Helen Davies lives in St.Just, West Cornwall, and is the founder of organic women’s lifestyle brand EKO earthkindoriginals.co.uk. Founded in 2009 and set up in her parents’ garage, after relocating back down to Cornwall. Helen worked as a commercial fashion designer in London, before moving back to her roots in Wild West Penwith, Cornwall. EKO has grown to become an award winning ethical label, selling direct to consumers online and through independent retailers throughout the UK. It is also worn as uniform in some of the best luxury spa retreats in Europe.
Tell us about where you are waking up.
My home is a work in progress and EKO playground that celebrates our love for Cornwall, design and the great outdoors. We like collecting retro furniture, trinkets and things from our travels and hobbies, so there’s always something interesting to look at. I also work from home, so there’s no commute.
Sounds ideal. What does your work involve?
As a small brand, I’m involved in every aspect of EKO, from the number crunching spreadsheets, to creating the marketing plans and designing the seasonal collections, and everything in between. It’s a real challenge, but super exciting and I have learnt so much. I find a daily routine super important in staying focused.
I start the day with a good breakfast – it’s the best meal of the day and I wake up excited about what I am going to create! – and a strong builder’s tea. It’s then time for a dog walk, followed by a strong coffee while creating the day’s ‘to do’ list. I generally get back to emails first and then set a focus for the day and stick to it.
Fridays are my favourite day. I escape the office and head to the our local beach, Cot Valley, or the Dog and Rabbit café or perhaps take a short drive to somewhere like Marazion or Gwithian, where I can park up, walk the dog, grab a coffee and get the notebook out and start mapping out EKO’s future.
Phew! Sounds busy, can we get you something?
Yes please. My business cards describe me as ‘Director and Tea Maker’, so it’s always a pleasure to get one made for me. I’d love another regular builder’s tea, but with a little more milk. It seems to keep the focus going for the rest of the morning. Saffron buns, a Cornish speciality, are also a firm favourite in the office.
And do you have a favourite mug?
Yes, it has to be my Little Miss Sunshine mug, as you can’t be sad or annoyed drinking out of this. Although we do have a Mr Grumpy mug too, so you know if you’re handed this mug, it’s time to take a break…
It must nearly be lunchtime by now. Who are you eating it with, and what are you having?
It seems like the best ideas are discovered over lunch, which is usually with my mum Liz (the picker, packer and accounts guru), and Nikki (the web whizz-kid) and the piercing eyes of Buster (a crazy working cocker spaniel with way too much energy). We’re all passionate foodies (especially Buster!), and lunch is a much-anticipated event. It’s usually salad made from left overs, creatively using up what’s in the fridge, usually spinach, in-season tomatoes, seeds or pulses, with an added extra topping of tuna, feta and home made dressing.
Delicious! And how else do you like to switch off?
In the winter, it has to be kicking back in our office Ercol Windsor wingback chair, or in the summer sitting in the back yard, a real suntrap. I like switching off with a good mag (naturally The Simple Things is an office favourite). There are a few websites I gravitate to over lunch or a cuppa. I always enjoy receiving the e-newsletters from the Do Lectures, and browsing their website for inspirational talks from passionate, creative people. I also like the Tumblr blog The Yard for daydreaming, and This is Your Kingdom for outdoor inspiration.
Do you have any favourite tea-drinking companions?
It has to be my partner and my dog. I love sharing a flask of tea with my partner to warm up after a chilly sea swim or surf. We have invested in a life jacket for Buster, who loves to join us in the water too. There is nothing better than the warming feeling of a good English brew while your salty skin is still tingling.
Perfect. There’s time for one last cuppa – what do you fancy?
It has to be peppermint tea. I now associate the smell with the evening wind down and end of day switch off.