Career Personal growth

wow it’s been a while

Ok first up, Aimen (Chief Marketing Officer) sorry I tried to do this by myself and it’s not fitting in with the THEME but you can change the image after you see this thanks xo

Wow it has been about 11 months since my last post. Truth is, I lost my mojo. I started doubting what I had to offer and what I had to say. I really just fell out of love of telling my truth, my experiences and the constant doom scrolling especially on Instagram.

Today I had to do my year end review for work, and my feedback consistently was “Super good at what she does, not afraid to share what she believes is right, and challenges us all to do what’s better.” On the other hand, I had a single development area that was (not) surprisingly given by two men whom I worked with on D&I initiatives (who don’t actually know each other) but might as well have been one.
They said, “She’s very good at driving change and taking people along with her to do better together. But she should soften her tone because some people aren’t used to change.” Understood. I don’t think it’s unfair of me to take that tone policing with a massive pinch of salt.

And then it clicked that this whole entire time, I was so worried about how others were going to see me, that I tried to mute myself. But the truth is, people were going to judge me and think I was too much, too little, too loud, too quiet, too… me. I love writing and so I’m back. WWQD is back!!! Play tune of celebration. I’m currently listening to Wings by Little Mix but you play what gets you going.

I know we’ve had loads of people since last June, so hello hi welcome! And for everyone who’s been on this very dead mailing list, welcome back.

Standing on Chelsea Bridge during a particularly windy walk

I’m Queenie. I like all animals and am the publicist of two cats (one of whom acts like a dog) although I am highly allergic to them (make it make sense). I have worked in a corporate the last 6 years although my true passion lies in social justice. I miss playing my violin and I am super good at it although I have wonky pinkies which make playing it difficult. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been commissioned to write and have taken part in inclusive photoshoots although I have never been more insecure of my capabilities and looks in my life. I love plants and have lucky green fingers although I have never owned houseplants until this past year. I am actually a massive introvert although I absolutely love love love the community we’ve built this past year here

Basically, I’m pretty much a whole person and thank you for being here. And while you’re here, I need you to hold me accountable of the things that I’m going to be doing here at What Would Queenie Do. Of course, to keep things fresh I’m changing things up so I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!

  • I’m bringing back Supportive Sundays
  • I’m bringing back Manageable Mondays
  • I’m bringing back Instagram Q&As
  • I’m bringing back the blog (lol) and refreshing the layout
  • I’m making sure every element of WWQD is more accessible and will continue to be inclusive
  • I’m making sure for every four consultations I do, I will be donating one free consultation for someone from a marginalised community
  • I’m making sure that I invest back into WWQD whatever form that takes (time, energy, commissions)

So with that – I hope you all enjoy me coming back (and if you don’t, feel free to unsubscribe lol). I’d love to hear from you all in whatever avenue works best for you, including any suggestions or ideas of things you want to read about. Instagram, website form, or email ( I can’t wait to hear from you!

Ok goodnight bye x


Supportive Sunday: By Rotation

Happy Sunday! Sunday is now my favourite part of the week because of Supportive Sunday. Today’s feature is the true definition of an Internet friendship because well – we actually met on Instagram! We realised we had a lot in common (here’s to being raised in Singapore but settling in London!). For today’s Supportive Sunday, we have Eshita Kabra-Davies, apparent intern but also the founder and CEO of By Rotation.

I first found out about By Rotation when Eshita reached out on Instagram and since then, I’ve watched them grow from a mere 25 rentals to now even having Stacey Dooley’s wardrobe available to rent! By Rotation is the UK’s leading peer-to-peer fashion rental platform. Think of it as the Airbnb of luxury fashion. Eshita and ByRotation have had amazing press, with features in Vogue, BBC, Forbes, Refinery29, Glamour, to name a few.

How does it work” you ask? Well, it’s exactly like looking for an Airbnb property to rent on holiday. You hop on the app, put in the dates you need it for, size you’re looking for, and request for it. If the owner agrees to your request, you borrow it and return it cleaned. On the app, you’re even told the Impact Scale of your environmental positive savings from renting rather than buying! Snazzy.

I think it’s really important during this time to talk about sustainability. This lockdown has really made me evaluate how I lived: quickly, and without much thought to the humane nature of most businesses. Sure, we currently don’t have anywhere to go and won’t need any outfits, but one day I hope we’ll be able to go to parties, celebrations, and weddings again. There’s a real importance to examining what we buy, and where from – especially with fast fashion. By Rotation helps plugs a gap, flipping the idea of sustainable fashion as expensive fashion.

So, I get to wear something fancy pieces for a fraction of the price, while satisfying that desire to wear something new. But I also adore By Rotation because it’s the perfect marriage of fashion and tech, run by a diverse group of women with a huge emphasis on community. Which you know, basically tingles the spidey senses of of our team at WWQD.

You can read more about Eshita and her team on popsugar (where she talks about moving from side hustle to full-time role), Fashion monitor (about their business model) and also on their journal. But for now here’s our chat with Eshita. 👏🏼

Hey Eshita, tell us a bit about yourself

That creative itch never went away and soon enough I was up-I’m a ‘third culture kid’*, born in Rajasthan, India raised in Singapore and now live in the London with my British husband. After 6+ years experience working in investment management and inspired by a love for fashion that doesn’t weigh on my conscience, I founded By Rotation as a side hustle in April 2019 and have now taken it full time.

*A third culture kid: raised in a culture other than their parents’ or that of their country of origin.

How are you doing these days?

I’m doing good! These are unprecedented times so I feel very lucky to be able to continue working on By Rotation and focusing on our community. We’ve been able to use our platform for good, by offering free rental credit to NHS staff for when this is all over and partnered with TV presenter and journalist Stacey Dooley with 100% of rental proceeds from her wardrobe going to Refuge a charity tackling domestic abuse – this all makes me very proud.

Why did you start By Rotation?

I was planning my honeymoon to my motherland Rajasthan, India and turned to Instagram for inspiration – cities to go to, hotels to stay at, landmarks to visit, restaurants to eat at and… what to wear! That’s when I started thinking about fashion rental and the lack of options in the UK, a very first-world problem, and how pragmatic it would be to just borrow from someone else.

When I arrived in Rajasthan I was upset by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. That’s when I felt compelled to change and decided to launch By Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app. During the last leg of my honeymoon, I started inviting my friends to come over to my apartment for a get-together at which I announced the concept and intention of By Rotation. After this initial positive feedback, I created a beta platform over the weekend and started using Instagram to draw people in.

Within a month, it had more than 10 transactions and was picked up by a journalist at Refinery29, followed by a mention in the Guardian. The customer acquisition continued organically, the rental volumes began to increase and the press kept coming.

When I arrived in Rajasthan I was upset by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. That’s when I felt compelled to change and decided to launch By Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app.

What are you most proud of with By Rotation, to date?

Our very strong and diverse community, our ever evolving technology and the incredibly enthusiastic response we’ve had since launching in October 2019! 

On a more business-related note, we’ve received the Eco-Age brandmark for our sustainable business model, hit the 15,000 users mark and have seen 400% user growth quarter on quarter – making us the fastest-growing & largest fashion rental platform in the UK!

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

Our community. They are all equally excited about the concept and that’s really what keeps us going when things get tough. We know they love the platform as much as we do and there’s a need for it.

What’s your ambition for By Rotation?

We want to transform the way that we consume fashion and disrupt the usual journey of retail through rental. We are setting out to convince everyone that we no longer need to buy fast fashion and can instead share quality clothing with each other. We intend to open up our app globally and have local communities, being self-sufficient and ‘rotating’ wardrobes with each other.

So while we’re all doing the spring clean in our houses that we all seem to be doing this lockdown, why don’t you have a look in your wardrobe at what you could rent out – I’d love to see some of your wardrobes on there. After all, #WhatsMineIsYours; come join me in this community!


Supportive Sunday: PERCH & WILD

Welcome back to another Supportive Sunday! Today we have with us Emma from Perch&Wild. Emma’s got one of the biggest personalities I know – one of the many reasons I absolutely adore her (she also cracks me up all the time). This shows through in every piece of her work in Perch&Wild. Finding old pieces and breathing new life into them whilst reusing and recycling is core to Perch&Wild. The ethos: why buy new, when you might already have the perfect piece of furniture that just needs a creative update!

So here we go, Emma and Perch&Wild 👏🏼

Hey Emma, tell us a bit about yourself

After completing my degree in Politics and Philosophy and falling in to a series of corporate jobs (did not suit my hippy life at all) I ended up quitting my job and moving to Thailand! It was there that I realised how much I missed being creative and working freelance so on my return I took a job at a charity where I was able to be a little bit more myself. A year in aaaaand I fell pregnant at 25 with a beautiful little girl called Tilly who ultimately meant I quit my job and looked around my house for something else to do.

That creative itch never went away and soon enough I was up-cycling all of the furniture in my house and eventually that lead to me setting up Perch&Wild. It was so important to me that Tilly grew up watching her mum working and creating in our home and that brings me to where I am now. My love of patterns, colours and anything a bit quirky means my home is always full of my latest projects and eye catching designs which I’m so lucky to now be able to share with everyone else!

How are you doing these days?

I’m actually really good! I had a few markets set up before Covid-19 hit which sadly have now been cancelled but luckily they’ve been moved to instagram ‘virtual markets’ which have been great for spreading the word.

As a new business I was worried how the pandemic was going to affect me but I’ve actually been kept quite busy and I think that’s maybe down to more people being at home, and realising their furniture might need an update. Or perhaps they want a nice, colourful treat in their homes.

What are you most proud of with Perch&Wild to date?

I was most proud of my first sale. In the creative industry you’re quite literally offering yourself up on a plate and my taste in homeware may not be for everyone.

When I started Perch&Wild I was creating things that I loved personally, and for someone to buy into that image and want it in their own home gave me the confidence I needed to carry on. It’s hard not to feel down when an item doesn’t sell straight away but I realise that it’s just waiting to find the perfect person and home to love it properly.

When I started Perch&Wild I was creating things that I loved personally, and for someone to buy into that image and want it in their own home gave me the confidence I needed to carry on.

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

My daughter. She really pushes me to do more and be better. When I’m painting she sits with me and helps and it brings her so much happiness that it’s infectious. She’s my little cheerleader and without her I wouldn’t even have this business.

What’s your ambition for Perch&Wild?

My plans for the future are to increase the amount of commissions I’m doing (I love to give someone something truly personal and seeing the joy on their face) and to start creating collections. Having said that this whole pandemic has really changed my short terms goals so I guess staying fluid and evolving with the times is where I’m at right now, and I’m ok with that.

Having said that this whole pandemic has really changed my short terms goals so I guess staying fluid and evolving with the times is where I’m at right now, and I’m ok with that.

You can reach out to Emma and find out more about commissions from her at her Etsy store. And watch this space: she’s planning some post-coronavirus workshops like cushion cover-making, upholstery basics and weaving so we can all get crafty together!

Career Personal growth

Burnout: (The luxury of) prevention and recovery

What is burnout?

The WHO defines burn-out syndrome specifically in a work context with the following three characteristics:

  • feeling depleted or exhausted
  • mentally distancing, or feeling negative and cynical about your work
  • reduced professional efficacy.

In my case I learned about burnout while going through it. My experience of burnout was influenced by factors like gender, my profession and relatively young age, cushioned by class and my support circle.

I want to help women prevent and recover from the signs of burnout – we’re at a higher risk across professions. I can only speak to my experience as a creative and knowledge worker – a relatively privileged place to speak from.

Why do people burnout?

Speaking through my own lens: I’m 24. I worked full-time in product marketing and run a print & digital design practice on the side. In my pre-COVID free time? I DJ’d. I produced music commercially and for myself. I devoted my time to mentoring junior colleagues out of hours and helped friends with anything from their personal sites to semi-commercial ventures.

Here’s the problem: I can guarantee at least one person is reading this thinking “Coool. Juggle it all hun. American Dream”. That’s the attitude that left me emotionally depleted, cynical about my day job and unable to produce anything creatively in my passion projects.

Here’s how I went from faux cool “sorry I’m just too busy!!!” texts to having regularly scheduled 15-minute sob sessions at work:

I missed every opportunity to take holidays. I rolled over two years’ worth simply because I was too young and inexperienced to realize I didn’t need to be on every single new, exciting project at work to be successful

I monetized every single one of my hobbies. Having a side hustle is great. But creative work is ultimately work: it’s demanding and challenging. When I wasn’t at my 9-5, I was producing websites or making music. As a result, when I tried to enjoy making music or illustrating – I couldn’t. It felt reductive when I wasn’t being paid for it. This toxic attitude left me unable to undertake the exploratory ‘unproductive’ experimental work that is so crucial to creativity. I lost the ability to use my creative work as solace because I added the unnecessary pressure of making things “commercially viable” in an already competitive landscape.

I didn’t advocate for myself. I set unreasonable expectations in a bid to challenge myself. If I could produce a project in a day, I’d try to do it in half a day next time. I accepted more freelance projects than any reasonable one-woman setup could handle. If I could manage 4 people, I’d try to be responsible for 6. If I could go from working til 7PM to working a set til 2AM, I’d do it again. But my fuel tank ran empty eventually.

In short – you burnout when you regularly push yourself beyond a sustainable level of effort or stress.

When you do not balance rest, postpone fun and take on more than you can manage, you become depleted. When we read our maximum capacity for work as an inherent weakness, and try to bulldoze past it, we end up overloading ourselves. Incidentally, we also become completely unpleasant to be around.

When we read our maximum capacity as an inherent weakness, and try to bulldoze past it, we end up overloading ourselves.

How do you prevent burnout?

Balance. While working in a toxic culture or environment wasn’t a great starting point, I could’ve changed my approach.

I should have:

  • Taken regular breaks, even in the form of single days off
  • Taken at least one extended holiday a year
  • Fully switched off from work at some point in the day
  • Been mindful in accepting a sustainable workload
  • Been careful about monetizing my passions
  • Acted my age!

That last point is interesting. By this, I mean I should’ve realized that our twenties are when we can afford to spend time figuring out what we enjoy. By pressuring myself to “Be PuT tOgEtHeR” by the arbitrary deadline of 25, I set up a destructive environment where nothing felt fun unless it was advancing me in some capitalist, quantifiable way.

Finally…realise if you’re a young woman in rooms full of men, you’re expending a great deal of energy fighting to be taken seriously whilst not being ‘too assertive’. This is draining. Find allies. Delegate and share this burden.

Well, thanks but I’m already burnt out. How do you recover?

Recovery is harder than not being burnt out in the first place. While what you actually do is going to vary, you’ll need to introduce balance and restful activities into your life.

If you’re a fan of extremes…

I quit my job and factored in two weeks of free time before starting another. I spent these two weeks accepting zero freelance projects, making absolutely no music and producing nothing of value. I went to a lot of museums, slept and actually spoke to my cat instead of treating him as furniture. I had my husband cook me fresh, delicious meals and spent time with him. I drank my tea while it was still f*cking hot. In short, I healed by quitting cold turkey. I took this newly-gained habit of slowing down into my next job, so I was able to avoid full-blown burnout next time.

If you’re mellower…

Introduce boundaries and acceptance into what you do. At risk of sounding fluffy – really do one restful, peaceful thing a day. Gradually accept the idea of time off as a necessity instead of an option. Learn when to stop working against yourself. Give yourself control. If it feels like you’re forcing yourself to do something, question the necessity of the task instead of yourself. If you’re balancing heavy personal circumstances with a demanding job, prioritise your energy. Take back your hobbies. You don’t need to start an Etsy for your embroidery – you can just enjoy it.

The luxury of burnout

I know, oxymoron. But it’s easy to read points of view like mine and think they’re the only lived experience of burnout.

Being able to identify and plan recovery from burnout is a luxury in itself. Simply by being in the UK, having internet access, three meals to eat a day and a roof over our heads: we have an immense degree of control in determining how our narratives go. It isn’t quite as simple with factors like poverty or immigration status at play. Being able to think about a work-life balance is a luxury.

Being able to think about a work-life balance is a luxury.

Some professions demand a high degree of emotional labour and place us at higher risk of burnout: healthcare and service work included. The language and tools available to us in combatting burnout are a luxury. We should respect this.

If you’re a healthcare worker, we’re working on a piece specific to you soon.

xoxo aimen 👽


Supportive Sunday: WeCook London by Chef Jen

As I was brainstorming on what I wanted whatwouldqueeniedo to be like, one thing that I always wanted to include was features on female led brands, organisations and charities that make a difference in the communities they work in. So here we are for our first Supportive Sunday! Today, for our first feature I’m really proud to introduce one of my best pal’s businesses.

Jen (aka Chef Jen) started We Cook last year and all she’s done is driven it from strength to strength regardless of what the world’s thrown at her. She pivoted and tried a completely different business model as we went into lockdown. Now, she not only looks after the chefs she works with, but also restaurant suppliers. I love that Chef Jen places such an emphasis on food that nourishes you yet is accessible, even for kids. Food holds a special place in my heart – it’s nourishment, enjoyment, culture and most importantly, family. 

Chef Jen of WeCook London

So, who is Chef Jen and what is We Cook?

Chef Jen created We Cook from her love of cooking for people who would prefer not to.

Jen and her team of professional chefs prepare fresh, healthy meals from the comfort of your home kitchen. Your chef will work with you to design you perfect menu each – the ultimate personal service.

Since the team can’t cook from your home right now, they’ve launched a new home delivery service – By Chef Jen – to keep cooking a repertoire of healthy dishes, for busy families in London. We Cook by Chef Jen delivers across London on a Monday evening, so you can fill your fridge/freezer with healthy meals so you have dinnertimes sorted.

Chef Jen creates a brand new menu each week, including a selection of meat, fish and plant-based options – plus kids Mini Meals!

Hey Jen, how are you doing?

Mostly great thank you! I would be lying if I told you I was 100% positive all of the time – but then again who is, even without Coronavirus causing chaos.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a teachers pet with a love for anything creative… I love painting and have a music degree (the dream was once to be a singer songwriter!) I also had 3 competitive Muay Thai fights as this was a huge passion of mine for years, and I’m still really into fitness now!

My proudest (and most stressful) moment, was being a part of BBC 2 Chefs Brigade last year, where I got to travel around Europe with Jason Atherton and a team of chefs, to compete with Michelin starred restaurants!

With We Cook, you get gorgeous home cooked food like these “Beef Chillin’ Wedges”

Why did you start We Cook?

I started We Cook as I was determined to start my own business that addressed two important problems that I could see a lot of people had, when I moved to London last year.

  1. Everybody in London is just so busy! I couldn’t believe just how much everybody relied on Deliveroo, Pret, Meal Deals – even myself at times! I realised that if even I was struggling to cook fresh meals for dinner every night, people with children to feed too must be struggling to juggle everything.
  2. Everybody’s tastes are very different. Working previously running a meal prep business, the biggest problem we faced was customers with dietary requirements, or simply being able to please everybody. I love feeding people more than anything, and so I wanted to create a service that meant I could get it right for everybody, no matter what their tastes or preferences.

What are you most proud of with We Cook, to date?

Honestly just bringing it to life. I took baby steps last year, applying for part-time personal chef positions and posting local ads to test the waters but since then I’ve really gone all in. I designed my own website (twice thanks to Covid-19!) and have a base of regular clients whom I love cooking for. I now have a team of 3 chefs and despite the lockdown, have successfully managed to pivot the business so that everybody still has some work, and all of our clients can still be fed!

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

My clients. Even when it gets tough, I find it easy to keep going because this is my ‘baby’ so to speak. I’m sure any mum would tell you that even when things get tough with their children, nothing would make them want to quit being a mum – at least not for long anyway!

I love making people happy with food, and that will never go away. For years its been my ambition to successfully grow my own company and I always knew that would come with a lot of challenge and responsibilities, so I try to roll with the tough days and love the process of it all. (I also listen to a Gary Vee podcast when things get really tough haha – he always pulls me through!)

What’s your ambition for We Cook?

I have a lot of different ideas that I want to test out with regards to growing We Cook, before I commit to a long-term ‘goal’ as such. I say this because I believe business is all about evolution and adapting to the world around you so that you can continue to solve people’s problems. Just look at the current situation – if you had ambitions before coronavirus I’m sure for many people they will have changed significantly since.

I believe business is all about evolution and adapting to the world around you so that you can continue to solve people’s problems

– Chef Jen

Generally speaking, however, I want to grow my team of chefs so that we can cover as many clients in London as possible and then look to branch out into other cities across the world. With the deliveries, we’re reaching lots of new customers and gaining so much insight into what people want and need at dinnertimes, so I’m using that to steer my vision for the future, in particular looking at children’s ready meal options and retail avenues.

You can reach out to Chef Jen and find out more about We Cook at their website. You also get 2 free mini meals on orders over £25 with the discount code KIDS25. Chef Jen cooks, so you don’t have to!


How to Focus

Following on from wanting to be more present in everything I do, I thought it’d be useful to think about focus. This is in line with Manageable Mondays over at @whatwouldqueeniedo – where all you need to do is get through the day.

I used to think that if I didn’t achieve anything on a Monday, the week would be wasted. What I realised was: I was achieving lots of different bits, but couldn’t finish or follow through (whoops).

So, how to focus?

I’ve tried out some techniques to help me finish whatever task I’m trying to complete. Here’s what I do:

  • Get to the root of what distracts me most: Most of the time it’s Instagram. When I’m bored I pick my phone up and… off I scroll. Before I know it, it’s a full hour gone and I’ve got a powerful right thumb.
  • Remove that distraction: I put my phone in another room or behind me where I can’t see it! Out of sight, out of mind (just like the f*ck bois)
  • Turn off pop-up notifications: Especially for emails! Whenever I get an email I’m like ooh gotta read it now (yep I’m one of those people that have no unread emails). Without it popping up on my screen means I can keep my focus and only go seek that distraction when I need to check it
  • Unsubscribe from notifications: And when I check my inbox, I want it to only be full of things that I care about! How many emails do each of us receive in a day that we can delete without even reading? If I find myself constantly deleting emails from the same source, it’s time to unsubscribe!
  • Be honest with yourself: How long can you focus for, and how long will each task take? If you can only focus for 25 minutes, then make those 25 minutes count and stop forcing yourself to sit still for 3 hours. Also, if you know how long something will take you, you’ll be able to plan how much you can do, and therefore feel motivated to keep going because you know you can do it!
  • Find some apps to help you: I use Flora (iOS only) if I need a short focussed burst. This is based on the 🍅 Pomodoro / Timato Timer technique 

Processed with VSCO with a1 preset

Now, make the habit stick

These tips are only useful if you’re able to use them constantly, otherwise… what’s the point?

  • Know that the hardest bit is starting: Once you start on something, chances are you’ll keep going. So don’t think too far ahead, just think about getting started. You know what you need to do once you get going!
  • Keep it fun for yourself and make it a game (similar to how my mum is addicted to Candy Crush and can do it for hours on end): If you set an hour long limit on the apps you spend too much time on, how many days can you go without hitting the limit? Start your own leaderboard!
  • Practice, practice: If you don’t practice focussing on what you’re doing constantly, it won’t happen when you need to summon it suddenly

Did you manage to read this through without distraction? In my previous post, I talk about listing things we want to do differently when lockdown ends: improving our focus could go on that list!

In the words of pop queen Charli XCX, I just want you to focus.

– Q 🤓