One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is the huge variety in what constitutes a typical working day. My brand, Tom Cridland, is an international fashion label that specialises in making accessible luxury clothing, we are an antidote to fast fashion through sustainability. Our garments are built to last and we are leading a new trend towards protecting our natural resources by making truly durable clothing. Most notably, we designed The 30 Year Sweatshirt, which underlined our sustainable fashion ethos by guaranteeing a luxury crew-neck for three decades. In short, we’re an e-commerce brand with customers on six continents, and the effect this has on my working day is that I’m able to be mobile. Whether I’m by a swimming pool in Los Angeles, or on a train from Kings Cross to Huntingdon, I’m able to get out my laptop and make sure my work is done.
I run the brand together with my girlfriend of six years, Debs, who is Managing Director. Alongside our fashion brand, we run a Public Relations agency, with 15 clients, so our time is split about evenly between running these two different businesses. We have also just formed an Entertainment company, which is currently working on producing a record and a music documentary. We’re extremely busy and we have to travel a lot. Luckily, we love what we do and we want to see as much of the world as possible. Typically, within the space of a year, we spend about three months in London, three months in the British countryside, in Northamptonshire, three months in Los Angeles and the rest of our time we spend visiting our production sites in Portugal and Italy.
As I have illustrated, the mechanics of a working day, therefore, can change dramatically but there are also several elements of how I work that never change. I structure my week in a notebook, writing down everything I hope to achieve each day. In addition, I have a diary where I write down any appointments or meetings, as well as where we’re going to be at any particular moment in time. I then have a document on my computer, where I keep a list by month of all the major business landmarks that I am working towards: a list of all the leads I have for press coverage for our fashion brand; we have been featured in many international newspapers, and on major television and radio channels; and a list of our PR clients to make sure their needs are being met. Every day, I will batch my emails into about two hours, making sure that I’m up to date on them – roughly every 24 hours at the very least. Every week, I will chase up any live press leads in order to secure coverage of our story. I’m in touch with every PR client at least once a week, often more than that. Importantly, I try to make sure that I’m being creative so, aside from doing the essential day to day work of running multiple businesses, I’m also always working on new designs, projects, events and promotional plans.
Over the course of a typical day in London, LA or any city, I might wake up at 8.30 am or 9 am. I’m terrible in the mornings. I don’t usually have breakfast, just a latte and some water. I take about an hour to get ready, which I usually do with the record player on – music is probably my biggest passion. If I have meetings, I’ll put on a jacket and tie, otherwise a sweatshirt or shirt and some casual trousers. Working around my meetings, I will get to work for the rest of the day in front of my laptop, notebook and diary and, from time to time, I’ll be up till 2 am or 3 am working. In the evening, if we don’t still have work to finish, Debs and I might watch a film or a TV show together after dinner. If I’m cooking for us, I might make some roast chicken or a curry. Debs is a fabulous cook though, and can whip up something of restaurant standard in about 20 minutes, whether it’s penne arrabiatta or delicious Ottolenghi vegetable dishes. We love to host, so friends are often round for dinner, which sometimes escalates onto something more boozy. We love dining out too; in London our favourite spots are Scott’s, Hakkasan and Mr Chow, in LA we love Craig’s, Hotel Bel Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel, and in Lisbon it’s Gambrinus more often than not.
Enjoying work is a true blessing and one I don’t take for granted. To be in this amazing position after just two years is wonderful and we’re still pinching ourselves every day. We’re also grateful to have come from a country where we could have access to a £6,000 government start-up loan, despite having no business or fashion industry experience. We therefore want to give back to aspiring entrepreneurs who are less fortunate than us, so we’ve partnered with the charity Deki. No matter who you are or what resources you have, I’ve learnt that what will ultimately make the difference as an entrepreneur is making sure you value every single day as an opportunity to be hugely productive.
For further information please visit: www.tomcridland.com.