.

Keeping on top off stock is a huge task, I’m currently in the middle of a huge stock count so I can work out how much money I have tied up in the business.

Have you come up against any challenges working from home?

Lunchtime is now spent sorting out or putting on washing instead of going to lunch with colleges. I love the flexibility of working from home but do miss the office banter as it can be quite lonely working from home

I think keeping focused has been a challenge as its easy to get distracted by things that need doing around the house. My phone is a constant distraction with social media and now Covid-19.

I try to limit myself to looking at my phone just a few hours a day.

What advice do you have for people new to working from home?

Make sure that you get yourself up and dressed like you are going to work, working in pyjamas makes you less productive.

Just because you are working from home does not mean that you have to do all the housework as well – when you are at home working you should be working not feeling guilty about the housework that needs doing. My husband and I share out everything 50/50.

It’s important to create a space for yourself where you can get some headspace & focus on work.

Do you have a working space you fancy sharing? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Share your views in the comments below.

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