Inspirational Women at Work: Claire Spencer-Churchill

We are starting a new regular column on The FClubUK and will be interviewing inspiring women in business who we either know and love, or hugely admire to discover what makes their working life tick.

And the first is:-

Claire Churchill Spencer - co-owner of Claret Showrooms
Claire Churchill Spencer – co-owner of Claret Showrooms

Name: Claire Spencer-Churchill

Job title: Owner, Claret Showroom, London’s leading designer fashion wholesale agency

Job hours: 38 hours a week

What does your typical work day looks like: It tends to start pretty early, I quickly run around the block before I’ve properly woken up to clear the cobwebs! Back to the house to get breakfast ready and everyone off to school.  Once I’m at work there is normally a barrage of emails to attack as a lot of our clients are based in Asia or the US so our inbox’s fill up overnight.   We have such a great team at Claret and ensuring a fun environment to work in is key to our success. Our business has grown so much over the last 4 years and we’ve had to grow with it.  I normally finish between 5-6 and slowly bike home. I’m a terrible cook so hopefully my husband has rustled up something delicious or we’ll head out once the kids are in bed.

What do you enjoy most about your job?  The variation of tasks and interaction with different people across all aspects of the industry. Launching Splash Paris this year has been such an amazing opportunity to offer people a service that was missing from the industry. I think I’m a better Mother and Wife because of work because I’m happy and super busy – I love what I do and have enormous job satisfaction.

What is your least favourite part of the role?  The finance side of our business which thankfully my partner Alex Lyles takes the lead on.

Who has been your most influential mentor was or inspiring boss? Paul Smith was an incredible place to work. Paul used to be at the office before any of us and leave long after we’d all gone home. His work ethic was extraordinary and made me realise early in my career that you have to work hard & really care to achieve your goals.

What has been your biggest professional achievement? We won UK Distributor of the year at the Drapers awards in 2016. I was really surprised by how proud of myself I felt after! I think getting public recognition for your hard work is really humbling.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given? There’s been so much… trusting your instinct is generally one I carry with me everyday.

Looking back on your career now, what do you wish you had known? I’m glad I knew so little! Alex and I were so young and naive when we started the business. You jump the hurdles as they come rather than anticipate their arrival.

What is the trait you most dislike in others and the one you most value?
Dishonesty and jealousy are really unattractive. Optimism is a wonderful thing.

What is the trait you most dislike in yourself at work ? I could do with having a longer attention span and better attention to detail…

What has been your biggest career challenge? The ever difficult balancing Kids and Work. There’s no right time to have kids and no perfect formula. The good news is there isn’t a wrong way either so I just do the best I can!

If you could name one, what is your top tip for professional success be ?
Be positive, smile and enjoy it.

What has been your luckiest break?  Starting Claret Showroom and having the support of my parents to do so. I’ve loved every minute and I’m so proud of what Alex and I have created.

What do you do to wind down?
Out on adventures with my Family. I’m good at switching off. When I leave the office it’s home time and vice versa.

Claret Showroom representing luxury brands including Madeleine Thompson cashmere and Unreal Fur

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