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A Conversation with Rachel Walker

Step into the world of LLUK, as we sit down for an insightful conversation with Rachel Walker (Founder & CEO), about her journey, challenges, and aspirations that have shaped LLUK into a pioneering force in the textile manufacturing industry.

Q: Can you share a bit about your background and what led you to establish LLUK? 

I grew up in the hospitality industry, so I had little knowledge of manufacturing. However, my Father owned his own businesses and he taught me a lot about how to run a company and the work ethic needed to succeed. 

I was later on introduced to the industry by chance through a friend, who became my partner and mentor for years. As I didn’t attend University, I definitely view this as my ‘uni days’! Despite parting ways and vowing to never touch manufacturing with a bargepole again, another opportunity came my way shortly after that I could not refuse, leading to the birth of Luxury Lockstitch UK.

Q: What challenges have you encountered as a woman in a leadership role within a traditionally male-dominated industry? 

Well, for me, it wasn’t just about being a woman; it was also about being a young woman, especially when I started in business at 24 and wasn’t taken seriously, which I do understand. However, being the relentless person I am, I persisted in proving that things can be done differently with integrity at the core every step of the way.  I’m still very much on that journey so just keep watching this space. Patience really is a virtue not many possess.  

Q: What are the core values and principles that guide your leadership?

Integrity and caring is at the core of how I operate end to end. It’s that simple. 

Q: Can you share some accomplishments and milestones that you treasure as a CEO? 

I’m new to the CEO role, after wearing multiple ‘hats’ along the way from ground-up - this is the realistic journey of a starting and growing your own business. I have much still to accomplish, both in business and in personal-growth. A recent milestone is assembling and building a senior team to drive the business forward which includes an industry-leading Operations Director and Commercial Non-executive Director. I’m very excited for what 2024 has in store, and I’m looking forward to the successes and the inevitable challenges!

Q: How are you changing the whole perception about the textile manufacturing industry? 

I am on an unrelenting pursuit to demonstrate to the industry that success and value can be achieved by conducting business outside of the ‘norm’. We are creating an opportunity where all those involved in the upcoming LLUK journey can enjoy the fruits of our labour and stand back in time to come and say - “I helped build that”. 

Q: What excites you the most about the future of our textile manufacturing company and the textile industry as a whole? 

My ‘cause’ is to positively contribute to providing permanent jobs, where people can feel secure, supported and cared for at work. My ‘why’ is to build a community of highly skilled people to expand LLUK’s specialist managed services, addressing the impending industry wide skills shortage within the textile manufacturing sector - And this is exactly what excites me. 

Q: What is your vision for the company’s future? 

My vision is to cultivate the highest level of quality, service and growth, not simply to maintain it year after year, but also to elevate it as we continually set even higher standards in everything that we do. 

Q: What strategies do you employ to ensure the company's growth and profitability? 

Constant learning. Resilience. Continuous improvement. Always do the right thing.  

Q: What do you believe sets LLUK apart from other competitors in the textile manufacturing? 

Our people, without a doubt. I consider myself so lucky to lead such an exceptional team. We’ve shared countless memorable moments, that will remain with me for life. I love creating the ‘remember whens’ with people and it’s by far the best part of the job for me. 

Q: What is a piece of advice you would give to future aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs in the textile field?

You need to care about what you’re doing and why. It’s not solely about the product but also the entire journey of how it comes to be, which ultimately depends on the people who create it.

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