My life/style: Hobbs CEO Nicky Dulieu

When she's not signing off a new shoe range, the Hobbs CEO is hard at work in a seven-acre garden in Norfolk.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 28 Oct 2013


Work

I live in a tiny village in Norfolk so I have a 2 3/4 hour commute. I'm up at 5am, and get into the office on Wellbeck Street just before 9am.

My days are varied - I could be signing off our latest footwear collection or meeting with our private equity investors, so my signature dress style is always on the edge of smart. For lunch, I'll go to Cecconi's in Mayfair. It has a fairly efficient service so you're not there for hours. I usually have the aubergine parmigiana as I'm a vegetarian.

I tend to wear Hobbs most of the time and I'm fortunate to have lots of access to clothes. I've probably got 250 pairs of shoes and 50 handbags. When I buy a brand other than Hobbs, I'll either choose Mulberry or Alexander McQueen.

Personal

My weekends are anything but glamorous. When my partner and I moved to Norfolk almost three years ago, we took on a house that needed lots of work. The house is almost done, but I spend most of my time working my way through seven acres of gardens. I'm up as soon as it's light and I'll come in when it's dark.

My favourite room is my boudoir, which is pink, black and silver. I like bright colours and I drive an Audi A4 convertible, which I customised in purple, my favourite colour.

Hair's not a big deal for me. If I'm in town, I'll go to Gielly Green in Marylebone. I don't really have a skincare routine, but Everlynn is a must to brighten things up.

I have three cats, and each year they appear in a product range. Roly features this season, Maddy had her own sock and glove collection last year, and Lexi has got one coming up in spring/summer.

Nicky Dulieu has a seven-acre garden in Norfolk


Travel

I go away for work a lot, especially in the past few years as we try to expand abroad. The best hotel I stayed in this year was the Langham in Shanghai. I've stayed in a few of them, but this was absolutely stunning. Every luxury was catered for - even down to a beautiful pink chocolate shoe in my room on arrival.

I prefer flying with Virgin if I'm going long-haul and I like to read something fun - perhaps something by James Patterson. I don't have a Kindle - I like turning the pages - but I do use an iPad for email.

I love visiting our shoe factory, which is in Porto San Giorgio, Italy. I usually go on holiday to Antigua in February. It's just after the end of our financial year so a good time to recharge. It's their winter but there's virtually no rain, and it's a lovely heat.

Inspirations

I go to a lot of industry events, whether they're retail-focused or ones hosted by private equity firms. When I do, I'll stay in London rather than commute back to Norfolk. The one I attend most is the Drapers Club, where people from the retail industry get together every month or so.

Retail's an amazing industry for women, but it's something people don't generally consider as a career. So I am on the advisory board to the Specsavers/Everywoman retail ambassador programme, where we appoint women mentors to new people coming into the industry.

Hobbs supports the Fashion & Textiles Children's Trust. Last year we raised £20,000 in a month from events that included putting our chairman in the stocks.

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