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Oliver Sweeney introduces its ‘Inspired by Women’ series, which goes behind the scenes and into the lives of women excelling in a wide variety of different fields. These stories are personal, truly unique and have inspired us as we have put our latest women's collection together.
We sat down with Kirsty Whyte at Dean St. Townhouse. Kirsty’s the Creative and Product Director of Soho House and after her day-job finishes she is also the Founder and Creative Director of watch brand Freedom to Exist.
Name: KIRSTY WHYTE
Title: Creative & Product Director Soho House / Founder & Creative Director Freedom To Exist
Describe a typical day at work
My ‘day job’ is Creative & Product Director of Soho House retail. I head up the product development teams for both Soho Home & Beauty (which includes Cowshed, Neville, Cheeky) plus the creative team (which included Graphics & editorial). My days are usually pretty meeting filled so I try to get in for 8am to get prepped for the day ahead & before too many people are in the office. Every day is different; from location photoshoots in the Houses, for new product for Home, to visiting our beauty suppliers working on new formulations.
At this time of year there are several trade shows around the world, so I try to attend as many as possible to gather inspiration across beauty & home. I always try to get out of the office for some fresh air at lunch, no matter how swift that may be. Then back for another meeting!
My days always fly by and before I know it it’s 6pm. I aim to leave the office on time & attend a HIIT session at my local gym, or run home; it really helps punctuate the day. I try to keep weeknight dinner light & healthy; although after a long days, it is not unknown for my boyfriend Paul & I to get a cheeky Deliveroo!
Evenings are usually a mix of catching up on pressing Soho House emails and then my other job – being a co-founder for minimalist watch brand Freedom To Exist. Thankfully the business has grown quite a lot over the last two years, so there has usually been a few orders throughout the day.
We have a pretty good process now, Paul preps the packages & organises the postage, while I still handwrite all the thankyou post cards & do the giftwrapping. Its so exciting when we get an order; but at Christmas I was wrapping late into the evening!
Prior to this career, what were your aspirations growing up?
Ever since childhood, I've been making, drawing and creating, my Mum is creative & my Dad was an engineer. I used to get hand-me-down family cameras; & was allowed to take my own photos…which must have add up using film back in the day! After graduating from Nottingham Trent University, where I studied decorative arts, I took a university course in glass design in Sweden, which fuelled my love of material and process. My passion is designing something that stands the test of time, while remaining current.
What makes up your typical work outfit?
Working in a creative department, it’s always the most casual team in the office! I try to keep smart but comfortable, as I might have a range of meetings in any given day. I love mixing vintage, and highstreet and of course I always wear a complimenting FTE watch! Good shoes, so I can power walk from location to location, without having to change my footwear.
How do you ensure to maintain a work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance is always a challenge with a demanding full-time job and a side hustle! Thankfully I love doing both of them, and each role lets me use different skills.
In the rare times I don’t have a screen in front of me I love running & HIIT training, it’s a great way to “zone out” and focus on something that isn’t work.
On lazier days Paul and I also love a good boxset; with Peaky Blinders & Black Mirror completed; we’re not sure what to start next!
The three people living or dead you would invite to a dinner party?
3 is pretty strict! Barack Obama, Audrey Hepburn, Queen Elizabeth I.
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