September 27, 2008

My Seven Secrets of Survival

By Gaby Soutar

1Remember to laugh. Life can get so serious when you're endlessly trying to achieve tasks and meet deadlines. Nowadays each of us is expected to be an accountant, an administrator, a cleaner, a cook, a parent, a computer expert... the list is endless and exhausting. Running Eribe Knitwear Design can get stressful, with the bills to pay and orders to deliver on time so that customers can sell on successfully. It is lovely when we share a laugh or joke together in the studio, or with our knitters and customers. Laughing puts life back into perspective and helps us to relax and ask the question, "Does it really matter?"

2Challenge, question and learn. I am sure I drive my colleagues crazy, the way I'm always looking for every possible way of knitting a new design. Problems do occur but what matters is how we face them. We have got to look for new opportunities. I like to see challenges in a positive light and take the view that every cloud has a silver lining.

3Family and friends. I am sure most young entrepreneurs would agree, you need family and friends to survive the ups and downs of the business world. One year, one country - Japan, say - can be buying lots of beautiful luxury knitwear and the next they can't afford you because of the exchange rate, or because the political situation makes importing too difficult. Just having moral support from family and friends is enough to keep me going.

4Exercise. There is no doubt that I feel much more positive when I have exercised, especially in fresh air. Dancing is also a lot of fun, especially with friends at a night out, enjoying live bands and DJs. We did a fashion shoot at a "fairytale" party we held in a local village hall one year. You could see the sense of enjoyment in the models' faces, and the whole thing was really infectious.

5Eat well. Doesn't food taste so much nicer in good company? With a busy life, sitting down together as a family or with friends is such a lovely way to hear about everyone's stories and news. I prefer this method of communication to phone calls or texts or e- mails. Between six and eight of us eat together at a large round table every evening.

6Have a hobby. My indulgence is textiles. I am lucky that it just happens to be part of my job! Although I seem to be spending more and more time looking after the business end of things, playing around with colours, textures and yarns is so satisfying. I only work with the best-quality yarns from the UK and Italy, so I am touching such a wide variety of soft, thin, thick yarns, exploring new patterns and shapes. It means I am always looking at new ways of knitting. I can recommend it, or crochet, as a hobby to everybody - including men. When my father was very ill in hospital, he said he was the only person in the ward doing something. He was knitting a small pullover for his grandchild. It is very therapeutic and what a gift!

7Quiet time. I try to turn off the TV, radio, phones and faxes and run away from everybody once a week. It is important for me to listen to nothing and stop the chatter in my head. I have a tendency to try and go faster than nature - but we are part of nature, so it just can't happen.

To see the autumn/winter collection from Eribe visit

(c) 2008 Scotsman, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.