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April 16, 2018
Meet the super inspiring Kirsty Whyte… If being an award winning UK designer and Creative and Product Director at Soho House wasn’t demanding enough, she also finds the time to run her hugely successful watch brand Freedom to Exist with her boyfriend Paul.
I caught up with her a couple of weeks ago in at her beautiful flat in Westborne Park and we chatted over a cup of tea and the wonderful view of the iconic Trellik Tower.
For our new series #whativelearntabout, I firstly asked Kirsty, what she’s learnt about WORK…
Tell us about your career journey...
I started out working for several years at Habitat, gaining valuable experience in many areas of retail and design and was previously the Product and Design Manager for Heal’s.
I also worked for Made.com and as part of that, I was based in Shanghai for a year, working directly with manufacturers and gaining knowledge, contacts and experience regarding the whole design development and manufacture process.
What’s your favourite thing about your current job?
In terms of Soho House, I love how dynamic and varied my role is; I get to work with a very talented team. In the morning I might be working with the product guys on a new furniture range, then some new Cowshed packaging. Then the next day on location for a shoot at one of the many amazing Soho Houses (or of course I could also be in a day of meetings…it’s not always exciting).
In terms of my role as Founder of Freedom to Exist, what I really love about running my own business is that, it’s just the two of us. The creative vision is mine & I don’t have to answer into anyone else! We work really well as a team our skill set really complement each other. I do the designing, photo-shoots etc and Paul manages the logistics & web design.
Have you overcome any challenges along the way?
“There are always challenges; the biggest one is work life balance! Having a demanding day job, doesn’t give me a lot of time to dedicate to FTE, which then doesn’t give me a lot of time to have fun! I find work very rewarding though. I try to overcome it, but being disciplined with my time & not being too hard on myself when I don’t achieve everything I wanted to!”
(Kirsty is wearing our Selected Femme Suede Jacket and Mads Norgaard Stripe Top with her Freedom to Exist Watch)
Where do you get your style inspiration from?
It’s taken a while for me to find my way, I still make style mistakes from time to time! I don’t go out and purposely seek it. I get style inspiration from all over. It could be an old movie, Instagram or even people passing me in the street.
How would you describe your style?
I do love colour, and a little bit of pattern. I try to stay classic with a modern edge. I like colour and shape blocking. I steer clear from low-cut tops & frills!
What piece in your wardrobe do you wear the most?
That’s such a tough question! Outside of work its highly likely you’ll find me in a pair of high-waisted jeans or sports leggings as I love running.
At work I do love a block colour long sleeve dress that I can accessorise with my growing necklace collection!
In what type of outfit do you feel the most confident?
It has to be my gym gear, I feel I’m dressed & ready for action!
I also love wearing a well cut pair of tailored trousers with a casual tee or roll neck – Comfy and classic!
What would be your top style tip?
The older I get, the more important is a casual wardrobe, investing in the classics, which I can then layer up on depending on the season. I also love to mix new with vintage; I like wearing something other people can’t (I’ve never been at an event in the same outfit as someone else!).
(Kirsty is wearing our Maison Scotch Fluted Sleeve Top and Embroidered Star Slim Boyfriend Jeans)
Who inspires you?
My Mum really inspires me; she is always so positive and lifts me up when I feel low and supports me no matter what. I hope I can do the same one day if I have children.
There are a few classic style icons out there from Audrey and Katharine Hepburn, actresses who played strong willed, intelligent women; keep me inspired.
What’s most important to you?
Spending time with my family and friends, exercise and making sure I still find time for fun.
What life lessons have you learnt along the way?
Well I’m still learning; but so far I would say. Work hard as you don’t get rewarded for doing nothing! When I come to work say ‘yes’ to as much as possible as you’ll learn something new, even if it’s not a really exciting or inspiring project. Be nice to people, you’ll be happier for it & you never know who they might be or become!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
This is a bit of a cop out as it’s a quote: “One day or Day 1?”. I try to bear it in mind to motivate myself to get going and not put things off.
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