Fantastic Female – Sarah Clyde at Le Tee Paris

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SARAH CLYDE AT LE TEE PARIS

I’m a nearly 50 mum of two teenage boys. Actually one turned 18 last week!! (I’m not sure how that’s even possible when I still don’t feel that much older than 18 myself half the time ;-)) I set up Le Tee Paris whilst living in Paris previously. I loved my time there and was completely inspired by the effortless chic and Parisian sense of style I saw every day. My brand focuses on classic pieces and real wardrobe staples that women reach for time and time again and keep for years to come. I only produce small quantities, ethically and sustainably.  At the moment I run a lot of pre-orders as this is one of the most sustainable methods of production available and keeps wastage to a minimum. This week we have re-launched our sell-out Breton tops.  (A real French Classic and available to pre-order via the website now).

LE TEE PARIS

How do you balance being a mother and professional?

My two boys are now older teenagers and one turned 18 this week!!! So I guess he is now technically an adult.  He still feels a young boy to me, maybe mums always feel that way 🙂 It’s definitely a lot easier in practice terms now they are older as you don’t need to watch over them or entertain them. I can pop out for a meeting and they get themselves to and from most things themselves. I think their needs do become more complex though in terms of help with schooling, especially over this last year with schools being closed.  My older son is currently sitting assessments so I’ve tried to help him with those as much as I can with the schools being closed so much this year.  I think like most working mums I also spend a fair bit of time at the computer in the evenings as well catching up.

What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?

I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve worked for myself from when my first son was born, so I’ve been able to mostly fit my work around them which was great and personally gave me a lot of time with them both.  I do sometimes wonder professionally what I sacrificed by leaving and what would I be doing now if I had stayed at work. I used to be at a large broadcaster in marketing. I would definitely have a higher and more reliable income than I do now, and I’d have people to do a lot of the admin and accounts.  One of the drawbacks of working for yourself is having to do all the parts of a company regardless of whether you like or are good at those. It also brings with it a lot of responsibility and sometimes worries for the future. I never regret working for myself though.

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SARAH CLYDE AT LE TEE PARIS

Who inspired you and why?

I will always be inspired by my dad who worked for himself from when I was born. He arrived in England with just the clothes on his back aged 18 and worked his way up to having his own Company. He was a real believer that if you work really hard at something you can succeed. I guess I was used to seeing someone having their own company from a young age so it didn’t seem too unusual or daunting to start up something on my own. The inspiration for the brand itself came from the amazing city of Paris.  I just fell in love with the place whilst I lived there, and the style was so effortless.  Women definitely spend more on each item and seek out quality, but own less.  It was a real buy better, buy fewer culture.  That’s the real ethos and inspiration for my brand.  Effortlessly chic wardrobe staples, that are sustainably and ethically made.

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

I think mainly to be yourself and be honest and kind to others, as I think this shows good teamwork and also good future leadership. Plus it’s nice to have real friends at work that you can have a bit of a laugh with, especially on busy or tough days! I think those qualities will gain you respect within the workplace. Also never doubt yourself or feel you aren’t as good as the next person. I always love Richard Branson’s quote “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”  The company I worked for in my 20’s was great at giving opportunities. I often felt out of my depth taking them on but would never have shown this.  Kind of like a synchronised swimmer, I maybe looked calm on the surface but was definitely scrabbling around underneath to work out how to do something! It was fun though.

Do you think women feel intimidated in business?I would hope not, but I know it’s possible sometimes. I think it must very much depend on the company and their work environment. I’ve been really lucky and haven’t been made to feel that way. I hope if anyone felt like that they would have someone to be able to talk to about it and get help in the workplace.Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? 

Normally just pottering around the house, sometimes cleaning…. Breakfast is one of my favourite meals but in the week I never have time for anything fancy so the weekends are great for making a really nice brunch and maybe having a scroll and catch up on social media in my pjs!

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SARAH CLYDE AT LE TEE PARIS

What do you love about your job?

Definitely, the creativity and seeing an idea for an item of clothing come to life.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?Not pursuing a career in psychology following my degree.  I loved the subject and still find it fascinating, but it wouldn’t have been for me. I’m glad I’ve always been able to do something creative.

What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?I don’t think I’ve made any really terrible career decisions.  I loved working in Media in my 20s in London.  It was long hours but it had a real buzz about it. I think when I’m having a bad day or feel stressed about something I tend to wonder if I should have set up by myself, but the feeling doesn’t last long thankfully!

How do you organise your time?I’m fairly haphazard unfortunately! I’m good at writing to-do lists and making sure things get done on time, but sometimes seem to get distracted easily.  I think that’s an issue for lots of people working from home! I keep saying to myself I need to have a better routine, where I actually schedule work in properly and also time out.
What do you think is your greatest strength?

Determination

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SARAH CLYDE AT LE TEE PARIS

What do you think is your greatest weakness?

Compulsiveness and not always taking enough time to think everything through.

How do you make decisions?

I’m quite good at knowing what I want to do, but sometimes doubt if it’s 100% the right thing. If I’m stuck on the details I normally ask my husband or friends what they think.  I often take colour charts and clothing samples to coffee with friends and ask their opinions!  It’s so good to have more views than just your own, especially for future products.

What do you read?

I’m a member of a book club which I really enjoy but have possibly the worst track record ever for finishing books on time….  I love reading, especially a good psychological thriller, but I seem to struggle to focus these days, or I’m so tired when I get into bed that I read a few pages, then have to read the same few pages again the next night…. When I’m on holiday lying in the sun I can read a whole book in a few days.  I guess I just switch off better when I’m away.  Dreaming those sunny hols will return soon…

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?

I think it’s a mixture of determination and also believing in yourself and in your products and brand.  That’s not to say I don’t have days where I feel like a complete imposter, and doubt lots of decisions.  I think that’s hopefully normal though!…..

This year has been particularly tough for small businesses like mine, first with a pandemic and then Brexit.  At times I have genuinely doubted everything, but I just kept on pushing through and have tried to adapt myself and my brand slightly to the changing times.I’m lucky in that all my products are classic designs and not particularly trend led or only for one season. So when the pandemic hit I didn’t have to worry too much about having stock that would go out of season or not be in trend after lockdown.  This week I’m re-launching our Breton top that sold out before the pandemic. We only produce small amounts so this will be available to pre-order all next week. It’s based on the design Coco Chanel made famous in the 1930s, with a relaxed fit and slightly dropped shoulder.  I love that this style still looks relevant and chic almost 100 years later.  This is everything I want my brand to represent and I hope someone who purchases one of our Bretons will have this top in their wardrobes for a long time indeed. x

LE TEE PARIS

FANTASTIC FEMALE – SARAH CLYDE AT LE TEE PARIS

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