Interview with Founder of Daisy Chain, Louise Deverell-Smith

Written By Lulu Townsend

Where were you born? 

Solihull in the West Midlands

What has been your journey to the here and now? 

I wasn’t particularly academic in school, but I loved art and drama and loved being part of the sports teams.  That is why I have worked closely with people and built a community of people.  I love connecting with people and connecting with other people, but stats and figures are not my things.

Why Daisy Chain? And how long did it take you to set up from the initial thought?

Daisy Chain was born after my 3rd child (Daisy) was started mainly due to my frustration with seeing brilliant mums unable to find flexible jobs.

I’m the kind of person that loves to get things done, and I’m a bit impatient, so once I thought of the concept, I found a website designer and developer, and it was done within eight months from concept to launch.

How receptive have companies been to Flexi working during COVID and post-COVID?

Companies are a lot more receptive to flexible working since Covid, but I can sense there is some hesitation with some to go fully flexible (and advertise this). In the current hiring market, though, talent is hard to find, so companies have to think of ways to attract and retain talent and having flexible work is a massive benefit for many people.

Is the idea of flexible working here to stay?

Definitely, and I think it will get more creative and progressive.  I think we will all look back in 5 years at what we all used to do with commuting and being at a desk from 9 am – 5 pm every day, it’s just so outdated!

How important do you think it is now for companies to prioritise a better work/life balance for their employees? As a result, have they seen better productivity?

It’s so important to offer for people’s health and happiness. And then talk about.  Productivity rises when people work flexibly, so it’s a win-win situation.

Describe a typical day.

6 am alarm clock

Get ready with a cup of strong tea!

7 am – start waking my three kids up (this process can take 20 mins!)

7.45 am leave the house with my two youngest on our bikes off to school

8.50 am – back home and start working – create my to-do list for the day (start with my worst job…which normally means something to do with chasing £)

12ish – lunch break plus a short walk with my little Scottie dog Maggie

3.20 pm – set off on my bike to pick the kids up from school

4 pm – back home and start dinner plus nagging about reading/ homework

7 pm start bedtime

7.30 pm – dinner for hubby and me

8 pm – 2 youngest are in bed, and my eldest will be watching football or TikTok, so I’ll do some more work stuff.

10 pm – bedtime with a cup of camomile

Do you subscribe to a flexi working lifestyle yourself?

Yes! I am fully flexible on location (sometimes I’m in an office, but mostly I work from home) plus I’m also probably working 4 days a week, not 5 (due to school hours).

How many jobs are flexible and remote?

On Daisy Chain all jobs are flexible – around ⅓ are remote

The most receptive company to Daisy Chain.

Oh this changes all the time, but I’d say at the moment Bloss are very flexible and have been really supportive to Daisy Chain

The most satisfying moment of your career so far?

Going to the House of Parliament when I was in the top 100 female entrepreneurs.  My parents were particularly proud of me that day!  Oh, and a close 2nd is when I was on a panel talking about flexible working and Claudia Winkleman was the host of the event…her fringe is just as impressive in real life!

If you were to do it all again would you and what would you change? 

I would have worked abroad at some point in my career.  I did work in Ibiza for 4 summers when I was a student and I wish I’d done this more once I had graduated and started my career.

A female that inspires you

Dame Deborah James (BOWELBABE).  She has touched so many people with her bravery and honesty.  She is a genuinely inspiring female.

An object you would never part with

The silver bangle that my now-husband gave me for my 17th bday.  He can’t believe it’s still silver and I haven’t lost it!

When was the last time you learnt from a mistake you made?

Oh everyday I make mistakes.  I guess the big one recently is that if I don’t put myself out there (and by that I mean approaching companies to join Daisy Chain) then they don’t come flooding in.  I always have to remind myself of the phrase ‘if you don’t ask, then you won’t get’!

How would your friends describe you?

Loyal, caring and disorganised!

The biggest female influence in your life

Oh wow, there are so many!  My mum and sister would be top of the list – both hard-working mums.  Plus, I’ve worked with so many amazingly passionate women it’s hard to name just one.

An unforgettable place you’ve travelled to 

The Maldives – it was just perfect to go with my family.

Your favourite place to be

Ibiza – on a beach with a jug of sparkling sangria!

What’s next for Daisy Chain?

I am partnering with a digital marketing company that will grow Daisy Chain even more. I also want to launch Daisy Chain Awards championing flexible companies and their people.

How do you celebrate your birthday? 

I usually have a party at our house with all my friends and their kids (the kids outnumber us now!) My b’day is around the early bank holiday, and the weather is usually pretty good – so we can all enjoy a bbq and drinks and the kids can play in the garden.

What are you dreaming of?

Ibiza – moving there one day would be the dream!

Your favourite website

Depop – I love selling stuff I don’t wear (or fit into!), and I love finding random things from other people.

Your biggest treat

A Kir Royal – it’s a cocktail with creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) with champagne!

A recent “find.”

Konditor caramelised almonds

Konditors Caramelised Almonds.  They are the only ‘treat’ that my kids don’t like…so they can be all mine!

In my fridge, you’ll always find

Ginger shots, Milk and Ham

The beauty staple I’m never without

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara

YSL Mascara

How do you relax?

I love a hot bath while listening to a podcast (my current favourite is Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s Parenting Hell)

What would you tell your 20-year old self?

Travel as much as you can and learn how to remember people’s names! (I have the worst memory of people’s names!)

Your one word of advice is…. 

Don’t compare yourself with anyone else!