Rami Mekdachi, owner of Lola James Harper, buys baguettes and muffins every morning
A lot needs to get done in one day. ‘A day in the life’ follows some of the world’s most innovative leaders, and details how they manage everything from exercise to employee relationships.
WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA GONZALES
7:00 a.m. I wake up and the first thing I do is go to the bakery to buy baguettes and muffins for the family. Family is the centre of my life, and no matter what I have to do, they come first. The morning begins with us having breakfast together. I love coffee, so every morning when I wake up and turn on the machine, (which is a professional Rocket machine that baristas use, so it takes half an hour to heat), and my son makes a cappuccino for my wife. I make my own coffee. In the morning, our house smells of coffee and bread. I put on Apple music, and play music. Right now I’m really into Bob Marley.
8:30 a.m. I walk up to my home office on the fifth floor and read my emails for about half an hour. Lola James Harper is a worldwide project, and my partner Courtney lives in Venice Beach, so she works when I sleep, and I work when she sleeps. We also have other partners around the world, so when I wake up, I catch up on what happened with Lola James Harper. I also work on photography, music and movies, so I get emails about those projects too. In half an hour, I know what I’ll be tackling that day.
9:00 a.m. In one day, I have at least six or seven meetings around Paris. I go from one café to another my meetings. I never have meetings in offices. Even when a big client wants to work with me, I’ll bring them to a coffee shop. There’s no point wasting time in offices when there’s so many beautiful places in town. I like feeling the energy of the different cafes in the city. I like observing everything from the design to the music to the people. I always try to have at least one meeting at Bon Marche because they carry Lola James Harper and we have a space.
12 p.m. I have lunch in whatever coffee shop I’m in around lunch time. Again, I don’t understand offices. Everyone around me probably doesn’t think I work, because I’m always sitting in coffee shops talking to people, on calls, or on my laptop.
1 p.m. I start with my rounds again. I’m meeting everyone from clients who want to carry Lola James Harper candles, to partners, whom I create perfumes for, because I work with private labels also. When, miraculously, someone has to cancel a meeting, it’s so great because I get to walk around Paris for an hour, put my earphones on, and feel the city. In every place, there’s a smell, there’s lighting, and there’s a certain attitude people have – this is what I look for. I think it’s super important to walk around and look at what human beings want. You begin to realize what kind of products and services they’re using.
5 p.m. When I get home, I call my partner Courtney in Venice Beach, because it’s 8 a.m. in California. We chat for 15 or 20 minutes. Then I answer the emails that I read in the morning. I realized about 15 years ago that not answering emails right away meant that the questions people asked would work themselves out, and people would find the answer. So I always wait on answering emails. I always try to differentiate ‘urgent’ and ‘important.’ If it’s ‘urgent,’ I don’t care, if it’s ‘important,’ I care. And ‘important’ for me means being there for people I work with when it’s absolutely necessary for them.
6:30 p.m. By this time the kids have been home from school for a couple of hours, so I go and buy the ingredients for dinner. We never buy food for the week. We buy what we need every night. My son is 14 years old and loves cooking. Earlier on in the day he texts me the ingredients he needs.
7:00 p.m. We usually watch a movie on Netflix together because I’m really into movies. We don’t have cable TV, and we don’t usually watch shows. It’s either a movie or a musical.
8:30 p.m. The kids usually read for half an hour, while I make a few other work calls.
9:15 p.m. I hang out with my kids before they go to bed. For the first five minutes, we talk about their day, and afterwards, we sit beside each other, and just relax. We’ve been doing this for 14 years. (My son is 14 now and my daughter is 10, so I realize this ritual might be over soon.)
9:45 p.m. I spend time with my wife. We sometimes work together, so we try to talk about other things besides work.
10:15 p.m. I start editing the movie I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. At night, I can create and be alone. I stop working at about 1:00 a.m. I only need six hours of sleep.