For International Women's Day 2018, we catch up with women in business to celebrate their success and hear how they are progressing with gender parity.
We talk to Lauren Groves, Design & Marketing Manager at Modern Souvenir Company, as part of our International Women's Day Q&A series.
Tell us a bit about your business and your role?
I manage the day to day sales and marketing of our plaster workshop, balancing two brands.
Modern Souvenir Company supplies leading museum and heritage stores with high quality giftware priced between £20 and £200. Travelers have been buying souvenirs ever since the famous Grand Tours of the 18th century.
Modern Souvenir Company reinvents the traditional souvenir for the person who wants to immerse themselves in the places and cultures they visit. Their home reflects style and taste, as well as their personal experiences, memories and aspirations.
Timothy Richards is commissioned to make handmade architectural models for high net worth individuals and organizations in the UK and internationally. Now in his eighth workshop he remains the only person living to have developed such work.
The origins of this quality of plasterwork date back to the Fouquets who worked in Paris between 1780 and 1830. Tim has built a network of collectors in America and England over a quarter of a century. Education remains at the heart of Tim’s models. Over 150 commissions have been completed in 30 years of business.
What is a typical working day for you?
I process the sales that have come in overnight across our two ecommerce sites. Deal with customer enquiries and pass general enquires to the appropriate department. This normally takes me up to midday. I then spend the afternoon on marketing including strategy development, newsletters, social media, new product releases and PR.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variation. Representing a company with a very interesting story to tell.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Balancing the wants and aspirations of a traditional craftsman with what is commercially viable. Making my voice heard and opinions respected.
What are the challenges facing women in business today?
- Not getting left behind when taking time out to have children.
- Not being able to afford to work when raising children due to extortionate childcare costs.
- Being taken seriously.
What are 3 key things you think are important to succeed as a woman in business?
- Being well informed and keeping up to speed on your area. Staying ahead of the game.
- Building a support network of likeminded men and women.
- Self-belief and an awareness of your worth.
What are the biggest challenges for the future generation of women in business?
Balancing business and family.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever been given?
You can succeed and you have all the skills to do it. You just need to find a way to give yourself the time and space to do it – that is the real challenge.
Is international trade important to your business? If so, how do you ensure your business has the right skills to successfully trade overseas?
Investing in existing staff – currently working with the DIT on Export for Growth strategy.
Do you have any tips for women looking to progress their career in leadership roles?
No but I would like some!
What women inspire you and why?
- Mary Portas – Says it how it is. Believes in her convictions.
- Dame Karren Brady – Never appears intimidated. Highly respected in a male dominated area.
- Emma Watson – Has earnt the respect of thousands after her initial path to fame through the Harry Potter films. Because of this, I feel she has had to work doubly hard to prove her worth and intelligence as a UN Goodwill Ambassador – especially by starting the HeForShe campaign, calling for men to advocate gender equality.
Read more interviews with inspirational business women from our International Women's Day series:
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