A mum and businesswoman says “doing your very best attracts incredible people” as she continues to lead a family-run pizzeria.

Charmaine Wasif was just nine years old when her parents, Sami and Laura, took over the Brixton restaurant, Pizzeria Franco in 1989.

Both parents went on to build an Italian pizzeria known as Eco, based in the heart of Clapham.

Now, managing director of Eco Restaurants & Leisure Group and a working mum, Charmaine takes a lead in the operations of the family business - which she’s helped to build since 2003.

Wandsworth Times: Eco (images: Charmaine Wasif)Eco (images: Charmaine Wasif)

Over the past 20 years, Charmaine has managed a range of restaurants across London under the Eco Restaurants & Leisure Group - including Eco, The Pepper Tree and Absolutely Starving! in London Bridge.

Charmaine says “appreciation, gratitude, and a lot of love” are key things to running the business well.

She added: “We've got an incredible team and it's never just one person.

“For the past 20 years, we've been building a collaboration to understand the ins and outs of how the company functions best.

“I used to think I could run it all, but when people step up and support you, it makes things happen and it shines your light to be the best version of yourself.”

Wandsworth Times: Eco Restaurant (images: Charmaine Wasif)Eco Restaurant (images: Charmaine Wasif)

Charmaine says her 20 years of experience has been “overwhelming” at times, but her spiritual journey has enabled her to enjoy “everything the way it is”.

She added: “Providing you do your best, that’s the very best you can ever do – and I find that really comforting.

“When you start to appreciate what you have, the people you have then step up and become leaders themselves.”.

Driven by love for her son and passion for her family’s business and legacy, Charmaine says she “proudly” stands with her parents at the forefront of Eco group.

She said: “My dad, who's in his mid-70s is still heavily involved with the business – he has been an absolute incredible role model to me throughout my life.

“My mum has been a guide to me as she's really on the spiritual side of things and my dad has been an incredible role model over the last 20 years.

“The most spiritual practice to me is just physically getting stuff done – which I’ve learnt from my mum.

“I’ve been discovering my family origins through reading books my mum has handed me and travelling across the world.”

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Charmaine plans to combine more of her spirituality to the business, as she says, “food is an instrument of healing and nourishment - not just something that tastes great”.

She added: “I never anticipated what’s happened in my life, and everything's just evolved organically.

“If you do your very best, you’ll attract incredible people and bring wonderful opportunities – so that’s my greatest inspiration.”

Charmaine says she is “extremely excited” for the future of Eco, as it has been in reconfigured with a new design, along with new vegan options.

She added: “We wanted to bring in plant-based options and make food as delicious as possible.

“We work on a classic menu with comfort food for those who know us.

“There is a whole London out there that has moved ahead of the times, so we’ll use the specials to promote the new dishes.”

While the Eco group still plays a large role in Charmaine’s life, she now shares her time between the business, her son and herself.