Alexa Ridley

Alexa wears our Buckingham Jacket in Black £198, and our Stirling trousers in Black £130 (above)

What inspired you to start Sort Your Help? 

While working in the City as a lawyer with three young children, my domestic help requirements were constantly changing. I struggled to work out what best suited my needs and how to find the right solution for my family. I spent a considerable time searching for, and training up, my own help and felt there was a gap in the market for busy working parents who would rather outsource this time-consuming job to someone they trusted.

How did you choose your business partner and what key traits did you look for?

Finding the right business partner is key. Naturally you have to get along, but a shared work ethic, an open and honest relationship and good communication between partners is essential. It is important to have the same drive and vision for the business and ideally to have complementary skill sets, so each brings something different to the table.

What does your typical working day consist of?

Every day is different in this business, which is part of the attraction, but equally requires a very flexible approach and a high level of self-discipline. Our clients are obviously only available to speak to us at odd hours and we always try and make ourselves available wherever possible. A working day often runs into anti-social hours.

Can you tell me about any exciting projects in the pipeline?

We have recently partnered with an experienced Norland Nanny, who will run our group cooking courses, enabling Cath Kenny (my business partner) and I to focus on smaller, bespoke in-house courses. We are also in talks with other service providers with a view to expanding the range of courses we can offer. Watch this space!

Alexa wears our Maddox dress in Navy Boucle £225 (right)

What is your biggest weakness and how do you overcome it?

From time to time we are asked to find help in sad and difficult situations. Being a natural worrier and having a tendency to get personally involved, such circumstances make it very difficult to switch off and leave work behind. I have worked out that the only way around this is to be disciplined, accept that I have done the best I can and force myself to take a break from work, rest and recharge.

Worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

My careers adviser at school told to me become an auctioneer, as I liked to talk! Luckily, careers advice has come a long way since then.

What’s the one piece of career advice you would give your 20-year-old self?

Go for something that interests you and accept that hard work reaps reward.

Do you think the gender equality in your previous industry gave you the confidence needed to start your own business?

Absolutely and I am very grateful to my old firm for that. According to the SRA, women make up 48% of the workforce in all law firms and mine was no exception. That is a very empowering experience.

Alexa wears our Langham dress in Dapple Print £198, and Mayfair coat in Navy Wool £365 (left)

 

What is your go-to workwear style?

Something practical and versatile that can adapt to any situation, such as a shirt-dress or a trouser suit.

What is your favourite Libby outfit at the moment?

Definitely the Exeter dress in black – it’s an absolute winner!

What keeps you busy when you’re not in the office?

My three teenagers and the dog keep me on my toes, but I always try to make time for Pilates each week and to throw in regular Zumba classes whenever possible.

What is your favourite (not so) secret place to spend time in London?

I love the Hurlingham Club. 

Name three bad habits you’ve cut from your routine.

I am definitely drinking less coffee; I’ve cut out sugar and made a firm resolution not to look at any devices after 9pm.

What about three good habits you’ve added?

I am drinking at least six glasses of water daily and have allocated a specific time each day to do all my admin chores. I have also started to walk more, leaving the car behind if it is possible to walk instead.

Alexa wears our Buckingham Jacket in Black £198, and our Stirling trousers in Black £130 (right)

 

Interview: Lilli Brant

Photographer: Bekky Lonsdale

Location: Fulham, London

Accessories: Alexa's own

 

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