The Downtime Agenda

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  • Words — Julie Haslam
  • Images — Monique Easton

Pierre Issa, founder of Pepe Saya is a successful business owner and butter-making guru. After six years of running his own business, Pierre acknowledges that things are getting more intense by the day and that allocating time for himself is a key component of his success.

Pierre Issa, butter guru.

How do you unwind?
Swimming, motorbike riding and eating!

How important is downtime to you and what happens when you don’t get enough of it?
OMG, if I don’t get to unwind or de-stress, I am the most horrible person to be around. I am just a big grump!

What’s the most stressful aspect of running your own business and what strategies do you have in place to effectively manage that stress?
The most stressful aspect has to be the things that you cannot control. Shortage of cream this week….Yep that happens! Or a customer not getting their order! Yep that happens as well. It’s important to remember that sometimes these things are out of our control and to minimise how much you worry about them.

What is it about swimming?
Most of my business strategies are solved looking at that black line, swimming really focuses your thinking and it really helps me refocus what I need to be doing. So I get out of the pool with a work out and knowing what needs to be done!

And motorbike riding?
Riding is somewhat different – you just feel free, I don’t think about anything at all except riding….it’s so good!

And eating?
Well that is a whole other world – I really get joy out of eating new things and discovering new flavours.

Do you have any daily rituals or downtime routines?
I start my day at 6am with freshly cooked free-range eggs cooked in butter, by me! I leave home at about 6.45am and head for coffee, I really feel like a bit of time between home and work, just to get in the swing of things. I also turn my phone onto flight mode at 8pm every night.

What are you reading right now?
A “how-to” on Leather works, really looking at this as a hobby for the 5 minutes I have spare!

What’s on your downtime playlist?
— Michael Jackson
— Drake
— Macklemore
— Dire Straights
— Jamiroquai

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
I can’t choose just one… Lawrence of Arabia, James Bond, Last tango in Paris (great butter clip), Snatch.

Where is your ultimate travel destination for downtime?
In Australia it has to be the Whitsundays.

Who is your downtime partner in crime and why?
Mrs. Pepe – because she is into most of the same stuff as me, especially the food!