How James Eden, CEO of Private White V.C., wakes up

How James Eden, CEO of Private White V.C., wakes up

Ever wondered how the CEO of a hugely successful fashion brand starts his day? Well, now you know.

James Eden is the CEO of one of the best British menswear brands, Private White V.C. and has often been touted as a very significant reason for the company's ongoing success.

Private White V.C. one of the only brands in existence today that still produces every single piece of clothing inside the same Manchester factory that it was established in over 169 years ago. Each piece – whether a jacket, a jumper or a shirt – is handmade and then checked and controlled in that same red brick building which, in today’s fast fashion-orientated world, is no mean feat. The brand is interesting and so is its CEO, which is exactly why we sat down with him to find out how he wakes up and what motivates him day after day.

“I have three kids under the age of seven, so there is always someone up ready to rave bright and early. I can't actually remember the last time I woke up to the sound of an alarm but saying that, if it weren’t for the kids I still wouldn’t have any issues getting out of bed. My body and mind seem to wake up in unison at 5:45am but I do set an alarm for 6am, just in case.

In my former life as an investment banker in London, I used to dread every morning and it was a Herculean battle to get up each day. This is in stark contrast to how I have felt each morning for the past 12 or so years working as CEO of Private White V.C. Fortunately, I still have such a fanaticism and passion for what I do; each day at the factory is so varied and unpredictable that I am always eager to get out of the bed and get at it.

Rather than such a strict morning routine, it’s the end of the day that I place focus on. I have an end of day review with myself, in which I appraise and critique what has gone on in the day; the good, the bad and the awful. I then try and challenge myself as to how I would have done things differently. The last thing I do is check my diary for what I have planned the following day. Finally, I note down my top three priorities for the next 24 hours which I am very strict with. For me three is the perfect number, four is too many. I find that by writing these down succinctly, they stay at the forefront of my mind and my subconscious so that by the time the morning comes, I’ve already worked out how I am going to tackle each priority.

When I was a child, my father said “you can’t be everyone’s friend in the playground” and that has resonated with me ever since. Certain individuals live their life making a concerted effort not to offend or alienate people with their actions but for me, this is a recipe for disaster – especially in business. In my experience if you’re not ruffling at least a few feathers here and there you’re most certainly pursuing a path that is simply too easy and destined to yield below average results, standards and/or expectations. If I could go back and tell my younger self something, it would be to be as present as possible. As each year passes, I become more frustrated at how much I took my teenage years, 20s and 30s for granted. I’m 40 next July and I can feel the sands of time slipping away at an ever increasing velocity. I would also stress the need to cut out any negative or toxic personalities in your life. As you get older, life becomes increasingly fraught with stresses and strains from elements that you simply can’t control. As a result, you need to take ownership of the forces within your control and a major part of that is dictating who you actively chose to spend your time with. In life there are drains and there are radiators: avoid the former and surround yourself with the latter.”

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