KATIE KENWRIGHT

FROM MAKING BEDS TO BUILDING AN EMPIRE

TRAILBLAZER

UNBIASED - INDEPENDENT - REAL

Katie Kenwright

Background…

I grew up in Skelmersdale with my two brothers and my mum, there was just us. My mum had at least 3 jobs at one time so she could provide for us, one of which was a dinner lady at our school so she could see more of us. As a parent I can totally understand that you will do literally anything for your children, and as a single mum she did an amazing job.

After my A-levels I decided I wanted to earn some real money so went to work for a solicitors. During this time I encountered this amazing woman who enlightened me about HR, I quickly decided that’s what I want to do! So I studied for 5 years to gain the degree I needed, all this with a full time job Monday to Friday and I worked at a bar during the weekends. Once I had my foot in the door I quickly climbed the ranks and I was offered an assistant director position at Matalan, but I turned it down to embark on the rollercoaster with the love of my life, Lawrence.

First ever job…

When I was 16 I worked in a shop inside St Johns market, from there I got another part time job and at one point I had about 3 or 4 all at once because I really wanted to earn money to buy those things I couldn’t have as a child. They taught me the value of money and hard work, something that I’ll never let go.

Worst day in business?

It was probably when Lawrence rang me to say he couldn’t get in the apartments because the locks had been changed. I could hear the pain in his voice and felt numb, I thought ‘what the hell are we going to do now?!’

Thankfully down to our tenacity things began to take off for Signature and somehow here we are 10 years later doing all sorts of wonderful things. I think that’s why we’re really shouting about our 10-year anniversary competition by giving away around £150k worth of prizes over the next few months on social media. So that’s something to keep an eye on.

Person you look up to?

Michelle Obama – she is such a strong elegant lady and she has the character, intelligence and humour to carry it through. She should be the next president!

Guilty pleasure?

Nicking the kids sweets and eating them, I can’t get away with it as much now the twins are learning to talk!

Best book you’ve ever read?

In general I love autobiographies written by true Trailblazers. One of the most reassuring things is when you can spot similar traits in yourself, it really inspires you and means you’re on the right path.

Pinch yourself moment.

Walking down the corridor of the Shankly Hotel with junior and bumping into Tom Hardy who said ‘how cool is this hotel?!’! How often does that happen?!

Something people wouldn’t know about you is….

A lot of people say how they regard me as a very strong woman but one of the things that absolutely terrifies me recently is driving. I haven’t driven for over 2 years just because I haven’t needed to since having the twins but I need to get behind the wheel again now and I’m genuinely very nervous. Despite this it definitely won’t stop me because I know that it’s for the greater good, and I quite like a challenge!

Any regrets?

Wish I could’ve met Lawrence sooner, soppy I know but its true!

How do you switch off?

It’s about putting everything in its own little box, being able to wrap it up ready for the next day. Time with the family is so important and we have a rule that we don’t talk about work after 8pm, which is pretty difficult!

I also think its important within the workplace to have a positive atmosphere so we are about to trial a meditation session every Monday for all of the staff to set us up for the week ahead.

Funny moment to look back on.

Me and Lawrence used to have this old van we nicknamed ‘the venga bus’. We would go to weddings and park it round the corner so nobody would see us get out of such a rust bucket all dressed up. I think we joked that at one point my outfit was almost worth as much as the van!

Best piece of advice to others?

Don’t be scared to be different, have the confidence to think outside the box and leap outside your comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens.

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