What a day looks like

A day with the serial entrepreneur, co-Founder and CEO of London-based furniture retailer,, Ning Li.

A day with the serial entrepreneur, co-Founder and CEO of London-based furniture retailer,, Ning Li.

Ning Li

8:00 am

Wake up to answer emails from my Notting Hill flat following a long Board dinner yesterday with our new investors, Level Equity, a New York-based growth equity investor who led our B financing funding round in January 2012.

10:00 am

Walk to the office and prepare for an interview with potential customer services team leader — an area that needs urgent attention after a massive surge in orders. We are currently recruiting a new member every week and our core team currently consists of 55 people.

10:40 am

Straight into a team meeting with all the managers of I hold weekly brainstorm sessions with my team. Today the managers debate ideas on how to continue to push the boundaries of e-commerce, crowdsourcing, social media and design. After two hours I pause for a quick lunch break and leave knowing that the team will make the actions discussed a reality. Every solution is pinned to our ethos of keeping costs down for our 100,000 customers — our objective is to cut out the middleman and save them 70 per cent compared to high street prices.

2:30 pm

Catch up-meeting with my co-founders and Brent Hoberman who is our chairman. Chloe Macintosh, head of our collections, keeps us informed of top artist and new designer collaborations which in the past have included Ai Wei Wei, Damien Hirst, the Chapman Brothers, John Stefanidis and Steuart Padwick. The latest recruit is Terence Woodgate, the UK industrial designer, who we hope to be able to promote on one day. Julien Callede, COO, Skypes in from our Shanghai offices (a late evening call for him) and updates us with the latest manufacturing update.

3:00 pm

Meeting with our PR consultants, a Tube journey away in Marylebone, to discuss a few ideas on smart campaigns. PR has been instrumental in our recent growth and it is one of my key focuses.

4:30 pm

Meet with a new investor from Russia. He has a tour of our offices, meets the team and talks about our financial structure.

5:00 pm

Finish scheduled meetings for the day. Problem-solve with managers, make decisions with the team and catch up on emails in the open office.

7:00 pm team outing. Head to the local pub, the Churchill Arms, which serves delicious Thai food (once a week the company pays for the first round of drinks) to join the team and discuss fresh and creative ideas.

10:00 pm

Home — a stone’s throw away from Silicon Hill, the hub of start-ups within Notting Hill.

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