Successful Morning Routines From 14 Businesswomen
On August 4, 2020
Chrissie Rucker, founder & owner of The White Company
Chrissie Rucker founded The White Company back in 1994, earning an MBE in 2010. In 2012 she was chosen as Private Businesswoman of the Year by the Financial Times, with she and her husband receiving OBE awards for their business success in December 2017.
“The very first thing I do is take my dog Mouse out – she’s 16 and sleeps on our bed. Then, I write a list of five important things I want to achieve that day, and jot everything down in my diary: all team meetings, plus a specific time to exercise and stop work – if I don’t do this, I get brain fog and start to be very unproductive. During lockdown, I’ve discovered some online programmes that are great. Yoga-Burn for everything from shaping up to winding down, and of course, Tracey Anderson for some fun – albeit quite tough – dance work outs that really lift the spirits. My girls also love Centrfit for their fantastic 20-minute HIIT programmes.”
Alexandra Daly, CEO of AA Advisors
Alexandra Daly is the founder and CEO of investment firm AA Advisors and chair of the government-backed Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs. To date they have helped raise over $1 billion for hedge funds, private equity, real estate, impact investors and venture capital firms.
“At the start of my career I worked in banking, which at the time meant getting up every day at 5.30am to be on the trading floor by 7am. Ever since, I’ve been much more of a morning person, and like to go to bed early to make sure I maximise my early starts. I usually get up around 5.45am, when I let my three dogs out and have a coffee. I definitely have my most developed thoughts and creative ideas early on, and I’m a strong believer that the best way to solve a problem is to sleep on it. After I’ve showered, I walk my dogs. It’s a really important part of my morning that allows me to connect with nature and clear my mind. My PA, Lucy, who I’ve worked with for 10 years, texts me around 7am with a breakdown of the calls and meetings I have that day. I divide my time between my different roles running AA Advisors, preparing to launch my new egg-freezing start-up, and chairing the government-backed Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs, through which we’re hoping to close the entrepreneurial gender gap. Finally, ahead of any work calls or meetings, I always make sure to call my mother – like many people, for me the past few months have emphasised more than ever the importance of staying connected.”
Kelly Hoppen, founder of Kelly Hoppen Interiors
Kelly Hoppen is an interior designer, author, and owner of Kelly Hoppen Interiors. From 2013 to 2015 she was a "Dragon" on BBC Two's Dragons' Den. She received an MBE in 2009, and was ranked as one of the top 100 most influential British entrepreneurs in 2015.
“I am definitely a 5am– 9pm person, not 9-5. My alarm goes off at 5:45am, I meditate, say my mantras and visualise a blank page and what I’m going to fill it with. Then, I make a hot water and lemon, and coffee. Once the caffeine kicks in, I read through all the emails that have come through overnight. My business operates internationally, so I have emails coming through at all times of the day and night. I respond to most and set up the working day in terms of who needs to be doing what, for when. By 7:30am I’m doing a workout in my home gym. Exercising is extremely important to me. In lockdown, I’ve been doing FaceTime/Skype sessions with my trainers – it’s crazy how they can still make you work just as hard, even when they’re not physically in the room. I work out for between 60-90 minutes, before sitting down for breakfast, watching the news and continuing with emails. I’m a huge believer in the power of positive thinking and manifestation: if you visualise what you want then you can create what you want. I always take time in the morning to think about what I’m grateful for and what I’m working towards – it’s all about the mind. Once I’m ready for the day, I hop into the car and am in the studio by 10am ready to design.”
Margo Marrone, founder & CEO of The Organic Pharmacy
Having worked in her local chemist as a teenager, Margo Marrone opened the first Organic Pharmacy store on London’s Kings Road in 2002. The brand’s products are now sold in more than 36 countries.
“Each morning, I start with 20 minutes of yoga. It’s the best way to prepare my mind and body for the day ahead. Then, I have an oat matcha latte and an almond and blueberry mini muffin, which I’ve usually baked myself, sugar-free. I find this combination gives me the perfect amount of energy without leaving me feeling fatigued or unsatisfied. In terms of a beauty routine, I always put on my Enzyme Peel Mask and body brush. This really sets me up for the morning and leaves my skin glowing. A quick shower and I'm off to work. If I'm lucky and the weather is good, I’ll make the effort to cycle in.”
Sarah Douglas, CEO of advertising giant AMV BBDO
Having joined AMV BBDO in December 2000, Sarah Douglas rose quickly through the ranks to lead many of the agency's multinational and domestic accounts – with clients including Virgin Atlantic, FedEx and Pepsi. She was appointed CEO in January 2019.
“Mornings are my time. I’m up and out for a run by 7am. Prayer has always been a founding part of my day, too, and while I was a late adopter of the hot water and lemon, I now subscribe to the cleansing benefits. With some quietness and grounding complete, I take two cups of Yorkshire Gold and two bowls of cereal upstairs. I’m a big believer in children having breakfast in bed (why not? It’s a basic kindness) and my husband and I have never underestimated the comfort of a morning cup of tea and chat. I firmly believe it’s powered our 17-year-long relationship – it’s the small things that count.”
Amy Christiansen, founder & CEO of Sana Jardin
Fragrance label Sana Jardin only launched three years ago, but the brand is already stocked across 80 global retailers, including Harrods, Net-A-Porter, Liberty and Harvey Nichols. Prior to founding the business, Amy Christiansen spent 25 years in the non-profit sector in the US, Middle East and Europe.
“In the morning, while I’m still in bed, I try to engage in deep breathing exercises that open up my heart, sacral and root chakras. I focus on breathing in a sense of strength and peace and breathing out love for two minutes. It always helps me to feel centred and I do it frequently throughout the day, too, whenever I feel I need to regain that sense of purpose and peace. I then immediately have a very large organic and sustainable Cru Kafe Indian coffee with lots of sweetening honey to help me wake up. From there, I’m starting the breakfast and remote schooling process for my sons which, lately, has consisted of homemade banana bread and setting them up in front of their iPads.”
Charlotte Knight, founder & CEO of Ciaté London
Founded in 2009 by celebrity nail technician Charlotte Knight, Ciaté London is now one of the most recognisable beauty brands in the UK and overseas, winning more than 25 international awards for its technology and innovation. In 2013, Charlotte won the Women: Inspiration & Enterprise’s ‘Ones to Watch’ 2013 award and went on to publish The Ciaté Book of Nail Style in 2015.
“With three brands my working day is non-stop, so I try to take some time for myself before I get stuck into work. It might be a ride on my Peloton bike to clear my head, sitting with my daughter and eating breakfast together before we head off for the day or even just taking that extra 15 or 20 minutes to treat my skin before I apply my makeup. I believe your mind-set is the key to success. Starting each day with a positive and joyful outlook helps me mentally prepare for the challenges that may face us, and helps me approach these blocks with creativity, passion and drive.”
Nicola Hartland, CEO of iCaaS
Nicola Hartland is an entrepreneur and chief executive of data protection software giant iCaaS, as well as co-founder and director of Just Sanitise, a producer of liquid sanitiser and surface spray. She is also a mentor for Santander’s Women Business Leaders programme.
“I start every day with a personal training session. Because I sit across a number of businesses, I like to be in a high energy mode at the beginning of each day. Ensuring I begin with exercise has an obvious positive impact on health and general wellbeing, but the interaction with my PT and the daily challenge means I start the day being accountable to both them and myself. I start the day already feeling accomplished, which helps to improve my mood, as well as motivating and pushing me into a high energy zone first thing in the morning.”
Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, CEO & co-founder of FLOWERBX
A one-time PA to Tom Ford – before working her way up to Senior Vice President of Communications at the designer's eponymous label – Whitney Bromberg Hawkings founded flower delivery service FLOWERBX in 2015. Already one of the most well-known florists globally, the brand is gearing up to launch its service on the US West Coast this year.
“I typically wake up around 6am, which, if I’m lucky, is usually before my three children are awake, so I have at least half an hour to go through emails and read the news before they come bounding down the stairs. With the imminent West Coast launch of FLOWERBX, I always wake up to lots of questions and progress updates. I try to exercise a few times a week, too. However, since Covid-19, I’ve found it to be essential for me to start the day with the right mindset. I jog or work out with my trainer outside to feel powerful and in control. I’m finally working in the office again, and I try to be there by 9am, where I’m now greeted with an abundance of smiley faces and beautiful flowers – it’s the perfect antidote to these challenging times.”
Sasha Sabapathy, founder of Glow Bar London
A brand planner turned chef, who has spent most of her life between Malaysia, London and New York, it’s hard to believe Sasha Sabapathy only launched one of London’s hottest wellness destinations, Glow Bar, in 2017.
“Mornings are personally my favourite time of the day. I wake up quite early, around 6:30am and drink a glass of hot water with apple cider vinegar and ashwagandha. I find this really helps to cleanse my system while giving me a sense of calm first thing. I then take my dog Milly for a walk and try to get a workout in. Either I cycle around Regent’s Park, do a Peloton class or an online yoga session. This injection of endorphins really gets my head in the right space for a busy day, and lifts my mood, even if I've woken up with a flooded inbox (which I do not check until at least 9am). I normally then have a post workout matcha latte with some of our adaptogenic protein in it, plus some good fats in the form of coconut butter – I do intermittent fasting now and again as it keeps me super focused, so this will be my main caloric source until lunchtime. By the time I've cycled or walked into work, I feel ready for the day and excited to tackle my to-do list.”
Jeany Cronk, co-founder of Mirabeau en Provence Rosé
Having moved from England to France in 2009 to pursue their wine-making dream, Jeany Cronk and her husband Stephen now own one of the most well-known rosé brands in the world. In 2015, Jeany was elected to the board of Wines of Provence – the same year that Mirabeau Classic and Pure won Gold at the IWC and Global Rosé Masters.
“Mornings in our household are always busy – making sure the family is on track and set for school, work or seeing friends. They can often feel chaotic – but I find they’re also a source of energy as we get ready for various meetings with our wine makers, clients or friends who are visiting Provence. What helps me prepare for all this is my little me-moment of calm. As the earliest riser, I love nothing more than a walk around the garden with a big cup of coffee in hand, watering the plants, taking in the fragrances and listening to nature wake up, too.”
Elizabeth Tweedale, founder & CEO of Cypher
As the founder and CEO of Cypher, Elizabeth Tweedale is on a mission to get children (especially young girls) interested in computer coding. She was also the only woman on the coding team who helped construct Apple's Californian headquarters, before leaving to set up her own venture.
“I’m spending the summer with my family back in America, near Lake Tahoe. But running a UK-based business means my day begins at 4:30am (12:30pm BST), when I check in online with my team to see how things are going and if they need any support. Once this is sorted, I go on a 30-minute run around 5:30am, before getting ready for the day with a coffee while checking my emails. My first Zoom call is usually around 6:30am and these last for up to 90 minutes. Around 8am, I make breakfast for my three kids (Jaeden, 11; Ocean, 9; Rose, 18 months) and we all sit together chatting about the day ahead. They then head off to their activities, and I continue my Zoom calls and meetings until around 6pm UK time.”
Maria Hatzistefanis, founder of Rodial
London-based beauty entrepreneur Maria Hatzistefanis founded skincare group Rodial in 1999. Two brands – Rodial, and Nip + Fab – are now sold through 20,000 doors across 35 countries worldwide including Saks Fifth Avenue, Space NK, Harvey Nichols and Harrods. She is also the author of two how-to books, designed to encourage female entrepreneurs.
“My morning routine is the most important part of my day, as I say in my book How To Make it Happen. I like to wake up at around 5.30am and set the tone for the day. I have a hot water with lemon and an organic double espresso while I scroll through social media and read the industry news. Since lockdown hit, I’ve been filming morning tutorials for Rodial first thing, so I collect my thoughts and make a plan for that day’s video. Filming takes about half an hour and I usually finish at 7am. I then workout for 45 minutes. I have a selection of online platforms I subscribe to, including Peloton, then I shower and make my way to the office.”
Olivia Ferdi, co-founder of TRIP
During her time in the City, Olivia Ferdi began using CBD to help alleviate her anxiety. Choosing to leave her law career in 2019, she launched TRIP to bring CBD into the mainstream. The brand’s premium CBD-infused drinks and oils are now sold in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and are available on demand from Deliveroo.
“The morning alarm goes off a little later now – around 8am. I always scroll through the SL Daily News In Brief from bed and read up on the headlines. I’m obsessed with coffee and genuinely wake up thinking about my first cup. It’s become a real morning ritual. Either alone or with my husband (and fellow co-founder), I relish that sacred time away from the desk, before a day of madness commences. As a brand founder, you never really know what the day will bring, and that peaceful start, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, totally frames my mindset for the day. Pre-lockdown, mornings were typically filled with spin classes and working breakfasts, so I’m really enjoying this reclaimed time. I’ll then flick through urgent emails on my phone and check in with the team on the WhatsApp group chat. We’re very tight-knit, which has been a blessing during this time when quick decisions can be make or break. I try and arrange Zoom calls in the mornings – I adore fashion but since lockdown I definitely need the kick of an early video call to get into something chic. With the current weather, I often have breakfast a little later – often with one of our CBD infused botanical drinks (TRIP Lemon Basil is on repeat right now). It helps calm my mind and refocus on the priorities for the day.”
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