My Early Hour: Jules Greaves, handbag designer

Handbag designer Jules Greaves founded her fashion label Susie in the Sky after her mother passed away – and named it after her. This morning, we talk motherhood, 5am starts and the challenges of running your own business…

Jules Greaves, 37, is the owner of leading handbag brand Susie in the Sky and a handbag designer. She set up the business whilst pregnant. The brand is named after Jules’ mum, Sue, who inspired her to start the business, but passed away before the brand was established. Her first handbag design, the Lila tote, is named after her daughter. She lives in the West Midlands with her fiancé, Paul, and daughter Lila, three.

Jules Graves - handbag designer - theearlyhour.com

What’s your home like?
Calm, relaxed and fun! Sometimes stressful though.

What time are you up in the morning?
5am.

What wakes you up?
Lila.

How do you feel?
Tired but happy.

What do you do first thing?
I have a cuddle in bed with my daughter, while drinking my hot water and lemon, before checking my emails and social media.

In three words, describe mornings in your home?
Lila, CBeebies, milk.

What’s for breakfast?
Generally something healthy.

How might the rest of your day pan out?
Working and nursery runs.

What’s your workspace like?
A nicely decorated office as I love interiors and design. It’s calm, relaxed and reflects my thoughts.

 

Where is Lila when you’re working?
At the childminder’s or nursery.

Tell us about your business…
I launched Susie in the Sky in December 2013. After three years of researching the market, I was struggling to find a British handbag label that offered affordable luxury that was actually handmade in England. I lost my mum, Sue, in August 2010 and this gave me the motivation to follow my dream, to launch my own fashion brand.

What’s the greatest challenge when running your own business?
Bringing your brand to market and the general cost of producing products in England.

What makes it all worthwhile?
Customers giving you positive feedback on your designs.

handbag desginer - Susie in the Sky - Jules Greaves - theearlyhour.com

Are there aspects of the business that you delegate to others; do you enjoy, for instance, certain aspects but not others?
I outsource my accounts and PR because I believe professionals in their fields should carry out certain aspects of running a business. I do everything else because the brand is my baby and I have very high standards!

Are you a happy lone worker, or do you enjoy the buzz of a shared workspace?
I am but I also enjoy working alongside others for ideas, sounding out, letting off steam and having a laugh.

What’s the secret to career success?
I think being good at what you do.

Is the juggle real for you… do you find it difficult balancing motherhood/ relationship/me-time/time for friends/career?
I find this extremely difficult like a lot of other working mothers. Personally, I don’t have a support network so I solely rely on a childminder and nursery to get things done work-wise and at home. I don’t have much me-time at all, and time for friends is hard but they understand.

Describe an ideal weekend?
A chilled out dinner on the Friday night, Shopping sat morning followed by spa treatments. A big night out with all our friends on the Saturday night, followed by a lovely Sunday roast the following day.

If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
Bora Bora or Australia.

Any future ventures?
I would like to grow Susie in the Sky into a global brand and design and build my forever home.

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