I have never known anyone who works as hard as my father and growing up, this strong work ethic was something he certainly wanted to instil in his children.
I believe my first official job at Carlos was when I was about five, dusting and cleaning in his first shop in Buckingham. I soon took on more responsibilities, being allowed to answer the phone and deal with customers. I will never forget speaking to a customer on the phone who wished to arrange a delivery. She was somewhat bemused when I informed her that I couldn’t write down her address accurately because I was only six and couldn’t spell it!
Many young children love to play shops (my two included) but I got to do this in real life! My friends were always so jealous when I was dropped off to school in one of the Carlo lorries, nothing made me prouder.
When people visit my home they’re always surprised that I haven’t had any formal training in interior design. It’s my passion and comes from years of helping design room settings and choosing stock. Like my father I hate to see things being wasted. I think he made my dining table out of two broken ones. There’s literally nothing he can’t turn his hand to, fix or make beautiful and useful. He has customers who still talk about his first shop in Buckingham and they still have the same table that they love.
My favourite times were summer holidays when I got to go to London on buying trips with my dad. I became a firm favourite with the East End warehouse workers who always had a sweet or a hot chocolate for me. They quickly learnt to turn their Samantha Fox calendars the other way round when they saw the Carlo van approaching!! Nothing made me happier than an afternoon spent loading 200 chairs onto the back of the lorry, followed by a fried egg sandwich reward. I soon had my favourite greasy spoon cafes sussed out!
What I love to see now is how excited my two children are by the business. Nothing is better than a ride in Grandad’s van and many happy hours have been spent making cardboard box forts (comes in very handy for primary school projects on castles!). They adore their grandad and helping him out. My only wish is that we lived closer so he could set them to work dusting on a Saturday! His hard work and dedication to his craft and business is something that I’m very grateful to be able to show my children. Now my son is learning to read, seeing his grandads name on a huge sign makes him a celebrity in his eyes and after all his years of hard work (often working weeks without a day off) this is a well deserved title!