A day in my working life, an occasional series providing an insight into how entrepreneurs spend a typical working day. This week, Gillian Logan from Skinny Sketcher.
I am an architect and mum of two. I am also the inventor of Skinny Sketcher, a range of drawing kits for budding artists, which was signed up by a big toy company at the Inventors Workshop last September, launched at London’s Toy Fair in January and is now on sale at Amazon and in gift shops.
To say my working day is busy is the biggest understatement ever, but I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world.
6:30: Every morning begins with one of my children jumping on my head and demanding breakfast. Unfortunately I am an Owl surrounded by Larks. I put the pillow over my head and beg for five more minutes but the Larks are unforgiving and relentless.
7:00: My morning coffee kicks in and Operation School Run begins with the ironing of uniforms, packing of bags and more pleading, this time trying to get the children to opt for a school dinner in a futile attempt to get out of packed lunch duty, which rarely works, unless it’s fish and chips Friday!
9:00: After the school drop off I head over to the office. I reckon I have one of the most beautiful commutes in the world along the banks of Loch Lomond, which I never take for granted, even when the windscreen wipers are on full pelt. I’m also very lucky to have an office in Strathleven House, a Grade A Listed building owned by the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust. One of my first jobs as an architect was working for the leading conservation architects, NGRA, who restored the house. Working in such inspiring surroundings certainly helps with the creative process and I thank my lucky stars that I no longer have a rush hour commute to negotiate.
9:30: First thing I write down all my big tasks and goals for the day ahead. I’ve tried various apps to assist but I always gravitate back to old-fashioned pen and paper. I try not to write a detailed ‘to do list,’ instead I opt for a ‘things done list’ as I feel it’s more rewarding to look back on the tasks that I’ve achieved each day, instead of focusing on the un-ticked items on my list.
10:00: At the moment we’re planning the Skinny Sketcher stand for an up coming trade fair in London, which is pretty exciting. We’ve just taken delivery of our bespoke display units, which are looking fab. I’m also returning to the Inventors Workshop this September as a speaker. I got my big break at the event last year, so it’s an honour to be invited back this year to help other fledgling toy inventors.
11:00: At this point I work out what to prioritise for the day shift, which usually involves tasks where I need to email or chat to customers and suppliers. I identify a larger project that I can tackle over a few evenings.
12:00: In store Skinny Sketcher workshops are proving to be popular and I’m currently working up resource packs for these. The workshops are always rewarding, as it’s great to see the children engaged in drawing and developing their talents.
13:00: Knowing that I have to leave the office at 14.30 for school pick up, I usually have lunch at my desk. Then contact my manufacturer/distributor in Glasgow with the days’ orders.
13:30: I lodge a quick call to Billy, who is the Inventors Workshop conference director and also editor of ToyNews, to talk about my speaker session and ask him for pointers.
14:00: If I’m dealing with a crisis or if it looks like a meeting is going to over run, then I’ll put in a SOS call to my parents to collect the kids from school. My life is one of plate spinning and at times they spin in perfect sync. However there are times when it’s like the aftermath of a Greek wedding and I’m lucky to have a great support network that can help out when needed.
15:00: School pick up. We head home, sometimes with friends in tow for a play and dinner. Although that may have to stop since one of my daughter’s six year old friends told me off for having my elbows on the table!! I try not to think about work for a few hours and I justify this by the fact that I’m hanging out with my target market!
18:00: Like most parents my evenings are spent running the kids to their various clubs and activities. My football crazy son is in the Development Squad for Premiership team Partick Thistle, whose mascot, Kingsley, made headlines across the world recently when it was given a makeover by Turner Prize Nominee, and Glasgow School of Art Alumni David Shrigley. As a soccer mum and Glasgow School of Art graduate, I love the fact that it’s got children talking about art and design in the context of football.
21:00: The children are put to bed and my evening shift begins. This is probably when I’m at my most productive and I usually think about strategy and product development, PR and marketing, respond to media enquiries and work on upcoming presentations.
1:00: I check on the children sleeping and sabotage Little Lark’s alarm clock before heading to bed.