How are you?
Well, you might have seen on social media that this week I finally let the cat out of the bag… turns out i’m pretty pregnant. I’ve a tiny person due to join our family in January and although I was very nervous to share the news (for a number of reasons) I’ve been blown away by the kind response – Thank you to everyone who sent love and congratulations! It’s been so heartwarming to have such a wave of kindness thrown at us. Alex, Harry and I are so grateful <3
At work we’ve been referring to my maternity leave as my ‘Baby Holiday’ (I’ve no idea how or why, it just happened. It sounds ever so pleasant and as i’m clinging to ALL the positives right now…. no horror stories, comments about sleep or negative reviews in general please and thank you – so I’m sticking with Baby Holiday as it sounds frankly delightful and who doesn’t need that?!)
But to be super clear, while i’m on my Baby Holiday the business will keep going just as it is now, customers should not notice any difference. 🎉
I don’t really have a plan for my Baby Holiday just yet, I think part of the joy of running my own business is that I can see how i’m feeling at the time and make it up as I go along. Obviously I want to take some time to enjoy the bubble once the baby is here, so i’m hoping I can let it happen organically and dive (/tiptoe) back in when i’m ready.
Although I’m certain I’ll still be involved a lot (a mix of ‘I love it’ + control issues) I really want to leave all my options open and not have a set plan for what I’ll do and when, as I want to give myself the chance to see how I feel. I’m lucky enough to be able to do this because I have THE BEST TEAM EVER. All the LAD’s are brilliant and it’s thanks to them that I feel confident I can take the time I need and the business will still tick over beautifully.
Meet The Team
So, I thought this might be a good opportunity to introduce you to the dreamboats who keep it all going as they’ll be the ones sorting everything when i’m away… I think by the end of this blog you’ll understand why it won’t be any different, you’ll be asking yourself ‘soooo, what does Lauren ACTUALLY do?’ 🤣 … ‘She used to do a blog every week but now that’s every other week 🤦🏼♀️’
So without further ado, here’s a short introduction to our lovely LAD’s….
Sally has been with me the longest. She started off helping me with sewing from home when we were just doing ready made products back in 2015. Then when I needed more help ‘in house’ (literally in my spare room) she started travelling in. Sally’s worked with me since we were in the small bedroom in my first house, then in the slightly bigger spare bedroom in my second house and now in the Studio in Topsham where she gets the biggest room. The only downside is that Harry misses her A LOT as he doesn’t get to come in very much now.
What Does Sally Do?
Sally is basically in charge of the studio, which includes heaps of jobs. Not only does she pack 90% of the orders (she is so much faster than I am, it’s genuinely embarrassing!) Sally also organises Christmas stock, handles deliveries, finishes all the ready made products, makes sure we’re stocked up on all the labels and tags for kits, often taking things home (like winding 200g hanks into 4x 50g balls by hand) so that she can bring them in the next day to get orders out more quickly… to be honest this list pales in comparison to all the things she does but hopefully it gives you an idea of Sallys role at LAD, she’s an absolute powerhouse and we’d be lost without her.
Sally is super reliable, wonderfully thorough, kind and an absolute joy to be around, the studio is a busy and lovely place when she’s in it.
I met Helen just as I was setting up my business (I remember telling her ‘I do really big knitting ‘) she started working with me part time from around Christmas 2015… thankfully she’s never left. She’s the voice of reason – the one I turn to and say ‘please make the decision for me’…. she’s also the voice you’ll hear from outside the studio as she’s often bursting with laughter or song at full volume. You can count on Helen as a shoulder to cry on, a friend to rant to and a colleague to turn to if you need an extra pair of hands.
What Does Helen Do?
Helen is our LAD communication department. She can be found answering emails, Etsy messages (they’re always the worst :p) and in our Facebook Group. She’s a top knitter so is great at answering enquiries plus she’s super committed to the business (which is such a lush compliment) so she often knows what to do or say, even when I wouldn’t. Not only that but Helen is in charge of the majority of the LADmin, she creates all the product listings (on multiple platforms) proofreads literally anything I write – from blog posts to patterns – and creates the emails for our mailing list twice a week. Again, there’s so much more that Helen does here at LAD (I haven’t even touched on the conversations we share in the office, I’d say we cry at least once a month with overwhelm or love) but hopefully that gives you an idea.
Helen is a burst of energy that we adore having around, she is trustworthy, considerate and she brightens our day with fun and frivolity <3
Let’s talk about gorgeous Chloe. Chloe joined LAD in the summer of 2019, I had a cold so was grumpy and Helen had arranged a Skype chat but the wifi kept cutting out… if she’d been anyone else i’d have given up, but Chloe was clearly magical so we met up at the weekend and I asked her to join the team basically immediately. Chloe works with us part time and works with other small businesses the rest of the week. (I’m both delighted for her to spread her wings and sad for me that I don’t get to work with her every day)
What Does Chloe Do?
Since lockdown in March, Chloe’s role in LAD changed a bit and she is now basically our content creator. She mainly works remotely as it works so well (although we all love it when she comes into the studio) For every new product we post her all the samples we’ve knit and she takes all the product photos, she then creates the artwork for them (the tags that go on the knit kit’s and the pattern covers for the website etc) she even makes a gif for the launch email. As well as that Chloe does all our artwork for things like flyers and banners, basically anything that looks fancy and is done on a computer… that’s thanks to Chloe.
Chloe is so sweet and thoughtful, she’s an absolute style icon who’s ridiculously talented and I don’t know how we ever coped without her.
Lovely Claire is the newest member of Team LAD and we are so delighted to have her! Claire joined us at the end of September when I realised that doing a LAD Christmas 8 months pregnant might not be so easy! She was ready to dive straight in (and I mean that almost literally as sometimes she’s up to her eyeballs in yarn!) and it feels like she’s been with us for years. She’s such a wonderfully willing pair of hands, she helps out with all sorts! Whatever you need, Claire will be there <3
What Does Claire Do?
Claire works in the studio helping with alllll sorts of prep – that involved things like yarn prep (all the yarn comes in big loops so we need to wind it into hanks or balls by hand which takes a lot of time) wrapping (products like our Doer-uppers actually get individually wrapped so they’re like a little present to open) winding 50g balls, processing the post, organising and tidying – Claire has already built an IKEA Kallax, moved about 300kg of stock and i’d guess wound about 2k hanks. Thank goodness she’s there to keep us on track!
Claire is bubbly, fun and joyful, she gets totally stuck in and always has a smile on her face – you know if Claire’s there you’ll have an easier day, full of laughter and what more could we ask for?!
Harry’s been on the team for 5 years – since he was born. He provides joy, bad behaviour and constantly asks for rewards when he’s done a good job. He has about a million allergies so is super high maintenance and very expensive but we love him. He doesn’t get to come ‘work’ in the studio as much any more as it aggravates his aforementioned allergies (one of which being dust and we have a fair amount of wool ‘fluff’) but we love it when he comes to visit!
What Does Harry Do?
Harry is our top model, we launch almost all our products (and baby announcements) with him. He’s paid better than I am (the £ to Treats conversion rate is ridiculous since Brexit) He’s also a stickler for employee regulations so helps ensure I have a break every 20 minutes to walk, feed or play with him. And he generally keeps up morale by being a total dreamboat and a ‘right character’.
Harry commands a room, he is playful, concerned (especially if you swear loudly – he’ll come over to make sure you’re OK) and although he spends about 50% of his day licking his own bum, we love him dearly and LAD genuinely wouldn’t be the same without him.
Favourite Biscuit: Wagtastic Chewy Chicken Twists
Favourite Season: Winter (there’s less pollen to aggravate his allergies, plus I get to stand outside in the cold rain which I assume he enjoys)
Favourite TV series: Watchdog
Favourite LAD product: Harry’s Favourite Jumper (OBVS)
Fun Fact: Sally & Harry have the same Birthday
We also have a small team of utterly wonderful knitters – our knitters all live locally and come and collect yarn throughout the year, knit what we need and drop it off as they go – they make all of our Ready Made Christmas Products – things like Santa Hats, Tree Toppers and Christmas Stockings, starting around February each year so we can build up the stock in time from Christmas. They also make Cushions and knit commission Cardigan and Jumper orders for us. It’s thanks to them that we are organised each year so although we don’t get to spend much time with them in the studio, they’re such valued members of Team LAD and we couldn’t do without them <3 (there’s not a chance you’ll find me knitting 3000 tree toppers again!)
So I bet you really are wondering now what on earth I do?! That’s great news are it shows how ABSOLUTELY FINE the business will run while i’m on my Baby Holiday.
I definitely won’t bore you with the details of what takes up all my time but I guess I should mention that I come up with the designs, I say this purely to assure you that we have some lovely ones lined up and ready for when I’m off….
We managed to squeeze some new designs in around all the launches from this year so that it can take the pressure off me next year, whilst making sure you have lots of newness to keep you going. So far, we’ve got 5 new kits for February onwards (and of course anything else I can manage i’ll add to the list) and the LAD’s will launch them for you while I’m trying to learn how to change a nappy and try to get used to that weird baby belly button situation.
Baby Holiday II
I genuinely used to fear that having a baby and the impact that would have on my personal life and time would cost me my business. I used to think that if I wasn’t there all day every day to tend to it, it would crumble… or certainly suffer. I imagine so many small business owners will know the feeling.
I worried about the pressure it would put me under to keep it going and the sadness i’d feel if it didn’t recover. And there was definitely a time that could have been the case, but at this stage in our adventure, that isn’t something that’s concerning me. It’s for that reason that I feel so incredibly grateful to these bloody fantastic and phenomenal women who support me daily. They work so hard and are so caring and invested and it’s thanks to them that I feel secure. LAD may have provided them with a job (part time or full time) but without them, there wouldn’t be a LAD at all. The sense of trust and security that Sally, Helen, Chloe and Claire have given me is a gift, and not something I take lightly, especially during such strange times like these. – I do hope they know how much I adore them.
Finally, I hope it goes without saying that I’m beyond grateful to you for supporting my business and enabling us all to keep going, I doubt I’ll ever be able to express what it actually means to me and, I don’t want to put words in their mouths but I believe I speak for all of us at LAD when I say – we adore you! Thank you so much.
(I’ve gone all wobbly so i’m going to go – thanks pals)