Securitisation lawyer running a salon on the side
Laetitia Tomasso studied law at La Sorbonne and has a successful career as a capital markets lawyer in London, where she’s currently a director at Lloyds TSB. However she’s also been interested in fashion for many years and last year she opened a hair, beauty and fashion styling salon in Marylebone with her fiancé. Her most recent venture is 09twelve, which is a fashion, styling and events company linked to the salon. She does all this on the side of her full-time legal job and we asked her how she fits it in.
mtl: Please can you start by telling us about your legal career.
Laetitia: I come from a family that works in business and finance but I didn’t want to follow that path so I studied law. At the end of my Masters though, I was offered a job in the legal department of Societe Generale in Paris doing innovative structured credit work. I stayed there for 2 ½ years and then moved to Calyon Financial.
After several years there, I decided that staying in France would limit my career options, so I spent six months looking for a suitable role in London. In 2005 I moved to the origination desk at CIBC where I mostly did credit derivatives work. It was a steep learning curve and the bank made serious losses, which meant that I lost my job at the end of 2007. A few months later I joined Lloyds TSB.
Initally I was the only lawyer in the capital markets team and I worked very long hours, often including weekends. However the legal department has since been restructured and more lawyers were hired, so my hours at work have reduced. Together with the fact that I separated from my ex-husband at the end of 2008, I found myself with much more time on my hands as my routine at both home and work had changed and I suddenly had a life after 5pm.
mtl: Why did you set up Leticia Haute Coiffure and how do you mix it with law?
Laetitia: I’ve been doing fashion projects on the side of studying and work since I was fourteen. I had already been doing some fashion styling for private clients outside of my legal job when in 2009 I met my fiancé, Pierre. He is a very talented creative director with experience of working on fashion weeks and with the stars in Lebanon, where he comes from. We both believed in the idea of offering a salon with an edge where clients could experience the fashion world within a glamorous but relaxed atmosphere.
Masters in Banking and
Associate Director, Calyon
Legal department, CIBC
Director, Legal department,
Set up Leticia Haute Coiffure
Set up 09twelve, fashion, PR and
The business plan for the salon involved months of work and was a very hard process. We found premises in Marylebone, which needed a lot of work, and signed a five year lease. It has been rather a financial strain to run the business so far as it consumes my income from law and we’ve had to adjust our lifestyle accordingly while it picks up speed. However, I’m much happier putting money into something that will grow than just spending it all on clothes, meals and holidays as I did before.
I run the business side of the salon, dealing with money, contracts, PR and marketing and I leave Pierre to make the creative decisions as I am a bit too corporate for the salon floor.
When I’m at work doing law, Lloyds has my full attention and I’m very loyal in that I haven’t adjusted my hours and I don’t check emails relating to the salon while I’m there. I work on my own businesses in the early mornings, evenings and at weekends, preferably from home – I have a high level of energy and don’t sleep much! I got married for the first time very young and feel like I am still making up for lost time by doing as much that interests me as I possibly can. I feel like I’m really living every moment of my life right now...
mtl: What are your plans for the future and do you have any advice for our readers?
Laetitia: I recently launched 09twelve, which is an events, PR and styling company and I’ve been getting enquiries from corporates and hotels as well as continuing to style individuals. So I’d like to spend more time on that, as well as building up the team at Leticia Haute Coiffure. We are in talks at the moment about franchising it out to a hotel. I will carry on with law because I like the industry and enjoy the work, yet in my spare time I get to explore my more creative side.
My advice is to listen to yourself and trust yourself. Don’t waste time in life. If you meet the right people you will find that you can do what you want to do. I find the working atmosphere in London very good and I’ve been lucky that I’ve met people along the way who have given me very helpful advice.
I’m getting married this year and hopefully we’ll be able to take some time off to relax on our honeymoon!
mtl: Thank you Laetitia, good luck and enjoy your wedding.
If you know any other lawyers who have gone and done something interesting or unusual with their lives or who have a great work/life balance then please get in touch.
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