Sophie Paterson is a Design Director and runs her own interiors company between Surrey and London
The female entrepreneurs who run multi-million pound businesses – but still find time for a family and fitness regime
When it comes to entrepreneurship, it’s not a man’s world anymore. Recent research by BNP Paribas Wealth Management found that companies helmed by women actually produced 13 per cent higher revenues than those run by men, and finished nine per cent above average.
From fashion legend Anna Wintour to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, there’s an increasing number of women proving you can be financially independent and successful on your own terms.
These women are career-driven and ambitious goal-setters, who have perfectly mastered the balance between sitting at the head of the boardroom and at the head of their families.
Here, six inspiring women who juggle high-pressured jobs with a family and fitness regime, share their career advice, rituals and secrets of success with FEMAIL – and prove that just like them, you really can have it all.
Sophie Paterson, 32, is a Design Director and runs her own interiors company. She designs houses for the rich and famous and has become a social media sensation. She lives in Surrey with her husband and is pregnant with their first child.
If you’ve got a board filled with interior snaps on Pinterest, there is a good chance it contains the work of Sophie Paterson.
One day Sophie may be designing a villa in Spain, or sourcing furnishings in Paris, the next she’s dealing with finance and accounting and looking at spreadsheets
Sophie is the founder of Sophie Paterson Interiors – a brand she established in 2008 at the age of 23. Fast-forward a few years and her company has become one of the UK’s most successful interior design studios, with a plethora of celebrities enlisting Sophie to transform their homes.
“I always loved interiors from a young age but I didn’t initially pursue this as a career and instead opted to study business and Spanish at Bath University,” Sophie told FEMAIL.
“I made the transition from my previous career in events management for a restaurant group after a developer, who my husband and I consulted about reconfiguring the layout of our then mews house in London, liked the way I had decorated our home and asked me to help him with the interiors of his latest development project – a 4,000 square foot townhouse with a basement extension in South Kensington. This was an amazing opportunity that, with my husband’s encouragement, I seized with both hands. I worked on his project free of charge, keen to see if my passion could translate into a job and continued with my other job initially for six months”.
“Then, when I could see it had potential to work, I quit my job and set up my company, initially just working with this developer- I was only 23 and had no real idea of what lay ahead or was required to set up a successful company but I think that was a blessing!”
I feel very lucky that I’ve never experienced discrimination based on my gender – it means I’m able to focus on doing the best possible job I can without worrying about how I am perceived
One day Sophie may be designing a villa in Spain, or sourcing furnishings in Paris, the next she’s dealing with finance and accounting and looking at spreadsheets. She wakes at 7am and has breakfast with her husband.
‘It’s the calmest part of the day and we both love it,’ she said.
Sophie tries to work out with a trainer three times a week, which she hails a great way to manage stress.
“I’m six months pregnant and so I’ve reduced my workouts and try to do a lot of walking instead. I also love the Headspace meditation app for relaxing.”
Sophie also credits her husband for motivating her to stay on track, hailing him ‘hugely encouraging and supportive’: “My husband Kevin runs his own tech company and so is very understanding of the demands of running your own business and the long hours that can occasionally require.”
Sophie also feels blessed to work in an industry where there’s gender equality, explaining: ‘I’m aware that isn’t the case for all industries. I believe the interior design industry has an equal amount of both female and male leaders and I employ exactly 50:50 men and women, all purely based on ability.
“I feel very lucky that I’ve never experienced discrimination based on my gender – it means I’m able to focus on doing the best possible job I can without worrying about how I am perceived.”
So, does Sophie think women can have it all? ‘In my experience I feel like it’s a constant balancing act; some weeks I feel like I have a great work/life balance and other weeks it definitely doesn’t work as smoothly.
“I don’t think you can do it by yourself and I wouldn’t like to pretend otherwise. I have a great team of designers to support me at work, a supportive and encouraging husband and a housekeeper at home. I don’t think there’s any shame in having help but I do know how fortunate I am to be in this position where it’s possible.”
Sharing her golden piece of advice for women looking to follow in her footsteps, Sophie said: “I always have several things in the pipeline when it comes to work – that way if one thing doesn’t work out you don’t waste time focusing on that but move onto the other things you have lined up. When you run your own business, you can’t take rejection personally and this approach really helps me look forward and not waste time worrying.”