Rachel Parkin of Reba boutique and the Balagan Group take our questionnaire
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
A Sunday morning paper round although I’ve had my share of shall we say, less than stellar jobs – including painting the faces on Maggie Thatcher squeaky dog toys, weeding celery and – possibly the worst for someone mathematically challenged – I was actually once entrusted to be an Usherette!
WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU AND WHY?
Seth Godin, author of a number of business books that are so relevant to doing business in our time. If you haven’t heard of him, check him out – his ideas are relentless, groundbreaking and very community-centric.
ARE YOU WHERE YOU EXPECTED TO BE WHEN FIRST SETTING OUT?
That would be a definite no! In all honesty I didn’t have a grand plan when setting out, it was more a case of making it work and then as you move on with your business other doors open and new opportunities present themselves – as long as you are open to learning.
DO YOU LIKE TO PLAN, OR TO IMPROVISE?
Both. I think you need a vague plan to follow, but then as for the details I prefer to wing it. So some things I plan ad infinitum, and others are a case of “lets just see when we get there…” Most great plans can be written on a post-it note and really when you come down to it, they pretty much break down into three words “Just do it”. One of my mottos is “Better a good plan today, than a great one tomorrow”
IF YOU WEREN’T IN THIS BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I think that I would be in academia, or the police force or still travelling the world and living somewhere exotic. Over the years I’ve realised that I need to do something with a lot of variety and freedom to make your own choices, so anything with constant change and/or development would work for me.
HOW TIDY IS YOUR DESK?
Very, I can’t do anything in a mess. There’s lots of different projects on the go at any one time for my different businesses, so everything is organised into files and labelled. My friends laugh at me because i can’t actually start a job until i’ve created a file for it and labelled it!
IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND DO ONE THING DIFFERENTLY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would have done more courses at the time when there were actually business courses you could take locally, CAD and graphic design courses would have been very useful. I can’t think of any single thing that would have made a difference apart from these, because at every stage of your business you can only develop as fast as you can develop as a person, so you can’t skip a stage, you can only move up to the next level once you’ve learned the lessons of your current level.
IF YOU MADE AN UNEXPECTEDLY LARGE PROFIT, WHAT WOULD YOU USE THE MONEY FOR?
It depends on how much we’re talking about here, but if its low figures I’d say a good business consultant and some courses because you’re only as good as the sum total of what you know. If it was a large figure then I’d say the above plus an all singing and dancing shop refit!