One of our favourite stylish mamas, fashion editor Katherine Ormerod has had an impressive career, working for brands and titles including Matchesfashion.com, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and Lyst. She now runs a successful content consultancy as well as her blog Work Work Work, which features truthful interviews with women who inspire her.
Katherine lives in North London with her boyfriend Haden, and the couple welcomed their son, Grey, in March this year. We caught up with her to talk about motherhood, career success and what she keeps inside her Jem + Bea Romy Puffer Tote. Read our interview with her below…
Hi Katherine, firstly a huge congratulations on the arrival of Grey. He’s gorgeous! You’ve had a such an impressive career, what made you want to start your own agency and launch your blog Work Work Work?
If I’m being completely honest I set up my business because I needed to earn more money. I loved my job at Grazia, but it wasn’t financially sensible - even though I had an amazing lifestyle, I was in my 30s, living with my little brother and had no savings to speak of. I really wanted to buy a flat and start a family and I knew that would be basically impossible on my journalistic salary.
When it came to my site, I wanted to create a space where women working in aspirational careers and social media could talk about the less photogenic sides of their lives. I had started to feel uncomfortable about the relentlessly positive version of my life I was showcasing online and wanted to create a more balanced account to add to my digital footprint.
You describe your blog as an ‘anti-perfectionism project’. Have you felt more pressure to portray yourself as ‘having it all’ since you’ve become a mother?
If having it all means working while raising a baby and not living in your PJs all day then I am just about managing that. But if having it all means doing all of that while making it look easy, I’m definitely not! I was really passionate about showing the realities of whatever motherhood was going to bring and while you can both work and look after your kids, it’s bloody hard, messy and stressful.
And how have you been managing the work / motherhood balance so far?
With difficulty! I started writing a book when I was eight months pregnant, clearly because I’m out of my mind. It has been hell, but now I’ve finished writing it I’m so proud of it. I’m also realising four months in that I’m ready to go back to work part-time much sooner than I thought I would be, so really I’m just looking into my childcare options now.
What advice would you give to other mums-to-be who are planning to carry on working through their maternity leave?
You know it will be hard, but you have no idea how hard it can be. Find someone who can help with the baby from time to time - it doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement, but when you are at crunch time with work, you have to have that space to get it done. Don’t let anyone bully you into not working on a routine - if you want to get your baby into at least a bit of a pattern it will help to carve out a couple of hours in the day when you can work. Remember your experience is going to be different from other mums on mat leave or planning to stay at home and expect you will feel envious.
Is there anything that’s really surprised you about motherhood?
How much I love it and hate it equally…!
What have been the best bits and the worst bits so far?
On the tricky side has been coping with reflux, struggles with breast feeding, dealing with a constantly screaming baby, realising how tiny my flat is, the boredom. On the best side, the sheer adoration I have for my little boy, seeing him smile, learn and develop. It’s also made me so incredibly appreciative of my boyfriend who has been so supportive.
You have interviewed so many amazing women for your blog. Whose story has been the most inspiring to tell?
That’s too difficult to say! I’m fascinated by every woman’s story to be honest, I think in another age, I’d just be called nosy. But really, the bravery that women - who have absolutely no reason bare their souls - have shown continues to blow me away.
You travel a lot for work. What’s the one destination you’d like to go to with Grey and is travelling different for you now you’re a mum?
Club Med. Seriously anywhere with childcare! Travelling with a baby is like a job on top of a job. I would love to bring him to my favourite city Los Angeles though to meet some of my favourite people in the world, but he didn’t cope well with a one-hour time difference to stay with my mum in France, so we won’t be taking him trans-Atlantic any time soon!
We love your style. Do you think it’s changed since becoming a mother?
To a point yes, but that’s because I don’t have a waist at the moment. Before I was pregnant my wardrobe was super fitted and unforgiving and that has had to change. But I still love colour and print and playing with accessories and still dress with a feminine attitude.
If you could wear one fashion brand for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would probably be Dolce & Gabbana, but I’d have to ditch my boyfriend and find that elusive sugar daddy first.
And what about Grey? Has it been fun dressing him and what are your favourite brands for little ones?
Grey is sick so often that I’ve kept his look very simple – sleep suits, vests and joggers because it’s easy to change him out of it all. For his sleep suits I think John Lewis are great – I like 100% cotton white styles. I love Baby Mori for vests and Gap Kids do great joggers!