Here’s how Richard Lill, Director of Lionheart Portfolio and UK Business Development Manager for Ladybird spends a typical working day
Richard Lill is the Director of Lionheart Portfolio, a sales marketing and credit management consultancy and he’s also the UK Business Development Manager for Ladybird, one of Europe’s largest and most successful family owned bridal businesses.
I am one of those freaks of nature that is both a morning person and a night owl. I think it comes from my formative years as a hotel manager. I usually wake up anywhere between 5am and 6am and a day can never truly get going without three things for me, a cup of tea, a cigarette and a shower, usually in that order.
Then I take my dog Dylan, a Bichon Frise for a long walk. I love this time as it allows me to think about what I need to achieve during the coming day. I’m sure local people may think I’m a little strange, as I quite often talk to him about ideas I may have, but he does not usually comment.
I’m not the healthiest eater, but I have my secret weapon for breakfast. Each morning I start the day with a homemade smoothie packed with great stuff: spinach, carrot, yoghurt, beetroot, mixed berries, banana & flax seed, which I use to wash down the cod liver oil capsule, to stop the body feeling older than the mind.
I arrive in the office no later than 7.30am. I love this part of the day because I am alone with my thoughts and I have a chance to clear the junk from my inbox. After seeing if there are any pressing matters that have come in over-night, I tend to spend the first hour on me and my life, paying bills, sorting out my social life and being BBSA vice chair - there is usually something to catch up on.
At 8.30am I have a team meeting to review the previous day and set out a plan for the day ahead. Each day is very different, some of the hardest are when we have designer events. Sometimes we can have up to three a week.
We check and pack up the dresses ready for DPD, as customers’ requirements differ so much. Shops may want anything from 15 to 100 dresses, this can be a quick easy job or a full-on workout, we all know how much dresses weigh.
The mornings are filled with so many tasks, but the one common thread is customer communication, placing orders, helping retailers with any problems they may have or just chatting to them, making sure they are happy, as happy as they can be in such a tough market.
It’s hard with both mornings and afternoons to say what is typical. Both can consist of meetings, working on marketing ideas, working with our design team on new collections, planning exhibitions and sales, analysing trends and figures, all of which I love doing.
Variety is the spice of life. I am so lucky in that I LOVE what I do. I am a people person, interacting, listening, learning and working with people invigorates me every day.
Lunch is for wimps! On the occasions I have lunch it varies from making a quick sandwich at the office or walking to M & S, sorry if this shatters the illusion of working in bridal where we pop to “the Ivy” for a long working lunch.
I aim to leave work at 3pm but I often work later. I am lucky in that if I stay longer it’s because I want to rather than need to. The reality is that even though I may leave the office I never leave work. It’s hard to turn your head off. I would say this is a flaw in my DNA, I think it comes from, if it’s possible, that I care too much.
I like to think our retailers are more friends than customers and they know they can contact me 24/7. I’m always thinking and coming up with more ways we can help our retailers and push the business forward, which seems to be working as December saw us achieve the 12th consecutive month of growth in brides’ orders, something I don’t think many could boast about at the moment.
Being chairman of a musical theatre company and wardrobe master for theatre productions, my typical evening will be a quick dinner and catch up with “the other half” who’s very supportive of my mad life, then out to rehearsals or a meeting or at my sewing machine creating costumes for a specific production.
For me being with friends and working on my hobbies is my downtime. Being a self-confessed self-employed workaholic I’m happy never to switch off. Although I work equally hard on making sure I have a great work-life balance.
It’s hard to say what time I go to bed but I know it’s never before 11.30pm. To get to sleep I need to watch TV in bed, I think it slows my mind down to a trot rather than galloping at 100 miles an hour. Dreams! I’m never sure what I dream about other than wanting to have lots of healthy, happy retailers.
My favourite part of the day is early morning, it’s my time.
I’m not sure if I would change any part of my day. It sounds cheesy but I’m happy. If I had to change any day it would be Wednesdays, that’s the quick turnaround getting designer event days in and back out on the same day sometimes, which can be a killer.
I spent too many years in a pressurised corporate world, and no matter how much you give of yourself its often never enough! Ladybird understands the importance of having a great work-life balance, it’s a joy to be part of their family. I never take for granted my health and happiness. Life is not a dress rehearsal, life is for living.
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Want more? Check out what a typical working day looks like for Kalvin Chow, CEO & Director of Cizzy Bridal.