I’m Julie Slater aged 55, although in good light I look closer to 21! I live in St. Albans with my hubby, our son,19, 2 cats and a rescue dog, called Reacher who keeps me fit and as he needs a lot of exercise. When did you launch and how did you get started? Julie Slater and Son – www.julieslaterandson.co.uk – launched in March 2003. Previously I had been the marketing manager for a book bindery which sadly went bust. A few clients suggested I start on my own, as we had enjoyed working together. That’s where the ideas started formulating. I went from company Mercedes to bicycle! My mum bought me a computer and my in-laws a desk. .At the bindery I had given a local Printer a lot of work and he gifted me my first stationery; which was very much appreciated and made me feel I was on the road to success! Working for yourself can be lonely and I missed the camaraderie of my colleagues. I had to quickly learn all sorts of new skills. One of the first things I did was find someone to help with the books. I knew that would be something I would put off so help and assistance was needed in order to stay on top of things.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business? The flexibility. My son has always been very sporty and over time I have become quite good at sports photography. If there was a match I wanted to attend, I could get up and start work extremely early in order to get to the games with my trusty camera. My family is incredibly supportive – hubby is a real techie and his skills have been well utilised over the years. Both he and my son have loaded vans and painted exhibition stands whilst I’ve provided refreshments.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business Some people still don’t understand the concept of “working from home”. People think they can call in anytime and have a chat, they don’t always understand you are working.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come Oh goodness, yes yes yes! The Telegraph used one of our products, large as life, on the front page of their Christmas Shopping Guide. I could hardly breathe with excitement! We sold out in a matter of hours and had a waiting list and that Christmas was both exhilarating and exhausting.
And Son As a young person I think Mike has learned many life skills helping in the business; being polite to customers both face to face and on the telephone, building relationships with the Couriers and wonderful postmen. Both he and one of the postmen have an ongoing conversation, spread over days about the fortunes of professional football. Julie Slater and Son was probably quite useful experience for his studies in Business and Economics! Many of his friends have come to Julie Slater and Son for holiday jobs and work experience. Some of their mums have become very good customers and a fine research panel Now “and Son” is taking a gap year, before heading to Durham University. He is working unsociable hours. So this time of year he is a real asset to have around, packing, liaising with couriers and updating the website I also enjoy seeing people using Julie Slater and Son products. It is very tempting to say I designed that satchel, but I refrain – well usually!
Special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers: We are happy to offer a 15% discount. The code is ffatmn2014. This needs to be added to the shopping basket at the end of the transaction and the discount is applied.