A working day in the life of...Karen Reilly

What is your morning routine before setting off for work?

Like most, it's a repetitive process Monday - Friday. 
Up at six[ish] - come-to and consider what's ahead for the day, then shower.

A large part of my morning routine is taken up getting my very curly hair into some form of control so that passes for an acceptable, presentable style! 

Those with very curly hair will have sympathy with my morning plight of dealing with hair that has a mind of its own! 

The hair drying and straightening process is managed whilst having that first cup of tea of the day and breakfast TV in the background to keep me aware of any breaking news and latest current affairs. 

I Do a few jobs, prepare some lunch to take into work and generally leave the house around 7.45am.

Work is approx 18 miles from home, not far, but it does involve negotiating the Mersey tunnel, which on a good day is an un-noticed part of the journey. On a bad day when traffic is heavy it is a cartoon like situation, where by inordinate heavy traffic comes from all directions to converge on a small round opening and by a process of human interaction of nods, thumbs up and flashing lights - the cars, buses and Lorry's filter into a small hole which is in essence a two mile tube under the famous river Mersey. The tunnel connects the inhabitants of Wirral with the City of Liverpool and beyond.

I generally arrive in work at around 8.30am. 

What was your background before joining the Hayes & Finch?

Fashion. I originally trained in design and pattern cutting, so worked in design rooms creating the first patterns for new designs. I worked mainly in children's and ladies wear. 

When I had my children, I ran my own business designing and making wedding dresses - this was great fun and really rewarding work.

I joined Hayes & Finch when my youngest started school - my initial role in the company was managing the Vestment Department.

What is a typical day at Hayes & Finch like for you?

Meetings, meetings and possibly more meetings! 

I have direct operational responsibility for production and the development of the business into new markets but in addition the general strategy of the business, background management and governance – is all dealt with between myself and co-director Andrew Ware.

A typical Monday would be along the lines of 

8.30am sales meeting with the senior team - review the status and what is ahead of us.

If possible - 9.30am, attend the daily operations meeting where all team leaders are briefed on what is happening around the factory.

10.00am review emails and deal with the contents 

Noon - brief with the Commercial Team on the plan for the week.

Eat breakfast/lunch!

There is usually a scheduled meeting on most days that would be around management accounts review, product cost management, finance, networking connection, strategy, HR, any of which will require a block of time to be allocated to it.

In addition, time is dedicated to reviewing product development, new markets, customers and contracts - what needs to happen to make the company meet the planned diversification strategy.

I leave the office around 5.15pm most days so that I can fit a visit in to my dad, drop his paper off and make sure he is ok – he is 84 and on his own. I get home usually just before 7 and will continue to manage emails and ongoing matters from home as needed.

Most of Saturdays and Sundays are days off as a rule!

What is your favourite part about working with the Commercial Team?

The enthusiasm the team has and the commitment to add the new dimension to the company.

Developing new products and researching new markets is exciting and challenging - the InScents range has started from a blank sheet of paper and seeing the products emerge from the factory gives me a real buzz. 

It's a fun team who enjoy what they are doing and they laugh a lot – I like that!

How do you spend your free time outside of the office?

With family and friends. I am blessed with a large social circle of very good longstanding friends – so there is always something happening socially.

My family is growing as my 2 children are 30 plus and settling and having their own families and thankfully they live close enough so that makes me very much part of their lives and the lives of my 2 grandchildren.

To escape I like walking and swimming, on a good week I may manage to get 2/3 trips to my local gym and enjoy the pool and some relaxation.

What things cheer you or make you happy?

My grandchildren – a 3 year olds laughter, why? questions and one liners are the best tonic ever. Family gatherings with everyone round the table.

Long walks followed by lazy pub lunches with friends.

Retail therapy with my daughter – she is the best person to go shopping with, especially, if like me, you overthink everything you buy – she is so impulsive by contrast – I aim to be like that one day – it's such fun.

What device did you use to answer these questions?

I Started with my phone, then my iPad and finished on my laptop! I am the worlds least technical person – so even I am surprised by that answer – just shows how much we depend on and use modern methods of communication!