I’m often asked how I manage to do everything that I do.
Well the simple answer is that I don’t. I have an amazing team beavering away behind the scenes.
I hope I am not seen as the boss, but I do like to have the final say! Sometimes my new work is only grudgingly welcomed, as new designs or originals have to be manufactured into saleable products. That means more work for the office team.
Our company has a few branches – there is the home gallery and café and our gallery in Kenmare. Then, we wholesale most of our products to other shops. Until this year, we went to seasonal craft fairs in Dublin and Cork.
The office is in the garden, as are many sheds for storage, my pottery, my painting studio. We live above the gallery and café – a small house but lots of outbuildings.
On busy days, we all have lunch together in the kitchen upstairs and often exchange ideas and progress reports.
Klaus, ( Mr Gadget), has an array of screens and speakers (out of office hours, the office becomes his music studio), and is boss of the printers, laminators, website, accounts and imports. He does 2 days in our Kenmare shop, chief driver, chief cook, coffee maker, best husband and best friend.
Sarah works flexible hours in the office, mainly working on orders, framing, in control of stock, packing. She has had to get to grips with the big Epson Fine Art printers. Lately she has mastered our free gift wrapping! She has the best phone manner.
Our business was running on a very ‘casual’ basis until Mags came on board and got us on the straight and narrow. Now she is our manager – she sorts out employment issues and contracts, health and safety, does the books and the wages. Everyone on our team is adept at multitasking. Mags is chief canvas stretcher and does 2 days in our Kenmare shop. Also our main muscle – hefting boxes about.
My raku ceramics have really taken off, and the process is so hands on that it was getting too much for just me. I now work with Karen and Miranda 2 days a week and it makes a repetitive job so much more fun. We spend a lot of time chatting and laughing and I wouldn’t be without them.
Our garden is open to the public from Easter until the end of August, and it is important to me to have it always looking lovely. We garden organically and have a wildflower patch to encourage biodiversity,a small wood, 2 ponds, 2 polytunnels, an orchard and raised vegetable beds as well as perennial flower borders.
Franco is the garden muscle – he has great stamina and never complains. He comes once every couple of weeks to do the heavy work like strimming, mowing, clearing, giving me more time to enjoy the fun part of gardening.
Since Niamh has joined us,( first as a housesitter, now living here permanently) she has become chief guardian and feeder of our 3 pet kunekune pigs. She is also main maker of floral wreaths, saver of seeds and general odd job helper in the garden also chief chatter. We hope to become a bestselling children’s book and illustrator team!
We are fortunate to have Maggie , who is very capable, efficient and a friendly face working behind the counter in our Kenmare shop and of course a fantastic team working in the summer in the café.
Now that I have finally got the hang of delegating, life is so much more fun and enjoyable. I am lucky to have such a Talented, Excellent, Amazing, Multitasking group of friends working with me.