My Working Day – Justine Rouch – Founder & CEO of La Pochette

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine? Business Leader spoke to Justine Rouch – Founder & CEO of La Pochette, about her working day.

What time do you wake up?

I used to be a night owl, but now I love getting up early around 6am. It’s when I have complete clarity of thought and the most energy.

What do you have for breakfast?

I’m not hungry in the mornings, so it would normally just be coffee. However, if I’ve completed a workout, I would have yogurt and granola.

What is your mantra for your working day?

I don’t have one.

As a business leader, is it hard to separate your business and personal life? 

I’m incredibly fortunate in that I love what I do, and the sector that I’m in. It encompasses a lot of the things I am passionate about – fitness, wellness, fashion, and travel. Therefore, they naturally bleed into one another. In fact, my best ideas don’t come to me when I’m sitting at my desk or in a meeting. It’s when I’m in a spinning class, on a walk, or having dinner with friends. I guess that’s why I created La Pochette. To ensure I could build these moments into my day.

What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

My advice to female entrepreneurs would be the same advice I would give to all entrepreneurs. Surround yourself with amazing people, continue to learn, and trust your instincts.

Who is your business idol? Why? 

I really admire Natalie Massenet. Natalie’s ability to spot a trend, act on it, continually innovate, and make it successful is so inspiring. She’s revolutionised the luxury retail industry.

What motivates you?

I want to create a successful international luxury lifestyle brand. Having spent twenty years in the sports and luxury fashion world, I saw the huge rise in the athleisure market. This was due to the growth in the importance of fitness and wellness in people lives, but it was also a nod to how people wanted to dress for today’s fast-paced lifestyle. However, the accessories category was usually overlooked, particularly for women. They were either functional or attractive, but rarely both. For example, most backpacks for women didn’t have a sleeve for a laptop!?! La Pochette is a brand that combines intelligent design with superb functionality, with every item carefully considered to be the best fit for your lifestyle.

How do you persevere through challenging times? 

I find the old cliché of putting one foot in front of the other is the key. It can sometimes feel so overwhelming, that the easiest thing is to do nothing. But it’s imperative to keep moving forward, and sooner or later the path to tread will become clearer.  Also, talking things through and getting advice from your colleagues and network is vital. Finally, it is important to take care of yourself through exercise, sleep, and good nutrition.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a female entrepreneur?

I think I have to thank my family for this, but fortunately, I haven’t suffered any challenges as a female entrepreneur that I wouldn’t have encountered if I was a man. I have two older brothers and was not treated any differently because I was a girl. Chores were split evenly, and it was instilled into me that I could do anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. Also, I went to a girl’s school. There was freedom from stereotypes, and it was natural to see females excel and lead.

This upbringing helped in the corporate world. I have never felt inferior to any man, nor expected to be treated differently.  I have often been the only female in the board room or investor meeting but have never let this intimidate me.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Recruit people that are brighter than you are. You shouldn’t feel threatened by them. Instead, they will elevate both you and your teams.

Are you hopeful about the future of female entrepreneurship in the UK? Why?

I am extremely excited about the future of female entrepreneurship. Access to funding and support has improved enormously in the last few years. Maybe this is because it has been proven that female-led companies perform better than in all-male founding teams. In addition, gender stereotypes are diminishing, leading to more role models/mentors. It is important that we maintain this momentum by supporting, developing, and encouraging females in education, and the workplace.