Nicola Walker returns with Part III of our special series on the women who make hospitality. Today we feature Julie Wijkstrom of The Adamson and Hatch and Claire Freckleton of @The Worq Group
Julie Wijkstrom – Owner of The Adamson and Hatch, St Andrews
Julie’s interest in the industry was inspired early on by a family life centred around food, drink and entertaining. After her dreams of being a movie star were dashed, she chose to study a degree food technology. It was here, in Glasgow, where she began her working career in TGI Fridays – which is also where she started her management training.
After enhancing various skills with stints at the likes of Belhaven, Whighams in Edinburgh, the Gallery of Modern Art and Coffee Republic in London she decided to take the plunge into motherhood at the same time as opening her own business. Hence, The Adamson in St Andrews was born.
Julie talks passionately about her career saying, “I think that your own career as a woman is incredibly important. I’m passionate about learning, and I think the more that you can add to your own tool bag of skills, the more you will benefit. Learning new skills in your career is so important at any age as things are ever changing.
“I’ve always focused on training and being an entrepreneur, I think I learned that from my dad. I like to find new ideas and new skills as that’s what really excites me about the job. I empower my team to be strong, male or female, but seeing females in all different roles is super important to me. I like my staff to be proud of what they’re doing and not be afraid of learning.”
It’s a delight to hear Julie talk about her success both at The Adamson and the newly re-launched brunch bar, Hatch. Hatch opened in 2018 but Julie was unhappy with the business and concept, she said, “Even having the courage to go ‘this isn’t working, and we need to turn it around’ is a great message to give to people. It’s about honesty, integrity, market research and listening to the people around you.”
Claire Freckleton Head of Brand @ The Worq Group
Claire is enthusiastic, driven and unlike many others, always knew she wanted to work in hospitality. After studying for a degree in marketing, she worked in various theatres and venues before moving to Di Maggio’s restaurant group. Here, she broadened her skills in operations as well as dealing with drinks companies and suppliers.
After a three- year stint at New Lanark Trust she then joined the Worq Group as Head of Brand but enjoys getting involved in a more operational role. She explains, “I love meeting people. I think being more involved makes you better at your job. The more you get to know your customers and see how the business is running, the easier it is to market. I’m even happy to help on the floor, as unless you are doing that job, you can’t always see the issues.
“In this industry you have to think on your feet quite a lot of the time and be great at problem solving, but for me it really fits around my life, especially as a mother.
“I think it’s important to try to empower young people to realise that the hospitality industry encompasses so many job roles – from marketing and social media to IT or finance. Even as a GM there are so many different skills you need to make things work. Working in hospitality can give you confidence, a good grounding in customer service and the ability to speak to people.”
Her advice to young people starting out is to “look for a company that you think that you want to work for and that fits your culture. Make sure you get involved, ask what the opportunities there are and ask for training.”
Claire is hugely proud of opening new venue 55 Bearsden Cross and she should be, because the place looks fantastic! She told me, “This is the first time I’ve really opened a venue where I’ve project managed it with the owner myself. From choosing the design, to glassware to marketing and social media – it’s all been really rewarding.”
Sian Buchan Co-Owner of Uno Mas and Carolyn Carrington GM at The Golf View Hotel
Sara Corrieri – Brand Development Manager at Hi-Spirits and Agie Tomasik – GM at The Smokin’ Fox