International Women's Day: WatchHouse

Q&A with the New House Openings Manager, Lucy Bond.

Tell us about your role and your business.

WatchHouse is a Modern Coffee business, which started from a humble 250sq. foot space in Bermondsey. Our house on New Cavendish street has very much become our west London flagship house, serving coffee, brunch and bakery to Marylebone Village. My role within WatchHouse as New House Openings Manager, allows me to work alongside design and construction teams to create beautiful, operationally sound houses in beautiful locations. I support this process through until execution, ensuring the house is opened to brand standard, the team are trained and the site is operational and profitable. 


What inspired you to choose a career in hospitality?

I’ve worked in hospitality since a young age, and have always been drawn to the community aspect of the industry, the diversity of the sector, and the unique growth and development opportunities it has to offer. I studied Design and Architecture, and I am so pleased to have found a role where I can combine my management and operations experience with my interest in design and operations. 


Based on your own experience, what advice would you have for women wanting to get into your industry, or start a business of their own? 

Trust your instincts and have high standards. I think it’s so important not to settle or accept poor working practices -  keep searching and pushing until you find a business where you can work with people who champion your values.

Despite the industry sadly being fairly male-dominated at the top currently, don’t be afraid to trust your instincts and push for progression - so many of the best hospitality leaders are women, and companies can only truly thrive with diversity and equity across all tiers of their structures. 


Which women have inspired you most throughout your life?

I’ve been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by strong and inspiring women throughout my life, both in a personal and professional capacity. My Mum is a local GP in Edinburgh, and works harder than anyone I know, and has inspired me hugely in terms of work ethic and drive. I got my first job in hospitality through a female independent business owner, which kick-started my career today. I’m now so thrilled to be working in a company full of strong talented women, operating key leadership roles across WatchHouse.


Do you have any tips on how to run a successful business?

Be ambitious and dream big - whatever it is you’re working on, strive for better every day. Whether that’s gender equity, ethical sourcing of products, sustainable growth or customer experience - pushing for these things every day will only ever lead to positive growth. Invest in people - your team are your most valuable asset. Learn from them, listen to them, grow with them, and ensure they are at the forefront of everything you do. Bringing our people on that journey with us is also what it's all about. 


Have you put any changes or policies in place to help women succeed within your business?

We support and nurture everyone at WatchHouse and we are incredibly lucky to have some brilliant women in all levels of roles and across all of our business - 124 of our 220+ employees are women. Half of our Head Baristas and 65% of our House Managers are women. Also there are 9 incredible women who work across our senior Support Office Roles, including our Culture Director, Finance Director and Managing Director. We are big on internal progression, and the vast majority of women working in the outlined roles have progressed into those roles.