Sandra Blair is PA to Roger Saul, who is Chairman, Chief Executive and Designer of Mulberry

Roger started the company in 1971 with a 21st birthday gift of £500, designing and selling leather belts from his parents' house near Bath. Today Mulberry is an international firm employing 450 people.

Roger started the company in 1971 with a 21st birthday gift of £500, designing and selling leather belts from his parents' house near Bath. Today Mulberry is an international firm employing 450 people.

Roger is Somerset-born and bred, and he's always been determined to keep the core of his business in the West Country. All the leather goods are still hand-made in the factory down the road from our Shepton Mallet head office. Some of the local craftsmen Roger took on more than 20 years ago, when he could no longer cope with the demand by himself, still work for the firm.

I've just started accumulating my range of Mulberry assets - I only joined the company in April - and I have my first Mulberry handbag. Judging by the way it's made, I won't need another one. The attention to detail is impressive - every zip has a stamp of the company name on it and every edge in the leather is carefully hand inked.

Mulberry has a very English style, right through to its home interiors and clothes collections. Not long after I joined I went to the Bond Street showroom to see the preview of the men's and women's wear for spring/summer 2001. The collections were quite different from the traditional Mulberry look I'd always known. They had a younger, more fashionable style, but still very English. Agents came from all over Europe to place orders and it was fascinating to see it all in action.

Mulberry is already in Japan and Europe but hasn't any strong presence in the United States. Roger's aim is to make it a global company and in August we announced a £7.6m deal with Christina Ong, the Singapore-based fashion and hotel tycoon, and her husband Ong Beng Seng, the oil magnate. They'll take a stake in the firm and will also work with us to open shops in the States, with a flagship store in New York.

I think it's been hard for Mulberry in recent years as a UK manufacturer selling abroad when the pound is so strong, so this is a great deal. We're hoping to take on a global sales director, which will take some work off Roger in the long run.

He's still a designer, but he's also chairman and chief executive, so he doesn't get as much time to design as he would like. He's involved in every aspect of the firm and his days are full of meetings - even though he has a full diary in an afternoon, he'll say he needs to see two more people as well. But we manage to cram it all in somehow.

He's aware that I'm trying to keep him running more to time. When I know he should have been somewhere else a quarter of an hour ago, I'll pop my head round his door and look at him. He doesn't look up but he knows I'm there. That usually does the trick.

His office is lovely - it's very eclectic and it's full of old bits of furniture. There's a set of draper's drawers with a glass top and a beautiful old desk, as well as a leather rocking chair that looks as if you couldn't possibly get in or out of it. I've never seen anyone dare to sit in it - they all prefer to stand. It's extremely tidy. A piece of paper is in front of Roger only while he needs it, and then it's taken away again. He likes all his documents organised in folders with labels on to take home. Roger isn't keen on shuffling through papers - he gets me to do it! But I like to keep things organised, so that's fine.

I always get in by 8.30am and set up his computer, bring a bottle of water in for him and get myself sorted. I'd hate to come in at 9am and just be thrown into the day. When we have time we get together before the day starts, and run through the schedule, and again at the end of the day, to run over things.

We try to get away at a reasonable time if possible, so we can have a life outside the office. Motor racing is one of Roger's passions, and a couple of weekends ago he raced a 1956 Mercedes at a revival meeting at Goodwood. It was a 1950s-60s meeting and everyone had to dress for the period, so his racing suit and all his kit was authentic. He made sure he had saved enough petrol to do that - he wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I'm doing a correspondence course in freelance journalism. I really like writing, but it's finding the time. I edit Proactive, which is the European Management Assistants' magazine. EUMA is a pan-European support network for secretaries and I've been a member for some years now. I'm hoping to start a branch in the South-west.

I've just come back from a four-day international conference with EUMA, which took place in Austria. It was excellent, although according to one of the speakers knowledge is moving so fast that at the end of the year we will know less than we did at the beginning! Now there's a worrying thought.