Firstly I must begin by saying I didn’t take over the Janet Reger family business from one day to another, it was a family business which I grew up with and it has evolved over the years. My career path was a gradual process from stuffing envelopes for mailouts after school and then starting at the very bottom of the ladder by making the coffee, answering the phones and fetching the sandwiches at lunchtime for the entire office. 

Aliza Reger

Aliza Reger

As I became older, more confident and more capable, my responsibilities grew and being ‘the daughter’ had both advantages and disadvantages - there was no such thing as clocking off early or throwing a sickie and I can honestly say I have never taken a day off sick unless I was literally unable to get out of my bed. The advantages are clear and of course I realised very early on that with the advantages of being the boss’s daughter you also have set the example, you have to be prepared to get your hands dirty and not be afraid to do the heavy lifting. You have to work harder, better and put others first but course no one is more committed than you when it’s your business and it’s in your blood.

It is never easy to give other people tips on how they should do things as every situation and business is different but I believe it is sensible advice to proceed carefully when taking over an existing business. Knowledge and doing the homework are your essential tools and your best friends.

Do your research.

Get to know everyone who works there from the bottom of the food chain, the youngest juniors to the top of the management  with the company directors, board members, partners and also whoever you have to work with on a daily basis. It’s important to know how the business works and who needs to do what to make it all work.

Get to know your suppliers and customers and most importantly, make sure you have all the financial information. The good, the bad and the ugly!

If possible, it is never a bad thing for someone coming into a business to spend time in as many divisions of the business as possible so they are able to get an overview of the problems facing each department. Sales have a very different view of what needs to be done to the priorities facing the accounts dept but the smooth running and efficiency of both are crucial. I have certainly learned that one needs to listen to and be open to change. Things constantly need to change in order to move forward and the Janet Reger business has always embraced newness whether in new ideas or new products. We have recently launched a new fragrance collection and will be launching a new lingerie collection later this year. We have changed how we work and the business is a very different entity now from 20 years ago.

When coming into a business, your fresh eyes and unbiased perspective can be a huge asset but tact is really important too - just  because something has been done the same way for the past 59 years, does not make it the most efficient or effective but remember people are often resistant to change and need to be handled gently. And they may have a good reason to do it that way too - so do your research,  ask lots of questions and never be afraid to ask for help. Then give your recommendations in a calm, gentle and polite way. Do not upset the people you need to work with! Do not make the office gossip and trouble maker your new best friend. Do not get too friendly with anyone too quickly, definitely do not bring your personal life to work and be nice to everyone!

I would not limit my advice to being gender specific to women as the days of business being predominantly male are long gone. While some board rooms are still male dominated overall women today are an integral part of business in all aspects of the professional world so what works for the boys is also true for the girls. 

Janet Reger lingerie and bed linen is available at Next stores and online and her new range of room fragrances are available on