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This article was written on 12 Mar 2015, and is filled under Animals, Business, Food and Drink.

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Lauren Pears: Founder of London’s Cat Cafe

cat-cafe

Lauren Pears shot to fame by starting a crowdfunding campaign which successfully brought the first ‘cat cafe’ to London in 2014. But Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is more than just a cafe; it’s a home for rescued cats designed with their emotional and physical needs in mind. As well as having tea with these feline friends, you can now also attend pet first aid courses at the emporium.

We spoke to Lauren about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

OM: Can you describe an average day at work?

LP: Usually I spend the morning on emails, social media, checking reviews and fulfilling online orders before heading to the bank to deposit funds. Then I spend the afternoon at the shop, keeping an eye on things, supporting the team and usually spending all the money I’ve banked on upgrading the cat emporium! Some days are set aside for future planning and strategy, new merchandise lines and other ways we’re growing the business.

OM: Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur ?

LP: Yes, I think so. I’ve written loads of business plans in the past, but nothing that ever stuck. It took a long time till I had an idea that felt right; and it also took a long time to get the confidence to know I could see it through.

OM: What was the hardest part about becoming an entrepreneur ?

LP: Letting go of the idea that it’s “safer” to be employed. It’s not really, not these days. Companies expand, contract – I know people who have been made redundant many times over and not because of lack of skill. You’re no more safe working for an entrepreneur than being one – the only difference is whether you’re willing to take on the responsibility.

OM: And what’s the best part of the job?

LP: Walking into the cafe with a fresh cup of coffee, before we open, and having all the cats come up to say hello. They’re beautiful animals. I also love seeing the team I’ve built grow into their jobs. I’m so proud of the people we’ve hired – they have coped with a lot of attention, change, stress and growing pains of being part of a start-up and they’re all pulling together in the most wonderful way.

OM: Do you feel you’re treated differently in your industry because you’re a woman?

LP: No – but I was when I worked in Videogames Development. It was a motivating factor to leave that industry and it was the best decision I ever made.

Now I put my skills to much better and much more material use – I don’t spend 3 weeks waiting for someone to tell me if I can do anything, I just make it happen. The people who made me feel like my gender was an issue are now completely irrelevant to me, and I feel that’s a good place for them to be.

OM: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given? And what other advice would you give to anyone looking to become an entrepreneur ? What qualifications and experience do you need?

LP: I can’t think of any specific career advice that I’ve carried with me, to be honest. I firmly believe in confirmation bias – we only follow the advice we already agree with and that is consistent with our existing beliefs!

The best advice I can offer is to be strong.

Be ready for criticism and be ready to turn it into something you can use. Remember that the world is hard and unfair sometimes and that has nothing to do with you or how hard you work. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Sometimes, bad things just happen, and you need to put those bad things in their place and not let them break you. 90% of the time, whatever disappointing thing has happened, it’s happened just because the stars aligned, a butterfly flapped its wings somewhere, and not because the world is out to get you.

OM: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the workplace or in your career?

LP: Pursuing a career path that I already knew I wasn’t 100% into, just because it seemed the easiest and safest route.

OM: What does success mean to you?

LP: Creating things that are beautiful, joyful, that make people happy. Being able to finish things and be proud of what I do. Ultimately, I’d also like to be making an income that allows me to take care of the people close to me.

OM: What’s your feminist wish for the future?

LP: Ideally, that a person’s gender should become such a non-issue in the workplace that it’s off the table as a discussion topic.

Get in touch with Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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