Jack Wills: What are you up to now, and what does your average day look like?
Charlotte Cooper: Last year I completed my 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica. I’m currently avoiding the European winter by travelling in India on an inspiration trip and completing an Ayurvedic Yoga Massage course. Then from March I’ll be based in Portugal, teaching yoga, offering massage and working part time at a guesthouse. My day there starts at 6.30am with my own yoga practice, followed by teaching a class to guests. After managing any checkouts and setting everyone up for their day, I might then do some hard graft in the veggie patch, followed by admin and accounts, and a stock check for all food & beverage supplies, before heading for a sunset surf. Each evening I check in on my own marketing portfolio with a quick catch up on emails and social media.
JW: When did you start working at Jack and what were your roles here?
CC: From April 2012, I was Personal Assistant to four of the Directors (Creative, Marketing, Sourcing and Finance), which, as I was new to retail, was great exposure to the top level running of the business. Then, having worked out where my interests lay, I had the opportunity to move into the Creative Services team as Creative Projects Manager. This involved working cross functionally across the graphics, studio, marketing, retail and visual merchandising teams to bring seasonal campaigns to life on time.
JW: What is the one memory of Jack that you look back on most fondly?
CC: The teams I worked with at Jack made each day entertaining and rewarding. It goes without saying that retail is a demanding and non-stop industry, but some of my fondest moments involved the team antics of getting a project over the line – hard work, a constant flow of energy and new ideas, plus the odd pizza delivery and dancing round the office to keep spirits high…
JW: How have your experiences at Jack helped you on your adventure?
CC: Jack has helped me to take the unexpected on the chin, to go with the flow, to be constantly adaptable to new or left field ideas, and to take the plunge when your automatic human instinct of hesitation kicks in. That plus immaculate time keeping, admin and people negotiation skills!
JW: What gave you the inspiration to go it alone?
CC: I’ve always had nomadic tendencies and previously, after 5 years of working in London, took a career break to travel through Africa for 5 months. Last year saw me reach the 10-year mark of hard grind in this beautiful but intense city, and my itchy feet for new challenges, experiences and surroundings returned. Yoga has had a profound influence on my life over many years and qualifying as a teacher gave me the starting tool I needed to combine travel and work. That was my first stepping-stone but, by placing myself in a new and inspiring environment, I’ve given myself the space to consider additional entrepreneurial and independent working opportunities. 2017 will be all about turning these ideas into a reality.
JW: What has been the key to your successes?
CC: Living in the present. Upping sticks and moving to a new country, and taking on the responsibility of working for yourself is incredibly daunting – full of ‘what ifs?’ and sleepless nights. Living in the present, celebrating each success as it happens, problem solving as problems arise rather than inventing them, will leave you making far more rational and exciting decisions, which can only lead to you achieving your goals.
JW: What does being ‘entrepreneurial’ mean to you?
CC: Technically, it involves risk. For me, it’s about setting your own personal life goals and taking the steps to realise them in an innovative and challenging way. Staying true to those goals can be a tough task in itself, but if by becoming your own boss you are giving yourself the freedom to be creative, choose the projects that most inspire you and ignite your passions in life, then I believe you are encompassing the true spirit of entrepreneurialism.
JW: What would your advice be to people looking to start on their own journey?
CC: Do the boring jobs properly (tax return anyone!?); always have a plan B and C up your sleeve so that any “failures” merely become slight changes in direction; and never put “that thing” off until tomorrow. But most of all, give it a go! If you are truly passionate about and believe in yourself, then others will be on board, and that can only lead to amazing results.
JW: What does the future hold for you?
CC: I’m excited to see what the universe will throw at me! This year I’m looking to work alongside other yoga teachers to create retreats and workshops, allowing people from all backgrounds to deepen their practice. Plus I’m investigating ethical and conservational projects, as a way to give back to the incredible places I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to, and for the environment which I enjoy every day, but which is in constant threat from human overconsumption.