Our very own Jennifer Irvine features in Stylist Magazine’s “Work Life” one-day diary…from morning latte to lights out.
Jennifer Irvine, founder of The Pure Package gourmet food delivery service
She lives in Surrey with her husband Stephen, a banker, and their three children, Rose, two, Jasmine, three, and Lilly, five.
I grew up on a working farm in Ireland. My parents were cheesemakers so I spent my childhood milking cows and chasing chickens. Raised to understand where food comes from, I wanted to start a company which delivers fresh and healthy meals. That’s exactly what I did eight years ago from my kitchen table, testing out recipes for calorie-controlled packaged meals that could be delivered. I got the idea from my own hectic lifestyle. I’ve now got a business worth well into six figures.
I wake up at 5am and go into my study, in my pyjamas, to go through emails. I feel like I get a day’s work done in 90 minutes because no one’s awake to interrupt me. I then go back to bed for half an hour before th lights flick on (we’ve got a timer set for 7am). Breakfast is a big deal in my house. My Pure Package arrives at my door (I get sent them every day to ensure I’m 100% happy with everything going to my clients). I have the porridge, yoghurt and dried fruit. I also cook a hot breakfast: poached eggs from the chickens outside and roasted homegrown tomatoes.
My PA Rachel arrives at 8am. She helps run my office, but as a trained make-up artist and stylist she’ll also help me pick out clothes for my appointments. Sometimes I’ll need three different outfits; something formal for a meeting at Downing Street (I’m an ambassador for Enterprise), something casual for the nutrition training sessions I do with personal trainers and a cocktail dress for a fashion benefit later in the day.
At 8:30am, I drop the kids at school, come home and do an hour in my gym while watching MTV. I shower, change and leave the house at 10:30am to drive into London. A lot of my time is spent in meetings. It was very different when I first started, cooking all the dishes myself in my kitchen. Now, I have meetings with celebrity trainers, such as Matt Roerts, or government officials, advising on everything from healthy eating to business policy on enterprise and entrepreneurship. I try to schedule my meetings in the mornings so I can come back to the offices in New Covent Garden Market and be part of our staff lunch. Every day we sit around the huge 100-year-old French farmhouse table and eat the same meals that have been sent out to clients. Everyone on the team (around 30 people) is a passionate foodie so we talk about the dishes or our dinner last night. Ninety per cent of our clients use The Pure Package for weight loss but I won’t compromise on taste. Eathing healthily doesn’t mean no cheese or carbohydrates. It’s all about quality, if you’re going to have chocoate – have a small quantity of the purest you can buy.
At 2pm, it’s back to meetings. A lot of celebrities use my service so I’m a gateway to some well-known people’s health. I’m always being approached by companies who want to sponsor us or work with me but I’m very protective of my brand. Saying “no” is the secret to being a successful entrepreneur.
I leave London at 4pm, get home by 5:30pm and start cooking dinner – my day really does revolve around food – with a little help from my three girls in their aprons. We grow a lot of food but I also have an Abel & Cole box delivered every week. You never know what vegetables you’re going to get and I find the randomness really inspiring.
The kids go to bed at 7pm and I do one of two things: either sit down with Stephen to watch a film or put on a nice dress and some heels and head over to a friend’s house for drinks. Bedtime is either 9:30pm or midnight!
When I first started The Pure Package everyone was telling me that if I was going to do anything diet related, “it had to be the Akins diet”. It was so on-trend at that time but deep down I knew it was a fad and I stuck to my guns. I went against the trend, refused all outside investment and did what I wanted. It’s that self-belief which has made me and my business a success.