GROWING UP IN THE BUSINESS – SHONAGH AND SOPHIE DISCUSS THEIR EXPERIENCES
Shonagh spoke to Sophie Fairweather (daughter of Kelly Fairweather, owner of The Selkie Dundee) about what it was like growing up in a business environment and how it effect her outlook on her own career and how she presents herself to the world.
Sophie Fairweather, ” I ’ve learned it’s not easy, you have to make sacrifices and it doesn’t pay off every time but when it does it is so worth it.”
When I first met your Mother, I was in awe from the hardships that you and your family have been through. Do you think that seeing your mum go through all of this has inspired you to become a strong young woman?
Definitely! I think now that I am older, I can better understand how hard my Mum has worked to support her family and businesses over the years. I look up to my Mum as a role model to become a strong and resilient young woman when paving my own career path. I see how she conducts herself when holding a meeting or a talk, I can see how other people that I would look up to, look to her. I think when you are younger it’s really easy to take for granted what your parents do for you, because it’s ‘just mum’ or ‘just dad’ but now I see my Mum not only as a Mum but a business owner, a good friend, a support system, an employer, a carer and all-round general inspiration.
When I grew up, home life was sometimes absorbed by the business. I always wanted to make sure my parents had a balance between work and family life and not spend all of their time working. Do you think growing up in this environment makes you more conscious of the need for a good balance?
Yes and no. Balance is important and I have seen my parents struggle to balance both (8 kids definitely doesn’t make it any easier!) but I also think that’s just who my Mum is. Her brain is never switched off, she’s always up to something, so much so that she can forget normal things like putting a bra on! When I was younger, I didn’t understand that work couldn’t be left once Mum and Dad got home but now, having my own things going on I get it! It’s not easy to just switch off in the middle of something, certain things can’t wait especially when you are self-employed. In saying that, the time off my parents did have with us was great! Being self-employed allowed them more flexibility for holidays and days off which left my siblings and I with some really great memories and quality time.
I remember finishing my A Levels and the next day helping my Dad at a building site, was there ever a point where you have been helping out at the businesses?
I first started helping out when I was about 13 I would go with my Dad to farmers markets to sell cupcakes, it was one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday morning. I really did love it for me it was exciting to get to sell people cupcakes and go round the market having a nosey at what else was there. As I got older, I helped out in some of the shops they had, it was great it allowed me to earn my own money and begin to understand what working meant.
Now that I have recently graduated, I work in The Selkie with the rest of the family. I am so lucky that Mum supports me in this role by helping me to understand the behind-the-scenes business stuff but also on skill such as holding interviews and managing a team. Don’t get me wrong working with family isn’t always easy but again that’s just another skill to work on.
I remember when I was growing up, I swore that I would never go into business after seeing the effects it can have on a family – and yet here I am! Do you think in the future you would like to run your own business?
I was exactly the same! I swore I would never do it, I saw the long hours and the stress and vowed I would work for someone else. Now though, is a different story I think one day I would like to work for myself I see the benefits as well as the drawbacks. I see the flexibility and the lack of but the biggest thing for me is being able to develop a business that reflects your strengths, skills and passion. I really believe that no –one works harder than a self-employed business owner.
What have you learned from watching your parents run their own business?
I ’ve learned it’s not easy, you have to make sacrifices and it doesn’t pay off every time but when it does it is so worth it. You have to be tough, criticism will be given, whether you ask for it or not, and sometimes it can hurt. You have to roll with the punches. I think I’ve learned a lot from just watching my parents, with clients, on the phone and organizing themselves that I have been lucky enough to just absorb what they are doing so that whenever I’m around them I’m learning something.
We learned that Sophie has just recently graduated in Law and we would like to wish her all the best in the future!