My Career Clock
Name: Louise Rainbow
Interviewer: Sally Higham
Where you are based for work and what do you do?
I’m in Wiltshire and I’m a rubber manufacturer! We manufacture rubber components and balls. We are the only ball manufacturer in the Western World.
Did you train for a specific job?
Yes I’m a primary school teacher – obviously not what I do now… I didn’t train for this job in manufacturing. J Price Bath Ltd is our family business and whilst on maternity leave I was bored and thought my Dad, who was the MD of the business, had more on his plate than he should have. I started off with sales and customers whilst I was still in London. After a few months I got more involved at the factory and fell in love with actually making something. I love the process of seeing something started and then seeing it sold – from beginning to end.
What are you doing now? What’s a typical day?
I’m the MD of training now and my Dad now focuses on development. I look after production and focusing on future sales and digital web marketing and sales. We used to sell business to business but now it’s a mixture of that and selling direct to customers.
My typical day is starting in the factory, checking production, ironing out problems before the phone starts ringing and emails fly in. I focus on existing customers first and then on the new ones. The rest of my day is focusing on the future of the business.
What are your aspirations for your career in the future?
To step up into the company MD role and grow the family business. I want to make sure we survive in the tough world of manufacturing. Carrying on the family name started by my grandfather in 1936 is incredibly important to me.
Wow that’s quite a legacy to uphold! Can you tell me about a defining moment of your career?
Yes absolutely! Last week I developed my own ‘rubber mix’ for a softer tennis ball. This is developed, tested, tweaked and tested in the lab; then we checked the compression, the bounce, the mix, adjusted the ‘recipe’ and produced a different, value-for-money tennis ball.
I can really see why you love to see an end result. Who helped you along the way? Did you have formal or informal mentors?
My dad mostly. And also my cousin – a chemist – and my sister, a chemical engineer. My sister helped me with production flow when I started out.
What are the worst and best bits about your job?
The worst bit is always being at the end of emails even when I am on holiday.
The best bit is when everything goes to plan and everyone is working as a team! Changing the staff’s opinion of working for a woman instead of a man has been tough. It has taken 3 years for them to get used to working for a woman and realising I mean business. Another best bit is finding a new market – for example via Amazon.
Have you ever considered a board/NED/trustee role?
No – I haven’t got time right now. I even dream about work!
What helps you to stay interested/excited in what you do?
This is my business and I am engulfed by the responsibility of the family legacy, which I am determined to carry on.