Interview with Marcia Robinson // O Bag, North London

Name: Marcia Robinson

What do you do? How would you describe your working life? 

My working life is pretty hectic. Over the last 18 years I’ve always worked in Investment banks, I thought life was busy then, but nothing compares to how busy it is now.  It’s much more fun though. In the shop there is always things to do to help it looking fresh and interesting. So I’m always creating new combinations of O bags and accessories to showcase.Then there’s the mountain of admin that goes along side running a business, such as ordering stock, processing online orders, accounts, PR and Marketing, Social media. I also like to attend networking events as much as possible to connect with other business people.  

Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today?

I come from a family of people who play it safe. Dad was in the RAF so was very structured and would have a meltdown if any of his kids did something risky! My mum was a nurse;  a very caring woman, but she was the one who always encouraged us to follow our dreams, and gave us tremendous self belief.  She’d always say, "whatever you want to do in life, you can achieve it.” I played it safe for many years working in financial services for 18 years. I worked hard and climbed the corporate ladder. I worked with some fabulous people, and did well but I was never really fulfilled in my job.When I had my son 9 years ago, I knew that I wanted to run my own business but had no idea what it would be. I always believed that nothing before it’s time and that I would find what it is, when it was right. 8 years on and age 44 and I did.  It’s never to late.  

Describe your morning routine

I hate mornings and sadly my son takes after me, we are both slow to rise.  Once up, its all rush to get ready for school and going to the shop. I rarely eat breakfast before I leave, because I’m usually having a sneaky look at Instagram, twitter and emails as I’m getting ready. My husband Andrew is also very hands-on and we usually decide as we’re getting up, who is taking our son to school. Then I’m off to my O bag Store in Crouch End, or start my admin morning at home.  There is no such thing as a morning or day off.  I just always have thing to do.  I do however try a fit in a coffee here and there with friends or other business people for 1:1 meetings

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Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive? 

My mind never switches off. In fact I have another business plan going on at the moment, so I’m often flicking between the two.  O bag is not my invention but to run the shop, you still have to be somewhat creative. As with a new fashion brand to this country, you need to find ways to constantly increase brand awareness and engage the customers.  I often think of ideas at night or I bring storm with my team.

When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track? 

I take a look at my vision board.  Mine is large white piece of card full of images of my wants, desires, quotesetc..  It’s what I want my future to look like.  When I’m feeling a bit low, I look at my board, it helps me to believe that anything is possible.

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle? 

I love meeting many different people from all walks of life.  I find people really fascinating. When I help customers create their O bag combinations, I often end up finding out about their life, or they want to know about how I ended up with the shop.  They are always very encouraging especially when they hear that I changed my career from banking to bags. There are two ladies who pop in from time to time, as they say I’ve inspired them to start their own business, so they come and give me updates on their progress.  Its early days and it certainly hasn’t provided me with financial security at this moment in time, but I’m sure it will in future, well that’s the plan.  Although my days are long, I can have some flexibility when I need it, so I get to take my son to school on some days, and take him to football practice at least once a week.  These things are very important to me.

If you could do something else for the day- what would you do? 

I used to want to be a TV presenter, so probably something like host TV show, or act in a play (no singing parts though)

How do you overcome any challenges in your working life?

I try not to let things overwhelm me, although sometimes that’s hard. Breaking it down into smaller challenges seems to make it feel like it’s easier to get through. If I can’t solve a problem immediately then I talk them through with someone else, to get another viewpoint. Sharing problems really does help.

How do you celebrate your successes? 

This is one of favourite quotes,  "Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.

Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without? 

My vision board.  I look at it to remind me of what I working to achieve and keep updating it.  I also pray!

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend? 

I’m not a big reader, I never have been. Although I have never been testedI’ve also always thought I have dyslexia. It takes me ages to read a book as I get distracted very quickly.  I love reading magazines on lifestyle, fashion and interior design

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready? 

Its important to get enough sleep, but that rarely happens.

What advice would you give your teenage self? 

Not to take life too seriously in your early years.  I’d travel the world first before settling down to start a career.  I hope my son has an opportunity to do this when he’s older.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time? 

Have a handful of O bag shops in key locations.  Building on my other business idea, and doing some mentoring/volunteering. And chilling on a yacht with a Pina colada, would be nice!

Huge thanks to Marcia.