Interview with Lucy Estherby // Founder of Acorn and Pip

What do you do? How would you describe your working life? 
 
What do I do? At the moment I’m still trying to clarify what I actually do!  Acorn & Pip is in its infancy and everyday I learn something new, something that I never thought I’d be able to do or have the confidence to do, like marketing, web development and blog writing! My working life is a fine balance between extremely organised and quite erratic but I think that every mother would say the same. I am huge lover of The List and I try to stick to mine religiously which helps guide me through my day without get sidetracked.
 
Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today? 
 
My mum says that as a child I bossed other kids around but in a nice way (she would say that). She says that she would hear me in my bedroom playing with friends, ordering them around, telling them what to do and she would cringe! Although, I am not like that as an adult, I do see a certain part of that child within me now. I know what I want and I always have a clear idea on how I am going to achieve it. Naturally, I am quite an introverted person, so I think that I like to be really sure of my plans before going ahead with them which gives me more conviction. It may seem that I am quite direct but really, I have given each plan of action a lot of thought! Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” taught me a lot about being introverted in an outspoken world, and although I am not a typical introvert, I do get my energy from being on my own and recharging my creativity based on my thoughts and observations.
 
I love art and as a child always looked to artists like Frida Khalo for kick-ass inspiration. Nowadays, life is a lot faster so I have to catch my inspiration at a quicker pace but I still look to the ideologies of those that have passed to encourage me to be brave.
 
Describe your morning routine

 
I have never been a morning person. Pre-motherhood I would always lie-in as late as possible and feel great when I saw that it was past 9am on the weekends. However, since having Eden, I find real pleasure in waking before her (which is a rarity, she doesn’t like sleeping), sitting in the garden with my coffee, listening to the birds, knowing that my family is still sleeping. Having a baby mostly means that you are on the back-foot from the moment you roll out of bed and sometimes getting a head start is exactly the tonic I need!
 
It doesn’t take me long to get ready in the morning, maybe 20 minutes. I feel that the day goes so fast and before I know it I am back in my pjs, taking my makeup off and putting my hair back in the obligatory mum-bun. So, I kind of cut my losses and don’t bother too much in the morning. Maybe I should start to make more of an effort!
 
I always start the day with it planned out so I know what has to be done, achieved and ticked off my list.
 
Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive? 
 
My best ideas always arrive as I’m starting to drift off to sleep, just when I’m sure I’m about to go off nicely and BHAM an idea springs in to my head, one that I have to write down, email to someone, call someone or do myself. I like to think it is because my brain is finally winding down, the coffee has worn off and letting down the barriers. So if you hear from me past 10pm, you know we’re on to something!
 
I am a huge fan of Instagram and have made some great friends on there. Having a ‘tribe’ is crucial to my inspiration and support. You can learn so much from others by listening and taking in what they say. Since starting out my business, it has been hard not to compare myself or my success to others’ but the more I speak to other women, they have the power to instill confidence in me, which is mighty inspirational. Also, Instagram offers it’s more obvious use, THE IMAGE. It is a great tool for product inspiration and such a good way to connect with smaller suppliers who are on their journey, just like me.
 
When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track? 
 
I am my harshest critic and a chronic over thinker so I find that my motivation waivers every 15 minutes and I have to kick myself in to shape pretty quick and pretty often. I suppose that it is not really that my motivation dips, more that my self-belief comes in to question which effects my motivation. I think that it’s really important to be kind to ourselves, which is easier said than done. Since having Eden, I often wonder what her self-belief will be like as she’s growing up. I need to show her what self-belief and self-doubt look like (and not in equal measures).

I love a good quote and often find myself trawling Pinterest for that one quote that will snap me in to shape, but deep down I know that it’s more than just words that will get you through. If you believe in your products, your suppliers, your brand and know your customers then simply stepping back, having a coffee and a biscuit will help to gain clarity.
 
What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle? 
 
The best thing about creating and running Acorn & Pip is seeing the amazing products arrive at my door and then a customer orders that product. I know they are going to love it just as much as I do.
 
It would be easy to say that being at work-at-home-mum is the best part of my job but at the moment I find that to be the most challenging. I’ve never worked at home; I’ve always worked in an office or school with really tight parameters so it is a daily challenge for me to balance being a mum and making my business a success. I’m working on how to do it right, so if you have any tips… ideas on a postcard please!
 
If you could do something else for the day- what would you do? 
 
I love music and often don't get enough time to listen to my favourite stuff. So for a day, I'd work in a record store.
 
How do you overcome any challenges in your working life? 
 
Having a support network or a mentor really helps me as sometimes I need experience and expertise to tell me what to do. Otherwise, having a great partner is a Godsend. My husband puts up with a lot of sound boarding but it helps me to verbalise any challenges as this often puts it in to perspective and the solution is never to far away!

How do you celebrate your successes? 
 
When I first started out, I wrote down what success would look like to me. This has helped me to keep things realistic and to stop comparing myself against others. When I have had a good week or even a good day, I try to give myself a night off. Having your own business tends to mean that you work 24/7 (at least for me it does) so having some time away from my computer or phone is a real treat.
 
Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without? 
 
My phone is now a part of my body, much to my annoyance. Pre Acorn & Pip ,I was always quite forgetful with my phone and never minded if I went the day without having it. Whereas now, it is such an integral part of my business so I am constantly on my emails or using an app. I couldn’t be without it. However, I try to use it for good where possible and I use the app Headspace to do 10 minutes of meditation per day to wind down.
 
Which books from your bookcase would you recommend? 
 
I love autobiographies and have recently read On The Road by Gloria Steinman, it tapped in to a certain Wanderlust that is bubbling underneath. Also, Quiet by Susan Cain, is a great read for those who want to learn more about the culture of character. It is a really empowering book, quietly so.
 
What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready? 
 
Nipple cream. Seriously, if you get yourself a good nipple cream, it is the best moisturizer! Hands, elbows, lips, grazes, burns… the stuff is amazing. Other than that, I use a Bobby Brown corrector to hide 12 months of no sleep. And coffee. Coffee is an essential.
 
What advice would you give your teenage self? 
 
Keep going out and having fun because there really does come a day when being in bed at 9pm on a Friday night feels like the best option.
 
Keep your options open because you have no idea what life has in store for you.
 
Be REALLY nice to your parents. They are the best!
 
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
 
In five years time, I’d love to see that Acorn & Pip has grown and developed in to a new stage of its potential and that I’ve grown with it. Five years used to feel like a long time but now I know that it goes in a flash! It would be great to see the Acorn & Pip family grow to a few more members of staff and hopefully another baby (or two!).

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