Molly Freshwater, founder of Secret Linen Store talks to Retail Week about her first retail job and what keeps her up at night.

What was your first job in retailing?

I started my career on the shop floor at The Iron Bed company in Nottingham.

Which retail company do you admire most and why?                

Paul Smith. It is a product of one man’s vision and passion. I think the brand has stayed true to itself even after all the success.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

Being very bad at delegating. I would rather do things myself.

Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

The fabulous factories that I have been lucky to work with. They have been patient and shared their knowledge with me over the years. Everything I know about textiles has been learnt from the source of the product.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

Look after and respect the factories or manufacturers. Without them you would have nothing to sell and no business.

What keeps you awake at night?

At the moment I’m planning a photoshoot, so I lie awake thinking about paint colours and wallpaper and timings. We are still a very new business so there is so much to do.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Receiving great feedback from customers and knowing that they will sleep well.

What’s your proudest achievement?

The Secret Linen Store. It’s been a dream for many years.

What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?

I would like to be a chef. I love cooking for friends and family – I would like to be better at it and have time to learn more.

What’s your favourite shop and why?

It changes every week, but at the moment it’s & Other Stories. I love fashion and clothes and it is great fun and great value.

What was your last purchase?

Summer sandals. I wish I had bought two pairs.