International Women's Day - Ask Kate
In celebration of International Women's Day, we gave you the chance to ask Kate Dawson, founder of The All-in-One Company a question of your choice.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and today we’re celebrating Kate Dawson and The All-in-One Company.
We asked Kate all of your questions, and you can read the full interview below:
What’s a typical day like for you?
Busy! And always different. We start each day with a production meeting so that we all know what needs to be done at the beginning of the day. I will then either be involved in our marketing or development meetings. I try to speak with as many customers as I can during the day. I get regular bookings for speaking events and educational visits to schools and I host Experience days at our factory for families to see their onesies being made and for students to see how we run our company. I feel like a conductor of the most amazing orchestra, instead of keeping plates spinning, we keep playing the music with everyone in tune and on time.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
I am self-driven and always have been, even as a child I just did my homework and tidied my room, Mum didn’t have to ask. It’s just how I am. Which is very fortunate as nothing is a task and everything gets done.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what’s the one thing you would do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything happens for a reason and I have learned so much from all of my experiences. I love my life and I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have had.
What inspired you to start The All-in-One Company?
I needed to keep my daughter warm at night, as she kept kicking off the covers and waking up cold. I needed a onesie without feet or a hood and no one sold them for children over 18months of age. So decided to start a company where the customer could design their own onesie online in the size and specifications that they wanted, where everything is hand made to order.
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
My parents have been truly inspirational as both are entrepreneurs and very much self-driven and have evolved businesses and adapted to change, got through recessions and been fair and supportive employers. I was also lucky enough to have Jan Grieveson as a business coach when I started this company who has helped me enormously and his lessons are still firmly in my head.
What challenges have you experienced since starting?
Quite a few really, from initially setting up a clothing factory with absolutely no experience of the industry and then experiencing high growth followed by market saturation, along with the usual staff issues and cash flow forecasting, but everything is doable, we just have to find out how.
What’s the best advice you have received in business?
Jan Grieveson said to me when the student is ready the teacher will appear, he was so right.
What advice would you give any woman, setting up her own business?
To believe in herself and her dream and keep aiming for the goal. Anything is possible with the right mindset and self-belief.
What are the best things about running your own business?
The ability to follow my dream and make it a reality, to be in charge of my own destiny and to be able to help people and to make a difference, because I want to and not because I’ve been told to.
Everyone has fears, as a business owner, what is your greatest fear?
I don’t live in fear I try as much as I can to live in the now. We never know what each day will bring and it is usually alright in the end, worrying doesn’t solve any problems, taking action in time does.
In your opinion, what steps need to be taken to empower female entrepreneurs?
I am a founder member of Find your Future through Northumberland Executive Women. Our aim is to inspire young women who are still at school by telling our stories of how we started out and what events lead us to where we are now. By being open and honest we can lead the way to help others believe in themselves by being mentors we can help others on their journeys. I do a lot of work with schools and foundations to inspire children into enterprise and the world of textiles.
Flexible working is something that The All-in-One Company is in support of, can you talk a little bit more about this?
Yes, I feel strongly that if we support each other within the team then the team will support itself. By being flexible and allowing staff to work hours that suit them and have time off for events such as sports days and nativity plays enables us to give and take when needed, some staff work from home or choose to come in early and finish early. I feel that as long as the work is done in time and to the high standards that we set then we have the mutual respect and the mutual goal. Again it’s down to wanting to do something rather than being told to do it, taking ownership of the task and seeing it through to completion gives each staff member job satisfaction.
Are you a part of any Women Entrepreneur initiatives?
Yes I am, I am a founder member of Find Your Future and Northumberland Executive Women and will happily speak and support events and groups such as Mumtreprenuer, First Face to Face and The Edge Foundation. Who all do amazing things to support enterprise within the community.
What’s one of your proudest moments to date?
There are many..
Seeing my two wonderful children grow up into kind, thoughtful and interesting young adults. Raising two rescue dogs and seeing them flourish and enjoy life again, building a team of master craftsmen, and being able to share the knowledge and inspire others. I am proud, not only of what I have achieved but what my children and team have achieved also. It’s a privilege being a mum and a leader.
Are there any other exciting new developments for The All-in-One Company®?
Of course we never stop developing, our most exciting news is that we are about to launch our new website which will host the most amazing innovative 3d onesie builders, so you can see your onesie design for a man, woman, child and baby. We will let you know when its live, it won’t be long..
How do you achieve work-life balance?
There is no dividing line, being an entrepreneur is a way of life. In every activity I think about how I can implement my learning into the company, even on holiday watching the lady set up the beach BBQ taught me a massive lesson that I was then able to share with the team when we came back from our summer break, the MRS BBQ story lives on in The All-in-One Company.
What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and inspiring others?
People will do their thing no matter what advice you give, but helping them along the way is a huge privilege. Working with other amazing women and seeing the skills in the sewing room and on the cutting tables is something that I never dreamt of seeing when I was younger, the art of making clothes is such a skill, the team inspires me to be able to inspire others as we must keep these skills alive.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I love that I have dinner almost every night with my 2 children and talk about our days, I am aware that they will soon be flying the nest, so I’m making the most of every day. I love to walk my dog ‘Eb’ at the beach. I love being with my family and friends and especially going on adventure days. I love listening to my son’s latest piece of music that he has composed and having movie nights with my daughter and I love being at home.
Kate, what book is so important in what it has to say that would gift it to someone else? #ASKKATE Micheal AWR
Thanks for the question Michael.
Three come to mind immediately The power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. All have important messages that have helped me so much that I would, and have gifted to friends.