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Dream jobs: Meet the woman making your wardrobe more eco-friendly

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Hannah Keegan
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Mathilde Blanc takes us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights-out.    

Mathilde Blanc, 36, is the co-founder of eco-friendly dry cleaners Blanc. She lives in Ealing with 
her husband and two children.

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

Around 6.30am. I shower; get my kids ready. I usually don’t have time for breakfast. I drop the kids off at school on alternate days, and on the days I don’t, I walk to work while listening to a podcast. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Why We Sleep podcast by Matthew Walker, it’s made me cut down on caffeine, even though I love coffee. I now have an organic decaf from Halo when I get to work. 

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I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

The customer experience at Blanc, which involves looking after our marketing and content strategy, crafting the in-store experience and quality assurance. We have five stores across London.

I GOT THE JOB…

Because I couldn’t not get involved. I worked in investment banking when my husband started the company. He’s from a family that’s incredibly passionate about the environment and I’m interested in health. When we discovered that 90% of all dry cleaners use an incredibly toxic solvent during the process, which is bad for our health and the environment,
 we wanted to change that. 
I spent time on the company after work for two years and then left my job in 2016. It should have been scary, but 
it just felt natural. Obviously there was the money thing – we earn a tremendous amount less now – but for us it’s more than a business, it’s a way of life. 

There are five Blanc stores across London.

MY TYPICAL DAY…

Starts when I get to work at 8am.
 I try to save an hour for planning in the morning and not start on my emails right away – I lose two hours if I do. I’m not the quickest to reply to them either. I reply in bulk to allow time to concentrate on other things. My meetings are usually planned a week in advance and revolve around my focus for that day. It could be marketing one day, strategy the next.

Around 1pm, I stop to eat something I’ve made the night before: bean or rice salad. I’m based at the same site as our factory in North Acton. It’s open plan, very white, minimalistic and similar to how our stores are in terms of design. There’s a lot of interaction between head office and the shop floor. If a tricky item comes in, I’ll be called, and my husband will come in. The head of cleaning will come, too, and always has the last say. There’s an intimacy that comes with handing someone your most delicate items and we understand that. I leave the office at around 5.30pm.

MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT…

Isn’t really one thing. It covers everything from meeting the heads of sustainability for big luxury brands to receiving thank you letters from our staff. 

Unlike most dry cleaners, Blanc avoids using toxic solvents.

THE WORST PART OF MY JOB…

Is that there aren’t enough hours in the day, which means things don’t progress as quickly as I’d like.

THE BEST PART OF MY JOB…

Is having a purpose. I know deep down what I do is worthwhile.

AFTER WORK…

It’s playtime, storytime and bathtime with my kids. I preserve dinner
 as our time together. And it is mobile-free. I make something like gnocchi or a nicoise salad. I put the children to bed a little before 8pm. Then I pick up work again for another couple of hours: emails or project proposals. Before bed, I try to make time to read. I love crime novels. I’m asleep by 11pm. 

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My Plan B: children’s education

I am really interested in child psychology and development and spend a lot of time reading about it. If I wasn’t doing this, I think I’d be working for an education startup that’s challenging the way we teach and bring up our children. We could be doing better. 

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Photography: Holly Whitaker

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Hannah Keegan

Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.

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