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Lucy Russell is the founder of the Lucie app, the equivalent of a little black book that brings the best therapists in beauty, wellness, fitness and medical, directly to your door. She talks to 35 Thousand about her fast-paced family life, expanding her business and the importance of learning from mistakes.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Determined, fast-paced, loyal.

Tell us about your work

Lucie is an app that enables you to book the best therapists – previously only available in spas -direct to your home in London, The Cotswolds, and Ibiza.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I work from my office at home.

What part of your work fills you with glee?

Customer feedback, enabling our customers to truly access the best of the best at a push of a button.

Lucy Russell founder of the Lucie app
What part of your work feels like trawling through mud?

Finding new therapists in new locations.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Taking the leap to invest personally in the creation of the app and stepping back from looking after HNWi’s.

Best piece of advice you ever actually took on board…

Just do it…you have to learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, pet fish, or external commitments?

I have a husband and three girls, two dogs and four horses. We live a very fast-paced life with horses dictating most of our free time!

How has the pandemic altered your outlook on life both personally and professionally?

It gave me time to reflect and slow down, I really enjoyed having nothing in the diary but that has changed now, and I do miss it sometimes. It also really made me value my day-to-day life and where we live and my health. I now do all my exercise at home and work from home which I enjoy.

What is currently causing you to wake in the night?

Growing the business internationally and the necessary press requirements.

Lucie app by Lucy Russell
What are your coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you find particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

I love yoga and do it daily, but only for 15 mins. I also enjoy walking.

What keeps you sane? And keeps your family sane?

Yoga is my time out and for my kids, it’s riding and the freedom that gives. My husband loves losing himself in podcasts and books.

How do you stay positive when the going gets tough?

I don’t take anything too seriously. I lost my dad when I was very young and have since realised not to worry too much about the little things, however bad they seem at the time.

Are you back travelling? Where have you been recently and where are you heading next?

I haven’t travelled that much in the last two years, apart from Ibiza for work. One of my fave islands.

Lucie App by Lucy Russell is available in Ibiza
Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

79 lux hand cream and a good book (currently The Club) and some matcha tea.

What are your WFH or BTTO (back to the office) saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

Matcha tea / a very good office chair and my sausage dog.

Describe your style?

Trainers and jeans.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

Trainers / cashmere jumper / jeans / t shirt / party dress just in case!

How do you see your business two years from now? 

Reaching all the major holiday hot spots.

What’s your life motto? 

Go for it…

Take a look at Lucy Russell’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of The Organic Pharmacy co-founder Margo Marrone.

Margo Marrone is the co-founder of The Organic Pharmacy, a skincare and supplements brand that focuses on beauty inside and out. She talks to 35 Thousand about transforming the way people feel, her obsession with detoxing, and how yoga keeps her sane.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Passionate, calm, caring.

Tell us about your work

The Organic Pharmacy was my dream – to create a place where healing could take place in the hands of experts through, skincare, detox, supplements, herbs and treatments. I had the great privilege to do what I love and to help formulate and create products that help transform the way people feel.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I work in our Acton factory right in the middle of all the action.

What parts of your work give you energy?

Visualising a product or treatment and seeing it come to fruition and change the way people feel.

What parts of your work drain you?

Sometimes managing the drama that comes with people and seeing beyond the drama and what is going on underneath.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

All of it honestly. They say it’s the journey and it really is.

Margo Marrone co-founder The Organic Pharmacy
Margo Marrone co-founder of The Organic Pharmacy
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Listen to everyone but listen to no one. Follow your instincts.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

I’m divorced and have 2 incredible children and 2 incredible cats that I am forever grateful for. I love yoga (keeps me sane and is part of my physical and mental wellbeing) and am obsessed with detoxing and healthy living- a passion I share with my children which makes it even more fun. Spirituality is very important to me and I always do something on a daily basis to help myself whether reading a book or journaling or burning incense as a gratitude practice.

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

Can’t remember what it was like, to be honest. A lot busier, the pandemic certainly bought a lot more balance.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

I make more time for myself, something that I neglected before.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

Personally, it brought the family a lot closer, we walked to the park together and cooked meals together which was lovely. Professionally it was a challenge but it’s good to learn to navigate challenges and look for the silver lining in everything.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Not much keeps me up at night.

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

For me for sure it’s Gym. Yoga keeps me sane.

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

Cooking and having dinners together- we had a lot more family time.

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

It changed very little for me in the sense that I knew how important wellness is for us all and what a key part it plays in how well we live. So I always ate well and looked after myself and walked but what it did do was to change the way I shop, so I buy much more local now and less online for food at least. More at the farmers market which I love.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I am travel ready and have travelled quite a bit since the pandemic. I like both to be honest travelling and staying at home.

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

The Organic Pharmacy sparkle gloss balm (it’s my must-have).

What are your work from home saviours?

Green tea matcha latte, dates.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

Golden goose Slipper trainers  (live In them)
Heroine marvel leggings (I have them in every colour)
Donna Ida Jeans (comfy and chic)
Norma Kamali Jersey T-shirt and leggings/pants
Serena Bute shirt and trousers

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I’ve learnt to live in the now and not the future. I keep reminding myself to live now so I let go of that attachment.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

Far too many things – the journey is long still.

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

My 20 year old self was a hot head know-it-all. I’d say don’t be so stubborn!

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Just flow.

Take a look at Margo’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of It’s a 10 Haircare founder Carolyn Aronson.

Carolyn Aronson is the founder, CEO and sole owner of It’s a 10 Haircare, one of the only female-owned professional haircare brands in the world, and Be a 10 Cosmetics, a multi-functional easy to use makeup line. She talks to 35 Thousand about building her brand, how a Super Bowl commercial played a major role and balancing work and family life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Passionate, vibrant and unstoppable.

Tell us about your work

I’m an entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder and CEO of It’s A 10 Haircare, one of the only female-owned professional hair care brands in the world. At the end of last year, I launched Be A 10 Cosmetics, where I’m also the Founder, CEO and owner of the brand. I started out as a hair stylist and salon owner and was frustrated that every hair product I tried over promised and under delivered, so I set out to create a multi-faceted, powerful product that yielded high-quality results instantly. That’s how It’s A 10 was born. We started out with one product – the Miracle Leave-In Conditioning Spray – and built the brand slowly and consistently to what it is today. I’m so driven and passionate about what I do, so I’m involved in every aspect. I’ve done everything from the accounting to bottling product and everything in between so that I know my businesses inside and out – and I’m better for it.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

Neither!

What parts of your work give you energy?

I love what I do, but creating brings me the most joy. There’s something about figuring out how to bring an idea to life and sharing it with the world that’s just so fulfilling.

What parts of your work drain you?

When business cuts into family time and pulls me away from my baby.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

About 10 years into being a 50-50 partner at It’s A 10, it eventually got to the point where it was time for my partner and I to separate. We had considered putting the company on the market, but when that didn’t work out, I took a huge gamble in 2017 and bought my partner out. I knew it was a big undertaking to put a ton of debt onto an otherwise debt-free company to make this move, but I’ve spent a lot of years working very, very hard to build the brand and just didn’t want to see anything bad happen to it. I had a lot of vision, and I thought that if I can pull it together to buy my partner out, then that’s what I’m going to do. Fast forward to three years later, and it’s worked out really well for us. We’ve achieved a lot, we’re more diversified, we’ve expanded distribution, we’re growing worldwide, and we’ve overhauled our ecommerce presence. To make a splash and put It’s A 10 on the map, we created and aired Super Bowl commercial that year and became one of the first independently owned beauty brands to ever do so – and we even won awards for it! The commercial was shot in black and white and beautifully showed the diversity of people’s hair. The whole moment was unforgettable and was the best way I could have introduced It’s A 10 to the world.

Carolyn Aronson
Carolyn Aronson founder of It’s a 10 Haircare
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

I’m a strong believer in learning how to crawl, then walk, then run. It’s A 10 is a self-funded company, so as I expand, I need to be very focused and understand that nothing happens overnight. It’s a 10 was started with one product and we now have about 100 skus, but it’s 18 years later. From the beginning, people really need to know how to balance their books, manage their money, not overextend, plan for the ups and downs, and things along those lines. Businesses are volatile, even big brands like mine, so it’s key to have the basic foundation of financial knowledge. Start small, concentrate on it, make sure it’s legally buttoned-up, and don’t expect it to happen overnight. Also, every single business needs an ecommerce platform in today’s world. I don’t care if you’re making donuts or cogs for a machine – you absolutely need to have a shoppable ecommerce platform.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

Yes! Aside from my work family, I have a beautiful family at home: my husband Jeff Aronson and five amazing children. I just had a baby in February, and we’re still over the moon with excitement about her. I also have two dogs, Martini and Bentley, that are just the best and make my days so much fun.

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

It was nonstop! I always had a “go, go, go” mentality and always filled up my calendar no matter what.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

The pandemic really made me realize the importance of putting on the parking breaks and slowing down every now and then.  I have an amazing group of family, friends and loved ones around me that I get to enjoy spending time with more often, and I don’t take that for granted. My new normal has a much more balanced schedule time-wise, and I’ve also learned to accept more help, which has made motherhood in my fifties during the pandemic go much smoother!

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

The pandemic changed a lot of things in my personal and professional life, but as a mom of five, the most important thing has been keeping my family healthy and safe. My kids are a little older, so our top priority was making sure they were fully equipped for a remote learning situation. Since my husband and I needed to work from home at the same time as the kids were doing Zoom classes, we beefed up the Wi-Fi to make sure everything worked properly. I also needed to learn how to balance my work with helping the kids stay focused and on track with their classes, keeping my family’s positive energy up, and staying connected to the outside world – whether that was going on bike rides or just running errands. From a business perspective, the pandemic threw us a bunch of curveballs. From disruptions in manufacturing, stay at home orders, new health protocols and more – we’ve seen it all. One unexpected challenge we faced was actually when we had a steep increase in demand for our products! Luckily, I have an incredibly dedicated and experienced team who all collaborated so that we could best navigate this time and continue to deliver the highest quality products to our customers.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Nothing! I live a peaceful life and hit the pillow hard 🙂

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

One thing that’s kept me incredibly focused and on track this year is sticking with my daily self-care and beauty ritual because I feel really good when I put myself together. It has a tremendous impact on my psyche. When I do my skincare routine, style my hair, apply my makeup, and paint my nails, I feel like I can conquer the day – and that’s extremely soothing and empowering to me.

 

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

In order to stay sane right now, you need to know what makes you relax and be able tap into that every time you need a little break. For me, I love floating and being near the water. Living in Miami, going to the beach or getting on a boat is a safe, outdoor activity that takes my stresses away.

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

Of course! The uncertainty of it all made me realize how much my children need me and that I need to take good care of myself to make sure I’m around a very long time for them.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I absolutely love to travel, so I’ve taken a few trips recently. I’ll always do my due diligence to make sure it’s a safe decision, but I love to explore and expand my horizons by visiting new places.

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

One time, I was trying to do a demonstration of the Miracle Leave-In Conditioner, but it had gotten too hot in the car on the way there so it poured out all runny when it was supposed to stay in the bottle!

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

Coupons

What are your work from home saviours?

All I need to have a great work from home day are good lighting for Zooms and Be A 10 make up.

Describe your style?

I’m a Latina, so I love to be bold! I’m definitely not afraid of color, and I like to have fun getting dressed up – otherwise, what’s the point? My favorite things have a little bling and a lot of personality!

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

Comfortable bra, lululemon pants, fitted top, great purse, and a pair of comfortable stylish shoes.

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I see us being a successful worldwide brand!

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

My goal has always been to give people simple, easy-to-use tools that deliver salon-quality results to make them look and feel their best, so I’d love to expand the It’s A 10 brands to include head-to-toe products that deliver professional-looking results without the fuss or price tags.

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

This too shall pass.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

My favorite phrase is “some of the best deals you make are the ones you don’t” because hindsight is 20/20. In the moment, you may feel discouraged or defeated when a business deal doesn’t go through, but it’s in those times where you get creative and search for other avenues for success, which oftentimes lead you to even better deals.

Take a look at Carolyn’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Phenology GM Jess Graham.

Jess Graham is the GM of Phenology, a company focused on naturally powerful menopause science and the CMO of Hologram Sciences. She talks to 35 Thousand about leaving her “cushy” corporate job, how her sense of self has shifted and her experience of living a nomad lifestyle for a year.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Pragmatic. Perceptive. Playful.

Tell us about your work

Launching a new menopause brand called Phenology that will meet women where they are and then lift them up through science, effective relief, and culture shifts.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

Spare room (and also, on walks, in the car, on the subway, in the laundry room putting a load in, over the stove getting dinner started, on the couch. Boundaries? What boundaries?)

What parts of your work give you energy?

Building – team, culture, brands, stories, consumer value.

What parts of your work drain you?

The spreadsheet-y parts.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Leaving a “cushy” corporate job for my first start-up on the cusp of turning 42.

Phenology Morning Evening Gummies
Phenology offers science-backed, delightful relief without compromise.
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Don’t out work the work, out think it. A former boss prominently displayed this phrase in her office and then modeled it. (Eternally grateful, Cathy!)

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

I live with my wife Kelly and a goofy Great Dane named Philo. I am committed to the pursuit of joy and new experiences.

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

Pre-pandemic I led a charmed, urban life. Work was in relative proportion to meeting friends, traveling, exercise, lectures, shows, etc. Occasionally there were Saturdays spent in pajamas.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

The pajamas are far from occasional.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

It’s had profound effects on everything – including my sense of self and my identity – which I’ll be unpacking for the next decade or two. In the meantime, it’s created a clear focus on showing up for myself and for others with empathy, curiosity, and flexibility first.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Menopause sure did (true story). For months I was the person routinely sending out the emails at 4 am and exhausted at 4 pm. I finally realized it was a symptom of perimenopause then the adventure began to find a solution which ended in building my own.

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

A lot of sound baths and bath baths (with and without gin).

 

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

My family lived as nomads for about a year between 2020-2021. We packed up our apartment, put our stuff in storage and crisscrossed the country three times in our car with our ginormous dog and a lot of stuff tied to the roof. We spent time in my mom’s “pod” and in Utah, Colorado, West Virginia, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia… It stimulated and challenged us intellectually, visually, culturally, physically, politically, organizationally, and sometimes digitally (protip: ask the Airbnb host to send you a screenshot of a wifi speed test before you book). It was an adventure. We were very lucky.

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

I’m still (mostly) an optimist.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

Anytime, anywhere, with anyone…essentially

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

Five different shades of red lipstick that I may or may not be wearing under my mask.

What are your work from home saviours?

My standing desk, Waterloo by the case, and a Kobo candle burning.

Describe your style?

*makes note to find stylist.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

Cashmere everything (especially my Nadaam cashmere joggers), bathing suit (there is nothing better than being in the water), any Veronica Beard jacket, straight leg jeans (soft, high waisted, dark wash), and bracelets, always bracelets.

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

Changing how we address women’s wellness in a meaningful way, starting with improving the lives of women during menopause with Phenology. From the way women feel, how (and whether) they talk about issues that affect them, and by really pushing the science, the solutions, and the culture forward.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Feast on life.

Take a look at Jess’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Alicia J Diamonds Co-Founder Alison Cooper.

Alison Cooper is the co-founder of Alicia J Diamonds, handmade bespoke jewellery. She talks to 35 Thousand about starting from zero in 2002, her passion for fine jewellery and shares her tips on entrepreneurship.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Determined, empathetic, resilient.

Tell us about your work

Alicia J Diamonds is a truly personal bespoke diamond and gemstone jewellery service. We also have a new ready-to-wear collection. Our USP is our expert knowledge, and our friendly personal service. Every customer can design and purchase luxury ethical gemstone jewellery from us with confidence. I set up the company partly because I could see that people – particularly young men who wanted to buy an engagement ring – didn’t know where to start, and were getting the wrong advice. We can really help people choose the right diamond (there’s more to it than carats) and design a wonderful ring for the one they love, that will be treasured forever. Helping with the design makes it even more special.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I joined the Home Grown Club in London, so that’s a lovely place to work when I’m in town. Otherwise, at home in Berkshire, Dorset or Dubai, usually from the dining table. I’m lucky to have more than one place, and I like to move around.

What parts of your work give you energy?

I have great energy when I’m selling to people, and also when I’m creating a new collection. Doing the photography for Alicia J Diamonds and picking out the images is the sort of thing that gives me energy – the creative and selling parts of my job.

What parts of your work drain you?

In this role, there’s not much that does drain me. But in my last role, as CEO of an airline onboard service business, it was the tenders. I’m not a fan of the day-to-day operational things when they get repetitive and laborious. But I make sure I have people in the team who excel at them.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

I’d say it was starting off with zero in 2002 when I came back to the UK from Germany with a young son and newly single. I started a company in the aviation catering industry and built it to a £45-million-pound business in 15 years.

Alicia J Diamonds co-founder Alison Cooper with a customer
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

When you sell a company, sell it not at the top of the curve. You’ve got to leave some value on the table for the person that buys it. So it’s knowing when, as an entrepreneur, is the right time for you to leave. Stay strong, because people will try to persuade you to stay. But, being at the helm, you should know when it’s right. Do what’s right for you.

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time.

When I was married, we went to Dubai with our son Robert, who was then about two. I said a few times to my husband, who was German, ‘Do you need a visa to get into Dubai?’ We landed, and they wouldn’t let him in because he did need a visa but hadn’t got one. I was pretty angry, but I ended up phoning everyone I knew – I had some contacts in Dubai and managed to get him in. I wouldn’t say it’s funny now, but I’m not angry about it anymore! I feel quite impressed that at that age, I was able to fix the situation.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

I don’t have a pet – I walk my neighbour’s dog. I like cooking and I love sleeping! I do quite a bit of charity work, mentoring and other work with Women Supporting Women for The Prince’s Trust. I also help my friends in various ways. I seem to be the person they come to for career advice. I have a grown-up son, who I see a lot, and I also help my parents out.

Bold Rings by Alicia J Diamonds
Beautifully bold Rings by Alicia J Diamonds
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

Before the pandemic, because I’d exited my company and had more free time, I used to go to a lot of events, either as a speaker or as part of a panel discussion, talking about my experiences scaling and selling my company.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

When the pandemic hit, and all of the networking events I’d been busy going to stopped, I suddenly realised how much time was taken up with it all – travelling, flying here there and everywhere to talk. It made me realise that I needed to spend this newfound time to focus on my next move more. I had started to put together Alicia J Diamonds but wasn’t dedicating enough time to it. The pandemic gave me that time to analyse how we were going to progress the company.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

To be totally honest, it hasn’t impacted me professionally. It actually enabled me to focus on getting my business started without too many distractions. It also made me more aware of enjoying life, as I was less busy. With the extra time I did take in more of nature and what’s around me, and I think that was good for my soul. Of course, I know people who have lost loved ones, but thankfully, I haven’t.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

I don’t suffer from insomnia. But sometimes I have a lot of creative thoughts at night. I keep a pad by the bed to empty my thoughts into, then I go back to sleep.

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

I’ve definitely done more sports. Before lockdown I really couldn’t run, but I did the couch to 5k and I’m now on the couch to 10k, so now I can run for an hour without stopping. That definitely helps the stress hormones and is uplifting. I also walk more. I used to always jump in a taxi for short trips in London, but now I’ll walk and clock up steps on my Fitbit. I also do yoga now. And I take my next-door neighbour’s dog for a walk. My neighbour has dementia, so it helps her and gets me out into nature. I didn’t use to socialise with her but we got talking during lockdown, so I started taking Bella for a walk. It’s a good way to end the working day.

 

Bold Ring by Alicia J Diamonds
Bold Ring by Alicia J Diamonds
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

I did become calmer, I think. Maybe it was the running and yoga. I just slowed down a bit, which made me appreciate my surroundings more. I love being in Dorset by the sea. The sea is an essential part of my life. I find it energising. When I’m in Berkshire I’m surrounded by countryside, which I came to appreciate more, too. Before I was always so busy I was a bit blinkered to nature.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I’ve already been! I went to Ibiza for my son’s 30th birthday, and I’ve been to Dubai three times. As soon as there was an aircraft to go, I went. I don’t live in fear of the virus. I take the necessary precautions, of course, but I get on with my life. I’m not going to let it ruin things.

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

Lip balm, Chanel Chance perfume, phone and my Airpods.

What are your work from home saviours?

I can work happily from most places. I don’t have set routines or anything.

Describe your style?

I’d say my style is luxury: elegant and quite sophisticated. I follow fashion and I’m interested in clothes. Of course, I love diamonds and gemstones, too. My passion for jewellery is the starting point for Alicia J Diamonds. I like to wear gemstones that complement what I’m wearing.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

A very nice handbag, an Alicia J gemstone Bold Ring or a piece of diamond jewellery, a great pair of trainers or some wonderful high heels, depending on the occasion and a coat – I’ve got a bit of an obsession with tailored winter coats.

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I’d say that we’re definitely a start-up at the moment. But I’d like to think that we’ve fully established our internet shop and our personalised diamond consultations.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

I’ve always wanted to float a company on the stock exchange.

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

Maybe to listen more. When I was younger, I was very determined and a bit impatient and didn’t always listen. Over the years, I’ve learned that when you have meetings with people you can glean a lot of useful information if you sit and listen.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Nothing is impossible.

Take a look at Alison’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Pärla Co-Founder Dr. Rhona Eskander.

Dr. Rhona Eskander is a cosmetic dentist, owner of the Chelsea Dental Clinic in London and co-founder of PÄRLA toothpaste tablets. She talks to 35 Thousand about overcoming challenges, her plans for the future and how she has learned to value freedom during the pandemic.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Passionate, empathetic, driven. 

Tell us about your work

I’m a cosmetic dentist based in Chelsea. I started my practice from ground zero. In 2015 I CV dropped all over London trying to get a job, I worked in a small family-based practice in the countryside following my university training. However, my desire was to be in London. I applied for an interview to cover maternity leave in a practice in High Street Kensington; I handed in my notice at my current practice, risking not having a job once the maternity cover was over.

When I went to the Kensington practice I was determined to make myself worthy of having a permanent position. Hard work and determination to prove my worth. My boss was also talking about selling his practice in Chelsea- he had a fully private practice which was not booming as much as Kensington. I was intrigued by the practice and asked if I could come and work there, he thought I was a little crazy but accepted. I was so passionate about taking on the challenge. Many people could not understand why I wanted to work in a practice that was not busy.

When I went to Chelsea there was only one patient a month coming through the doors. The clinic was not thriving. It was my vision and dream to make it a super successful clinic. People thought I was mad- I wanted to make a clinic that was not mine work.

Nevertheless, I pursued my dreams. The pursuit of my dreams was also led by other game-changers- Invisalign and Instagram. I knew they were taking the world by storm and I wanted to be behind them. Importantly I BELIEVED in their vision- client and patient-centered care, creativity and passion.

Invisalign provides the fodder for minimal invasive smile design and I believed that bringing it into the practice would change the game, and it did. Instagram was in its embryonic stages and having friends in the arts and creative industries, I believed that dentists and science had a space on the platform particularly cosmetic dentistry where art and science meet.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

A dental clinic in the heart of Chelsea.

What parts of your work give you energy?

I still get goosebumps when I give my patient the mirror for the first time after their smile makeover journey. The way in which a smile can impact someone’s self-confidence and literally change someone’s life is the moment that I live for. They often cry tears of joy and this makes my job worth living for. 

What parts of your work drain you?

Managing a team is hard. You are always dealing with different personalities. Good teams are made up of people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds who approach and view the world very differently. The other side of that coin is that when people come together with completely different paradigms of how to view the world, it can be hard to get everyone in sync on how and what needs to be done. That makes teamwork challenging. But where you can bridge that gap, you get something that is more than the sum of its parts.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Definitely buying a practice at the beginning of the pandemic. March 2020 marked a time where the world changed. Taking on a practice when I couldn’t work was so challenging but out of adversity comes opportunity. As the world turned to digital means I too had to adapt. I turned to Zoom offering online consultations and giving digital advice. It really tested my strength and resilience but I made it. I created a practice based on true care as I supported a community during the pandemic. 

Dragons Den was also huge for my career. I am one of the cofounders of PÄRLA toothpaste tabs- the eco-friendly toothpaste solution to the plastic problem. PÄRLA is a dehydrated toothpaste sold in reusable glass jars. My business partners and I came together after discovering the ugly truth about toothpaste tubes- it takes 500 years for the tubes to decompose. Moreover, many toothpastes do not contain ethically sources or clean ingredients. PÄRLA is designed by dentists to be good for you and the planet. 

We were asked to be on Dragons’ Den and this changed our business. The exposure you get from being on the show gave us so many opportunities. We are now stocked in major national retailers such as Boots and Sainsburys. 

Pärla toothpaste tabs
Pärla Toothpaste Tabs co-founded by Dr. Rhona Eskander
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself. 

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time.

A celebrity client came in to see me. My dad was in the waiting room and he started chatting to her, he asked her what she did and she said ‘I’m an actress’, he asked her for her name and she was very well known. My dad then said ‘I’ve never heard of you’. I was absolutely mortified I literally wanted to die! 

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

I love life! I know this might sound drastic but life isn’t just about work. Travelling is the crux of my happiness and I always make sure to give time to travel and explore. I’m also a bit of a thrill seeker and I love to do activities such as sky diving or bungee jumping. You see, when you truly understand the size of this vast earth we live on, you can start to think outside of yourself. You start to perceive more about your life and the lives of others. I was also really good at drama at school and I enjoy theatre, whether that’s improv or watching plays. Reading is also one of my greatest pleasures, I often delve into books by some of the greats such as Virginia Woolf. 

Dr. Rhona Eskander
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

My morning rituals are key and no matter how I am feeling I am determined to stick to them. These include waking up early, about one hour before I leave the house. Looking at my journal book and checking in with my affirmations. It is important to also write down your intentions.  Drinking 2l water with my vitamins. I recently started using Your Heights, a brain supplement which has done wonders for me. I stretch for 15 mins. I then get ready and train with my trainer, no matter how I am feeling this is non-negotiable for me. Exercise releases endorphins and makes me feel alive. Then I start work around 10am and feel ready and set for the day.

Consistency is key, set your daily rituals and make them a habit. The consistent routine helps us set the tone for the day, better allowing us to control our schedules rather than our schedule controlling us. As we start each day fresh, we can better focus on what is in front of us, where to prioritise our time, and, ultimately, increase our productivity.

I would then walk to work and treat my patients, it’s usually a mixture of consultations and treatments. 

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

After the initial closure of dentists, I was one of many dentists who petitioned to stay open. Since the Covid19 lockdown, the number of dental appointments and treatments missed was staggering. Extrapolating the figures from NHS England alone, it is estimated that around 1.3 million adult appointments, including 4.5 million courses of treatment as well as 808,000 child appointments were missed! Significantly more, if you add in numbers from the other parts of the UK.

As well as regular check-ups and treating pain, dentists also undertake the vital work of mouth cancer screening. Head and neck cancers are the 8th most common cancer in the UK with incidence, increasing over the past decade by a third. In a typical six-week period nearly 1,000 cases are diagnosed. Up to 88% of this type of cancer is preventable with dentists highly trained to identify susceptible patients and give preventive advice. Caught early this is a treatable cancer; caught late it has a very poor prognosis.

This meant that I spent the best part of the year dealing with the backlog of patients. 

When we did eventually open up, dentistry was really hard. We had to wear even more heavy-duty PPE, allow for fallow time between patients meaning less patients could be seen and many staff such as nurses left dentistry due to the harder working conditions. 

I outline below some of the changes that took place. 

PPE
All dental professionals working in practice to wear appropriate levels of PPE. A survey conducted by Pandora Dental amongst 2,500 dental professionals shows only 7.4% experienced Covid19 symptoms prior to the lockdown, which is much lower than the general population and can be attributed to their use of PPE.

Clean the mouth
All patients to use an anti-microbial mouthwash which is 99.999% effective at killing coronaviruses as soon as they enter the dental practice.    

Clean the air
All dental waiting rooms and dental surgeries to be fitted with Radic8 clean air systems. These systems were developed in South Korea in 2004 in response to the SARS outbreak. They have been proven to kill coronaviruses in the air, and ensure that airborne, droplet viruses, such as Covid19 are neutralised before they are inhaled. The systems are currently used on all South Korean Covid19 wards.   This pioneering technology is used widely in clinics Worldwide, and the typical time to completely change the air in a room is 5 minutes (around 25 minutes shorter that the ‘open window’ practice used by the UDC’s meaning significantly more patients can be safely treated in a day).

Clean the consulting room and equipment  
All dental practices are already required to thoroughly clean the consulting room and sterilise equipment between patients and sufficient time is allowed between patients to ensure this is conducted effectively. Many practices are also installing the anti-viral clean air systems in the reception and waiting areas.

Clean the water supply  
It is also being recommended that hypochlorous acid (which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial) is added to the water supply used in the consulting rooms. This is an agent widely used in the food industry and it is non-toxic to people, although highly effective against pathogens.

Minimise droplet release in the mouth
Affectionately known to dentists as ‘tooth raincoats’, rubber dams enable dentists to work on the teeth and ensure that gums and saliva are not unnecessarily exposed to the environment. Pandora recommend rubber dam treatment is used for every patient, even for routine dental check-ups.

Reduce any infection laden aerosol spray which is released
When working on teeth, as well as in essential hygiene therapy, there are many aerosol-generating procedures where the air can become laden with spray. As this can be contaminated with blood and saliva which has led to the recommendation to stop this type of procedure.  However, practices have a range of options available to deal with this problem to the extent that 99.9% of the potentially hazardous materials are safely removed. Stopping dentists and hygienists from providing these types of treatments may result in the unnecessary loss of many teeth, plus there are very many associated serious complications and concerns for the patients’ welfare which could result. 

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

In March dentists were closed and this was horrible for us, patients were in pain, in the middle of treatments and we could not treat them. I focused on Zoom calls to help patients and triage. They were given advice, analgesics or antibiotics. Luckily we were one of the first industries to be allowed back to work in June. We were relieved to go back and resume treatments. However, I also did several FaceTime consultations and I found more than ever people were interested in having their teeth treated. People valued dental care, accessibility and health more than ever. Zoom had a huge impact on business. Some even are calling it the zoom boom, people more than ever are obsessed with their teeth not only in static pictures but also in motion- how they look when they are speaking, they are constantly confronted with images and have called me to say ‘ I want to start getting this sorted now’. The impact of the smile is definitely being valued more than ever.

I feel extremely lucky that business could continue fairly soon after the initial lockdown, I also recognised the importance that health care and health professionals have. It really made me value and appreciate my job. 

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Thinking about patients. I’m always conscious about how they are feeling. If they had a good experience and how I can create a better experience for them.

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

Yes please see above for my routines. My morning rituals are everything. 

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

Although we often put down technology the ability to stay in contact is so important. Technology is changing the world around us at a rapid pace and the capabilities of connected devices will continue to advance at break-neck speed. When we harness the ability to allow technology to give connection it can be powerful. The ability to stay in contact with each other kept us going.

Even our socially distanced walks during lockdown made us feel a sense of gratitude and connection. 

Dr Rhona Eskander at her Chelsea Dental Clinic
Dr. Rhona Eskander at her Chelsea Dental Clinic
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

Freedom. The lack of freedom made me value freedom. Freedom to travel, freedom to see your friends and family. It made me really want to embrace life and treasure every moment. 

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I’m always travel ready. I have my next three holidays booked. I love going to places that are a little bit undiscovered. We’ve booked Rwanda to see the gorillas and we have Tulum booked for my birthday. 

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

My eyebrow gel. I’m known for my big bold brows which I used to get bullied for. I’ve learnt to love them and embrace them. 

What are your work from home saviours?

My meditation playlist and breathwork class with Jamie Clements. 
Dirtea- the mushroom coffee which is a replacement for my coffee. 
I also take supplements from Heights. 

Describe your style?

I’ve definitely been channelling Carrie Bradshaw. Her mix-and-match mantra, styling vintage steals with enviable designer pieces, is everything that I am about. 

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

Leggings and crop top bra 
I love my ripped denim jeans 
Corset 
Pangea tracksuit 
Crop top 

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I am so excited that a whole clinic revamp is about to commence with my sister. She is a very successful, creative architect. I may be biased but her vision is unbelievable and we want to turn the clinic into a sensory, experience-based practice. The overall space will feel organic, calm and minimal by combining soft curves with warm materials and an earthy colour palette. The use of planting and diffuse lighting will create a holistic environment that will make patients feel at ease. Technology will be integrated seamlessly throughout the space allowing for changing content whilst making the space feel futuristic and contemporary. The use of colour, lighting, planting, artwork and tactile materials will create a more sensory space that challenges the norm of a typical clinic which can often feel hostile or sterile. Instead, I intend to immerse the patient in their surroundings, in a multifunctional space that instills a sense of calm whilst feeling sophisticated, inviting, clean and eye-catching. 

Moreover, I started an eco-friendly toothpaste Pärla (with two business partners) to help combat the plastic problem. Pärla is our eco-friendly solution to the plastic epidemic of toothpaste tubes, where 1.5 billion tubes end up in landfills or the ocean each year, that’s around 50 tubes a second.

As dentists, we believe toothpaste should first and foremost protect people’s oral health but not harm people, animals or our planet in the process. That’s why we created PÄRLA – to radically disrupt the toothpaste industry with clean ingredients and sustainable packaging.

Pärla toothpaste tabs are zero waste toothpaste tablets, sold in reusable glass jars, with refills coming in compostable bags. They contain only ethically sourced, animal cruelty-free and Vegan ingredients but most importantly include the perfect dose of Fluoride to protect against decay. To use the tabs, simply pop a PÄRLA, chew for 5 seconds and then brush as normal. The water from your brush will convert the tabs into a paste in your mouth.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

Owning multiple practices. I have a vision to own at least another practice or even franchise my brand later on. I would also love to be abroad at least 4 months of the year as I love to explore other countries. 

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

I often write letters to myself in the third person about what my future self is saying. It’s so powerful. Some of the same messages keep coming up. 

Here are some sentences. 

Firstly, you are not broken. The confusion and despair you sometimes feel in your inability to find purpose behind your existence is what everyone around you feels. Befriend that feeling. It will visit you often.

It’s beautiful how stubbornly you search for that magical ‘meaning of life’. Don’t stop. It is what makes you ‘you’, even if others at times get tired of that part of your soul. It’s also the reason why they are drawn to you in the first place.

Always be kind. But accept that your kindness may not always be reciprocated. It will come back to you at a time and from a source you least expect. Appreciate the strangers and passersby who treat you well, sometimes coming into your life for the sole purpose of holding you through the most difficult moments.

Life is going to surprise you, shock you, excite and confuse you. Enjoy every single moment of it and savour all the good times you are currently having. Be grateful and stop often to appreciate everything in your life.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

It’s a simple one but one that means a lot to me:

Be kind. I am so passionate about mental health and the narrative around it. When you’re kind to others, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed. Not only do you get that “helper’s high”, you also diminish feelings of isolation. If you open the door for someone, for example, that person may smile and say ‘thank you’.

Take a look at Dr. Rhona Eskander’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of perfume brand owner Barb Stegemann.

Nicola Bonn is a Broadcaster and host of the Outspoken Beauty Podcast, one of the UK’s most popular beauty and wellbeing podcasts. She talks to 35 Thousand about leaving her radio career, her passion for interviewing people and finding balance amidst the chaos.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Eccentric, kind, ambitious

Tell us about your work

I used to be a radio presenter with a podcast on the side but then gave up my daily radio show to focus full time on the podcast. It was the best decision I ever made and I now have one of the leading beauty podcasts in the UK and feel incredibly fulfilled.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I spend half my time in a little corner of my bedroom where my husband speedily put together a makeshift studio for me at the beginning of the pandemic. The other half is spent at The Allbright where I recently became a member.

What parts of your work give you energy?

Interviewing people and getting to know their stories and what makes them tick. Nothing beats it. I have learned so much from my guests. Some of their words of wisdom have been life-changing for me.

What parts of your work drain you?

I can’t stand the admin side. Invoices, contracts, chasing invoices…all necessary evils but I’d love to spend all my time being creative.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Interviewing Dermalogica’s founder Jane Wurwand. She was the person who gave me the strength to leave my (very safe and easy) radio career and take a leap into going solo.

Nicola Bonn host of the Outspoken Beuaty Podcast
Nicola Bonn, Host of the Outspoken Beauty Podcast
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Don’t gossip, be kind to everyone and show respect to everyone no matter their position.
Also, if you are being paid to do something always overdeliver.

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

My pants fell down during a wheelbarrow race when I was 9. I will never forget it. I was absolutely mortified but still wanted to win the race soI hastily tried to pull them back up before carrying on.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

I am a mother of two wonderful and lively children and grandma to two lockdown guinea pigs called Snuffles and Haribo. We live in happy chaos and our house is always noisy.

Nicola Bonn holding a lipstick
Broadcaster and Podcast Host Nicola Bonn
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

I didn’t know whether I was coming or going, was always racing around and I never said no which meant that I wasted a lot of time having meetings that were of no use to either party.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

I feel like I have more balance in my life. It’s hard to get it quite right, but I hope that I’m doing a good job of moving my career forward and being the best mum that I can be.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

It’s helped me to focus on the things that really matter and let go of anything unnecessary.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

I’m a massive worrier. I worry about my kids, my husband, my family, health, my job…you name it. I’m working hard on shifting my catastrophising ways. It’s definitely a work in progress!

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

Breathing! I puff out all my breath like I’m blowing a balloon up and then this leads to a perfect and deep breath in. I do it three times to calm me down.
Also phoning my sister who makes me laugh more than anyone and having freezing cold showers (for as long as I can handle) to snap me out of my anxiety.

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

My work has kept me sane. Isolation was such a massive thing during the pandemic, even though I was at home with my family. I needed to speak to other people and hear how they were coping. The podcast allowed me to do that.
Family wise it was trying to make a bad situation fun. One afternoon we turned the house into ‘Antigua’, wore swimming costumes, played tropical music and had the best time. We tried to make our home as exciting and uplifting as possible.

Nicole Bonn of the Outspoken Beauty Podcast
Nicola Bonn of the Outspoken Beauty Podcast
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

In so many ways. I have never felt so scared and yet it also showed me what really mattered on so many levels. It has given me focus and I am a better person for it.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I am itching to go to Paris. I lived there for a year and it is my spiritual home. I’d do anything to be drinking coffee in the Marais right now.

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

Lipsticks galore, a mirror, hand sanitiser, hand cream, perfume samples, pictures from my kids, random snacks and tissues.

What are your work from home saviours?

Good coffee, glorious candles, Classic FM.

Describe your style?

I’m classic with a bit of a twist. I’m also fairly eclectic.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

1. I have a fur coat from Shrimps. It is navy blue with neon orange and is utterly fab. It lifts every outfit.
2. A great fitting pair of jeans
3. A colourful maxi-dress (I’ve just bought an amazing one from Rixo)
4. Zara blouses
5. Jumpsuits

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I want to continue growing the podcast and attracting the very best guests. I also am loving working with my trialling panel which consists of 500 amazing podcast listeners who give honest reviews of products and are just the very best community.
Other than that I would like to do a radio documentary around female empowerment, write a book and go back to TV which I love. There’s a lot more!

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

I would love to get Lisa Eldridge on the podcast. I find her absolutely fascinating.

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

Don’t put other people on a pedestal, particularly potential partners and bad bosses. Also, never show desperation or beg too hard. If something is meant to come to you it really will and sometimes appearing a bit aloof (even if you don’t feel it) can work wonders in business.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

It sounds cheesy but I truly believe that the world is your oyster. If you want something enough you can make it happen. Yes, you might have to work for it but nothing is out of your reach.

Take a look at Nicola’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of makeup artist and beauty expert Nadira V Persaud.

Dr. Marine Vincent is a Pharmacist and Founder of the Make Me Feel Parapharmacie and The French Pharmacy who make iconic French beauty and wellbeing products accessible. She talks to 35 Thousand about growing her business, being creative and why she loves to nourish her soul through travel.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

French, pharmacist, passionate.

Tell us about your work

I am the founder and director of Make Me Feel Parapharmacie and The French Pharmacy online and store. I am the director and my work is about making everything run smoothly and growing the business.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I work either in my office in The French Pharmacy or at home.

What parts of your work give you energy?

Meeting equally passionate people and when my customers tell me how happy they are with our work.

What parts of your work drain you?

Being constantly urged to answer questions and not being able to focus on bigger pictures.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

The opening of my first store: Make Me Feel.

Make Me Feel Parapharmacie Store by Dr Marine Vincent
Make Me Feel Parapharmacie Store by Dr. Marine Vincent
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Be patient!

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

Brexit was voted just the week after I signed for my new store: everyone said to me that I was crazy with a European business model but well, I was right!

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

I am married and I have a ten year old daughter.
I am also very lucky to be able to count on very precious and loyal friends.
I am very creative and love to paint from time to time.

Dr Marine Vincent
Dr. Marine Vincent Pharmacist and Founder of Make Me Feel Parapharmacie and The French Pharmacy
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

Before the pandemic, I had a well-established routine and a pretty good life-work balance.
I was managing Make Me Feel and The French Pharmacy online store with two days at the store and three days working from home.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

During the first stage of the pandemic last year, we started to be extremely busy at the store as all local customers needed us more than ever. We were lucky to be an essential store and therefore to stay open. I had to be at the store 6 days a week. Then it calmed down a bit but that was when I found the dream place in Marylebone to open my second physical store!
So after 6 months now, I am still working long hours and I had to find a new balance between the three businesses and my family life.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

Personally, I was lucky enough that all my relatives have been safe but I haven’t been able to go back to France as often to see my family. Professionally, it actually helps Make Me feel and the online store but it took more time to set up The French Pharmacy store in central London

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

I sleep extremely well!

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

Before the pandemic, I was doing yoga class once a week and that was very helpful both physically and mentally. Unfortunately with Covid, I stopped and I haven’t found space yet to go back.

What helped me though is massage therapy which I do every two weeks with an amazing therapist.

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

Having my family safe is what keeps me positive. Also having a child helps you keep going.

Dr Marine Vincent in her store
Dr. Marine Vincent in her store Make Me Feel Parapharmacie
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

I have been through traumatic events in 2017 which impacted me much more in life than this pandemic so not really. Maybe just an urge of travelling even more.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

Yes definitively. I love traveling and discovering new cultures – it really nourishes my soul.
I hope to go to a very sunny country with nice sand beaches to start off!

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

A lip balm.

What are your work from home saviours?

I like to work in my kitchen as it is very bright and my coffee can be ready within a minute.
I need space as I tend to spread myself in an organized mess.

Describe your style?

I think I am French chic.
You will never see me without my heels.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

– one white blouse
– one super well-designed pair of jeans
– a little back dress
– a trench
– a pair of black stilettos

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

In two years time I would like to be ready to or to have already launched my own skincare brand.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

I am thinking of opening a store in America!

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

Don’t be scared and stop overthinking what people think of you.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Life is a journey.

Take a look at Dr. Marine Vincent’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of makeup artist and beauty expert Nadira V Persaud.

Nadira V Persaud is a Makeup Artist, Beauty Expert and Author recognised for her distinct signature style and vision. She talks to 35 Thousand about her diverse creative work, her family life, and how she manages perimenopause.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Resilient, creative and compassionate.

Tell us about your work

Every day is different which is what I love most about being Freelance. I thrive on variety so one day I might be on an editorial shoot on location, then next back-to-back meetings creating opportunities for more work or interviews regarding my book, Press Here! Face Workouts for Beginners.

In my role as Nadira Make up + Hair, I work for magazines, live events, tv commercials, private makeup lessons and an educator though there is still much more. As a Beauty Expert with a passion for skin, I have the opportunities to write quotes or commissions for magazines or online platforms. Becoming an Author has allowed me to share my techniques and philosophy surrounding beauty and wellness. In all, I’d say I take a holistic approach.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I have an office at my home which houses a custom-built cupboard for my makeup and hair kit which is already full to the brim. I can store my products and equipment safely and lucky to have the space. I’m currently rearranging the office to make space for new storage to house my archives; piles of physical portfolios, photographs and magazine tearsheets from the time before digital existed in addition to making room for new stock for my online store selling my book and beauty tools.

What parts of your work give you energy?

I get a kick out of getting new clients, repeat business and from taking time to do personal projects. Allowing creative energy is important so when I feel that boost I act on it. I’m certainly not someone who procrastinates.

What parts of your work drain you?

The travel can be the most draining part of work as I am often carrying heavy kit but this year I am more mindful of my routes to work and will opt for more taxis to save my back.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

It is truly hard to say what the most pivotal point in my career is because there is never one defining moment, however, lockdown gave me a chance to reevaluate my career, direction and especially my confidence in my work. I spent weeks looking through my archives realising I have a successful career as a Makeup Artist but never believed it because I wasn’t in the moment enjoying it all, instead riddled with anxiety which had always impacted on my health. Lockdown made me focus on myself in a way I would never have had the opportunity to which helped me to build my self-esteem and rid the doubts which can improve to inner calm. It feels very liberating and I think this shows in my recent projects.

Nadira Persaud's work as a Makeup Artist
Nadira’s Work as a Makeup Artist
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

I can’t remember who might have offered this advice but I started out thinking I must think of myself as a business to be taken seriously. In the creative arenas, many of us forget we are forging our careers but we do need business acumen plus find a system to ensure we get paid and know our worth!

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

There were many moments when I would feel very inferior on set starting out and a lot of sexism and cry on my way home. It’s not that it’s funny but I would certainly speak up now and encourage anyone else to.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

My little family unit is my soon to be 7 year old son. We enjoy family time in parks, riding our bikes or chilling watching films, though must admit we relish in complete silence with our devices. Having a child makes sure I get some downtime so not always focus on work which is easily done when you work for yourself and cover many roles with varying deadlines.

Nadira Persaud Cosmo Lips
Cosmo Lips by Nadira V Persaud Make Up and Hair
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

It was hectic, non-stop with little breathing space rallying around my son’s schedule and an unpredictable work schedule. Try as I might I would still be writing up interviews or beauty quotes late at night, then up early for a shoot day.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

It’s much calmer because I have more boundaries. I hit perimenopause in my early 40’s so for the past 6 years I’ve been tackling those issues too and now I’m on HRT and properly following self-care instead of feeling panic.
My new normal is making time for myself and ensuring I have a happier home with the headspace to do what I need to do daily.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

It has impacted in so many ways. Personally, I have a healthier mindset when it comes to myself. Since the start of 2021, I began to workout most mornings and do breathing exercises which makes my day more productive. Work-wise, I have been very fortunate to still have freelance work and good relations with clients plus I started online beauty sessions where I was lucky enough to pick up clients in the US and Netherlands. 

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Perimenopause has had an affect on my sleeping habits, however, I try to listen to my body and go to bed to do breathing exercises as I have a tendency to keep pushing through so my sleep is somewhat improved. Saying that, I find when I am feeling very creative and full of ideas my mind is active so I make sure I write notes before bed.

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

My daily workouts how ever long have been the best coping strategy for me and I have recently bought a skipping rope which is a quick cardio workout in minutes before the school drop.
I won’t lie, I also love a tipple in the evening so I will allow myself a few glasses without the guilt. I certainly drink less than I did at the start of the pandemic like everyone else did!

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

HRT has made a huge difference to my mood. I was beginning to feel like I had an out-of-body experience most days late last 2020. Also, keeping to a routine helps tremendously for everyone’s sake.

Nadira V Persaud
Nadira V Persaud Makeup Artist, Beauty Expert and Author
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

2020 hugely changed my outlook. I worry less about things I cannot control as well as realising I can adapt and evolve during stressful times.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I would be all set to travel if I had to but so far I’ve been away over night in England for a job which was blissful. I would be happy to away in the UK but not much further as I’d like to make some home improvements and focus on my upcoming projects.

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

A mirror as I often get food stuck in my teeth and people never tell you!

What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

The night before I always handwrite a to-do list for the next day. I’ve been doing this for decades. I find writing the tasks makes sure you don’t forget and you always get satisfaction from crossing out something you’ve done. It’s a great sense of achievement which is important when you work for yourself as it keeps you motivated for each day.

Describe your style?

I would say I have an effortless style that is always about comfort.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

I love a tailored coat or jacket. My blue denim boyfriend cut jeans. White pumps. Slouchy top and glasses.

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I see my business evolving steadily as I am always making plans to diversify in new areas of beauty. Its very exciting, always a little daunting but realise, in this climate you need several revenue streams to survive to lift your brand.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

I have always had a theory in business to ‘spread yourself out’ over many areas as you will learn more skills and get a 360-degree view. I think social media has proven you can really leap forward with exposure. I’m not interested in becoming the best influencer but I would like my expertise and skills to reach that bit further than it already is.

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

I would say use your voice and go with your gut because deep down you do know what’s right for you.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

I use this anonymous quote for my beauty work and I feel an affinity with it.
“It’s beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.”

Take a look at Nadira’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of skincare brand founder, Rochelle Jacobs, founder of Naturally Serious.

Justine Rouch is the Founder & CEO of La Pochette – accessories that help you achieve your day, without the need to compromise. She talks to 35 Thousand about growing her own brand, the importance of family and her coping strategies.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Driven, loyal, resilient.

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I split my time between Richmond, London, and the Cotswolds.

What parts of your work give you energy?

The creativity of designing products at La Pochette gives me energy. I love the diligence in choosing fabrics and trims together with ensuring that the designs have integrity.  

What parts of your work drain you?

I’ll be honest, logistics!

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Moving into the luxury sector after 10 years in The Sports Industry gave me a completely different direction. Launching La Pochette was also an important moment. It felt like it was the culmination of my career.

La Pochette Accessories
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Recruit people that are better than yourself and give them every chance to succeed.

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

I remember one incident when I was CFO in Japan; I entered a meeting room full of people and naturally just sat down. Noticing that nobody else did, I was a little confused. Because I was the boss, I had to sit in a particular seat at the table, in the centre. Having not done so, nobody else could sit down. It was only when my translator told me that I realised my mistake with the protocol. Now I look back and think it’s quite funny.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

Family has always remained especially important in my life.

The La Pochette Wet Bag offers a triple lock system to ensure reliable, leak-proof storage of wet swimwear and sports kit on the beach, by the pool or post-wet-weather outdoor activities.
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 


Absolutely, I think everyone has been affected. 

The brand’s strap line used to be, “Let’s go anywhere.”  Whether that was to the gym, office, or beach. Unfortunately, during lockdown, nobody was going anywhere! 

However, for years people spoke about wanting more of a work/life balance with the flexibility to be able to work both from the office and remotely. Of course, successive lockdowns proved that this was possible.  La Pochette’s brand ethos has always been about being able to get as much as you can out of your day, and as we transition to a hybrid lifestyle, the ability to “pack up your day” has become even more relevant. Thankfully La Pochette have the products to be able to do this effortlessly.

Although the pandemic was incredibly difficult for la Pochette, I believe we are now in a much stronger position and have solidified what we represent as a brand.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Emails that I read last thing at night and then ponder over, but I’ve recently set up ‘Sleep mode’ from 10 pm to combat that…

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

Exercise has been a coping strategy for most of my life, even as a hormonal teenager I would be sent for a run by my mum because she knew that by the time I returned I would have a different mindset. Sound baths have also been amazing for me when I have been very stressed, even just listening on my iPhone during lockdown works for me.  

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

Probably, and predictably, Zoom has kept me sane. Just the ability to maintain connected with others has been so important.

Justine Rouch Founder & CEO of La Pochette
Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

Yes, absolutely. I adore travelling. I have a number of trips already planned for this year and can’t wait.

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

A few La Pochette bags.

What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

I’m lucky in that I have a dedicated office space at home, I can shut away work at the end of the day. Peloton has also been a massive help and walking in the green spaces near my homes when I needed somewhere to escape to and think.

Describe your style?

Classic but with a relaxed edge.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

A white cotton shirt, blazer, pair of jeans, maxi dress and a baggy cashmere sweater

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

I will be continuing to grow La Pochette, both internationally, and into new product offerings.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

Making croissants from scratch and going to New Zealand.

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

Trust your instincts.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Don’t count the days, make the days count.

Take a look at the La Pochette website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of skincare brand founder, Rochelle Jacobs, founder of Naturally Serious.

Barb Stegemann is the Founder of The 7 Virtues – a socially and environmentally conscious clean beauty brand that meets the lifestyle and performance levels of today’s consumers. She talks to 35 Thousand about navigating her brand through the last couple of years and pursuing her obsession to end corruption in the world.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Curious, passionate, unstoppable

Tell us about your work…

My best friend got wounded in Afghanistan by the Taliban while serving there. In the hospital, I promised that I’d take on the mission of peace. But I’m not a brave soldier, so I started writing a book called The Seven Virtues Of A Philosophy Queen, which is now the eighth edition, and it’s empowered women to launch companies and run for office — I realized women own the voting power. I brought the thesis to life and started buying the perfume oils in Afghanistan and tried to get the farmers off illegal poppy, which is used for heroin. So for the following 11 years, we became his biggest orange blossom buyer, and I found that if my supplier was farming orange blossom and rose, the Taliban couldn’t go near him and his family. But then in the last six months or so, all the troops left and people had to evacuate because the Taliban took over.


Today I continue to make clean perfumes which as a social enterprise help rebuild nations and communities all over the world by supporting farmers grow organic, ethical fair trade fragrance oils. Along the way, we’ve been the subject of the award-winning documentary Perfume War, I’ve been chosen as the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, earned Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and been one of the highest grossing brands that has come out of Dragon’s Den (Canada’s Shark Tank). I use everything I’ve learned to help inspire other people, giving talks around North America at organizations like Facebook, Clinton Global Initiative, and the United Nations. 

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

I work in a state-of-the-art sound studio in my hometown Halifax that we built during the pandemic, so I can continue hosting speaking engagements, providing my retail partners education, managing product development, and all the other important meetings that go into running a business.

What parts of your work drain you?

You have to be prepared that something is going to go wrong, because in running a business something always pops up. It’s about how you handle it – picking yourself up and making smart choices on how to fix the problem – that keeps you going. I make it a point to swim every day to clear my head, and take an hour long walk with my hot husband.

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

I launched the perfume out of my garage on International Women’s Day in 2010. And it was shameful — the packaging was awful. The smell was… well, my daughter wouldn’t wear it. Fast forward a few years and we were in some department stores, but then things changed. Gen Z and Millennial kids were becoming the buying power. My Gen X generation was really no longer visiting the stores we were in.  And then Hurricane Matthew hit and I went to Haiti [to volunteer]. But we were in bad shape and too far ahead of our time — there was no “Clean at Sephora” back then. I told my friends there about it and one of them told me about the Sephora Accelerate Program. I was like, I’m getting into that program. And then they reached out — I couldn’t believe it. I will always be exclusive to Sephora because they saved me. We really cracked the code on how to make a natural scent in the program because I was around the most incredible mentors. And now, we’re the number one best-selling clean fragrance brand at Sephora.

The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Perfume
Vanilla Woods is made with organic, fair-trade vanilla essential oil from Madagascar sourced from a sustainable cooperative that provides families with fair wages and provides them with education and healthcare.
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

The DNA of our brand is to help people. And my whole thing is get mad, take a bath, have a nap, and then get mad again. There has to be a way for us to end poverty, end war, and stop going back into this patriarchal cycle of spending billions in bloodshed. 

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

Tuxedo cat, Waldo, a rescue kitty.
I love to make hickory smoked vegan cheese for my friends and have slightly boozie afternoon tea on the weekends (sometimes without the tea). Pre Covid I travelled to the countries we do trade with, and volunteered and taught marketing in Haiti to startups.

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

Catch up on emails 6 am – 6:30.
Swim laps at the Olympic size pool for 50 minutes at 7:15 am  – I get all my ideas here under the water away from all sounds.
Take a long bath and read.
Morning meeting with our team 10 am.
Usually back-to-back virtual calls and often speaking engagements through my agents in LA and Toronto.
Afternoon 45-minute walk with my husband where we can find a break by the lake, holding hands. More head-clearing.
4:30 to 5 pm I make dinner, I love how the sun comes in while I cut the vegetables.
6 pm family supper, we sit around and talk.
7:30 go back and do some catching up on work.
Spend quality time with my hot husband alone.
Watch part of a Netflix show with my husband.
10:00 – 10:30 pm sleep.

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal? 

It’s actually the same as it was just minus the flights. I used to live out of a suitcase, but when I was home, I was home exactly as I am now, making dinner for my family, spending time with my closest friends in my bubble, working virtually.

The 7 Virtues Blackberry Lily perfume
Blackberry Lily is made from organic, fair trade vetiver from Haiti, sustainably sourced davana essential oil from India and geranium essential oil from Egypt. Doing good for the world is doing good for the soul.
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

It was really hard at first as our 600 stores shut down, all of my speaking engagements were canceled or postponed. However like everything you find the silver lining. You really have to. There is no alternative. My son and I love to train our Sephora stores personally and suddenly we could not cross the border. So we adapted and our son Victor built a state-of-the-art studio and we began to train virtually and saw our sales rise 132%. It gave me the idea that we could actually expand and now we are expanding into Sephora EU in 13 countries this summer.

I also learned to never get back on the hamster wheel. I have a much calmer, more efficient life now and I am going to maintain this.

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Nothing keeps me up at night. My head hits the pillow and I have the best sleep. Oh wait, there is one thing that keeps me up at night(!) and that is my hot husband. So hot.

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

I take cool writing courses. I love the challenge. My first book is now in 8th edition, sold at Sephora with a set of our Vanilla Woods Perfume. I feel it’s time to write another book, but not without learning a few things first. I love to learn new ways to write. I have become obsessed with virtual evening writing classes and I am on my 4th one. This one is memoir writing. Powerful stuff to dig deep. Very cathartic.

My routine that has changed my life literally has become my mantra.

Get Mad. Take a bath. Have a nap.

I would look at a situation that was now beyond my control due to Covid and I would get mad, let it all out, really just express it, talk it out with my husband and team. Then I would take a bath and reflect on it, then I take a nap so my subconscious mind can do the sifting and sorting while I rest and I always wake up with the answers I need and solutions to the issue. Try it. It’s really powerful. And good for you.

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

Personally, being so grateful that I have time to think and write and read. I never had time like this before and I am not going to waste it. It’s precious. It’s a gift to have this time now. I always see the gift in the situation, likely rooted in our humble beginnings. My sister and I were raised by a single mom on welfare, so we have always been grateful and resourceful.

For our family, I thought a lot about my 80-year-old father who is all alone, his wife has Alzheimer’s and he had periods where he could not even visit her in the home. My in-laws are also 80 and isolated, so I came up with Friday backgammon and Cribbage card game tournaments. They all come over to our house Friday at 4 pm and we all have the most delicious snacks and wine while we play and let our hair down. It’s become a very, very special thing for us all. And sometimes all the kids come over for dinner after. It’s much fun!

The 7 Virtues Jasmine Neroli perfume
Jasmine Neroli contains ethically sourced jasmine essential oil from India. It provides financial assistance that supports local agriculture and fosters college programs for the blind to become perfumers.
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

I used to have a love/hate relationship with my home province — always wanting to be somewhere more exciting, faster, more cosmopolitan. But I found time to reconnect with people here in my industry and the hate bit is fully washed way. I feel nothing but love, extreme love for my home community. And that’s a blessing, a real gift.

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

I am!! I was asked to fly to Las Vegas to give a speaking engagement this summer…So I am going. I might bring my husband, we will decide depending on quarantine rules upon returning home by then. I do love it at home, but I have hibernated enough.

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

Perfume samples for strangers, hand sanitizer, my wallet, glasses cleaner, pen, my Invisalign case, sunglasses, face sunscreen, Fenty lip gloss.

What are your work from home saviours?

My apple mug that keeps my decaf coffee at the exact same temperature so it never gets cold.
I drink tea in a china teapot in my bath every day.
I listen to jazz and the blues every day. The classics, Pearl Bailey, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Dina Washington.

Describe your style?

Big! I am 5 foot 9 and ¾. I love 3 – 4 inch heels. I love big classic outfits, big glasses, I’m a bit androgynous with a feminine edge so I display that when I give keynote addresses the men in the room find me relatable, but so do the women. That style is crucial, you are judged in the first 4 seconds of a person meeting you. Your style should give comfort to others, but also be a real expression of what you love and who you truly are.

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 
  1. Smythe Blazers (love the Birkin) I have 8 of them
  2. Black Halo Jumspuits (they make you look 5 lbs thinner and two inches taller) I think I have 15 of them, they are my uniform
  3. Body suits. I LOVE sexy bodysuits. So fun and easy to be dressed and fabulous quickly.
  4. Lululemon Body board suit. I have 6 of these, you can wear them for a walk and be fabulous and then literally do yoga, work out and then jump in the pool all in the same outfit!!! I get stopped by women from 18 – 80 asking me where I got them.
  5. Vans sneakers – with a skirt and a body suit, this is just the most fabulous outfit to run around and train store and yet go out for dinner and walk around a city and still be hip.
How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

We will have launched more perfumes, but more loudly with videos and songs, and just alternative ways to launch perfume creatively. I will have written another book and our team will be bigger so that I can focus more on time with my hot husband and writing and traveling.

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

I am obsessed with ending corruption in our world. I am on a mission to really end it. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but it’s worth doing so that children in Haiti don’t have to live in the streets or get taken into the sex trade. This is my priority.

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

I would reverse the equation. I would have her tell me, “You’re right on track, you stuck to your values, you remain true to your ethics, you are a woman of character and this is your destiny”.

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Make Perfume Not War®
Make anything instead of war. I even trademarked it. I believe in this so much.

Take a look at The 7 Virtues website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Nicola Bonn, host of the Outspoken Beauty podcast.

Rochelle Jacobs is the Founder of Naturally Serious – a cleanly and ethically developed skincare line that combines powerful natural ingredients with cutting-edge technology. She talks to 35 Thousand about never taking no for an answer, working towards one’s goals, and thinking outside the box.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Determined, confident… and always curious!”

Tell us about your work…

“I love what I do! I am very passionate about my work and helping women take charge of their wellbeing through our naturally efficacious, clinically clean skin care. At Naturally Serious, we consider skin care to be a self-care ritual, which is why we are incredibly strict about which ingredients make it into our final formulas. My goal in creating Naturally Serious was to take out the guesswork for time-strapped women like myself, who were looking to enter the clean beauty space. Our products are truly clean and ethically developed, as well as eco-friendly, so you don’t have to second-guess anything.”

Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

“I’ve worked in a lot of places, mostly bedrooms, throughout the pandemic. However, now that my kids are back to school for in-person classes, I have more space! I finally work in a true ‘home office’ that is bright and open. I know there are so many positives to working at home, but after such a long time, I can’t wait to be back in the office collaborating with my team. Being a tight-knit, family-run business, I miss seeing everyone’s faces on a daily basis!”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“So many things! The first thing that comes to mind is when someone tells me an anecdotal story about a product that changed their life. It also excites me to watch our incredible team grow! At Naturally Serious, we think of employees as family and it’s important to me that I forge connections with the team and help guide their career paths.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“A Harvard professor once advised me to set three long-term goals, and write them on a whiteboard. If I was not actively working toward one of those goals, I needed to reprioritize. To this day, I still use this method to help me stay on task! However, in real life, unforeseen challenges can throw even the best-laid plans off course. Being a control freak, I feel slightly drained whenever I don’t achieve my daily goals, but I’m learning to be more flexible and allow myself to be human.”   

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“That’s easy. When I left corporate America to join my mother and her business partner in what was then a very tiny, 6-year-old business. I was the eighth employee! My mother had always pushed me to be the best I could be and in her mind, that did not include working with her… until it did! I saw how quickly her business was growing and asked if I could help her grow it. Without hesitation, she said, ‘Absolutely not!’  Unfortunately for her, she taught me to never take no for an answer, so I set up a formal interview with her and her business partner. The rest is history and here I am, 22 years later and loving (almost) every day.”

Naturally Serious Sleep Over Retin-Oil
Naturally Serious Sleep Over Retin-Oil Nighttime Treatment helps reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven tone and texture.
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“Believe in yourself! While many factors will set you on the path to success, none are as important as believing in yourself. Be confident in your vision and believe that you have the power to accomplish it. When things seem so frenetic that you don’t know which end is up, take a deep breath. Everything always works out the way it should.”

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

“Nearly six years ago, my mother and I flew to China for a 45-minute presentation for her namesake brand, June Jacobs. Before the business part of the presentation, we had choreographed a yoga opening with dancers and I was planning to do some fun poses. We had intense rehearsals, but when the big day came, so did an incredible amount of traffic! When we finally arrived at the venue, the dancers were entertaining the crowd and the crew told us I was too late to perform, but I was determined! Nothing was set the way we rehearsed, but I had a huge surge of adrenaline and just ran out onto the stage as if it were the Olympics gymnastic finals and started tumbling like I hadn’t done since grade school. On my final tumble, I jumped high in the air and miraculously landed into a perfect split! The crowd went wild. We went on to finish our presentation and then had all the senior executives come up and dance on stage with us.”

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“Oh my goodness, so many! I have a 7 ½ year old rescue puppy, Macky. My family and I are obsessed with him and I can’t imagine life without him. We do everything together. Our favorite hobby is going to the beach and running together. I love being active and when I’m not working, I’m moving. Biking, walking, hiking, swimming and yoga keep me pretty busy! I am also on the advisory board of the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai and AWSM (Advancing Women in Science and Medicine) at the Feinstein Institutes of Northwell Health.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Wake up, workout, make breakfast for my boys, shower, drive one or both to school, go to work, work later than I had hoped to, rush home for dinner and try to be present for my boys (often unsuccessfully). Then, crash the second I put my head on the pillow.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal? 

“In addition to becoming a short-order cook for my boys, my new normal is less chaotic and probably more productive. I’m also 100% more present for my family. There is a lot of my new normal that I hope to carry on with in my day-to-day when things start to normalize a bit more. My love of nature has really flourished throughout the pandemic. I have no plans of ever leaving NYC,  but I do plan on stopping to smell the roses each and every day.”

Naturally Serious Lemon-Aid Makeup-Removing Cleanser Gel deep-cleans with the power of Vitamin C.
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“It’s hard for me to put into words the emotional impact this crisis has had on me both personally and professionally. I can’t believe it has already been a year and a half. I value everything that’s still in my life, higher than I valued it before. I went into the Corona crisis strong and even though it beat me up, I wasn’t about to let it win! Each day, I try to find something positive to help make me stronger. The profound global impact of the Corona pandemic feels overwhelming at times, but I try to focus on the small everyday victories. Even little things, like taking a refreshing walk outside, can have a positive effect on my mood and outlook.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

“As long as I don’t watch the news or get on social media at night, nothing is going to keep me up! I know that I need my beauty rest in order to put my best foot forward the next day.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

“As someone who likes to be in control, routine and discipline have helped me cope over the past year. Setting daily goals for myself has helped me to stay focused on what I can control, instead of what I can’t. I find that accomplishing even the tiniest, simplest thing can ‘spark joy.’ For example, I’ve been using a double-size Swell water bottle that I received after completing a nearly 100-mile hiking program. It reminds me how strong I am and helps me achieve my goal of staying hydrated… I refill it at least three times a day! I’m also getting on quite well with ‘Alexa’ and my Apple Watch. Alexa always plays my favorite uplifting music and my Apple watch makes sure I keep moving and meeting my exercise goals.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

Laughing. When there’s nothing to laugh about, find something. Even if it is laughing at yourself, which I do often. Hugs are important too. I give out lots of hugs, even though it occasionally embarrasses my teenaged boys! I also make a point to have family meals together as much as possible. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk and reconnect! Outside of family time, focusing on self-care has helped me to stay sane during these challenging times. Eating healthy, exercising, meditating and getting enough sleep have all contributed to my overall wellbeing. And, of course, I always make time for my morning and evening skin care rituals!

Naturally Serious Skin Warrior Moisture Rescue Cream and After-Dark Natural Peptide Sleeping Cream.
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“In every way! I have learned to slow down and savor each moment. I needed to learn this. Being a very active person who likes to stay busy, I never thought slowing down was possible!  2020 has also placed increased importance on the need to give back. Giving back has always been incredibly important to me, but I feel that responsibility even more so now.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m ready to travel, but I’m just not feeling the need to. I did manage to sneak in a weeklong trip to France with my family over the summer. It was nice and I’m sure I’ll travel again, however, I’m very happy staying home for the time being.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“Hand sanitizer, air pods, lip balm and flossers.”

What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“I try to get up every day by 7 a.m. so that I can get outside and bike and swim or on rainy days, practice yoga or hop on my Peloton before I shower and have breakfast. Starting out my day on an energetic note helps me stay motivated. I also love listening to upbeat music while I work from home—usually, cheesy ’80s love songs!”

Describe your style?

“Bright, cute and comfy.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

“Pre-COVID, I could be found in a bright flowy dress and a great pair of wedges. These days, my essentials are good leggings, mantra t-shirts and comfortable shoes… plus, a bathing suit and swim goggles!”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“My hope is that I never stop learning and growing! I always strive to think outside the box, even if it means making some mistakes along the way. In being more open-minded and not being afraid to try new things, there will be some trial and error. However, opportunity lies in correcting your mistakes, learning from them, and not making the same mistakes again. If you don’t think outside the box, you may believe you are playing things safe but in truth, you will always be stuck.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

“I’ll be 50 on my next birthday so I have had plenty of time to conquer some crazy and fun stuff.  However, I have yet to do a Half Ironman, which I would like to do! While I won’t run 13 miles, I do plan on doing my classic ‘walk/run.’ I’ve come close to unofficially doing a Half Ironman on some weekends, so it might be fun to actually participate in one!”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

“Slow down, you’ll still get there. My grandmother used to watch me do things and would always tell me, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’” It wasn’t.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

Never. Give. Up.

Take a look at the Naturally Serious website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of skincare brand founder, Daisy Jing, founder of Banish.

Daisy Jing is the Founder of Banish – an organic skincare range that fades dark spots and acne scars. She talks to 35 Thousand about being an entrepreneur with ADHD and the realities of working remotely.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Determined, curious and thoughtful.”

Tell us about your work… Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

“I work everywhere and anywhere. I don’t like working in the same place all the time. I get inspired by working in new areas.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Anything creative and anything that looks towards the future.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Anything operational or mundane such as detail oriented tasks, filing a bunch of notices or registrations with state and government, sales ta/taxes in general, workers compensation, insurance, etc. – all the stuff you need to do for your business.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“When I started my business, I just went out and did it. I learned how to delegate and manage when I brought on the first hire..”

Banish
The patented Banisher microneedling tool stimulates collagen production, helping to minimise scarring
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“So many people can give you advice on what to do, but no one is absolutely right 100% of the time, even the most famed business coaches. Ultimately the decision comes down to you.”

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

“I called my bank Wells Fargo and the lady at customer service asked me if I made skincare videos on YouTube because she recognized my voice. I was so embarrassed and didn’t know what to say!”

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I have a 16 month old daughter and a labradoodle. I love to exercise and try to do it at least once a day. I’m obsessed with fitness classes and great instructors.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Wake up, coffee, workout class, shower, then get to work. Usually work entails meetings or calls. Then I grab lunch somewhere – I try to do intermittent fasting- then meetings until 5 or so. Then I have a few hours of downtime and finish up work from 8-11. I have found my most creative time is late at night.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal? 

“Now I have a daughter so my schedule revolves around her. I’m much more focused with my ‘free time’ and I try not to put work off because I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to finish something up. Also with Banish, we were remote from the beginning and always did Zoom calls so in actuality our work didn’t change too much with the pandemic.”

Banish
Banish Vitamin C Creme helps brighten skin and reduce the appearance of dark marks
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“I have ADHD so staying at home is terrible for me. It was really hard for me to be at home with a newborn. I’ve learned I need a lot of variety to stay engaged. Covid has also made things more efficient; for example, doing Zoom meetings instead of in person meetings, getting items delivered instead of going out, and staying in the home more. If there is a silver lining in all this craziness, we’ve spent a lot more time with family!”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

“Everything I can’t control, which is a lot.”   

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“2020 shifted my thinking and outlook on life in many different ways, but most importantly recognizing the importance of living in the moment and appreciating all that is good.  To me, the silver lining in 2020 was being able to slow down a bit and recognize that each day is a gift.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym? 

“I’m starting transcendental meditation and and try to let go of perfectionism. I bought a professional spin spin bike so I can do my cycling classes at home. Also it’s important for me to know that we can take safety precautions (getting vaxxed, taking Covid tests) so we can hang out with friends etc. which helps our mental health. I never used to drink before, but now after having my daughter, I like the occasional glass of wine when she goes to bed. I’m that parent!”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“Great question. I started doing therapy via Zoom, which has helped. I didn’t realize my insurance covered therapy. What was I missing out on? Learning how to set boundaries with family is important. Learning how not to take on other people’s problems as my own (codependency). I used to want to ‘fix’ everything for other people, but it got too overwhelming and unbearable. So now I’ve learned how to set boundaries for myself.”

Banish
Banish oils hydrates, smooths and evens out skin tone
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“It has made me appreciate the little things. A great cup of coffee, getting a package in the mail, vacuuming the floors, having hot laundry come out of the dryer are what life is about. It’s all about the little thing!”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Effortless – I love travel. Travel helps my creativity and I’m always so inspired while traveling. I’ve been to over 40+ countries. I also love traveling on my own. I’m planning to go to Sardinia with a few friends on a chartered yacht. We are all vaccinated and will be Covid tested so we’re taking all precautions. I’m so excited!” 

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“Mask? Hand sanitizer? I don’t actually carry a purse, I use my phone case to store all my credit cards and use my car as my purse, which I keep everything in. However if anything, I always have an external iphone battery because I have major phone battery anxiety!” 

What are your work from home saviours?

“Good, powerful internet! It’s actually surprising how many places don’t have good internet and you find this out when you’re on a Zoom call 🙂 I also need a hot water boiler/dispenser and water nearby. Additionally, I love mini coffee makers, Celsius and V8 energy drinks. Also can’t forget about my Vitamin C Beauty Elixir to spritz my face throughout the day!”

Describe your style?

“95% of what I wear is Lululemon. I’m an addict. I love how practical their clothing is and it’s cute. Basically I am in athleisure all the time. If it has buttons or zips it’s not for me on the daily. It also helps encourage me to workout if I’m already in workout clothes.  If I do need to dress up I usually go for a long maxi dress and a jean jacket. Comfort is key.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing? 

“Lululemon Align leggings and shorts, Lululemon jacket in align material, Jean jacket, Lululemon swiftly long sleeve tee and Lululemon studio jacket.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“I would love to have a team of content creators creating all things acne content for us!”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

“A few years ago I’d say having a baby and giving birth, but I did that in 2020 🙂 I would love to have a home in NYC and be bi-coastal.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most? 

“Only you can make yourself happy. Once I realized this, I took full responsibility for my feelings and realized happiness is something you need to work at constantly.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Take a look at the Banish website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of wellness brand founder, Rachel Katzman, founder of P.volve.

Mary Schulman is the CEO and Co-Founder of PYT Beauty – a clean, conscious, sustainable and cruelty-free makeup brand which she created when her daughter started delving into her makeup bag. Mary talks to 35 Thousand about the harsh realities of entrepreneurship and the importance of living in the moment.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Determined, funny, self-aware.”

Tell us about your work…

“Three years ago on July 23rd, we launched PYT Beauty with a mission to offer clean makeup products to ALL who seek it. I am the co-founder and CEO of the brand. From the outside, many think it must be glamorous because you make your own hours and control your own destiny.  While this is true, being an entrepreneur and part of a team of seven women means doing whatever is necessary to make the business succeed. Some days I work on the P&L and Inventory forecasting and others I’m cold calling a retailer, but then there are times I’m on my hands and knees packing up boxes or digging through a back room at a retail partner trying to find a sign that is missing from the display.  It takes grit, perseverance, the ability to hear “no” time and time again, but finally make it a “yes”. Most of all it takes the ability to put any semblance of ego aside and having the willingness to do whatever it takes to be successful (ethically of course).”

The PYT Beauty Upcycle Eyeshadow Palette in Cool Crew Nude
Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?

“During the pandemic, a typical question was – how are you adjusting to working from home? The truth for me is the only office adjusting was having my family at home with me. I have worked from home (my office is on the 3rd floor of my home in what was once a spare bedroom) for the last 16 years.  Our PYT Beauty team is dispersed from San Francisco to Bethesda, MD (where I live).  We have been using Zoom since day one.  As we see it, we were a step ahead of the trend.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Like most, I am motivated by the big wins. For example, finding out that we were going to be in Target stores across the country launching on Earth Day with our sustainably packaged makeup was a total high. At the same time, I am driven by the low points too.  When there is a problem to solve I relish in the journey to get through the tough times.  The pandemic is a perfect depiction of this.  We were posting great year over year growth in January and February of 2020 and so excited about our future and then we were faced with stores closing their doors, retailers halting the placement of PO’s, our loyal customers no longer buying makeup and even payments receivables postponed.  We had to get through this tough time while staying safe and praying for the world, it wasn’t easy, but we did it and now our sales are back on the right track.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“I’m lucky to say that what bothers me the most work-wise, we don’t have at PYT Beauty.  I am drained by team dynamics that don’t allow for honest communication, even if it might be hard to hear.  I think it is incredibly important to be able to be open and clear in order to have a healthy organization.  It’s particularly important with a small group like ours so that we are always in sync on how to propel the business forward.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“As you can probably imagine the process and continued journey we have undertaken to move to sustainable packaging has been monumental and we did all of this during a pandemic. When we first presented this to our manufacturing partners they told us it wasn’t possible. Now, here we are today offering clean beauty products at prices that won’t break the bank, and all of these are packaged with recycled plastic and if they are over 2 in X 2 in dimension they are also curbside recyclable. This has been a time to celebrate in my career as we know that the beauty industry creates 120 billion units of packaging every year. The packaging is the number one contributor to plastic production in the world and offender for plastic waste pollution.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“The most valuable advice to a future entrepreneur is get ready to hop on the roller coaster.  The highs and lows are much more dramatic when your own business is on the line.  If you are someone that can handle the unknown uncharted territory this is for you, if not I might recommend sitting this ride out.

The PYT beauty So Extra Tinted Lip Balm in Soft Rose Nude
What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

“When this question is asked I am instantly transported to my prior business.  Prior to co-founding PYT Beauty, I started a natural snack food brand called Snikiddy Snacks. As a self-taught wellness expert and a new mom, Snikiddy Snacks’ mission was to provide families with healthy snack choices that kids would love. Our first orders were huge, coming from a well known wholesale club.  We were thrilled to grow quickly but were rushed to get the productions completed in time.  Finally, the snacks were baked and ready to head to the retail partner. They arrived and immediately complaints started to arrive.  Notes such as, “This tastes like cardboard” and “I would rather eat a grasshopper,” it was devastating.  We later learned that the seasoning wasn’t applied to our specifications which made the snacks bland and tasteless. 

We thought for sure we would be done as we just got started, but 10 years later we were still in business and were acquired by Utz Quality Foods Inc. in 2015 (Utz is ranked fourth in market share in U.S. salty snacks behind PepsiCo, Campbell Soup Co., and Kellogg Co.). Today when people ask me about Snikiddy Snacks I can’t help but have a this or that image in my head – Snikiddy Snacks on the left and a grasshopper on the right and a caption, ‘The choice is yours’.”

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I have two pets, a pug named Buster, who is often featured on our Instagram account and a cat Spike, who has also made a couple of debuts.  I love to read (or listen) to books on Audible.  I read/listen to everything from history and business books to mindless trashy romance novels. I meditate every day, which is new, but I think it will stick.  I also exercise almost every day.  This takes many different forms from walking while listening to Audible, to using my new Mirror, a pandemic purchase. I also am part of a dinner club.  We are a group of women that try out different restaurants.  We all love food but have come to love each others’ company even more.  I love to cook (not bake) and enjoy experimenting with new dinner recipes.  Don’t want to leave off, I love a glass of wine (or two).”

How has your daily life changed due to pandemic?

“My work life during the pandemic became more stressful.  At first, it felt like we were trying to run a business with our hands tied, but once the “new normal” settled in the stress settled down as well.  Business travel, of course, came to a halt as well.  As much as I enjoy getting out in the field it was nice to spend more time with my family and not have the added travel commitments.  For my personal life, it was shocking, but I feel incredibly fortunate as a mom to have had the ability to work from home. I know that this was not the case for most that were dealing with being out of work or having to go to work and leave their children to fend for themselves with online school.  It was a full house, we fought over bandwidth, we learned to live with the company of only one another, but are blessed to have been able to have each other.”

What , if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I am one of those people that falls asleep pretty easily, but I find myself frequently jarred to consciousness, typically with a possible solution to a problem that I have been focusing on.  What this tells me is that sometimes pushing too much on what we are trying to accomplish isn’t the right thing to do. I believe that most often the answers are right in front of us, but that we have to let things sit and when our unconscious mind has an opportunity to work it can be astonishing.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I started getting serious about meditating during the pandemic.  I also worked with a hypnotist to help guide me through my meditation practice. I spent more time with my family and figured out ways to get exercise from home.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“As a family we embraced cooking from home.  It became our family activity.  Deciding what we were going to cook, how we were going to get the ingredients (sometimes that wasn’t possible), then spending time together preparing dinner and eating together represented our most coveted time.”   

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“2020 shifted my thinking and outlook on life in many different ways, but most importantly recognizing the importance of living in the moment and appreciating all that is good.  To me, the silver lining in 2020 was being able to slow down a bit and recognize that each day is a gift.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I am travel-ready.  We had postponed a family trip and decided to take it in July.  We appreciated it more than we would have pre-pandemic. We were cautious and avoided big crowds, but felt very comfortable being out and about living life!”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Comfortable, relaxed, monochromatic. I believe you can conduct PYT Beauty Dew Me Lip Gloss, not a lie, but for sure a little plug!”

The PYT Beauty Wingman Liquid Liner
What are your work from home saviours?

“Black sweatpants, black and white cropped top, black workout pCoffee, meditation, exercise, work, wine, repeat…”

Describe your style?

“Effortless.  I love to look good, but don’t have the time or patience to put hours (or even an hour) into the task.  I love comfort that looks great!  If I can find a pair of jeans that look good and feel great on, they will get their fair share of wear!  No worries here about fast fashion and the downfalls of it.  My closet is not packed, but rather curated with only my very favorite things.” 

Name your 5 essential items of clothing?

“Comfy jeans, white t-shirt, white button down, cool sneakers and a great belt.” 

How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“In 24 months I see us continuing on our path to sustainability.  I should begin by saying that having sustainable packaging is a work in progress and we are constantly looking to improve.  We started this journey by removing mirrors and reducing secondary packaging, but we didn’t stop there.  On April 11th we launched our sustainable packaging meaning that all of our packaging is made with PCR. Our tubes are made with the renewable resource bio-based sugarcane (sugarcane based plastic). With all of our products that are over 2X2 inches we have made them easily curbside recyclable. Additionally, we have added a patented ingredient that chemically degrades plastics at the manufacturing point so that the consumer receives pre-degraded plastic (as labeled on each product). We have eliminated most of the outer boxes…those that need outer boxes to protect the product are using 100% mono-material resin 1 curbside recyclable boxes.  All of this results in emissions savings of between 13-38% (depending on product).”

What’s next on this journey?

“It’s important to note that all of these need to be done while staying true to our mission to offer affordable clean beauty: Including higher percentages of recycled plastic and/or working to eliminate the need for as much plastic in our packaging as possible; creating packaging that has next to zero impact on the environment; providing the clean beauty seeker with exactly what they need; continuing to innovate and offer products that solve a problem and need, and continuing to deepen our relationship with our retail partners that have been so successful thus far:  Ulta Beauty, Target, Macy’s, Credo Beauty, Grove Collaborative.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Personal and professional are one for me.  When I leave this world I want to have left it in a better place.  This means I have raised loving children with good moral compasses and that I have created businesses that have helped others in some way.  I created my first CPG business (Snikiddy Snacks) because I wanted moms like me to have healthy snacks to offer to their children.  PYT Beauty was created when my 13 year old daughter started diving into my makeup bag.  I was appalled by the ingredients in the makeup I was using every day.  I didn’t want my daughter, friends or family members using these harsh chemicals.  The problem was that clean makeup was far too expensive for most people to afford.  I partnered with my college friend and we founded PYT Beauty with a mission of offering clean beauty products at affordable prices.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“I would not say anything except to enjoy life and the journey.  I think sometimes knowing too much just hinders your opportunity to grow and learn.  If I had known all the challenges and pitfalls that go along with starting your own business I probably wouldn’t have done it, but when you’re in the moment and just put one foot in front of the other to move things forward it doesn’t seem quite as daunting.  Suddenly, you can look back and realize how far you have come. I guess it’s a marathon not a sprint.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“The state of being “happy” takes work.  You don’t get to just sit back and say I want to be happy, you have to decide I am going to be happy and put in the effort.  This can come in many forms, for me I find fulfillment in doing things for others, practicing self-love and appreciation through meditation, exercise and breathing exercises and praying.”

Take a look at the PYT Beauty website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of wellness brand founder, Rachel Katzman, founder of P.volve.

Rachel Katzman is the Co-Founder of P.volve – a fitness method designed to help you know your body better. Rachel talks to 35 Thousand about living with Lyme disease, her pivotal moments in business and her passion for making a difference in people’s lives through P.volve.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Visionary, loyal, decisive.”

Tell us about your work…

“Day to day, I focus on driving the creative vision of P.volve forward, growing the digital platform and looking to establish our expanding footprint in the fitness space. I’m obsessed with the true difference P.volve can make in our members’ lives – improving the body’s performance, reducing everyday pain and leaving you looking amazing.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“The team that I work with energise and inspire me every day – I’m surrounded by a group of incredible thought-leaders.  Moreover, our community! They fuel me through the feedback they share of their true stories of how P.volve is making a positive impact on their lives.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“There was a time where I was running two companies – I was the founder and CEO of a haircare line, Cuvee, as well as co-founder of P.volve. After years of balancing the two, I decided to solely focus on P.volve and it’s growth. It was that moment where I realized that I had to make a decision of where to focus my time and where I saw the most opportunity. While I stepped away from something that I loved, I learned that it’s important to know when to let something go and how to prioritize both focus and passion.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

You learn more from your failures and losses than you do from your wins. 

P.volve improves the body’s performance, reducing everyday pain and leaving you looking amazing
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“Wake up early, play with my adorable cats that I’m obsessed with, Matsu & Nobu, while answering emails and getting ahead in work, go to the office/studio and take class, day of meetings, always make an early dinner and wrap up any calls at home, spend some more time with the cats for some evening playtime, unwind with some tv, a face mask and tea!”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I used to take studio classes, and pivoted to virtual, I also take all of my meetings virtually. Now that things are opening back up, I try to take classes IRL when I can, especially now that we have a pop-up in the Hamptons, where I have relocated to this summer.
During the pandemic, I got diagnosed with Lyme disease. As someone who has always been active and incredibly busy, I had to learn the importance of listening to my body even more with my new diagnosis. Six months later, this is still an adjustment for me and something that I am factoring into my new normal every day.”

P.Volve
The P.Volve range consists of clever, portable exercise equipment like the p.ball which targets inner thighs and pelvic floor muscles
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Professionally, we pivoted to an entirely remote working environment. Personally, I found that I was craving nature and a simpler environment. I made the decision to move out of New York City for the time being to feel more grounded.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or gym?

“Two things that make me feel whole: reconnecting with nature and making time for workouts!”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“While health was always incredibly important to me, 2020 changed the way I looked at my own mental health and mindset. You should treat your mind the way you treat your body in order to feel like the best possible version of yourself. Thankfully we recently launched Meditation & Mindfulness in our Live Virtual Studio, and it’s been teaching me more and more how to connect to my mind and go inward, which enhances both my productivity and my workouts!”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I miss travelling so much! I’ve always spent time in other countries- I can’t wait to go back to Ibiza!”   

The P.volve method focusses on functional movement, which means it is based around the way the body is meant to move naturally
Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“My wallet, my keys, my phone a pen Wallet, AirPods, chapstick, sunglasses, a mask and hand sanitizer! And a cat treat :)”

What are your work-from-home saviours? 

“My skincare routine!  I love Biologique Recherche products, P.volve on-demand and LVS classes, and my cats of course!”

Biologique Recherche
One of Rachel’s favourite skincare brands is Biologique Recherche
Describe your style? 

“Comfortable, relaxed, monochromatic. I believe you can conduct any meeting in sweatpants!”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Black sweatpants, black and white cropped top, black workout pants, plaid shirt, Nike sneakers.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“P.volve will become a household name – it will have redefined the way people look at fitness.” 

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t make the mistakes or challenge myself the way I did when I was 20 so I wouldn’t change a thing – plus, she probably wouldn’t have listened to me anyway!” 

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Take a look at the P.volve website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of beauty brand founder, Jennifer Norman, founder of The Human Beauty Movement.

Jennifer Norman is the Founder of The Human Beauty Movement and Humanist Beauty. Jennifer talks to 35 Thousand about her 20+ year career in the beauty industry, refusing to force-fit herself into a corporate job and her passion for helping others find self-acceptance.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Compassionate, soulful, generous.”

Tell us about your work…

“After spending a 20+ year career in the beauty industry, I’ve come to realize that beauty comes from inside. It’s about self-love, not self-adulation. So I’ve dedicated my work to helping others find self-acceptance and happiness.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other

“My business is currently based out of my home. Definitely not a skyscraper!”

Humanist  Beauty Movement
Humanist Beauty is on a mission to support inclusion, wellness, self love and sustainability
What parts of your work give you energy?

“I love the creativity and artfulness of my work. Developing new content, seeing products come to life, inspiring others, and connecting emotionally through shared feelings, experiences, and faith in humanity. All those aspects give me great energy.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Accounting, business modeling, forecasting…these are definitely important and necessary but not the most riveting parts of my work.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Becoming my own boss. It’s been so liberating to be able to pave my own path rather than trying to force-fit myself into a corporate job that didn’t suit my sensibility.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

Be you. I never really took that advice to heart, because I didn’t think it was acceptable or possible to ‘be me’ before. I used to put on so many fronts – a professional front, a fashionista front, a workaholic front – it got to the point where I lost myself. I felt like my life was not really my own. Now, I feel as if I am living my truth, and it is beyond refreshing. I would encourage everyone to really take the time to meditate and get to know who they really are so their lives and relationships are completely real and natural.”

Jennifer Norman
Jennifer and her family
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2019, so I was already working from home when the pandemic hit in March 2021. My days were varied but tended to involve business set up, sustainability research, design work, product development, website development, and creative production.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“My daily life is filled with way more Zoom calls and Google meetings than ever. In-person meetings and business lunches have become non-existent.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“The challenges I’ve faced pale in comparison to so many people. Personally, it’s meant sacrificing.

Personally, the Corona virus crisis has given me a heightened awareness of how we as humans are so connected. We all breathe the same air. A virus that germinates in one locale of the world can spread so quickly, human to human, around the entire globe. It gives me an even greater perspective on how even just one person has the power to impact the entire world.

The Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom Facial Oil fuses plant wisdom with adaptogens and hemp

Professionally, the Corona virus impacted my business in that it caused my supply chain to shut down. My initial brand launch was delayed several months, but it did launch successfully in September 2020.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I have a son who lives with chronic illness and severe disability. He uses a ventilator to breathe, is non-mobile and non-verbal. Ensuring he is breathing and finding a cure for his condition are two things that tend to keep me up at night. We’ve had to keep ourselves super-isolated during the pandemic since my son is immunocompromised.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or gym?

“For me, helping others is the best way to get through any day. When the pandemic hit, I recognized that I was not as impacted as many others. So the first thing I asked myself was what more I could do to help others in their time of need. I started an impromptu 30-day video campaign called ‘From My Closet’ to offer inspiration and give away high-ticket items from my closet to help bring a little bit of happiness and joy to viewers. The campaign raised funds for #BlackLivesMatter and The Gates Foundation.

Next, I realized that many working parents were going to have to homeschool their young kids for the very first time. To help them manage, I started livestreaming children’s book readings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting with my own children’s book series, The Adventures of SuperCaptainBraveMan. I then started inviting other children’s book authors to join me and read their books to our fans.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I’ve really felt just an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my health and for all the love and support I have around me. Meditation and yoga, Disney+ and ice cream, and laughing at just about everything has helped keep us all sane. It’s important to not take anything in life too seriously.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“2020 was the year that my eyes were opened to a greater sense of consciousness. My ability to tap into messages from the universe, remove blockages, and manifest success has unquestionably heightened. I know 2020 was a very challenging year, but great learnings and lessons always come from the toughest challenges when you’re open to receiving.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Fortunately, I am now fully vaccinated, so travel has become more of an option. My family is planning a mini-trip to Joshua Tree at the end of the month to celebrate my son’s 15th birthday.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“My wallet, my keys, my phone a pen and hand sanitizer.”

What are your work-from-home saviours? 

“Strong black coffee in the morning. A protein berry smoothie for breakfast or lunch. Binaural beats for focus. Sweatpants.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Boy, has this changed over the past year! I used to be a designer clothing, shoe, and handbag addict. But I cleaned out my closet, and I gave a lot of my designer items away. Now, hippie-indie-comfort is more my style. So I’d say my 5 essential items are (1) my Sita Couture Kiara linen sleeveless maxi hooded dress, (2) my Spiritual Gangster Love sweats, (3) my Free People open kimono poncho hooded sweater (4) my SunChild Goa beaded silk wrap dress and (5) my handmade feather peacock earrings.”

Spiritual Gangster Love Sweats
Once a high fashion love, Jennifer now spends most days in her Spiritual Gangster Love Sweats
How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“I’m excited about the impact my company The Human Beauty Movement will continue to make with respect to radical inclusivity, wellness, and sustainability in the beauty industry and beyond. I see the momentum growing and believe our work will be well recognized around the world. I also am thrilled with the initial feedback I’m getting on the launch of Humanist Beauty. We’ll be building a very mindful portfolio of exceptional products over the next couple of years.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“I plan to do a TedTalk in my lifetime.” 

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“Take time to get to know yourself. What you perceive as pressures from society are all just mind games to test how true you can really be to yourself. Happiness lives inside. When you love and accept yourself, you can manifest anything you wish for your life.” 

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“To myself: Better, happier and more beautiful every day.

To my son: Today is going to be an amazing day because we are together.” 

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I have an adorable rescue chihuahua named Ziggy Smalls.

I’m learning to play the djembe and the acoustic guitar.

I support Holt International, the agency through which I was adopted, and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, to help fund research for my son’s genetic disorder.

I author children’s books called The Adventures of SuperCaptainBraveMan that helps kids learn about friendship, kindness, and inclusivity of those who may have a physical or neurological difference.” 

Take a look at The Human Beauty Movement website here and the Humanist Beauty website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

Rachel Behm is the Founder and CEO of Layers Probiotic Skincare. Rachel talks to 35 Thousand about juggling her role as head of a skincare brand, being an extrovert and why she is so passionate about the gut-skin connection that gives us our inner glow.

Tell us about your work…

“I’m the Founder and CEO of Layers Probiotic Skincare. Layers harnesses the power of probiotics to boost the body’s natural ability to bring your best skin to the surface. Our potent supplements + topicals are developed by experts and fuel the gut–skin connection to reveal dramatically renewed skin that glows from the inside out.

As founder and CEO of the brand, I work on everything from website optimizations to marketing messaging, forecasting and budgeting.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other

“Spare room-turned-office in my house.”

Layers skincare
What parts of your work give you energy?

“Hearing positive feedback from people who use and love the products.  It means the world to me when people take the time to write thoughtful and thorough reviews or DMs or emails about how much the Layers products have transformed their skin.  This will NEVER get old!”

What parts of your work drain you?

“I’m an extrovert and I’m used to working in a bustling office environment.  So going the entrepreneurial route without a team and an office means many hours working by myself, which can feel lonely at times.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“I’m a strong believer that a career is made up of many small moments rather than big break moments.  So in the vein, I’d have to say the diversity of positions I’ve had is what’s prepared me to lead Layers.  From corporate finance at General Mills to marketing, sales, and Mergers and Acquisitions at Johnson & Johnson, the varied experiences are what I consider most critical to what I’m doing today.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“There’s almost never only one ‘right choice,’ so take some of the pressure off of yourself because many different paths can be the ‘right choice.'”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“7:15am wakeup

7:15-8:15am get ready: hair, makeup, styled outfit

8:15-8:35am commute to office

8:35-6:30 work in the office

6:30-6:50pm commute to gym

7:00-8:00pm workout

8:15-9:15pm make and eat dinner

9:15-11:00pm catchup on work

11:00pm-12:30am TV time!

Pre-pandemic, I was still working in corporate America and living in Carlsbad, California with my husband. I worked in Los Angeles and stayed there during the week, so my schedule during the week was very work focused.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“My new normal as an entrepreneur during the pandemic is very different from my corporate, pre-pandemic life. My new normal excludes getting ready (most days), excludes a commute, excludes the energy of an office full of smart, engaging, energetic co-workers. Instead, I work from my home office, trying to remind myself to look away from my screen and stand up every so often.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“The challenges I’ve faced pale in comparison to so many people. Personally, it’s meant sacrificing time with family (they are all plane-distance away), travel, and hosting dinner parties (both passions). Professionally, sourcing raw materials became more difficult, getting line time with a supplements manufacturer took more effort, and investors are more cautious. But in contrast to the challenges, I think consumers more than ever, are seeing how their overall wellness plays out on their skin. Which is exactly what Layers is all about.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“As a founder and CEO, I am solely responsible for the performance of my company. Which also means I am accountable to employees, customers, and investors that have put their confidence and money into me.  In a crowded skincare category, I’m constantly thinking about how to differentiate, how to break through the clutter, and how to provide customers with the BEST skincare and brand experience.” 

Layers probiotics
Layers probiotic supplements
What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or gym?

“I bookend my workdays with beverages I love.

Every day begins with a half-caf, whole milk cappuccino that I make with my at-home machine.  Before the pandemic, my husband wanted to invest in a high-end espresso machine, and I was hesitant because I love the ritual of visiting local coffee shops. Needless to say, we bought the machine, and when Covid hit, I was so thankful to have this little slice of indulgence each morning.  (side note, we have a Rocket Apartmento and it AND it’s espresso are works of art)

At the end of each day (which on a good day includes a workout), I indulge in a craft cocktail or glass of wine…always seeking new recipes and infusions, or the latest wine recommendation.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I think the insanity of starting my skincare business has kept me sane from the pandemic, but that still doesn’t mean I’m sane.  I have plenty of new gray hairs from the past year to show for it.  Isn’t there some version of this for us all?”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“2020 gave me a deeper appreciation for my husband. Pre-pandemic, my husband and I lived apart during the workweek for 2 years, and now we’re now together all day every day.  Perhaps it was the challenges of long distance that make us so grateful to be enjoying each other’s company in the day-to-day monotony. It’s a reminder how lucky I am to have this partner.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m almost ready to get back to travel (my first vaccine was 4/12)

I got lucky in the fact that I travelled to Africa and Europe for the last 3 months of 2019, right before the world shut down.

Currently on the travel/stay home plans: Providence Rhode Island in May, California and Minnesota friends visiting us in NJ in June/July, us traveling to Minnesota to see family in August.  Then keeping our fingers crossed for Germany wine region in September and Japan in December.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“What handbag? Pre-pandemic, I was known amongst my friends for my eclectic assortment of clutches (which always has a travel size Santal 33 from Le Labo).  Now, I rarely leave the house, and when I do, I only grab my wallet, keys, and a mask (hand sanitizer lives in the car).  I AM dreaming of dusting off my wardrobe and clutches so they can get back out in the world!”

What are your work-from-home saviours?

“As I mentioned, I bookend my day with my favorite beverages, so here are my FAVES

In addition to beverages, my skincare routine provides me with an indulgent ritual that also checks the “self care” box nicely. Of course I use the Layers regimen, complemented with Nuria SPF.”

Describe your style?

“Rags and riches. You’re equally likely to find me in a stained college sweatshirt doing yard work as you are in a Alice + Olivia leather midi skirt and crop top. Oh, and in sky-high heels despite my 5’ 10” height. I was born and raised in Minnesota and have also lived in New York and Los Angeles.  I like to think of my style as bouncing around across all three! My covid style is MUCH less interesting.  Most days include Hurley workout tights, a Nike sports bra, an Amazon tank top, and various sweatshirts thrown over the top.  If I’m still wearing this outfit when it’s time to go to bed, it means I skipped my workout.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Brow pencil (I know it’s not clothing, but if I could only choose one makeup item, it would be this)

Gray leather jacket that can be thrown over ANY outfit, fancy or casual

Ribbed, fitted black sweater that can tuck into high-waisted jeans or a skirt for completely different looks. It’s also equally likely that I would wear it to an investor meeting as to a friend’s dinner party.

A red & black plaid jacket with faux sheep wool collar from Scotch & Soda.  I love that this jacket somehow says lumberjack and fashion at the same time.  Plus, it’s my campfire go-to. A pair of hybrid Sorel boots where fashion meets function; these were my pandemic go-to ALL winter long”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“In two years, I want Layers to be known as the most trusted probiotic skincare brand, and expanding distribution into stores like Sephora, Bluemercury and Ulta.

We’ll also have an expanded product portfolio, so everyone can find the right products within Layers for their specific needs…all rooted in microbiome science.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“A press-up! God knows I’I want to successfully grow a business from the ground up.  I started developing Layers in January of 2020, it’s launching April 2021, and I have A LOT to do over the next few years to grow it into a known, respected, and loved skincare brand.” 

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“In life, there isn’t typically only “one right choice” in a given situation, but rather a lot of different choices that will all feel “right” once you’ve made them.  So, don’t put so much pressure on yourself when big decisions come up.  There are lots of “right” paths.” 

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“‘Everything in moderation, including moderation’ – Oscar Wilde. I generally believe that moderation is our best friend, but every once in a while you need to go all out; whether training for an iron man (not me), working crazy hours (is me), or partying all night with friends.” 

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“No Kids. No Pets. Hobbies: cooking (came in VERY handy during the pandemic), travel, HIIT workouts, wine & cocktails (questionable if this can be called a hobby), gardening” 

Take a look at the Layers Probiotic Skincare website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

We at 35 Thousand don’t approve of new year resolutions but we do believe in the manifesting powers of new year mantras – words we can believe in that set an intention for the year ahead. We asked some of the most inspirational women we met in the last  year (see their interviews in our How She Carries On section) which words they’d choose to live their life by in 2022. 

Now you write down yours…..

Misty Reich, founder 35 Thousand

Misty Reich

Discover more about 35 Thousand skincare here


Dr Sam Bunting, dermatologist and founder of Dr Sam’s product range 

Dr Sam Bunting

Visit Dr Sam Bunting’s website here

Holly Mckinlay, Senior Director of Communications at the World Worldlife Fund

Holy McKinlay

Visit the WWF here

Paula Floyd, CEO Headkount

Paula Floyd

Visit Headkount here

Terri Bryant, Founder of Guide Beauty 

Terri Bryant

Visit Guide Beauty here

Amanda McIntoSh, Founder of Take my Face Off

Amanda Mcintosh

Visit Take my Face Off here

Ara Katz, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Seed 

Ara Katz

Visit Seed here

Rochelle Jacobs, co-founder Naturally Serious 

Rochelle Jacobs

Visit Naturally Serious here

Mary Schulman CEO. Co-founder PYTbeauty.com

Mary Schulman

Visit PYT Beauty here

Beth Bassil, Co-founder b.good PR 

Beth Bassil

Visit B Good pr here

Discover more about many of these amazing women and how they manage the daily juggle in the How She Carries on Section of 35 Thousand here

Caroline Barnes is a professional makeup artist with a career spanning the TV, fashion and music industries. Caroline talks to 35 Thousand about traveling, her career with L’Oreal and passion for making women feel fabulous.

Tell us about your work…

“I have been a professional makeup artist for 27 years. I am fortunate to have had a fantastic career spanning the TV, fashion and music industries.I have travelled all over the world and met some incredible people and shared experiences I would have never been exposed to, if it not had been for my job. I love people and I’m passionate about making women feel fabulous, as well as the artistry of makeup.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other

“I have a small office at home which I painted and made more pleasing to spend time in over lockdown and it’s a better environment to film in. I’m either on location or in a studio across London.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Creative images and people. I am a makeup addict and I love all the new innovation and formulas that are being created.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Everyday is usually different. New address, new team, new talent. Whilst this is also inspiring having no regular pattern to your working week, it can be exhausting.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“When I signed on the dotted line for my first makeup contract – it was for L’Oreal and fortunately I have been contracted to big makeup companies from thereon in. It is an absolute privilege to have a platform to help communicate the art of makeup and cosmetics to consumers.”

Caroline Barnes
Caroline is passionate about helping women to feel fabulous
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“Life is long. Sometimes you are winning and sometimes you aren’t in the lead. The story of the hare and the tortoise is always reassuring when you feel you are falling behind. Keep the faith that success ebbs and flows, and remain positive always.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“Husband, three gorgeous boys, a dwarf chinchilla rabbit and a goldfish who is 10 years old, which is a massive achievement for a goldfish! I have many of friends and our house is always a mess but I’d rather the hustle and bustle of a busy home compared to a tidy, quiet home. My new found love is running, either alone or with my dear friend. This small effort is really keeping me balanced.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“Oh gosh like most working mums, balancing family life with a hectic work schedule and trying to keep everyone happy!”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I’m not working as a makeup artist as much as I used too. Instead I’m in my office creating content and communicating my love of beauty and the best products to buy via my social media channels.
I much prefer to be painting peoples faces but at least I can still remain part of my community and remain inspired. Hopefully this will change soon and the industry will return to normal. Fingers crossed.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Professionally yes. I worked so little last year it was terrifying. Fortunately I can still earn money via my channel and social media but it is not my happy space, nor one I solely want to do.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I’ve always been rubbish sleeper. Anything and everything wakes me up. My husband breathing (poor man) or a worrying thought from the day I hadn’t processed.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or gym?

“Not the gym but definitely gin! Really not keen to go back to the gym nowadays. Happy with my running and so long as I can keep this up that will be the exercise tick box TICKED for me.
I love a gin and tonic. Especially one early evening, as it just has the ability to soften the day and bring on relaxation.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Knowing that we are lucky to not be in hospital or grieving the loss of loved ones. It was also important to reassure the boys that it was OK to feel fed up and we just had to try and let time pass until better days arrived.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“Uummmm… Just how much I love people in my life, they give me ENERGY! Also just to slow down and not pack my days with endless actives.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Yes desperate to go away to feel the sand between my toes and stare endlessly at the horizon. We have plans that we had last year to Greece and America but we will have to cross everything and wait and see.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Mask, hand sanitiser, toothbrush (currently having Invisalign), around three lipsticks, phone and my keys. Pretty standard I guess.”

What are your work-from-home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)  

“Up at 6.30am. Take a probiotic. Coffee. Skincare – Vitamin C in the morning Retinol at night.
Camomile Tea before bed. Neom Oil Diffuser daily in my office. The rest is always varied and different.”

Caroline believes that makeup application is a superpower
Describe your style?

“I have alway been a bit of a tomboy and because I have a feminine figure I like simple clothes and not too many patterns. Comfy and effortless I would like to say.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“A great bra, an oversized hoodie, a long soft dress, skinny jeans, a cashmere jumper.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“Working with credible, interesting clients whom I like and respect and to carry on communicating to everyone with the super power that is makeup application.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“A press-up! God knows I’ve tried. I blame my big boobs but that’s just an excuse.” 

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“In the end, everything will be OK. BUT if you sit back and wait for it to happen nothing will change.
Dig deep, be tenacious and never say no to work.” 

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“IT IS WHAT IT IS. This covers everything from the deepest grief to clients letting you down. Acceptance is key in order to move forward happily in life and this mantra just allows me to do just that.” 

Take a look at Caroline’s website here, her Instagram here and her Speed Beauty YouTube channel here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

Misty Reich is the founder of 35 Thousand, a skincare brand that has been born out of Misty’s struggle to maintain her acne-prone skin whilst juggling family life and a big career. She reveals the decisions that led her to starting the brand, and shares her philosophies on life, as well as advice for all working moms out there.

Describe yourself in three words

“Optimistic, determined, innovative thinker.”

Tell us about your work

“I always say I have 2 day jobs. First I am a non-exec/board member, coach and business advisor. At the company or organisational level I help leadership teams develop and execute strong people and culture practices that align with the business and leadership objectives. And in the case of my coaching work I help individual leaders get “unstuck” and find the best ways to work to give them more energy and leverage their unique genius. I get so much energy from spending time helping people reframe mindset and approach to challenges, its super rewarding work and builds on all of my career experience. 

My second role is as the founder of 35 Thousand. This is my hearts passion project and where I spend most of my time now. We have a small but mighty team of incredibly talented leaders both inside 35 Thousand and in our partners. My role is to set the clear vision for the brand and our products, clear roadblocks so that every member of the team can be successful in leading their own piece of the puzzle and hopefully help them to make their time working on our brand a real plus in their life and career.”

Do you work in an office, skyscraper or other?

“Most of the time I work from a home office in London where we live during the school year. When I am not there I am either at our ranch outside of Austin, set up on an enormous table made of reclaimed barn floor or in a hotel or airport somewhere around the world with my ipad on my lap praying for good WiFi:).”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Two of the big parts of my role give me tons of energy:
1) Working on product development and new product pipeline – I have SO many ideas!
2) Working with our team. I love the people I work with, including our amazing partners. I am in awe of each one of their unique talents and enjoy watching them do what they do and learning from them. The fact that this group of people have agreed to spend some of their career lives helping to bring this dream to life blows my mind.”

Misty splits her time between London and Texas where she is pictured here with her Longhorn cattle.
What parts of your work drain you?

“Ugh. The easy thing to say is stressing about money but that’s true for every entrepreneur I have ever known. The more insightful answer is that I get very frustrated when people do not communicate well or in timely manner. I have found that often, if the update seems small to someone or especially if someone has “bad” news to deliver, people will procrastinate sharing the info which only delays the pain and many times means you lose some of the time and options you could have had to solve the issue. 

I get frustrated when things don’t go as planned just like the next person but I would argue that I am better than most at quickly moving through that and getting into solutions. I am very good in those moments at coming up with innovative ideas to solve for something, so not having the opportunity to do that because I don’t know about the problem really triggers me. And what someone may think is a “small” or insignificant status update could have big knock on implications for other streams of work so not knowing may mean other people can’t progress work. Communication is key!”

Misty (centre) with Content Director Susannah Taylor (left), and Product Development Manager Claire Bristow (right)
Most pivotal point in your career so far?

“Leaving my career without a plan and starting a brand in an industry I’ve never worked in is probably tops but if I really go back, my real big break was when I agreed to relocate from Texas to Seattle with AT&T Wireless. I had never considered moving, our people didn’t leave Texas, but my company was always pushing me to consider it and one year my husband and I decided we should be more open minded and told the company we might consider for the right opportunity. It took no time at all for the call to come and a huge, double or triple jump promotion was put in front of me that I could not refuse. I took the role, leap frogged over AT LEAST two other people who were way more qualified than I was but they couldn’t move to Seattle so I got the nod and the risk turned out to be a huge positive step change in my learning and the level I operated at.

From that point on I was operating at C Suite level and the opportunities that came my way were so much more lucrative and interesting from a leadership standpoint. That one decision to move really has made everything else possible.”

Best piece of advice you have ever received that you now pass on to others?

“Don’t assume that staying home when your children are babies is the only or best way to parent. 
When I was considering having children I was in the prime “climbing” years of my career I was having so much fun learning and growing at work and I remember telling my mom I thought maybe I would wait a long time to have kids because I didn’t want to miss my moment in my career. My mom told me that when our kids are young, they have lots of little problems that are easy to spot, easy to fix and it doesn’t have to be the mom doing it all, when they are older they have fewer but big problems that only you can spot and only you can help them fix- she encouraged me to lean into my career, get a great support system set up to help me make it good for my family, and then prepare to be in a position to step back when my kids are teens if they need me to do so. This has played out beautifully for me and my family and as it turns out I did need to shift gears when my kids were teens and I am so grateful I had a plan to make that possible.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you? Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I am happily married to the cute boy I met and and fell for in 7th grade pre algebra and we have two super fun kids (ahem, adult children) Parker (20) and a student at Royal Holloway University and Avery (18) who is starting her senior year in high school in London.
We have loads of family in the US, many near our ranch in Texas and we love to spend time with them.
We have two dogs and a cat in London and a small herd of Texas Longhorn cattle at our ranch in Texas.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Pre-pandemic and post pandemic are mostly the same, only change is pre-pandemic I was often all over London in meetings with people and now I am often glued to Zoom.
I start my day with quiet time for myself, making breakfast for my kids and working out. I am hugely fortunate to have a home gym and have spent the last two years really getting into weight lifting.
I aim to have my 35 Thousand meetings and calls on days when I don’t have board commitments or meetings with coaching clients to try to create some level of mental divide for myself, although that doesn’t always work. 
My ideal work day starts around noon/1pm and goes to around 7:00pm or later- this is the time I am most productive for other people (we have business in US so time zones are always a juggle) so my mornings will be spent on me, including preparing me for the meetings of the day, and afternoons are for others.
After work my husband and I generally cook together and debrief our days and then snuggle up for TV with kids and dogs before heading to sleep around 11pm.”

How has your daily life changed? What’s your new normal?

“Living life static, in office, at home but not on the go is the main difference. I miss movement, connecting with people in real life. I am super pleased that this is starting to come back again.”

Has the coronavirus crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Personally I found it challenging being away from family who are in the US and could not come visit especially around important milestones like my son’s high school graduation. But we cannot complain, we are blessed with a home we enjoy and though we all had COVID in April of 2020 we are all healthy. Professionally it has certainly been a curve ball for 35 Thousand. We thought for sure we would be launching the skincare line in early 2020. Never the less we are here and, ever the optimist, I am convinced we will look back and see this delay as a blessing for the brand in some way.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I have teenagers. Pretty sure the teen years are as sleep depriving for parents as the newborn period so there’s that. Something happening to my family in the US and not being able to get there quickly is always a fear for expats, not unique to me and never goes away. And, of course, I occasionally wake in a sweat imagining some terrible calamity with 35 Thousand that will, in all likelihood, never play out.” 

The Glow Anywhere Kit
The Glow Anywhere Kit from 35 Thousand
What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or too that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or gym?

“My dogs are the best distraction of all. They are constant, joy filled, trouble making and funny.
I have also really gotten into 8 week fitness challenges with Coach Mark Carroll, starting my second year of following his workout programming. It’s all online and he does challenge groups regularly with a great Facebook community of women so I feel like I have clear fitness goals and a community for accountability and to share ups and downs with without having to go to a public gym and sweat in front of the guys.”

What has kept you sane during COVID-19, and kept your family sane?

“We had a schedule for dinners during the week that we really made fun. We had a friend nearby in our bubble and she would come to our house Thursday nights for takeaway and TV and then Saturday nights we would go to her house and challenge ourselves to cook a special, multi-course dinner with great cocktails.

Walking also featured heavily in my daily life over the past year – around and around and around my garden, dogs laying still in the grass watching me like I was loosing the plot.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I am leaving the pandemic experience far more practiced in letting go of control. I, like so many people, really want to control my circumstances, to a degree that just isn’t serving me or even healthy. I needed this development, and know the people around me will be grateful for my progress in this area:)”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Never stopped travelling, only slowed down. Have been back and forth UK to US and a sprinkling of Europe over past year with more trips over next few months. If you have any questions about COVID travel protocols in UK, Europe or US, I’m your gal!”

Finish this sentence…”If you look in my handbag at any time you will always find…’

“Nude sparkly lipgloss, gum, Bic multi colour pen/pencil, soft sided journal or Rocketbook notebook, phone, earbuds, memo water bottle, sunglasses… and of course a mask, which I should say that I am very happy to wear if it helps to protect other people.”

What are your work-home-saviors?

” – Music: I love the Spotify playlist Music for Concentration
– Four Sigmatic Mushroom coffee: I have regular coffee in morning but this is great option for early afternoon
– Lap desk with pillow side and desk side: carry it all around the house as I move during the day
– Enormous (like ridiculously large) water bottle that I aim to get through every day.
– A window to face for Zoom calls- because good lighting is everything.”

Describe your style?

“Casual with a little edge? Town and Country? Jeans and blazer? I have no idea really. I follow advice of professionals on clothing and copy shamelessly from a few fashion bloggers I admire.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Balmain blazer (stupid expensive but if I told you I have worn it to every work meeting in the past 5 years I would be understating the frequency)
Great jeans: all the cuts, all the washes, I never get rid of my jeans
Convertible strap (regular and racer back) bra
Hanky Pankies – IYKYK
Gold bangles, all the gold bangles at once!”

One of Misty’s favourite items of clothing is her Balmain Blazer
How do you see your business in 3 years from now?

“I hope that 35 Thousand is on its way to becoming THE brand that women on the go think of for luxury products, inspiration and community.
I would love to still be creating new products and enjoying the team, with my family and dogs involved too:)”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but would really like to?

“Playing the acoustic guitar.”

Was there a moment or event in your that is funny to you now but wasn’t at the time?

“So many! Big one was my first business trips shortly after having my son, in 2001, breast pump discretely tucked into the black “pleather” briefcase looking bag and going through airport security with the male co-workers I was travelling with when security flagged my black bag as a risk and had to call supervisors and managers from across the airport for escalated review. My co-workers, ever the gentlemen, and unsure what was happening, waited with me despite my pleas that they head on to the gate. After about 20 minutes the security manager brought the bag back to me with nozzles and tubes all hanging out and thanked me for my patience, said it was a good training exercise for her team because they had not come across a breathing machine before! I said “no problem” grabbed the bag and set off for the gate, hoping my co-workers would roll with it and not ask questions. They didn’t say a word and, I suppose, to this day may wonder how I am coping with my, ahem, breathing condition 😂”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her most?

“Your purpose is always going to be right where you are and when it is time for you to do something else you will know, if you don’t know, its not yet time.
Spent a lot of time worrying, striving and wondering about what THE plan for my life should be and thinking that “someday” I would be doing the work that was my “real” purpose. 
It was only after I realised that my purpose has always been with me, to be the best, most loving, constructive and compassionate version of myself wherever I am, that my work began to feel purposeful.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you ?

“I have so so many but I suppose the thing that stands the test of time for me is my faith, and specifically I love to meditate on the bible verse John 1:16 “From Christs’ fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

No matter your faith, or beliefs about faith, or your life circumstances, I hope you will, at some level, be able to look at your life and see blessings, favour, gifts, miracles or opportunities that you didn’t earn but received simply for being you, and in that, you can see that you are worthy just exactly as you are. This has been hugely soothing to me at many points in my life.”

To read more about 35 Thousand go to to ‘Our Story‘, and checkout the 35 Thousand products here

Terri Bryant is a makeup artist and the Founder of GUIDE BEAUTY, a beauty brand designed to make makeup application easier. Terri talks to 35 Thousand about balancing family life with her business, pets and hobbies.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Loyal, creative, driven.”

Tell us about your work…

“We partner with our design team, ergonomic engineers, and test users across a diverse range of abilities, skill sets, and needs to create our makeup application products.  Our user-centric approach is highly collaborative as we engage users in exploring existing products and our working prototypes.  

We’re able to observe where people struggle using traditional tools and formulas and discover ergonomic and design preferences to improve the user experience. We apply those findings into our designs to create tools that can perform as an extension of the user’s hand, along with custom formulations that enhance the tools performance. Additionally, while our products focus on innovation and usability, the importance of beauty to the overall brand experience is a must.  The goal is always an artistic, glamourous and confident identity that taps into the essence of what we love about makeup.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other

“Most often on my patio.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“People and creating”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Spreadsheets and numbers.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Launching GUIDE BEAUTY”

GUIDE BEAUTY’s Lash Wrap Mascara

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“As we do in our design process, lean into the roadblocks and mistakes. They are your greatest opportunity.”

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time?

“Early in my career, I was asked to present to an executive team. I prepared for the presentation, but not the set-up, as a video-audio team was taking care of that.  I stepped on stage in my high heels and skirt.  Three words into my speech I tripped over a loose chord which landed me, and my skirt, on my head.  It was a good lesson in humility as I stood up, dusted myself off (pulled my skirt off my head), and finished my presentation.”

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“My husband and I will always have dogs in our life and are big supporters of pet rescue, fostering and adoption. I love interior design, estate sales, and I am always searching for vintage treasures & finds – basically pieces that give a room character & soul. I love all styles. My personal design philosophy is simply buy what you love & it will find its perfect place in your home.”  

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“Pre-pandemic my work called for quite a bit of travel.  While my day-to-day may have varied while travelling, it always started and ended the same way: knowing my husband’s voice would be the first I heard in the morning and the last I heard before going to bed at night.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I set goals for each day centered around what feeds my mind, body and spirit. I bookend my days with verbalizing what I am thankful for in my life.  In this time of Covid, I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, but as a creative, my environment feeds me. I plan for time where I can immerse myself in creative environments.  Some days this is listening to music, other days it’s thumbing through interior design magazines or rehabbing furniture, and most days it’s playing with makeup. 

One constant is spending time moving with my loved ones.  Walking our dog, or doing yoga and kickboxing with my husband.  This practice has helped me manage the inevitable ups and downs in life.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Professionally the pandemic certainly affected our options of how and where companies could connect with their community.  We found social media to be an incredible platform.  It allowed us to not only share our story, but to engage in a much more meaningful way.  People are people. We still long for connection.  During Covid-19, social media has given us all the opportunity to maintain existing connections and build new ones.”

GUIDE’s products are designed to achieve the easiest makeup application possible.
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I’m fortunate to have a loving family and supportive friends.  As a new founder, I do have those moments where I wonder if I missed something that could have expanded the brand and our mission.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I start every morning with a moment of gratitude. It’s part of several mindful moments I incorporate throughout my day.  A few moments to breathe, take a quick “retreat” on the patio, and reconnect mind & body.  It’s self-care, it’s important and just a few moments can be so impactful.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“When the pandemic first started my husband proposed we start a garden. My response was something along the lines of ‘Sounds good honey. Let me know how that goes’.  Though I was happy to benefit from the literal fruits of his labor, I was not at all interested in participating.  That response surprises some people who know me and over the years have seen me constantly working on one project or another.  I have always loved creating and building, watching a design project take life and form.  I don’t thrive on instant gratification but the process itself. That said, I need to know I can finish something in one sitting, no matter how long it takes, or it makes me crazy.  I’ll create a makeup look, rehab a regency desk, paint a room but once I start, I do not stop until finished.  While the ability to complete a task has in many ways served me well in life and in business it has at times been a detriment.  I have patience for the process when the process is on my terms.  This is admittedly not my finest quality and can cause undue stress in life and it’s not a realistic or fair expectation.

 Eventually, with no more walls to paint, desks to rehab and my face on fire from one too many makeup applications, I gave in and joined my husband in the garden.  Turns out it was just what I needed. It’s allowing me to see things grow and change. As we were working and isolated in our home, gardening let me see the environment change.  The bigger and unexpected reward is that it taught me to let go and appreciate the process even if I can’t control it.”

Are you ready to travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m so ready! While I am somewhat of a homebody my friends and family feed my soul.  I desperately miss my LA family and friends.  I look forward to the day we can safely have our big Palm Springs reunion.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Lip & cheek balm.”

What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)  

Coffee in the morning and an afternoon walk around the lake with my dog, Harvey.”

Guide Beauty
GUIDE’s products are designed to create definition with ease.
Describe your style?

“My style can vary, but at my core it’s boho chic with a dash of 70s vintage.  I love a kaftan, a cocktail ring, and a long gold necklace.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Kaftan, cocktail ring, a black jumpsuit (my favorite alternative to the little black dress), a tuxedo blazer, high rise flare jeans in a dark wash.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“Exciting things are happening in the GUIDE Lab!  We started with the products and techniques (Eyeliner Duo, Brow Moment and Lash Wrap Mascara) that create definition.  Products that create definition are not only the most impactful, but also tend to be the most challenging for the everyday makeup wearer.  We wanted to tackle these challenging techniques first and offer a range of products that allows the user to wholly define the area around the eyes.  From there, through our method of Universal Design and a culture of inclusivity, we will be expanding our color range as well as continue focusing feature-by-feature to create a full GUIDE Beauty face. The goal is that more and more brands will integrate Inclusive and Universal Design methods into their product development, and we will see a much-needed shift in the narrative around inclusivity in the beauty industry.” 

‘Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storms, but to add color to my sunset sky.’ – Rabindraath Tagore. None of us go through life unscathed.  While we certainly don’t wish for struggles, they come.  While I still feel the pain living through it, my personal journey has shown me that from even the darkest moments, something beautiful can be born.  For me, a meaningful life is one lived through a wider lens with shared experiences, and the deepened range of empathy that grows from those shared experiences. Being challenged in life is inevitable. This quote from Tagore is a beautiful reminder that every experience colors our life, but you can shape your perspective.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

Take a look at GUIDE BEAUTY’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

Katrina Moreno Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Kura Skin, a company on a mission to take the guesswork out of skincare. Katrina talks to 35 Thousand about how she balances work from home life, what she does to stay fit, and shares her tips on how to get a sound night’s sleep as a busy business woman.

Tell us about your work

“I run Kura Skin, a company on a mission to take the guesswork out of skin care. You can think of Kura as a clean skincare matchmaker: through a simple quiz and smart algorithm, we pair individuals with the best product or complete routine for their individual needs and budget. And with user feedback, those personalized curations are always getting better.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I work in the spare room and also in clients’ homes here in Denver (I’m vaccinated!). Like many people these days, I’m working from home. My dining table has become my office and as far as workaround setups go it’s working out pretty well. I have lots of light, a good cross-breeze, and a nice view of a big, beautiful tree outside my window.”

Kura Skin specialises in clean and sustainable skincare
What parts of your work give you energy?

“I love reading new reviews. I’ve put an incredible amount of thought and love into this service and it feels amazing to see that we’re consistently delivering such significant results for our customers. We’ve had a three-star review only once, some 4’s and mostly 5’s otherwise. I’m incredibly proud of that.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“If you met me you probably wouldn’t notice, but I’m seriously introverted. So while I love meet-and-greets and sharing Kura’s story, I often feel like I need a nap afterward.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“It’s absolutely the decision to pursue this business full-time. Prior to starting Kura I was living in San Francisco and worked on brand strategy for a number of tech companies. As a result, I was always studying how great brands were creating customer experiences that were smarter, simpler and more personal. I’m sure that foundation planted the seed for Kura Skin, but making the leap from fuzzy idea to full-time gig was exhilarating and terrifying. I’m not sure I’d recommend entrepreneurship as it’s punishing. But I’m proud of myself that I took the plunge, and I love that we’ve been able to build a business our customers love.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“In graduate school, a fellow student said, “Nothing in life is too hard” and that statement has stuck with me for years.  Of course, there are lots of things that I can’t do and may never be able to do.  But this attitude has led me to take big chances because I believe that most things are possible if you trust your gut. You’ll get a lot of advice-mostly unsolicited. But at the end of the day, you know your business better than anyone.”

What’s your context outside of work ?

“I live with my husband in Los Angeles. During the week we both really grind and don’t have much downtime. But on a normal weekend we enjoy entertaining, surfing, and what we’ve dubbed a “sip and stroll,” which is a long walk with a Nalgene full of wine. As for hobbies, friends like to joke that we’ve swapped traditional gender roles; my husband’s an excellent cook and I’m extremely handy. I love my tools and tinkering and fixing. I look forward to the day when I’ll have more time for that.

When it comes to outside commitments there’s an organization that’s close to my heart because I was lucky enough to be a part of it when I was a kid. It’s called Prep for Prep. It seeks out high-achieving, low-income students of color from around NYC and supports them through academic advancement. Their goal is to create a more ethical and effective pool of leaders that reflects the true diversity of our society. They’re an amazing organization and it’s a privilege to be able to come full circle and support their cause.”

Kura Skin bundles up the right products and info for your skin
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“The broad strokes, my pre-pandemic day actually looked pretty similar to my average pandemic day. That’s because running this business has always been all-encompassing, so while some settings have changed, the wearing of many hats and always-on approach has been pretty consistent.”

How has your daily life changed since the pandemic, what’s your new normal?

“Work from home hasn’t been everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s been a really lovely change of pace for my husband and I. Pre-pandemic, we’d hardly see each other during the week. But now we can actually have dinner together. It’s been years since we could do that consistently, so that part has been great.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“From a business standpoint, 2020 was a fantastic year. We grew 300% in 2020. I think what drove our success was that people were still looking for expert help with their skincare but the traditional channels were suddenly closed. We offered an online alternative to in-person recommendations but with even greater personalization because we rely on both human judgment and data science. But on a more personal note, I know I’m not alone in saying that the pandemic was very stressful. While we live on the west coast our families are still on the east coast and that physical distance made all the uncertainty around health and safety feel that much more out of our control. It was a year of worry and a bad one for mental health.” 

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“This is a funny question for me because I’m an awful sleeper. So rather than sharing a mile-long list of what keeps me up I’ll share a few pro tips for getting to sleep: Buy blackout curtains! Sunlight is nice…when you’re already awake. Get a kindle and fill it with stories that allow your mind to wander. Pro tip: keep a book on there that actually puts you to sleep. I prefer highly academic biographies of royalty for this purpose. Finally, keep a set of earplugs at the ready. Mack’s Snore Blockers are my go-to.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I am a person that exercises a lot. It’s the best and most reliable stress reliever for me, so I rarely miss a day. Once COVID closed my gym I bought a stationary bike. Not a Peloton, but an old refurb gym bike that was identical to the one at my gym. To say that it’s an eyesore would be an understatement. But it’s, without question, the best purchase I’ve ever made.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I’m originally from NYC and moved to Los Angeles by way of San Francisco a few years ago. It’s the first time I’ve ever really lived next to the water and it’s just been incredible. A brief walk along the ocean – even if it’s cold or windy or cloudy – completely changes my mood, so I’ve made a point to do it as often as I can.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I moved away from NYC when I was 18 and made it my unofficial mission to jump around. But 2020 really had me missing family and home because it was suddenly out of reach. I’m grateful for that in some ways because that brought me closer to my family than I’d been in a long time.”

Are you ready to travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Little known fact: I spent my first year and a half after college living in Seoul and Istanbul. I love traveling and it’s what I’ve missed most this last year. Near-term I’m excited to explore more of the U.S.A, starting with my home state of California and the Pacific Northwest.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Nothing! I’m a phone, credit card, and ID in pockets kind of gal.”

What are your work from home saviours? 

“A second monitor has been the biggest help. After that, some very comfy but Zoom-appropriate loungewear.Routines rule my day. These involve a lot of moving around the house with drinks, e.g. work from bed with water to work from dining table with coffee to work from bed with tea or an aperitif. If it was good enough for Churchill then it’s good enough for me.”

Describe your style?

“My style is a combination of LOTS of fitness clothes and BoHo chic when I want to feel like a regular person.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“I couldn’t live without running leggings with a pocket for a phone, and my 15-year old Patagonia fleece (it only looks 12 years old!). Dark wash jeans, modern tee, and leather jacket for day to day.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“Who knows for sure, but I think the future is very bright. Today, our system matches customers with such precision that they often stay with us for a long time. That’s a fine place to start. I look forward to building out our inventory with an even wider range of products to allow for more precise tailoring and even better results. We also continue to get lots of notes from customers requesting matching for makeup, hair care, and other personal care products. That could happen further down the line, but we want to focus on the toughest stuff first, and that’s skin care.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Despite the fact that I grew up on Cape Cod near the ocean, I have a weird fear of water.  I have snorkeled a lot, but I would love to conquer my fear and learn to dive. My mind! Or maybe not conquer but calm. I’ve been running this business full speed ahead for a couple of years now and I’m the toughest boss I’ve ever had. I rarely allow myself to take breaks for fear of losing momentum. But I’m fully aware that that’s not very healthy or sustainable. I’m working on it.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“I would tell her to relax and laugh more, allow herself to have more fun, and listen to what her gut tells her.  And, don’t worry so much. You’ll be fine.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“I do not!”

Take a look at Kura Skin’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

Marhi Relin is the owner and founder of Body Conceptions by Mahri, expert trainers in women’s fitness. Amanda Marhi talks to 35 Thousand about her new normal, her love of travel, and how she shifted her business to working virtually during the pandemic.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Conscientious, empathetic, positive.”

Tell us about your work

“I run a fitness company based on a method I developed called Body Conceptions that uses dance principles (although you don’t have to be a dancer at all to do it!).  We work with everyone but particularly focus on training women during times in their lives when they need it the most but tend to have the least support and information – i.e., during pregnancy and postnatal healing as well as fertility preparation and perimenopause.  We do mostly private training in-home and also virtual training.  I love what what I do because the method is so fun, and I am filled every day by helping others feel stronger, more capable, and happier in their bodies.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I work in the spare room and also in clients’ homes here in Denver (I’m vaccinated!).”

Marhi Relin
Mahri’s workouts are designed to support women through all stages of life
What parts of your work give you energy?

“Almost all of it, to be honest.  I get so excited about helping people and seeing them feel better, especially during times when they feel extra stressed or uncertain.  I also love working with my team, a group of women who care so deeply about what they do and want to learn as much as possible about fitness and women’s health.  We spend hours in our training sessions on education, and I am so proud of everyone’s enthusiasm.  Personally, I also love learning about the body and about all the hormonal and structural changes we experience as we go through different phases of life.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“The hardest part of this business for me is when I experience person-to-person conflict. I am really adamant about being there for my trainers, and there are tricky times when a lot of communication is necessary to support the client, help our trainers understand all sides, and resolve issues in a way that makes everyone feel heard. Despite my effort to understand where others are coming from, there are times when people don’t want to consider others’ personal needs or the needs of the business.  That can be difficult, but I also realize it’s part of owning a business!”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Realizing I don’t need to have “arrived” to be helpful to other people starting. The most pivotal moment happened in my early 20’s when I decided to leave my doctoral program in the third year.  I was studying Clinical Neuropsychology, and I realized that I was taking this path for my parents but not for myself.  I decided to take a leave absence to pursue dance in New York City, and I never returned!  (I did secure my masters, and I have used a lot of what I learned in graduate school in my fitness work, believe it or not)”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“In graduate school, a fellow student said, “nothing in life is too hard” and that statement has stuck with me for years.  Of course, there are lots of things that I can’t do and may never be able to do.  But this attitude has led me to take big chances because I believe that most things are possible with determination, education, and positivity.  Starting a business was a big example of this for me.  I had never had any business experience, but I learned so much from others and always believed that it was possible.  I encourage others to see the possibilities in their lives and go for the things that excite them.  You will never know the happiness that comes from achieving your lofty goals unless you give them a try!”

What’s your context outside of work  –  do  you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“I have a little Maltese named Molly who has been with me through many moves and changes in my life.  I also help a friend with her eBay clothing business, and I take dance class whenever I can. I have officially stopped performing regularly (I danced in musical theater internationally for 12 years), but I still dip my toe in dance and theater whenever opportunities come up.  That is, when theater is actually happening…”

Marhi Relin
Marhi left her doctoral program in her third year to pursue her passion for dance
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“Before the pandemic, I was traveling back to NYC for a week every month to see clients and my trainers, conduct business meetings, and participate in events.  In NYC, I would visit lots of friends and see shows, and I also visited my family on Cape Cod whenever I could. Back in Denver, I took dance classes, spent a lot of time outdoors hiking and biking, and I did as much networking as I could.  In my business life, I’m a big fan of running events and panels and meeting other practitioners in the prenatal and postnatal community.  I’m also a big traveller.  It’s a big part of what helps me recharge and feel happy.”

How has your daily life changed since the pandemic, what’s your new normal?

“With the pandemic in full swing, of course I stopped traveling abroad and out to NYC.  I kept a tight friend group, but I didn’t see as many people as usual and stopped networking.  I continued seeing a few clients in person who were very careful like me, but otherwise I conducted all of my personal training by Zoom.  I am lucky to live in such a beautiful place and went outside as much as I could, but that definitely changed when things got colder.  My day-to-day world definitely got smaller. 

I am writing this now after receiving my second vaccine, so I’m already seeing my life expand again.  I’m going out with friends more freely and also planning a few personal and professional trips out east.  I went on a personal retreat, and I even went to a movie theater to see a movie! It feels so strange that these things still feel so foreign to me after doing them all the time just over a year ago!”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Yes, in so many big and little ways.  When everything shut down, we felt so badly for our clients who were moms.  Suddenly, many of them had to home school on top of working from home, and doing a personal training session was not realistic.  And of course all of our work was in-person before the pandemic, so we had to shift to virtual training suddenly.  We spent hours as a company working on improving our virtual experience because we use music and also need our clients to hear us and know that we are paying close attention to their form.  We also applied for a loan right away when we realized that it would take some time for all of our clients to figure out how to structure their lives and transition to virtual sessions.  Thank goodness most of them took the leap of faith and continued working with us.  Virtual training has actually broadened our reach as a company and could be a great thing in the long run.  But it was definitely a painful transition in the beginning. 

Personally, the pandemic impacted me a lot.  I normally need connection with others, and I have remained very close with my NYC friends since moving to Denver (and usually get to see them when I fly out there for business).  Not being able to fly to NYC for a long time affected me a lot, and I also missed seeing my parents in Massachusetts.  While staying at home in Denver, I lost some of my big outlets like traveling, dancing, and networking, and it was really hard to live and work in the same house all the time without a change in scenery.  I also had some friends and relationships that were deeply impacted by the pandemic, which affected me as a result since I cared about them a lot.” 

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Honestly, I stopped sleeping well once the pandemic started.  I had trouble falling asleep, and I would wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.  I’m not sure how to describe the specific things that kept me up.  Perhaps a general anxiety and feeling of being restless and trapped at home without an escape valve.  I was also especially close to a few people who suffered from COVID-related issues and worried about them as well.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I feel so lucky that I work out every day!  Seriously, I had a lot of anxiety last year, and I felt like every session with clients (in which I also worked out with them) felt like a true reset.  I would often feel like I had a completely new perspective on things after we finished training, and I was so grateful for that experience.   

In addition to my work, I was really lucky to have a wonderful pod of friends I saw all the time, so I didn’t feel lonely.  I also took a lot of classes connected to emotional expression – from dance and photography to women’s discussion groups.  And I started to meditate a LOT, which made a huge difference.  I just attended a personal retreat in Sedona a month ago, which was very intense but an incredible opportunity to understand myself better and see things in a new light heading into spring and more normal life.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I have relied on everything I mentioned above connected with my coping strategies – connection with others, emotional expression through art and movement, meditation, and deeper personal exploration.  I will also add that I live near some beautiful mountains in Colorado, and going outside to be in nature has been amazing (especially after living in NYC for so long!).  I also love good food, so cooking with friends and going out to some great restaurants has also kept me happy.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I do a lot of pretty crazy things with my life. I’m not a 9-to-5 routine follower. However the pandemic It definitely shook me up a lot.  I was deeply worried about the political climate, and I realized that many of things I had counted on could disappear suddenly and radically. It made me appreciate connection and family, and it also made me feel a little more wary and unsettled – maybe less confident than I’ve been that things will always turn out well. I hope that feeling goes away, but I also think it will drive me to be more active in trying to make things better in the world and the community.  We have always championed women as a company, and I see it as more important than ever.  We need to support each other and also help each other find more joy and connection.”

Are you ready to travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I am itching to travel again, yes!  My first plans are to fly to NYC since we will be training people in-person again in the Hamptons.  I want to see my parents as well. Other plans include a potential business trip to Miami, and I am also dying for a trip for myself somewhere out of the country.  We’ll see what I decide…”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Oh my gosh.  First you will comment about how heavy it is!  I always carry way too many things because I want to be prepared at all times. In addition to my overstuffed wallet, phone, sunglasses, charger, and Airpods, you will find a little bag that contains all my little emergency beauty items – a nail file, lip balm, lipstick, lip gloss, hand cream, sunscreen, perfume, hair spray, and concealer.  All in one bag.”

What are your work from home saviours? 

“My fancy espresso machine (espresso is easier on the stomach than drip coffee). My two monitors. My fancy trackpad that allows me to do graphic design work without getting carpal tunnel. My bone induction headphones (when I can find them), since I can hear the Zoom call AND any screams my children are emitting when I wear them. I work out with many of my clients from home, so my regular virtual fitness routine is a huge work-from-home savior.  Before my sessions, I like to follow a pretty regular morning routine of a quick meditation, making my bed, getting ready slowly and taking my time to eat my breakfast, and then setting up the extra room for my virtual session (which often includes listening to music and thinking through the session right before).  My routine helps me slowly prepare my body and mind for my work while also giving myself enough time to get into the zone.  Oh, and I didn’t mention my requisite morning cup of coffee, which fuels this entire process!”

Describe your style?

“My style is a combination of LOTS of fitness clothes and BoHo chic when I want to feel like a regular person.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“My non-fitness side…. 

  1. Bell-bottom jeans 
  1. Long sweater to layer under jackets 
  1. Flowy tank top 
  1. Cowboy boots 
  1. Little jean jacket”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“I imagine that we will expand a lot after two years.  Our virtual training has created interest far beyond NYC and Denver where we started, and there are groups of people in Florida, Southern California, and Boston (among other cities) who have expressed interest in training with people in-person.  I look forward to training new instructors in several cities and also continuing to expand our virtual training as well.  Lots of people have come to realize how convenient it is to train with someone online, and it’s exciting to expand our borders more and more.   

I am so passionate about helping and informing women, so I also look forward to doing more events and retreats around the country and the world.  The more I can help and support women, the better!” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Despite the fact that I grew up on Cape Cod near the ocean, I have a weird fear of water.  I have snorkeled a lot, but I would love to conquer my fear and learn to dive.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“I would tell her to relax and laugh more, allow herself to have more fun, and listen to what her gut tells her.  I would encourage her to stop listening to others and trust her heart.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

‘Be open and be kind‘. I think keeping myself as open to others and new experiences the better, and to do it with an open and loving heart is the way I aim to live my life.  I want to approach all new adventures and challenges this way.”

Take a look at Body Conceptions’ website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

Amanda McIntosh is the Founder of Take My Face Off, creators of the world’s softest, most effective and long lasting cleansing aids. Amanda talks to 35 Thousand about juggling family, pets and business, and how she copes with constant distractions.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Brainy, detailed, sarcastic”

Tell us about your work

“I’m working to get more people to question their skincare purchases. Whether it’s packages of wipes, or harshness from multi-step routines, I’m getting people to question the habits that aren’t good for skin or the planet. 
My company has a small workshop in rural Utah where we make our Mittys, which are small, cleverly-designed cloths that replace years of wipes, cotton balls, and washcloths. They’re easier, faster, better, and cuter than anything else out there.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“The downstairs of our house in LA is the “office.” It has a separate entrance, so employees can come and go as needed. My husband also has a room for his work, but most of it is used for Mitty HQ. I’ve got a workroom where I prototype new products, a storeroom, a product photography area, and a new break room/meditation space I’m excited about.”

Mitty Reusable Cleansing Cloths will replace wipes and cotton wool
What parts of your work give you energy?

“1) Brainstorming new products  – I love playing with materials and thinking about shapes and patterns.
2) Customer communications -I’m a talker. I love working on communications (email, social media, etc.), or even designing packages that people will want to read.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Dealing with photography and images. Mittys are hard to photograph. Makeup removal is hard to capture. Every time I review what images we need, and every time I try and find some new resources, I feel the weight of every one of my past photography failures.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Realizing I don’t need to have “arrived” to be helpful to other people starting out.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Don’t wait until it’s perfect to put your work into the world. Launch early. Launch small. I can almost guarantee you’re missing something or doing something wrong with your work. However, if you start getting feedback (lots of it, since not everyone knows what they’re talking about), you’ll spot the problem faster and fix it before you’ve wasted too much time.”

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand.

“At the beginning, I couldn’t find anyone to sew my product. There was this factory I wanted to work with because they were ethical and did great work, which is surprisingly hard to find. The problem was, it was run by this obnoxious, self-important man. He kept finding new licensing requirements I had to fulfill that were expensive and time-consuming. The government office kept calling and asking, “Why are you bothering with this? This process is only for garment companies.”
Right when I finished the last, expensive, difficult hurdle in the process, the guy called to tell me he wouldn’t be making Mittys after all. He essentially said, “because you’re a nobody.” I wanted to kill him.
His shenanigans wasted several thousand dollars. However now, I realize that the hurdles he put me through, taught me a ton about the industry, ethical practices, and safe working conditions. I can spot a shady factory a mile away (so to speak). In the end, the annoyance has probably saved me ten times what I spent. That guy wanted to make me feel weak and unimportant. He would be annoyed to learn he had the opposite impact.”

Amanda McIntosh
Amanda describes herself as an introverted extrovert
Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I have one dog, two kids and one husband. Looking to add another dog to the mix ASAP. I’m always lobbying for a cat, but I think the only way I’ll get it is if I sneak it in while my husband isn’t looking. In addition to Take My Face Off (TMFO), I help my husband with his business coaching musicians on business skills and marketing.”  

Describe your current day-to-day… 

“Wake up, read the news while ingesting lots of coffee. Then I check my kids’ Zoom school schedule and make sure my husband knows what time he needs to manage the household. When I’m “on,” I fit tasks in between nagging my kids to do school work and managing the dog. When it’s my husband’s turn, I go to my office and close the door and try to make a few hours count for the full work day I used to have.”

How has your daily life changed since the pandemic, what’s your new normal?

“Distracted. Always distracted. I joke that I’m experiencing early-onset dementia because I think this situation is tearing up my brain. I hear some people talking about how quiet and lonely it has been for them. I have the opposite problem. I’m an introvert who really, really likes quiet time to think. I’m never alone now. It’s never quiet. I can never finish one task before starting the next. My single friends leave me Marco Polos and Voxxer messages. I often miss the messages, because if I can get away from my kids to a quiet space, I’m using that time to answer emails. And a gremlin keeps stealing my headphones, so that’s not an option.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“My husband, who is a musician with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, lost a lot of work. As a result, he is pouring more energy into the company he started a few years ago. The company helps musicians with business skills, and it was a godsend for us and for his clients who suddenly needed a lot of help. So many ups and downs. I’m grateful, but it was exhausting.

Our house in LA was just too small for all of us to be working there all day, every day. And then I had my biggest retail order ever (QVC) last summer. I was freaking out—our factory couldn’t make anything but PPE at the time. We found a way to manage with a set of home-based workers we have on call, and then I had to do a ton of the packing from home and boxing and palletizing in a friend’s yard! It was insane.

Last winter, we said “ENOUGH” to the crowding. We left our home of eight years and moved to a small town in Colorado to be near family. We needed space and fresh air and a change. We’re moving back to LA now, and we found a new house with a lot more room. Hopefully, we’ll go back to our “normal” work and school places, but if we don’t, I’ve finally got a little more space so I don’t lose my mind.”

Amanda’s mittys are next-generation washcloths. They’re ultra-soft, really effective, and they last for years.
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“My stomach. I seemed to have developed an ulcer this year. Good times. Otherwise, I’m too exhausted to stay awake.” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I feel most “together” when I’m managing my life with my Passion Planner. However sometimes, I’m so busy I just manage by what’s most urgent. I hate that.

Here’s my favorite strategy—it’s kind of weird, but it WORKS. You write your mega to-do list and put everything down. Then, instead of freaking out about how many things are on the list, you zone out. Either meditate, or read a book, or go for a short walk. Then, go back to the list. Don’t think too hard. Whatever seems like a good idea, whatever sounds like you WANT to do it, or whatever sounds interesting in that moment, do it! I swear, my brain subconsciously points me to the thing that would be most productive or helpful. If I just attack the to-do list with a sense of duty and “gotta get this done,” it’s all uphill. When I do it that way, I run into problems and everything is hard. If I use my woo-woo method of picking tasks, everything goes easily and often leads to lots of great coincidences and conveniences. Crazy, I know.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Weekday family days off. I recently started building them into the family schedule. These are days when the kids ditch Zoom school and my husband and I make no work commitments. It’s hard to do, since we’re getting less work time than ever before. But I’m not going to take my family somewhere on a weekend when there are crowds everywhere. Also, we’ve gone nuts being housebound all the time. So we go off on outings in the middle of the week. In this year of rules and regulations, which I totally understand—I’m for them!, I feel like this kind of “naughtiness” is actually good for us.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I do a lot of pretty crazy things with my life. I’m not a 9-to-5 routine follower. However the pandemic made me look more closely at all of my choices. I was surprised to see that I had allowed a few things into my life over the past few years that didn’t suit me. So this year was a gift in that it made it easier for me to notice and make changes.

Looking around at friends and work acquaintances, it seems like this is a year when people either make big changes or they shrink into old roles. I understand both reactions. It’s a really, really scary year, but I want to keep making changes.”

Are you ready to travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m an introverted extrovert and I LOVE travel. I don’t like being busy or out and about, but I love to dive into new places. So it’s either at home for me, or off to somewhere big and new. I love traveling alone or with one person. My husband is a great travel companion, as is my godfather. Right now, I want to go anywhere. Just anywhere. The more foreign to me, the better.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“A million lip products. I have the world’s driest lip skin. My nightmare is being without lip balm. Hand cream is a close second. I particularly love lip balms from BITE, Sara Happ, and Sisley.”

What are your work from home saviours? 

“My fancy espresso machine (espresso is easier on the stomach than drip coffee). My two monitors. My fancy trackpad that allows me to do graphic design work without getting carpal tunnel. My bone induction headphones (when I can find them), since I can hear the Zoom call AND any screams my children are emitting when I wear them.”

Amanda McIntosh
Amanda’s biggest nightmare is being without lipbalm.
Describe your style?

“I’m Gen X. I have very short hair, which is usually pink or bright red. I wear lots of black, with bright splashes. I recently realized my lifelong aversion to animal prints was really dumb. I love jewelry, but I never remember to put it on. Same with dark nail polish.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“My chunky green-rimmed eyeglasses, black BCBG vegan leather shirt, black Stuart Weitzman boots or loafers, cashmere sweater from Vince and a pair of stretchy yoga pants that look like “real” pants from Athleta. Also, leather jackets (or vegan leather jackets)! I have one for every occasion.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“More employees. A lot more employees. I’m dying to delegate. I will be forever grateful for all of the skills I learned while being frugal with my business, but I want to be more profitable so I can hire and train other people to do more. I love leading a team.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“I have a TV pilot I want to write. I also have some wonderful friends who are ready to help me do it. I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but I’m always up to try new things. But first, I’ve got a lot of new employees to hire and train so they can run the business.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Your differences are your strength. Your weirdnesses are what make life interesting. Don’t smooth those things over—enjoy them.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“I’m a recovering perfectionist, so, ‘Done is better than good.’ Also, ‘I just want to see what I can get away with,’ from the amazing author Jen Sincero.”

Take a look at Take My Face Off’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

Grace Fooden is the Co-Founder and CEO of Biophile Skincare, a beauty business that helps bring skin to life. Grace Foodens talks to 35 Thousand about how the pandemic has changed her outlook in several ways, and life in sunny southern California.

Tell us about your work:

“Biophile skincare is the vision of my partner, award winning scientist and clean beauty veteran, Alison Cutlan. It is sustainable, bio-fermented skincare that works in synergy with the skin’s microbiome. When I met Alison through a mutual friend I understood she had created a new paradigm in beauty that fills a white space in the market and I have used my exerience as a fashion executive to bring Biophile to market.”  

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I work in a home office.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“I am energized by building the engine of a company to make it run and finding ways to commercialize an exciting new product.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“My work drains me when I do not take care of myself. Meditation, getting enough rest, eating well and exercize are critical for me to put my best energy into everything I do.”

The Bio Barrier Nourishing All from Biophile
Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“The most pivotal point in my career was leaving corporate fashion after nearly 30 years and becoming an entrepreneur.”

Best piece of advice your received that you now pass on to others?

“The best piece of advice I have received that I now pass on is that it is not too late.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“Outside of work I live with my boyfriend and I have two dogs. One of my dogs, Zsa Zsa, is a toy poodle with special needs. She has been blind and diabetic for more than 10 years. She gets 5 types of eydrops eye drops and twice daily insulin shots but doesn’t seem to know she has any problems. I find her attitude inspiring.”

The Bio-shroom Rejuvenating Serum is award-winning.

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day:

“My pre-pandemic day to day is the same as my post pandemic day to day except I haven’t been to NY to our lab in Brooklyn or seen my business partner face to face in over a year.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“The only change to my daily life since the pandemic is number of Zoom
calls! ;-).”   

Has the Coronavirus crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Professionally the coronavirus has impacted me profoundly. I consider our brand a pandemic baby and from March 2020 until June we weren’t sure we would make it but we kept going and in June our retail consultant advised us that the buyers were waking up and because our brand fills a white space in skincare because it is test and proven to be microbiome friendly we found ourselves to our surprise launching in The Detox Market, Blue Mercury and Beauty Heroes in September of 2020. The major impact of the coronavirus to my personal life is that I have phone dates with friends instead of lunch of dinner dates.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

“As a new brand so many things keep me up at night. First I worried if we would be able to survive the pandemic, then when we received retail orders I was up at night worring we wouldn’t sell well at retail. I’ve also been up at night worrrying about if we would have enough money but I am happy to report that we have landed a series seed investor.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“One of my coping strategies in 2020 has been to start training for a marathon. I have never been much of a runner but I am always looking for the next challenge and long distance running is something I can while social distancing without going to a gym.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“One the the things that have kept me sane in the last year are social distanced dinners with my boyfriend adult children in our backyard. I am truly thankful that we live in southern California where this is possible year round.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“2020 did change my outlook in several ways but not only because of the pandemic. In 2020 I sold my condo and moved in with my boyfriend, launched Biophile and began training for a marathon. It was a year of focus with less distractions and a time of new beginnings.” 

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I am fully vacccinated and travel ready. My first trip was to a wedding and I was apprehensive about being around so many people but it was a beautiful event and everyone was safe and respectful. I am now looking forward to 2 trips this summer. First to my hometown, Chicago, in June and later to Miami and the Florida Keys for a destination birthday. I’m definately not ready to leave the US yet.”

Finish this sentence: “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find…”

“I am a minimalist. If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find my phone, wallet, keys and a mask.”

What are your work-from-home saviors? (routines/products/coffee/music?)

“As a morning person my work-from-home savior is being able to start as early as I like. I also try to take a short walk after lunch.”

Describe your style?

“My style is elegant, minimalist and practical.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Leggings, slides, sleeveless sweaters with long matching cardigans and Zoom friendly dresses.”

How do you see your business or career two years from now?

“In two years I see myself leading Biophile as a global brand.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

I would like to tell my story of successfully building a brand to inspire African Amercian women that if can be done and it is never too late.”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“No matter what I said to my 20 year old self I doubt she would listen. She was stubborn and marched to the beat of her own drum, but as a mixed race Africa America woman who grew up culturely white, I would tell her to find a community of African Americans to learn more about that side of your heritage and to a have a place where you can talk about what it means to be African American and mix race in American culture with other who understand.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“I have several mottos that resonate with me:
1) Never give up.
2) It’s not too late
3) Stay in the moment”

Take a look at Biophile’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of another beauty brand founder, Meg Maupin, Founder of Atolla.

Carrie Sporer and Meredith Krill are the Co-Founders of SWAIR, a hair product created that acts as an ingenious alternative to dry shampoo. Created for ‘ew gross post workout hair’ you can spritz SWAIR on and towel dry off before blow-drying or leaving to dry . Carrie and Meredith talk to 35 Thousand about the challenges of running a business, creating life balance and keeping energised.

Tell us about your work:

“In September of 2020, we launched our brand SWAIR, which is a hair care line dedicated to people who work out. Our first product, Showerless Shampoo, is a game-changing product that cleans your hair without suds, rinsing or residue. Since launching, we have been busy growing our brand and finding different ways to get our product out into the market.”  

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“We are currently working in a small office space which resides in a larger residential building. We have been in a few different (very small) spaces throughout Covid, but we finally found a perfect space that allows us to collaborate without being on top of each other. We were very excited to finally have separate desks, a printer! and space to keep our product.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

Meredith – “Working alongside Carrie. We have a lot of fun through the ups and the downs of the business. I am so happy to have a business partner who is not only a good friend but an awesome person to be around.”

What parts of your work drain you?

Meredith – “No surprise, but Zoom calls have been a little draining lately. After a year working from home and having tons of meetings where I have to be on camera, I am definitely getting Zoom fatigue.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Carrie – “So far, the most pivotal point in my career was leaving a traditional wholesale job in fashion and starting my own consultancy in August 2017. While consulting, I learned a tremendous amount from working with multiple brands at the same time, and the flexibility was instrumental in beginning SWAIR. Most importantly, I was inspired by the female founders around me – they gave me the courage to pursue my own passion.”

Best piece of advice your received that you now pass on to others?

Carrie – “The best piece of business advice I ever received was “Don’t do business with a**holes.” A mentor said this to me when I needed to reschedule a business trip because of a funeral. The client criticized my decision, making me feel horrible at an already difficult time. Even if a person, service provider or retailer is the “best” at what they do, relationships are everything. There are so many talented, hardworking and kind people out there. There is no reason to take on a client, or be a client of someone that creates a culture of fear or intimidation.”

What’s your context outside of work?

Carrie – “I’m married with two young sons, ages 3 and 5, and while they truly are my everything outside of work, I do make sure to take time for myself. Otherwise, I would be a terrible wife and mother. I am committed to working out every day, often rising before the sun to meet my early morning running crew or being one of the first people at my local gym. I also love to bake for my family and am the designated “bring the dessert” person for all of the holidays.”

SWAIR Hair Founders
Carrie and Meredith help to keep each other energised.

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day

Meredith – “I am very much a routine person, so my pre-pandemic day-to-day always started with a workout (and it still does). I need to get those endorphins running to start my day off on a positive note and I am one of the few people who don’t drink coffee so my workout is my morning caffeine. After my workout, I would get ready for my 9-5 job (I still have a full-time job and SWAIR is my after hours job) and then commute about 30 minutes to work. After work, I would either meet up with a friend for dinner or cook something at home. Then it was back to the computer to work on SWAIR. I always end the day reading. I love to get lost in a good book and there are many nights I stay up too late reading just one more chapter. Before bed, I always do my skincare routine which is such an important ritual to me. That pretty much sums it up!”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

Meredith – “Well for one, I have been working at home since March of 2020 and am not sure when I will be back in my office, so there are a lot of daily Zoom calls (”You’re on mute!”) I am still in my routine of waking up early to get in my workout. The only change is that I have a little more time between my workout and sitting down to my computer for work. I love getting those extra hours back in my day! Otherwise, I am still working my 9-5 along with SWAIR, but I make sure to get out for sanity walks and enjoy the weather on nice days. I have been trying to be more adventurous about cooking and have been trying a lot of new recipes, which has given me much more confidence in the kitchen.”   

Has the Coronavirus crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

Carrie – “Like everyone else, Covid turned my life upside down. My children had full days of school and afterschool activities, and my husband and I had robust professional and social lives….and then it all came to a grinding halt. Personally, it was a very difficult adjustment from a mental health standpoint and it took a while to get our footing in the new normal while in lockdown. I have been very lucky, though in that everyone in my immediate circle has remained healthy or recovered fully. While it might sound cliche, I have a renewed sense of appreciation for all of the little things in life, such as being able to sit in a coffee shop or give someone a hug.

Professionally, many of my fashion consulting clients terminated or reduced our contracts as soon as the shutdown began because of how Covid was affecting their businesses. It was a difficult time, but I knew that many professionals were experiencing the same situation or worse. To be completely transparent, had I not been in a dual income family, I would have gone into complete panic mode but I knew that there would still be food on the table and the mortgage would get paid. The silver lining, however, was being able to put more time and attention into SWAIR and work more closely (though remotely) with Meredith. I am not sure if/when we would have launched had not been given this extra time together.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night? 

Meredith – “This is a great question because there are so many mornings that I talk to Carrie and will tell her how I was up from 1-3AM in the middle of the night and she will let me know she was also up. I often say we should conduct SWAIR business during those hours in the night when our brains won’t shut off. What keeps me up at night is that I always think I am letting someone down in one of my jobs. Even though I know how to get my work done efficiently, I am always questioning if I am doing enough. Otherwise, it is really just my daily list of tasks that await me the next day that I run through to figure out how to get it all done.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

Meredith – “I’ve always said running is my therapy and throughout the pandemic running has been my one constant. I love to throw on some good tunes and see how far my legs can take me that day. I also enjoy a cocktail here and there. We all need a little balance in our lives.”

SWAIR, the Showerless Shampoo

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

Carrie – “I am grateful that the pandemic began in March, as just as we were beginning to lose our sanity, the weather began to get nicer. We were able to have a “normalish” spring and summer in NYC by spending a lot of time outdoors with friends and family. My children went from going on zero hikes to hiking at least once a weekend, and we explored every trail, park and playground within an hours drive. After Memorial Day, we went to the beach most weekends – we would leave our apartment in the late morning and spend the entire day in the sand. We’d come home after dinnertime with the kids having fallen asleep in their pajamas in the backseat – it was a really nice routine. Had we not had the good weather mid-pandemic, it would have been much harder on the whole family. Since school has been back in session, our amazing babysitter has been our sanity. She picks the kids up from school and gets them to their afternoon pod activities. The days that my older son has virtual school, or the few times when school has closed for Covid-related reasons, she is there so that my husband and I can work. We would honestly be lost without her.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

Meredith – “Absolutely! I have learned what truly matters is my life. So many people experienced such heartache throughout this pandemic – it’s been heartbreaking to see, but I’ve realized how precious life is and I want to focus on the things that matter most. I was very fortunate to spend a lot of time with my parents throughout the pandemic (following guidelines and quarantining solo for 14 days). If there has been one blessing through this pandemic, it was that I was able to spend so much time with them. Usually I see them for long weekends at most, but to be able to spend quality time for several weeks is something I am so grateful for. I know not everyone was able to see their family during the pandemic and it is not lost on me how fortunate I was to gain these memories.” 

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

Meredith – “Can I pack my suitcase now?!?! I miss traveling terribly. I used to go on a few personal trips both internationally and domestically each year. I miss experiencing the excitement of getting on a flight to a new country to explore a new culture. I miss meeting people while traveling and eating new cuisines. I miss it all, but soon I will be back to traveling and it will definitely be worth the wait, but we need to make sure it’s safe first. I was supposed to be in Namibia in May of 2020, so I am definitely planning to rebook that trip with some of my friends. I am always happy to travel with friends or solo, I just know I am ready for some passport stamps.”

Finish this sentence: “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find…”

Carrie – “…earbuds! Even before Covid, I liked to walk everywhere whenever possible, and since the pandemic my life has been in a 20 block radius. I love to walk to my office or run errands listening to the Charting Now station on Apple Music to discover new songs and artists, and there are a few podcasts that I listen to religiously including How I Built This and The Rich Roll Podcast.”

What are your work-from-home saviors? (routines/products/coffee/music?)

Meredith – “I would say my two work from home saviours are Central Park and music. I live close to Central Park in New York CIty , and every day around 5pm despite whatever I am in the middle of, I stop and go for an hour walk to get fresh air. I look forward to this every day when the weather permits. The park is so therapeutic and always puts me in a good mood. My other work from home must-have is music. I love picking a playlist or artist a day to listen to. Recently, I have been really into the soothing tunes of the Bridgerton Soundtrack. I mean “thank u, next” and “Girls like you” played by a string quartet – so good!”

Describe your style?

Carrie – “I’m going to go with “Casual Chic” on this one. I am definitely embracing the “matching sets” trend, and while I love to wear a lot of thermal and tees, I am usually dressing them up a bit with flatform sneakers or a dressier cardigan.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

Carrie – “T-shirts from The Great, jeans from AMO, high waisted bikinis from Solid & Striped, Athleta Elevation workout leggings, Nike training tank tops.”

Athleta
Carrie’s never without her Athleta leggings
How do you see your business or career two years from now?

Carrie – “Right now we are concentrating on organic growth and brand recognition, building our brand foundation one brick at a time. Within two years, we would love to have launched 4 or 5 more products (some or which are already in the works!) and have found a key retail partnership to increase our visibility and reach. It’s tempting to try to do it all straight out of the gate, but we are trying to be very strategic and methodical with each step.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

Meredith – “Well to be honest, starting a business was always something I really wanted to do but never thought it would become a reality. Carrie and I had talked about starting various businesses together since around 2009, but when we started talking about the need for Showerless Shampoo in the market, we knew this idea felt different. The day we launched SWAIR in September 2020 was a pretty proud moment in my life. Next to that the one thing I have not conquered and something I know I can do is run a marathon in under 4 hours. I came really close my last marathon but fell short of my goal. I am hoping to run another one in the next year or two and barring any injuries, I am definitely conquering the 4 hour mark.”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

Meredith – “I love this question. Something I would tell 20 year old Meredith is that you are never going to please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you, not everyone is going to agree with you, and that is okay. We are still learning to accept this fact today with our Showerless Shampoo. We love it and have many amazing loyal fans but a single product is never going to be everything to everyone.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

Carrie – “This afternoon, I was listening to a podcast that featured one of my mentors (Jeffrey Hellman of PVH), and he quoted Bill and Ted’s advice, “Be excellent to each other.” After all that this year has taught me about the people I love and the people I need to do better for, that is going to be my new mantra.”

Take a look at SWAIR’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of another beauty brand founder, Meg Maupin, Founder of Atolla.

Paula Floyd is the Founder of Headkount, a beauty retail strategy company. Paula talks to 35 Thousand about the challenges of launching a business right before a pandemic, being an extrovert, and her commitment to saving animals.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Trustworthy, positive & personal”

Tell us about your work…

“We partner with beauty brands and execute their go to market retail strategy to help them scale nationwide with speed, which includes everything from in-store education, building brand relationships to gaining powerful insights and data.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

When I speak to our Beauty Educators, they are passionate about their craft, they are the ones connecting with the consumers, the are the front line. It’s one of the places where I learn what’s working and what’s not in retail. 

What parts of your work drain you?

Some of the day-to-day administrative work when I’m not connecting with others. I usually schedule these tasks first thing in the morning when I am most focused. 

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

Late in my career, I accepted a job based on money, this blurred my vision on whether the company values were aligned with mine – the win is it led me to start Headkount and share with others what I learned in the corporate world. 

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

Get uncomfortable and challenge your business always.

What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!

Our first pitch decks were a disaster. We spent hours and hours every day brainstorming to create our first decks, at least 50 versions. We subscribed to numerous creative sites working towards why we are different, it was a time zapper and frustrating because we were starting from scratch. I’m embarrassed to this day about our first few brand pitches. Today we have customer testimonials and data to share and we know better what we stand for. It’s funny to pull those old decks out, they’re our forever dose of humility LOL.

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“Right now I have one dog and a horse, lots of gran-fur babies and I’m committed to saving as many animals as possible through various animal rescue organizations.”  

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“I just launched my business three months before the pandemic, so there was nothing routine established with my day to day.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“We are better prepared, we planned a lot during our pause, we planned as if our business was going to continue to grow post pandemic. It kept us all very inspired and positive.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Yes both I make more time to connect with others and myself.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“It’s rare, but when it happens it always fear based, like when I started my business I would say to myself ‘Will I ever have a customer’?” 

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“No gin or gym, but lots and lots of journaling, I’m a huge extrovert so spending quiet time is something I have to make an effort to do. It helps ground me, it’s where I find my truth and creative mojo.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Laughter.”

Paula founder of Headkount
Laughter helps to keep Paula sane.

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“Yes, now more than ever I believe we are better when we stick together.”

Are you ready to travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“What once used to be my comfort zone, traveling, is now not so comfortable. This will take me some time, I plan to ease my way back into travel. I’ve taken a couple of road trips recently, one with my daughter and the other with my husband.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“At least one lipstick and a pair of sunglasses.”

What are your work from home saviours? 

“I’m a beauty junkie, I’m obsessed with clean beauty products, too many to list.”

Describe your style?

“Intentionally, unintentional.”

Paula Floyd
Converse are on Paula’s essentials clothing list
Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Yoga pants, or denim, T-shirt, denim, leather jacket and a pair of Converse.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“If all goes as planned, you won’t recognize us by the size we’ve grown into, but our integrity of service will always remain the same.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“I’d love to be part of a loving cause, like a sanctuary, to help animals and humans that are in need of love and care.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“You are smart enough; you are beautiful enough and you are worth it!”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“We give a sh*t.”

Take a look at Headkount’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of another beauty brand founder, Meg Maupin, Founder of Atolla.

Meg Maupin is CEO and Co-Founder of Atolla, a bespoke skincare brand that first assesses your skin before prescribing your skincare regime and also keeps track on it monthly as it changes. Meg talks to 35 Thousand about life on an NY farm, challenges in her business, and why she believes that getting 8 hours of sleep every night is her secret to her success.

Tell us about your work… 

“I am the CEO and co-founder of Atolla, a skincare system that creates simple custom routines and provides virtual guidance to support your best skin each month.”  

Atolla are reinventing the skincare model

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“Currently, I work out of my guest bedroom but am in the process of moving, where I will luckily have my own office above the garage.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Talking to customers! I love reading customer feedback or popping into our Instagram DMs to chat with customers directly. I miss doing pop-ups where I could meet customers in person and hear their skin stories. My second favorite part of work is doing creative projects with the team, like new product development or marketing campaigns.”

What parts of your work drain you?  

“Any day that’s full of back-to-back meetings without time to reflect and process. I hate unnecessary or longer-than-needed meetings. The quiet, uninterrupted times are when I can do the most thoughtful and impactful work.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“Going to grad school at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which is where I met my co-founders and also started Atolla. I wasn’t sold on going to grad school at first, but was excited to join a new program at MIT called Integrated Design and Management, which is a dual degree in Engineering and Business that I was able to tailor to my specific interests.” 

Meg met her co-founders whilst at grad school at MIT

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“Eight hours of sleep is non-negotiable and it should be considered part of doing your job. This year I read the book ‘Why We Sleep,’ by Matthew Walker PnD which changed my life.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“I live with my partner on a farm in upstate NY with lots of animals: two rescue dogs, two rescue cats, two oxen and likely more animals incoming! On the weekends, you’ll usually find me hiking, skiing or rock climbing. I’m really close with my family (including my 3 siblings) and my partner’s family, so love to do things like family game nights.”

Meg loves to spend her weekends hiking
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Before the pandemic, I was commuting to NYC weekly. I would spend Monday-Friday in New York and the weekend at the farm. It was exhausting, especially when adding in the NYC daily commute to our office. It was a great day if I got to hit the gym or a boxing class on my way home, but then I usually went to bed so late and got almost no sleep. Looking back, I don’t even know how I did that for over a year.”

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“My daily routine has totally shifted. Now, I go to bed much earlier, wake up early and exercise or walk my dogs. I have been way better at meal-prepping and taking care of my health, which is critically important because I have auto-immune issues. I also feel so grateful to not have to leave home and be away from my family for most of the week.”   

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“It’s been a challenge, especially to work remotely and try to coordinate huge product launches. We actually even had to move our fulfillment center out of NYC for several months. I feel so proud of myself and my small, amazing team for navigating all of the challenges and coming out the other side stronger.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“Recently, it was thinking about our upcoming product launch but I’m happy to say that launch went very successfully! I now think about what’s next and a lot of ambitious goals I’ve set for both myself and Atolla. So I don’t let my anxiety get the best of me (you’ve heard how I cherish my sleep), I’ve been working on keeping a gratitude journal to reframe my mindset before bed.”

What  have been your  2020  coping strategies?  Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting?  Gin or Gym? 

“Neither a gym or a gin person – I don’t drink alcohol and like to work out outside. I do functional high-intensity interval training during the week and climb, hike or ski on the weekends. I religiously use Google Calendar and my planner and make sure to schedule in breaks, meals, or workouts during the day to keep myself accountable. I also have a daily habit tracker on my wall to check off things like vitamins, exercise, 8 hours of sleep, water…and really see how I’m doing.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“My daily routine keeps me sane, and I love cooking and eating meals with my partner, Zach. Having animals has also made me feel so happy- there’s nothing like a good dog cuddle. The other thing that has been such a Godsend for me this last year was hiring an executive coach! She’s really supported me during times that have been hard and feel lonely as a CEO.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“Yes, it made me realize that my commuting workaholic lifestyle was insane and I could accomplish more by actually slowing down and taking care of myself, because that was also taking care of the company.” 

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I would love to travel. My 30th birthday trip to the Tetons with my partner and extended family and friends got indefinitely postponed.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is….”

“Sunscreen, my wallet, a phone charger, and a good book”

What are your work from home saviors? 

“My espresso machine, my humidifier, a comfy desk chair, slippers, and fresh flowers.”

Describe your style:

“Urban prairie girl as coined by the NYT.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“High-waisted Levis, white prairie blouse, loose silk button down, white sneakers, earth-toned romper.” 

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“I think Atolla’s impact as a skin health brand will be huge and helping millions of people live their best skin!”

Atolla is helping people to live their best skin

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

“There’s a climb I was training for in grad school that is in Switzerland called The Eiger. I trained for it for 2 years, but started my company instead. The mountain will still be there so I hope to go back some day and do it.”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“Just because someone is older than you or in a position of authority doesn’t mean they are correct. Always ask the questions (respectfully) and explore things you are curious about. There might not be a “right” answer and that’s ok!”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“Touch the earth lightly.”

Take a look at Atolla’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of another skincare founder Dr Marie Drago, Founder of Gallinée.

Veronica Hu, is a Co-Founder of Celui Fragrance, perfumers dedicated to creating the finest fragrances inspired by a love for travel, adventure and nature. She talks to 35 Thousand about her love for the beauty world and the challenges involved with juggling work and home life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Creative, Fun, Hilarious.”

Tell us about your work… 

“I co-Founded Celui fragrance in 2017 and absolutely love being part of the beauty world. Fragrance and aromas are like memories so it’s important that the perfumes we develop speak to us, but others as well.”

Celuí are dedicated to creating the finest fragrance developed by their master perfumer

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“I work out of my home office- and now share my space with my husband who has been working from home since covid-19.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“I love my work and what drives me is being creative and using my energy to be motivated to push further.”

What parts of your work drain you?  

“It’s challenging trying to balance home life and work especially working from home, but I wouldn’t do it any other way.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“Seeing our creation come to life and how much our customers are loving our brand brings me so much joy.” 

Advice you were given that you would like to pass on?

This is not your practice, life, said to me by a good friend. It helps me to be present and remember that life is what you make it, and I strive to make my life amazing.”

What’s your context outside of work? 

“I’m a wife and stay at home mom of two babies. My son Christopher is 2.5 years old and Madelyn is almost 7 months now. I love being active with my family and in my daily life to walk, workout, gold, play tennis and hang out with friends and family.”

Veronica can’t live without her Janessa Leone hat

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“My pre pandemic day to day was busy, but my current day to day is even busier now with a new baby and growing business.”

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“My life is still very much the same, but my new normal is Zoom meetings and being my son’s preschool teacher.”   

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“It has impacted us professionally as a small business. We had to slow down upcoming plans and visits to more boutiques and retailers, but we are moving forward with the world opening back up.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“So many things – family, work!”

What  have been your  2020  coping strategies?  Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you  found particularly uplifting?  Gin or Gym? 

“Yes, for me walking and being outside is therapy. I love taking long walks with my daughter in the stroller and enjoy these special moments with family.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“Being together and having family time has been amazing for us.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“2020 made me realize what is really important which is health and family. Everything else can come and go, but it’s our family unit that matters.” 

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I would love a Cabo trip with my husband and friends. No kids.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Celuí Fragrance and lip gloss!”

Veronica also loves her Chanel slingback flats

What are your work from home saviors? 

“I have loved being more intentional with my self care and have stepped up my skin care routine. My husband and I always have our morning cup of coffee together and chat about what’s going on for the day and I love that. We listen to music, grab a glass of wine and watch our kids play in the backyard.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“My style is classic with a little edge- 5 essentials would be a leather jacket, leggings, diamond studs, Janessa Leone hat and Chanel slingback flats.” 

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“I hope to see our business grow in two years. Sky’s the limit!”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to? 

“Would love to see Celuí in a national retailer!”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Just go for it. Put yourself out there and see what happens.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“Enjoy the moment. Big or small – life is short so smile, be kind and laugh.”

Take a look at Celui’s website here and their Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Simone Gonzalez, a designer for Shelter.

Simone Gonzalez is a designer for Shelter Los Angeles, an extension of a brand her family once started. She talks to 35 Thousand about her ‘why’, aspirations to create a non-profit organisation and how her travel experiences have influenced her career choices.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Faithful, loving, driven.”

Tell us about your work… 

Shelter is an extension of a brand my family started ten years ago named Pleasure Doing Business.  With “PDB”, we established a niche in women’s contemporary through the elastic mini skirt. The dynamic of the material gathered a loyal audience of women of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  We launched Shelter this spring, with the goal of creating body-conscious pieces that inspire confidence and femininity through a material that functions like shapewear.  Our specialization in working with elastic is the key component of our current work.  Though the item has changed, the concept remains the same.  Each piece I design is created to embolden its wearer and to convey the sense that she is effortlessly pulled together.   

My family named the line Shelter for two reasons.  We feel the name Shelter appropriately describes the warmth our pieces provide to the female form.  Secondly, it is our dream project to build a place of refuge in Tijuana, Mexico, for children who have become victims of human trafficking.  While my main role is design and creative direction, I play a large role in the company’s management as well.”

Shelter’s Demure Pop Top with Peplum in Peach

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“I currently work in the living/dining room of my family home in Arcadia, CA.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“The process of actualizing a sketch is quite magical and addicting. With Pleasure Doing Business, I worked with a seamstress, so I rarely developed the first sample with my own hands.  With Shelter, in order to make our first set of samples, I had to do the sewing myself.  I’ve come to cherish this part of my work.  Creating the first sample is like assembling a puzzle. Each step is exciting and rewarding.  I am most productive between the hours of 10pm and 2am, after the rest of our house has gone to sleep.  I find that for those four hours, I light up and can focus.”

What parts of your work drain you?  

“Perfecting a pattern and testing each revision can be pretty tiring.  It’s not my favourite thing to do but it is important.  Elastic is a strange material to use for clothing and I’ve yet to find the right person to take the job off my hands.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“In between Pleasure Doing Business, and Shelter, I painted for about 6 years.  During that time I went to Tijuana in search of inspiration.  Exploring the city opened my eyes to the reality of child trafficking and sex trafficking.  I have since made it my life goal to provide rescue and rehabilitation for children who have become victims of trafficking, as well as give shelter to homeless children at risk.  This cause has redirected me to the fashion industry.  I hope that through Shelter, I can acquire the capital needed to create a non-profit.  Without this sense of duty, and support from my family, I’m not sure I would have found the courage to do so.” 

Advice you were given that you would like to pass on?

“There was a funny time in my early twenties when I kept running into a travelling psychic/shaman all over LA.  Every time I saw him, he told me I think too much and to stop pushing my thoughts.  I was a little lost at the time and didn’t know how to get started as a designer.  My brain was constantly searching and it just wasn’t working.  After the third time seeing him, his words finally sunk in and I actively started working to stop myself from “thinking too much”.  It was a process, but shortly after, I started to see images of clothing when I closed my eyes.  I believe we all receive messages from a higher power that uniquely fit into the scope of our lives.”

What’s your context outside of work? 

“I am extremely close with my family and a huge animal lover.  My life is currently quite simple. I don’t have children, I’m single, and I live with my parents.  We just started the company so getting Shelter off the ground occupies most of my time.  My brother moved home shortly before Covid so our house has become very lively.  Right now, we all count on each other.  It’s the first time since my high school years that our entire family has been under one roof.  We have a dog and two cats; I would love to have more.  Also, we recently moved to a neighbourhood that is inhabited by peacocks.  They are everywhere.  There is always a wounded peacock whom we are looking after, and during the Spring/Summer, mother hens and their chicks show up to our backdoor asking for snacks.  It’s pretty funny.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Before the pandemic, I was working as a receptionist at a salon during the day, and designing at night.  I was frustrated due to my time and energy being pulled in different directions. “

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“The pandemic allowed my family the break we needed to get the company started.  I now spend my days doing something in which I am invested.  Working from home affords me adequate time for family, animals, and personal life.  I currently have a good balance of time and energy.”   

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“Professionally, it has forced me to take matters into my own hands.  I never imagined I would be creating patterns and sewing samples, but due to the shutdown, I’ve taken on tasks I otherwise wouldn’t have.  Personally, I’ve learned to be more laid back and to go with the flow.  I realize how blessed I am to have everything I need, and my loved ones around me.  Over the past year, I’ve let go of a good amount of materialistic temptations.  Overall, it has been a purifying time.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“If I’m lucky sometimes I see images of clothing so when that happens it’s a lot of turning the light on to sketch, off to sleep, back on to sketch, off to sleep, and so on.  I don’t currently have many worries since the company is so new.  Some nights I stay up thinking about how it would be possible to get water to the deer and other animals living in the hills, especially after the terrible fires we’ve had over the past summers.”

What  have been your  2020  coping strategies?  Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you  found particularly uplifting?  Gin or Gym? 

“Well, I gave up drinking about four years ago so the usual methods of coping weren’t an option.  I pretty much dove into sewing and creating our first line.  For exercise, my brother and I go on early morning hikes.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“Working together to create the company has kept me and my family sane.  Don’t get me wrong, we argue every now and then, but having a common project and goal has been pretty cool.  Personally, I’ve enjoyed binge-watching the various streaming services.  I can honestly say that for the past several months, Golden Girls has kept me sane.  They lightened up my endless hours of pattern work.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“2020 has brought me closer to my family.  It’s proven how delicate life is.  I’ve learned to appreciate the simple things and to separate what’s meaningful from what’s not.  I feel I’ve found a more wholesome grasp on life.” 

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I‘m a total homebody.   I like to be able to get creative whenever the moment strikes and that requires being around my machines, tools, and materials.  Anytime I go away I miss my animals and feel stressed about not working.  Maybe after the line takes off, a couple days in Laguna Beach would be nice.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is….”

“…a bunch of receipts, change, a few old pen caps, hopefully chapstick, and maybe a hair clip… I honestly couldn’t tell you. As long as it can hold my phone, wallet, and keys, I’m happy.”

What are your work from home saviors? 

“I wake up with coffee, one to two cups.  It’s hard for me to get started in the morning so I begin by reading the comics and Ask Amy letters from the LA Times.  While working, I listen to classical music, the daily show on democracy now, and audiobooks.”

Describe your style:

“It’s almost like I don’t know anymore!  These days, I spend most of my time in leggings and a sweatshirt…But during normal times, I’d say I am a multiple personality dresser.  I lean towards a bit of something classic, a splash of rock and roll or rebelliousness, an element of girliness, and a sense of humour.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Ballet flats, snug fitting black boots, high waisted, loose fitting jeans, a good pair of mens’ style trousers, and an elastic top from Shelter.” 

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“It is my goal that women will know of our brand and come to us because they feel comfortable and confident in our clothes.  Right now, we are strictly online, but it would be nice for our line to be available in retail outlets where women can see and feel our product in person.  I see our business stabilizing financially so that we can start considering how to structure our non-profit.”

What’s your go-to mantra or life motto? 

“If you build it, they will come.”

Take a look at Shelter’s website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Diana Larkin, Founder and CEO of MyHare.

Dr Marie Drago is a French doctor and a member of the French Society fo Cosmetic Science. She also knows a thing or two about our microbiome. Having discovered how a prebiotic and probiotic fuelled diet drastically improved her symptoms of gluten intolerance, it struck her that the same principles could apply to skin. Having written her thesis on the enormous benefits of good bacteria, she then went on to create Gallinée skincare, which harnesses the powers of the microbiome.

Here she talks to 35 Thousand about the difficulties of being an introvert as the face of a business, why she is enjoying a new found working flexibility, and why Gallinée is now thriving despite the pandemic.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“French, nerdy and curious”

Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder of the Franco-English brand Gallinée, all based on my Pharmacy Thesis. We are the first brand to take care of your skin, your microbiome and the balance between the two.”

Gallinée
Dr Marie Drago
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I usually work on my kitchen table or in a co-working space in Highbury with the rest of the team. I cannot wait to go back to the office!”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Learning, solving problems and seeing people on the team grow.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“As a scientist I am quite introvert, so being the face of a brand is quite draining for me. I love to meet people and talk, but after that I just need to sit down alone for a while.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Leaving my job and starting Gallinée. It was in June 2015 and I should have done it sooner.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“You need a killer line on your CV, or you’ll never need a CV again. I’d like to thank my friend Guillaume for this, and it’s true. The worst case scenario for me is having to work for someone again.”

Gallinée
Gallinées Face Vinegar
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I usually live in London with a very cool flatmate. For the last 4 months I’ve been staying in Lisbon and enjoying a lot of sun.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Waking up, drinking a lot of Japanese green tea, making waffles and then walking to the office around 9am. I usually leave the office around 6.30pm and either catch up with friends, or just go back home relax. I usually cook my dinner from scratch, it really relaxes me.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“It’s been interesting. 2020 was just all about trying to survive as a company, and luckily Gallinée did quite well. 2021 taught the team and me that we could work from anywhere and still be a close team, so our lifestyle has become a lot more flexible.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“I guess Covid impacted everyone. It taught me to slow down a bit, consume less and how much I loved my friends and family. Professionally it was really a roller coaster, but we all came out better at the other end (I really hope we can start talking about it in the past tense now). Gallinée is thriving, the team is closer and even better than before.”

Gallinée
Gallinée Youthful Serum
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Weirdly I sleep a lot better since I have my own company. I used to be quite anxious, I always had a feeling life was way too short and I was not living it to the fullest. It all disappeared as soon as I started Gallinée.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? 

“I walk a lot (like, a lot). It allows me not to look at my phone, to process things and to listen to podcasts. I’m not really a gym bunny, and I don’t think alcohol brings solutions. Walking it is!”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Like everyone I guess, I bought a lot of house plants, got a sudden passion for fermentation and stopped looking at the news.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I think so, I taught me things that seem like a mountain to you are probably just a molehill the month after.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

” I’m writing from Lisbon, so for me the aim is to manage to get back to London and stay there for a while. I used to travel a lot before Covid and I can’t wait to do it again, but there’s no rush.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“Antibac gel, a Burts Bee lip balm, Gallinée hand cream and a few spare masks.”

Dr Drago is a big fan of Burts Bees Lip Balm
 before “What are your work from home saviours? 

I am very easily distracted, so my saviour is ASMR videos  on YouTube. It’s white noise, it helps me concentrate and calms me down a lot. This is my favourite one here.  It’s a library with a crackling fire and a storm outside. I also use the Pomodoro method, it’s the best at keeping me working for long hours: www.tomato-timer.com” (This is a time management method where you set time to work and then break before starting again.)

I also drink massive amounts of tea every day, and I’ve been living with this Bodum teapot by my side.”

Describe your style?

“Normcore to the max, and very minimalist.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Vivobarefoot trainers Geocourt, who keep me walking for miles while looking stylish. A Maje dress when I want to dress up,bBig fluffy jumpers from Comptoir and some white T-shirt usually from Arket. I usually buy French brands on Vinted.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“Hopefully Gallinée will keep on growing but we’ll manage to keep it a nice friendly company, where people are happy to come to work on Mondays.”

This Bodum teapot has been by Dr Drago’s side throughout the pandemic for tea on tap
What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Getting rid of my French accent. It is extremely strong and gets in the way sometimes.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Stop being afraid all the time, especially of what people think. People just don’t care that much.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“I’m a big believer in Karma, so do as much good as you can if you want a good life.”

If you loved reading about Dr Marie Dr`ago as much as we did then you will love the rest of our How She Carries On Series that takes a peak into the lives of professional women and how they manage the juggle .

Diana Larkin is the CEO and founder of MyHare an at-home salon waxing experience. She talks to 35 Thousand about how she sold her waxing salon business in LA to start MyHare just 12 weeks before the Corona crisis hit. She explains how Covid has changed her outlook, why she will never put off another adventure and how sex not gin (she said she’s radically honest!) has got her through the past year.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Radically honest, funny, loyal.”

Tell us about your work… 

“In 2005, I left behind a successful talent manager position to open up a specialty waxing salon – with multiple locations – in Los Angeles. After 14 years, in January 2020 I decided to sell the business. This allowed me to focus on building a brand that takes the salon waxing experience directly to consumers homes via a do-it-yourself, at-home hair removal and body care company. Ten months later, MyHare was born.”

MyHare Strip Down Waxing Strips

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“The spare room in my home became my new HQ.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Product development is one of the most exciting aspects of my job – it’s my passion. You get a chance to really let your mind be free, problem solve, get creative and see how far you can push yourself to invent new ideas and expand on old ones. Next to that, I enjoy branding work. It’s fun to think through the persona, and how to make it come to life with a voice, visuals, feelings and messaging.”

What parts of your work drain you?  

“Logistics and management. I’m an excellent problem solver, but I can’t solve people. It can be challenging to see avoidable and time-sucking mistakes happen, and not want to scream from the rooftops. It’s a difficult balance correcting missteps while ensuring that I am an encouraging team leader. That can be draining at times.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“Selling my first business 12 weeks before a global pandemic to focus on an at-home product line out of total coincidence feels pretty pivotal. Additionally, finding an equity partner to take a chance on me and my idea for MyHare was a game changer, as they provided me the expertise and resources necessary to launch my business.”  

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“There’s a reason why they put blinders on racehorses – it’s so they can’t see who’s on either side. The same is true in business. Just focus on your project, your ecosystem, don’t worry about the other guys.”

MyHare
Diana with her daughter Coco
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“I have a 10-year-old daughter named Coco. She is my everything and a bit of a mini me, which is reassuring and terrifying all at the same time. I share her with my ex-husband, who I have a great co-parenting relationship with.

Pablo is my rescue cat whom I named Pablo because I was binging Narcos at the time of his adoption. I also mentor a few women in finance and stocks, because it’s fun and its crazy not to. I’m very passionate about women having a strong understanding of money – how to put it to work, what to do with profits and how to reinvest. I believe this is crucial to growth and independence, and again it’s fun – I promise you.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Waking up, checking stocks an hour before Coco wakes up. Getting her off to school, getting in a workout, checking in with work, picking her up, doing homework, making dinner, then we watch Shark Tank or I introduce her to classic 90’s comedies.”

How has your daily life changed?

“Repeat the entire last answer, minus the school, going to the gym, going into work – ha! Everything changed in those first few months of the pandemic, but my little family was able to get into the new norm when we realized we were going to be here for a while. At first, finding motivation was a bit difficult for me, as it was a lot of people. I am a Virgo and don’t love change, although I always adapt. I now have added exercise back into my daily routine and am finding new ways get inspired.”   

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“For me, and I’m sure most people, it was this surreal moment in time where we all were experiencing something collectively – the entire world, all at the same time. In same shape or form, everyone has been impacted by COVID. Personally, I realized the fragility of life and how easy it is to take it all for granted. I thought about the frivolity of the things that seemed so important before but proved to be the exact opposite. It forced me to refocus because all I had was time to think, time to be still. Professionally it was no different. Dealing with total unknowns in the business world and doing my best to maneuver through it took soul searching and focus.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“I think one of the major benefits that comes with a bit of age and experience is that if you’re lucky, you had many victories with the battle of over thinking and worrying. I’ve found ways to cope by being proactive and involved in the hard times and decisions, and with that comes the confidence that you will be able to overcome the next problem and the one after that and so on and so forth. So, in all honesty, not much keeps me up at night because I know it’ll be there in the morning so might as well get some rest.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines, or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?  

“Do you want my honest answer? Sex. In all seriousness, I am so grateful to be in a beautiful and healthy relationship with my boyfriend. Our shared attitude and outlook on life made all the difference in the world in 2020. Also, being a mother and spending time and energy putting my daughter’s needs first always helps to put things in perspective.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“In addition to my partner and daughter, friends have been golden. You need a great community to lift you up, always”.

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“I’ve never been one who likes to “waste” time, but coming out of this, I will never make another excuse to put off an adventure. What’s the point of working so hard if you can’t do what you want and what makes you happy?” 

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Once I get my second vaccine, and France is ready to have me back, I will be there! My boyfriend is from northern France and I also have family who I cannot wait to see in Como, Italy. But most of all I would like to continue the tradition of taking my daughter to a place she’s never been before outside of the US during her summer break.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…”

“Aside from the usuals (keys, hand sani, lip gloss, etc.), I have two fortune cookies stashed in my bag, which I’ve convinced myself only to open in the case of low blood sugar or low motivation.”

What are your WFH saviors?

“In my house, there is always music on. It makes me feel like the house is full of my favorite people. Also, strong Wi-Fi and justifying Ugg slippers as appropriate everyday footwear.”

Describe your style:

“My style is the fourth member of the Beastie Boys meets Isabel Marant Winter Collection 2011.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Nike Blazer any color, 5 button Levi’s, Alo leggings, crisp white tee’s, high heeled boots.” 

Diana is a big fan of Alo leggings
How do you see your business in two years from now? 

“In two years, I will have brought my entire product line to market, while exploring ways to market outside the U.S. MyHare will be a notable brand in the self-care space that was backed by and built by credible industry experts. I would like to align myself with an organization or a cause that truly does find ways to support future female entrepreneurs because I think it’s crucial to make an impact during girls’ development.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?  

“Deal with your shit or your shit deals with you.”

Take a look at Diana’s website here and find her Instagram here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Laura Berens, Founder of Love and Fit a fitnesswear brand for women at different life stages.

Laura Berens is a wellness coach and founder of Love and Fit a genius range of activewear for women pre, mid and post pregnancy. Laura first came up with the idea when she had her first child. As an active mother wishing to get back in shape post pregnancy, she couldn’t find a sports bra that was suitable for nursing too.

After a year of intense research she came up with the Fit Mamma Nursing Sports Bra which offers ultimate support, comfort and drop down panels so women can nurse easily whilst on the go. Laura then went on the design a range of leggings forwear pre, during and post pregnancy that won’t ride down or dig in. Today the range has expanded to include other mom friendly sports bras (including a Hands Free Pumping Sports Sports Bra) as well as accessories and loungewear.

35 Thousand spoke exclusively to Laura to discover what makes this entrepreneur and her business tick.

Founder of Love and Fit Laura Berens
Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Driven, funny and passionate”

Tell us about your work…

 “I own an activewear clothing line that is built for woman in all stages of life. We sell online as well as wholesale into other small stores around the USA.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I work out of my home office.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

” New items launching and hearing from our customers”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Operational things like counting inventory, shipping assistance and accounting.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Chrissy Teigen shouting out our leggings on social media and being featured on The View And GMA.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Just keep doing the work. If you have a dream or goal, you just need to continue to do the work.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

 “I have to young daughters age 6 months and 5 years old. So I keep pretty busy with them and running my business.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Going to an indoor GYM! Heading back to work at home and work with my team, then head out for dinner with the family or friends at times. “

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“Home workouts, kids both at home and trying to work while taking care of them both.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Oh yes of course. Personally I feel things have gotten better as we have a new baby and me and my significant other have had way more time to communicate and be together.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?”

“Issues with work (product didn’t come in right or issues with any customers not loving our items) I’m a perfectionist!.”

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Keeping up with my workouts has been a big thing for me, even just walking around the neighbourhood when I was pregnant helped a lot.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Going outdoors, making sure to still connect with family and friends via Facetime or Zoom.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

 “Yes, it has made really think about what is important in life and what we REALLY need.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“YES!! I love to travel and just starting to get out more and more now. Planning another trip to see my family in the Midwest soon hopefully.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…

“Well it’s a diaper bag right now! But lipgloss usually and sunglasses aside from stuff for the baby.”

What are your WFH saviours?

“Routine! I always workout first THEN start my day. I usually actually respond to urgent emails on the stairclimber now that gyms are open. Then when I get back home to my computer I don’t have so much to do.”

Describe your style?

“Athletic and casual for sure these days but sometimes I can get dressed up.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Leggings, sports bras, tennis shoes, casual shorts and casual tops.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“At least tripled growth. Hopefully selling more wholesale as well as building out the items in our line.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“It’s never too late to be who you want to be.”

If you enjoyed reading this then you will love the rest of our How She Carries On series with inspiring entrepreneurs such as Whitney Bromberg of FLOWERBX and fashion and lifestyle brand owner Rae Feather.

Dr. Sam Bunting is the A-lister and beauty editors’ go-to dermatologist in the UK. Founder of Dr Sam’s Skincare Sam is passionate about making expert skincare advice accessible to all. She talks to 35 Thousand about her disruptive approach to skincare, why her perfectionism drives her mad and the things they didn’t teach her in medical school.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Playful, Dynamic, Tenacious.”

Tell us about your work… 

“I’m wearing a lot of hats these days. I see patients in my Harley Street practice helping them achieve their dream skin goals. I’m a content creator – I post videos weekly on my YouTube channel (153k subscribers) in order to reach more people with my pragmatic and results-driven philosophy around achieving skin transformation. And I’m the founder and CEO of my direct-to-consumer skincare brand Dr Sam’s.”

Dr Sam Bunting
Dr. Sam’s skincare range
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“I have my Harley Street clinic where I work with best-in-class dermatologists Dr Emma Wedgeworth and Dr Rakesh Patalay. And I run my brand from my office in Notting Hill.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Goodness, all of it! I thrive on the totally different facets of each of my hats. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my small but agile team get excited about our products and the ways we deliver them to our amazing customer base. For example, we have a highly engaged closed Facebook group (22K) who are a constant source of product feedback and really seem to value our advanced formulations and disruptive approach to skincare. I’m also loving learning about eCommerce – they don’t teach that in medical school! So every day is different and requires me to work on myself constantly to evolve and grow as an entrepreneur. I feel I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing. When I read our product testimonials, it fills me with so much joy that we’re helping so many people attain a complexion they’ve always dreamed of but doubted they could achieve. That’s so worth getting up for.”

What parts of your work drain you?  

“My perfectionism – I can drive myself mad with it, and probably those around me to some extent. I’m learning that it’s better to act and iterate than expend endless energy on perfection. ‘Try, test and improve’ is my new mantra.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“I have so many! Just starting the brand, has to be it. We launched with one product – a cleanser. And it was so successful we were in profit by the end of our first month of business.  

We have a slow launch philosophy – I launch just one product at a time and only when I’m convinced it’s perfect (the one area I allow my perfectionism to rein supreme!)  

For example, my Flawless Brightly Serum, which won Harpers Bazaar Best Brightening Serum last year, took 3 years and 34 iterations to get it just right.  I want people to still be using my original launches in 10 years time because they’re that good.” 

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Define what success looks like early on. It’s so easy to get caught up in the pitfall of defining success only in financial terms. But in reality, success for me means doing something meaningful with my business every day. If I reach just one person who finds joy in their skin through using my products, that’s a win for me.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“Work has become central to my identity in the pandemic, for sure. Business has flourished and it has been very anchoring. Family is immensely important for me – I lost my father last year and that really drove home the importance of making time for my mother and brother.  So difficult right now when distance is enforced. 

I have 2 cats I’m utterly besotted with – Hector and Ginger – being animal mad is a Bunting trait (my brother is an incredibly talented vet in Highgate). In my limited spare time, I crave hiking in big open spaces – I love Yeotown down in Devon to reboot my system and enforce a digital detox. And I’ve really been enjoying the Postive Intelligence programme with Shirzad Chamine to manage my inner saboteurs and bring about real calm and focus.”

Dr Sam has two cats that she is besotted with
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“I split my time between my clinic and brand office. The beautiful thing is how interconnected the businesses are. So many patients are avid users and subscribers of the brand so I’m constantly getting feedback on the products from people I know have a real understanding of skincare through their journey with the clinic. And so many of the insights I have from working with patients are funnelled into the brand. It creates a wonderfully positive feedback loop, especially when you factor in the conversations we have with our customers on social media.”

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“I’m currently spending more time on the brand, which has been incredible. It really lights the fire in my belly. And I’ve had the time to focus on personal development, which is really helping me manage myself better. I’m a very sensitive person , which I’ve come to realise is a gift but it’s also not the easiest of paths. I now recognise how important my morning routine is to get me into the right mindset – so I now meditate and journal every morning and this kickstarts a positivity that is compounding.”   

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“I struggled with a lot of personal loss over the first lockdown which was incredibly hard to deal with in such abnormal circumstances. But work was kept me sane and gave me a sense of purpose – and I’m delighted with how we’ve thrived. Like many consumer brands, we faced challenges with supply chain; but overall, I’m very grateful for being forced into a situation where I could spend so much time giving it my undivided attention.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“I’m an overthinker, so unresolved issues or conflicts play heavily on my mind. I’m trying to be less focused on the ‘what if’ and lean more towards the ‘I’m smart, I’ll work it out if when it happens’ school of thought.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines, or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?  

“The Positive Intelligence course I mentioned earlier has been amazing – I did the Hoffman Course last year which was an incredible experience but I wanted to find something more user-friendly for the day-to-day to keep me in a positive mindset so this has been very helpful.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“Learning to be at ease with myself has been a real journey as I’m very self-critical. It’s easy to believe that beating yourself up is the only way to achieve ambitions but I’m discovering that empathy and kindness go a long way too.

Regular video calls have helped me stay connected – but I’m so looking forward to seeing my mum and hugging her.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“Hugely. Life is for living; I want to work on projects that don’t feel like work because I’m so into it. I want to work with people who inspire me and I enjoy being around. And I want to surround myself with people who lift me up. In essence, it has crystallied my values and how important it is to live in accordance with them.” 

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I can’t wait to travel. I want to go on safari again – I did my first in January 2020 and it blew my mind so I want to do another one. And I get so recharged by the outdoors. So a hiking trip somewhere spectacular like Patagonia really appeals too. I’ll also hopefully spend some time in Ibiza at some point – my happy place.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“…lipstick, blotting papers, some rogue cat hairs, my phone and keys. My bag will be Metier or Loewe.”

What are your work from home saviors? 

“I’m off caffeine but I adore the smell of coffee so I make Lavazza decaf in my little Bialetti every morning. The cats are literally my saviours. Meditation in some shape or form is incredibly important for me. And I’m addicted to Shona Vertue’s online workout course.”

Describe your style:

“Chic, classic, feminine.”

Dr Sam says she “Dresses from the feet up”
Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“A high heel (I dress from the feet up). Pencil skirt and silk blouse for work. Effortless little dress you can style up or down. A gorgeous coat (probably cashmere). Perfect jeans/t-shirt/blazer. 

I’m also very specific about lingerie – La Perla for a treat, Eres or Wolford for function.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“International growth for us is key; I see myself spending a lot more time in the US and territories beyond as we scale. I’ve also been heavily involved across all aspects of the business, experience that’s invaluable. But ultimately, content creation, education and product development are my core strengths so that’s where I’ll be investing most of my time going forward.”

In Dr Sam’s handbag you will always find….
What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?  

“My desire with the brand is simple – to get my products into the hands of as many people who can benefit from them as possible so I want us to be bigger and grow faster. So many people endure issues with their skin that are eminently fixable – I want them to experience the joy, freedom and confidence that sorting your skin can deliver. It’s why I made sure we kept the pricepoint affordable but also excellent value for money considering the quality of the formulas.”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“Believe in yourself and don’t let fear hold you back. You got skills, girl!”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

“What you focus on grows.”

Take a look at Dr Sam’s website here and find her YouTube channel here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Dr Kym Harris-Lee, Founder and CEO of Your SweetSpot Coaching & Consulting.

Dr. Kym Harris-Lee is the Founder & CEO of Your SweetSpot Coaching & Consulting. Using her M.O.R.E® Mindset Coaching methodology, she coaches high performing leaders who need and want to elevate their interpersonal skills and professional relationships. She talks to 35 Thousand about her professional and personal life, how her experience of the corporate world kick-started her business, and why she works out both physically and mentally.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Bold, Resilient, Authentic”

Tell us about your work… 

“I coach high performing leaders who need and want to elevate their interpersonal skills and professional relationships to a level that matches the strength of their performance.  I use my M.O.R.E® Mindset Coaching methodology (Maximum self-awareness;Optimal optimism; Rich Relationships and Empathetic Engagement) to guide leaders, executives, and women of color through a coaching experience that reveals the unique qualities and characteristics they possess but may not be leveraging as their super-power. My goal is to help leaders understand how they are perceived by others so they can maximize the positive experience they create in every interaction. My clients appreciate my ability to “see them,” call them on their “BS,” and help them employ the best of who they are to get the results they want.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“I converted the dining room to my home office because of all the natural light that comes into the room. The natural light gives me energy.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“In addition to natural light, I am energized by the lively conversations I have with leaders and the success (incremental and long term) that results from our coaching partnerships.”

What parts of your work drain you?  

“The administrative aspects of the business drain me.  They are STBO (Soon To Be Outsourced).”

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“My corporate journey was a learning experience. Although I performed well, I received feedback about being “too direct”, abrasive, and intimidating. While I wanted to respond positively to the feedback, it was a challenge because it was not specific enough to shed light on what I needed to change. 

I engaged an executive coach to help identify the real issue. After gathering feedback on my behalf, she returned with some interesting insights. She shared that while everyone viewed me as brilliant and accomplished, they felt that they didn’t have a good sense of “who I was.” If I was going to achieve the VP level I aspired to, they would need more from me – which extended beyond my strong performance. 

I looked for another job while also leveraging the skills I was known for to begin coaching. By the end of the 12-month period, I was certified as a coach and decided to launch my entrepreneurial career as an executive coach and speaker. My coaching practice and my speaking career were shaped by that corporate experience, and inspired my tagline, ‘Competence is More than Performance’.”

Kym is never without her reMarkable tablet for note-taking

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“I was preparing to leave one job and move to another in a new organization.  It was a bigger role, and I was nervous about the change.  I shared my thoughts and apprehension with a senior leader, who simply responded with, “You’re ready.” Sometimes we just need one person to believe in us.  The advice I pass on to others is, ‘You are more ready than you realize’.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“I am a newlywed of 2.5 years.  My husband and I split our time between Atlanta, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama.  We’re in the process of looking for one residence in Georgia and plan to be settled by Q1 2022. 

My mom has been living with us for the past year after recovering from a stroke. While she is mostly “all good” she does have some limitations.  Managing and overseeing the management of her care adds another layer to all my days.  

We love Broadway plays and think nothing of getting on a plane for dinner and a play in New York City.  We are looking forward to being able to do that again soon (post COVID).”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“My days have been and continue to be jam packed. I was usually pretty tied up with client calls on Zoom (a large percentage of my clients are located throughout the US), onsite meetings with local clients, or business travel to launch new coaching engagements.  Exercise has always been important to me, so the day usually started with that.  Weather permitting, I’d get in a 45–60-minute walk outside at the end of the day.  There were always the usual chores around the house, grocery shopping, nail and hair appointments, etc.  I also enjoyed lunch meetings and dinner outings with friends and colleagues.”

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“I do not get out nearly as much, 100% of my work is on Zoom.  My workdays “feel” longer and by 5 pm I’m mentally exhausted. Now when I leave home, it is for the sole purpose of running necessary errands without deviation.”   

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“I would say, “yes” on both fronts.  Professionally, it’s been quite busy and I’m not complaining.  I’ve had to expand my team to meet the demand.

Personally, I have a new and overwhelming feeling of exhaustion.  I must admit that sometimes I just want to run away.  I’m always asking myself, ‘Where can I go to simply get away from everything for a while?'”

Dr Kym Harris-Lee
Dr Kym Harris-Lee
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“My mother recently declared her desire to move into an Assisted Living Community. When I think about her needs, and her “high maintenance” behaviors, I do worry about the extent to which 1) she’ll be happy and 2) how responsive people (who are not family members) will be to her requests for assistance, which then takes me back to 3) her overall happiness and satisfaction.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines, or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?  

“I do not drink Gin, but I do workout physically and mentally.  On my best day, I’m most centered after 40-60 minutes of various guided meditations and another 60 minutes of exercise (weights, cardio, and stretching.  My husband and I enjoy preparing dinners together as a replacement for going out to dinner – and honestly, the meals are much better.  We will probably keep that practice.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“Work, friends, family, and online shopping.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“Not at all.  I see this as a moment in time.  My goal as been to stay healthy and out of harms way, so that I can continue to live and create a life I love.”

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I am SO travel ready. Where is to be determined.  We have been talking about a full family trip with the adult siblings, nieces, grandchildren, etc and then a quiet trip with just me and my guy.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Red lipstick and my American Express Card.  I do not carry cash, which drives my husband crazy.”

What are your work from home saviors? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“Routine: Early morning Meditation and Exercise. Product: my Remarkable for note taking. Snack: Fat Free Greek Yogurt with Cinnamon Granola, strawberries, and blueberries.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“A great bold color blazer (single or double breasted), some wide leg pants, a V-neck sweater / T, a crisp white blouse, and a stylish, comfy low heel pump.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“Focused growth is my short-term strategy in support of a long-term goal to step away from Coaching. To accomplish this, I’m diversifying while staying aligned with my mission to help leaders authentically achieve more visibility, connectivity, and influence. I am launching a line of office décor accessories that visually communicate aspects of my coaching philosophy. My clients call them “Dr. Kymisms.”  The line will include Inspirational Wall Word Art, Decorative Inspirational Pillows, and Inspirational desk Plaques. I am also adding a publishing arm, shifting from the “written word” to the “spoken word” with a series of short audiobooks that provide practical leadership strategies for leaders. They will be able to listen while working out, having coffee, or driving to the office, and then apply what they have heard during their workday. I am excited about expanding the ways I engage the senses to fuel and elevate leadership effectiveness.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?  

“Not a thing. If I think it, I do it.”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“Be open to feedback, but don’t allow others to define you.  Be kind to yourself and give others grace.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

“You can create the life you want.”

Take a look at Dr Kim’s website here and find her YouTube channel here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Vicki Wright Hamilton, entrepreneur, speaker, author, television personality, and the CEO of VWH Consulting.

Holly Mckinlay is Senior Director of Communications at the World Wildlife Fund. Pre pandemic she was based in Washington DC but moved back to the UK during lockdown. Working from her she-shed, she talks to 35Thousand about her mission to create big scale solutions to save our planet, how roses and rosé have got her through COVID-19 and why ‘It’s ok not to be ok” is something we can all learn from.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Loyal, kind, and a bit sassy”

Tell us about your work…

“I’m responsible for guiding the strategy and communications for WWF-US Freshwater and Food conservation. Our team is seeking to find solutions to tackle two of the biggest threats to our planet – agriculture (for food production) and infrastructure (for human development). These two things when done badly are contributing to the wild places we love being destroyed and to the climate change crisis, but when done sustainably can be positive forces for nature. So, my work is focused on using communications to co-create and promote solutions for our planet with the businesses and governments that can make impact at scale, with the consumers who drive the demand and the change needed and, most importantly, with the people and communities at the heart of the critical landscapes we work in.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or others

“I’m currently working from my ‘she-shed’ on my patio. It’s small, but perfectly formed.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Working across sectors, teams around the world at WWF, and with some of the world’s biggest organizations to achieve positive impact. We are always looking for innovative ways to solve our planet’s most critical environmental challenges and we’re at the cutting edge of science – that’s exciting, if not a little daunting at times.”

The WWF reusable facemarks raise money for global conservation work
What parts of your work drain you?

“Working on complex issues…across time zones…in Zoom meetings…as amazing and impactful as the results can be, the process is sometimes exhausting.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“In 2019 I was invited to create some briefs for WWF as part of the Cannes Young Lions competition – a global event were the next generation of creatives come together to solve problems through design. Briefing young creatives and seeing how they came up with smart, and sometimes game changing solutions, to our ‘how to save the world’ brief, was the most inspiring time of my career, and the moment I knew I that art, creativity, and the next generation, had the power to save our planet.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“‘It’s ok not to be ok’. There was a point in my life recently when I was grieving and still trying to carry on being a strong leader at work. I was pushing down all my personal emotions and feelings and acting like everything was fine, not wanting to show any vulnerability out of fear of being perceived as ‘weak’. My boss at the time, founder of a new conservation organization called Stampede International and now very good friend of mine, who had been through the same thing, told me it was ‘ok not to be ok’ and not to be scared to show my human side. I’ve seen this happen a lot in the pandemic actually, people showing their human side and admitting that they aren’t doing ok and need a break, and I hope it continues long after. We aren’t robots, you can be a powerhouse leader and still cry or show vulnerability on a Zoom call, it’s ok.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I live alone but try to spend as much time talking to or seeing my family & friends – within the limits of lockdown of course. My main dependent is my new rescue pup, Pluto. I love walking and have a new appreciation for the need to protect the nature and wildlife around us, even though it’s my day job. I try to do yoga when I can to focus my mind, and when that doesn’t work…wine.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Wake up and video call my family in the UK with a coffee, walk to my office in downtown Washington DC, full workday of meetings and calls, happy hour with colleagues or yoga, home to relax. I’d not been living in DC that long, so weekends were spent exploring the landmarks and brunch with new friends.”

Holly always carries Espa No Rinse Hand Cleanser in her bag
How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I’ve got more time in the morning to work out, enjoy breakfast and go out for a walk. My hours are definitely longer, there’s been no avoiding that, but I have more flexibility in the day so I can work, exercise, talk to friends & family and meditate on my own schedule.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Yes, on both fronts. I was living in Washington DC when the pandemic hit in March. I made the hard but necessary decision to move home to the UK before the lockdown, to be nearer to my family. So, I’ve been working remotely on US time from the UK for almost a year now. It’s difficult at times but for me personally it was the best decision- I had good friends in DC through WWF, our ‘panda family’, but I knew I needed support, and my best friends and family to get through the pandemic. I’m very lucky that WWF has been supportive throughout, allowing me the flexibility to not only move countries but ensuring my working hours aren’t too crazy.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“The state of the planet…. occupational hazard….and the wellbeing and mental health of my friends and family during this time.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Rosé and roses…. seriously. I’ve started to buy fresh flowers for my house and office* (*read ‘shed’), every week (another piece of advice from a good friend, buy your own darn flowers), I get out in the fresh air every single day, no matter what the weather and I like a glass of rosé in the evening to mark the end of the workday.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Walking and talking…. oh, and a constant supply of memes and banter.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“Before 2020 I was constantly travelling and or moving countries for work. This year made me realize the value of having a really strong network of friends and family nearby – I hands down wouldn’t have coped with this pandemic and the lockdowns without them. 

I’ve also changed my outlook on the UK, our health system and the beautiful nature on our doorstep that I always took for granted before, I won’t again.   

Having said this, I miss travel, I miss immersing myself in different cultures – the only way we can really evolve is by listening to and learning from people with different cultures and social backgrounds to our own. I hope with this new remote generation that lines between travel and managing work will merge.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m ready to feel the sun on my face and the sand between my toes again, that’s for sure. I’d love to explore the Amalfi Coast, Italy with my family, and Ibiza, Spain with friends, but I’d be equally happy with exploring the coast of Dorset or Cornwall.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“MAC lipstick – of various shades, but I always have a red handy. ESPA hand sanitizer – it took me ages to find one I actually liked the smell of. WWF reusable facemasks – they’re available in the UK and US, have wildlife prints, are sustainable and raise money for global conservation work.”

What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

Creating my own office space in my shed has been a saviour – I’ve decked it out with art that inspires me like a design print of a flamingo from BuyBarry, books, house plants, my Alexa for music and Nespresso machine for regular coffee hits. I’ve also just invested in some AirPod Pro headphones, and they’ve changed the game for conference calls.”

Describe your style?

“Classic (all black everything), and ethical and sustainable where possible.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“A good black jumper dress – I’m currently wearing an organic cotton one from And Other Stories

A classic pair of sliders or pumps – I recently discovered ethical brand Hexa shoes

Classic handmade silver hoops – I’m trying to support local and independent businesses more and Hattie Monroe jewellery is simply beautiful. 

A well-fitting pair of jeans – I like Levi’s, Ralph Lauren Denim and F&F Denim (Tesco), WWF is working with them all on their sustainability strategies. 

A statement jumper/sweater or t-shirt – I love the ones for good causes like Fund Jumpers.”

Holly is a fan of the slogan Fund sweaters
How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“I’d like to keep growing in my career and working in conservation and environment. Ideally, I’d be doing something that combines working with big brands on sustainability strategy, my love of the arts & creativity and saving the planet.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Kilimanjaro and self-confidence – both mountains to climb.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Don’t focus all your energy and time into your career, leave time for fun, and make the most of the simple times spent hanging out with your friends before life gets more complicated.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind”. 

If you loved this article then you will love the reading about so many other inspiring women and how they navigate the ups and downs of life in our How She Carries On section

Vicki Wright-Hamilton is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, television personality, and the CEO of VWH Consulting. On a mission to help women to thrive in life and to help them navigate the slippery slope of home and work life, she has recently launched two TV Shows. She talks to 35 Thousand about unexpectedly becoming an entrepreneur, how her life has changed due to COVID-19 and why she truly believes there should be no limits to what we can achieve in life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Faithful, Strategic, Reliable”

Tell us about your work… 

“I have worked as a corporate strategist and change management advisor for nearly 30 years. In the last few years, I have set my sights on sharing my personal and professional experience with a broader audience through my coaching, speaking, and television initiatives. I recently launched two shows, “Hidden Stories, Healed Now” and “Strategic Minds: Making Money Moves” to help women navigate the slippery slope of balancing home and work life.  Both shows are featured in Atlanta, the District of Columbia, California, and on YouTube and multiple streaming services.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“I work from home, mostly in my home office and at my kitchen table. I like staying close to the heart of my house during the day.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“I get energy from making a difference, whether seeing technology efforts come to fruition or the changes that individuals are making as they learn and grow from coaching.  I love to see positive change and advancements in both individuals and organizations. “

What parts of your work drain you?  

“My least favorite task is creating proposals and RFP’s (Requests for Proposals). It drains me and takes so much energy. I also do not particularly enjoy the seemingly constant hunt for new consulting opportunities. Having to sell myself, again and again, is daunting. Even after thirty years of corporate experience and ten years of being an entrepreneur, still, I wouldn’t say I like it. 

The whole process is draining and takes a lot of work. Furthermore, sometimes all of this effort feels wasted if the said proposal’s answer is still ‘no’ since nothing is guaranteed.  You spend so much energy and time for it not to work out.  It is part of the process, but it is not fun.” 

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“The most pivotal moment in my career was entering entrepreneurship.  I never saw myself in this position. At times I did not know if I would be successful as an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurship has profoundly changed my mindset and allowed me the opportunity to pivot and see things from a different perspective.   I could not have done this without taking the time for self-reflection and being willing to do some profound personal and professional growth.  I am beyond thankful for all of the trials and tribulations that I have conquered. This reflection reminds me that I can face any challenge both now and in the future.”

Vicki Wright-Hamilton helps entrepreneurs to thrive
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do or let them create your narrative.  You can do whatever you envision and want to do.  I believe that God has given us all talents and gifts, and you have the right to use as many of them as you desire.  There is no limit on what we can achieve. We do not have to fit into someone else’s standard or be forced into their predetermined box.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“I am a wife, mother of two adult sons and a grandmother to two – a granddaughter, and a grandson.  My daughter-in-law is just like the daughter that I never had.  I love my family, but more importantly, I like them.  I want to be around them and explore things together.  We spend a lot of time laughing together, going to sports, restaurants, and even dancing pre-COVID.  

In the last year, we have spent a lot more time at home together. I also love my new standard poodle Max. He enjoys all of the attention – he thinks he is the life of the party. 

I am passionate about being an active member of the community, from mentoring to board membership.  I live by the mantra “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I always pray to be a blessing to at least one person each day.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“My day was always busy.  I continued to work for my clients while still hunting and developing strategies for business growth.  Although I was dedicated to my one night out each week with my husband and I saw my grown kids, it was very casual and not planned.  I just let it happen organically.  I did work out, but I would sometimes let work interrupt that time and did not keep it sacred.”

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“One positive change from my new normal of working from home continually is that I have learned to work out every day, without fail.  I have made working out a primary focus of daily my routine. I find that exercising daily helps me to have a clear and focused mind. I believe it allows me to create a mindset that is ready to prosper and succeed both professionally and personally.  

I am very intentional and committed to my six days per week workout plan.  After my morning prayer, meditation, and workouts, I come to my home office and start my day. I typically pre-plan the night before so that I can jump right into my day.  Of course, there are always meetings.  Sometimes, I choose to walk around with the phone to my ear. I call those my walking meetings as I walk around my kitchen island and family room which is a way to get some exercise.  I also have one-on-one coaching sessions with clients. In between, I am sure to schedule time to “Think and develop my own personal and professional strategies.””

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“For me, COVID has been a blessing and a curse. The devastation and loss of life are beyond devasting. On the flip side, it has helped me to slow down and focus on what is essential in my life. I believe COVID has allowed us to put our families first, care about our neighbors, and slow down.  During COVID, I have done just that.  When everything was closed, it made me reprioritize every single minute to move forward.  

Professionally, it was up and down — some significant periods of increased revenue and gaining business opportunities, as well as some very low ones.   Corona impacted me personally like many others; I miss my family out of town, the girl’s nights out, date nights, and traveling.  I use technology to help, but there is something to be said about connecting with your loved ones in person.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“I am a woman of great faith, and I believe in the power of prayer. I am at peace and leave my worries to God when I pray, so I am not up at night.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines, or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?  

“Praying, meditating, and working out have been the tools that I use to cope.  I also have allowed myself to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and relax.  I think I understand relaxation better now than I ever have before.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“We have had more planned family time together.  I love having my children and grandchildren come over for impromptu visits so we can enjoy each other. It truly helps.  

Sometimes, it just is not often enough as work continues for us all.  I value every moment that I get to spend with my family. I also spent more time with my husband watching movies and checking out new shows.  It has given us time to find other areas of enjoyment and different kinds of content to absorb.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“No, it just reinforced what I already knew and believed. I am thankful for the new awareness amongst challenges that have existed for a long time.  The Black Lives Matter movement has brought many of the injustices that Black people have experienced in this country for hundreds of years to the forefront.”

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I can not wait to pack a bag and head abroad. I have been creating a list of all of the places that I would like to go.  I plan to visit family, go on trips with my husband, and perhaps even a family trip.  I want to bring fun and experience other places and cultures again.

I look forward to checking places off my bucket list, which is quite extensive. Dubai is at the top of my list.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Hand sanitizer. During these times, it is a must!”

What are your work from home saviors? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“Coffee and tea for sure!”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Workout pants, t-shirts, dress pants, wrap blouses, and long dress jacket.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“In the next two years, I see my business flourishing and becoming a multi-million dollar organization.  I will also be expanding my current offerings to reach more client needs as things grow and change.  I don’t see anything but exponential growth!”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?  

“I have always wanted to go sky diving.  It is on my bucket list!”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“Incorporate more fun into your work and moving forward in your life.  You can still be successful and grow.  It is not a matter of either-or; it is a matter of balance. 

I was totally out of balance regarding fun and laughter.  I enjoyed my work, so I did it all of the time.  But, I did not take moments to celebrate, laugh and enjoy the moments of life.  I recognized the good times and experiences but did not allow myself the opportunities to relax and have fun.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

“When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry – your lifeguard walks on water.”

Take a look at Vicki’s website here and find her YouTube channel here

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Bridgette McAdoo, Leader of Global Sustainability at the customer service corporation Genesys

Liz Gough is the Executive Publisher of Yellow Kite books & Lifestyle at Hachette publishing in the UK. Specialising in wellbeing and self help, she seeks out new and exciting books, and some of their bestselling authors include Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), relationship therapist Esther Perel (Mating in Captivity and The State of Affairs), and chef Gordon Ramsay amongst many others.

Here Liz talks to 35Thousand about her love of finding new authors and bringing book ideas to life, how walking has kept her sane during the pandemic, and why coffee deliveries and scented candles have become her WFH saviours.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Optimistic, driven, kind”

Tell us about your work…

“I head up a team of editors and we publish cutting-edge books with a focus on food, lifestyle, health, self-help and mental health and wellbeing. Yellow Kite is the name of the imprint I run and is part of Hachette. Some of our bestselling authors include Deliciously Ella, Gelong Thubten, The Food Medic, The Two Chubby Cubs, Eckhart Tolle, Esther Perel and Gordon Ramsay. My role is to lead the team, manage the budget, acquire books in this space, keep abreast of trends and keep Yellow Kite’s profile high among literary agents and authors so we can acquire the very best books. I’ve always worked in publishing and I absolutely love it. It’s a wonderful industry to work in – full of passionate, creative, interesting and fun people.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“My company has gorgeous riverside offices on the Thames, but I have barely been there since March 2020. I miss the office buzz, the chats, and the rooftop café. My husband and I are in competition for the study at the moment, while we both work from home. It is a lovely room with stylish wallpaper, plants, bookshelves and a nice desk. If I am not in there, I am at the kitchen table trying to avoid the biscuit tin, or in my daughter’s bedroom. Occasionally I will take calls while I am out walking, for a change of pace.”

Yellow Kite Books
Liz has swapped a handbag for the Lululemon Belt Bag which she loves
What parts of your work give you energy?

“Strategic planning for the future growth of the business, talking to authors and agents about book ideas and – best of all – acquiring new books for Yellow Kite. Finding interesting people with potential book ideas and reaching out to them can be really energising and exciting. I love forming and cultivating ideas. 

Publishing books that can help readers change their lives in a positive way is incredibly rewarding and I find it very energising when we receive positive feedback on our books.

I also love collaborating and sharing ideas with colleagues – I love it when we have a challenge around a book, and through a really good conversation we can create plans, opportunities and ideas about how to make books really soar and become hit publications. It’s addictive.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Endless emails. I have thousands in my inbox as I am hopeless at filing them. I also find Teams/Zoom calls can be draining if there are too many in one day.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Launching Yellow Kite in 2014 was pivotal for me – coming up with the name and starting and heading up this new list of books was such an exciting time. Publishing Deliciously Ella’s bestselling cookbook in 2015 put Yellow Kite firmly on the publishing radar and she and I have now worked together for 7 years and published 6 books. It was really only at the end of last year, which was very successful for the list, that I was able to reflect on what we’d achieved and how far we’ve come as a business.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“I have three:

1. As a working mother you have to learn to compartmentalise your life, and this will help you cope with all the demands on your time (this has obviously been much harder in lockdown).

2. Sleep on it. Things will look/seem different in the morning.

3. Try to move on from disappointment quickly, don’t get mired in it. Reframe it as a learning opportunity. Move on.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

 “I have two children – a son, 14, and a daughter, 10 – plus a hard-working husband. Our two cats complete the family unit. 

I am interested in lots of things – I am a naturally curious person. I read a lot, and formed a book group a few years ago, which has widened my reading choices. I love planning holidays and trips with friends, in normal times. I always have some project or other on the go. I also run my own personal Instagram which is called @micropleasures and is all about finding the tiny joys in daily life and living in the moment. 

I am passionate about increasing young people’s awareness of publishing so we can attract people from all backgrounds to our industry and have done some voluntary work talking to young people about publishing with The Stephen Lawrence Trust.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“I can’t really remember it to be honest. I just know it used to involve a lot of looking at the clock and rushing around feeling stressed. Life has definitely calmed down, but there are different stressors, such as the constant backdrop of anxiety about life, health, the children, parents, and when life will resemble normal again.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“At the start of lockdown I was determined to keep active and embarked on a Joe Wicks and running routine, which lasted several months, but – sorry, Joe – I got bored! I now walk every single day – usually early – which really helps me cope with whatever the rest of the day throws at me. It’s been a life-saver. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts or walk with a friend. I have loved watching the seasons change on a daily basis and I feel more connected to nature than I ever did when I was commuting into town every day. I think this, plus the fresh air and the routine, have really helped my mental health during these anxious and stressful times.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Thankfully the crisis has not affected my or my family’s health directly. Professionally it has made life quite intense and it has been very difficult at times managing the pressure of working from home with family life. The boundaries are blurred and I miss the ‘switching off’ that naturally happens when you physically leave the home or the office. 

I am co-founder of the Working Families Group at Hachette, where I work, and our aim is to help support and provide a voice for employees who are responsible for children or other family. Having a supportive group during this time has been really good and I have made some new friends across the business, which is great – nice to see new faces on Zoom! 

My team have energised me during the whole pandemic and period of working from home. Like everyone, at times during Lockdown, I have found it hard. I think, weirdly, the pandemic has brought us closer together as we’ve had glimpses of each other’s lives, and more of a chance to bond, to share the ups and downs and keep each other going. We have learnt how to communicate differently and I am really proud of how strong we are as a team.

I feel really fortunate that the book industry has proved to be extremely resilient during the crisis, as people have continued to turn to books for entertainment, comfort and solace. My purpose continues to be to find and publish the very best books that speak to the current times and people’s needs – and help my team do the same.”  

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Interestingly, my sleep has vastly improved since I stopped drinking in January. I have a tendency to go to bed too late as I get distracted a lot by books, telly, Instagram etc – the usual. If I do wake up in the early hours – usually 4am – it will usually be work worries or concerns about the kids that prevent me from getting back to sleep. These periods of insomnia tend to come when I am feeling stressed or have too much on my plate. “

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Walking has kept me sane, and – strangely – stopping drinking. I haven’t had a drink for nearly two months and I really don’t miss it. I sleep better and feel less anxious. I’m not saying I won’t go back, but it suits me for now. Getting the children outside every day also helps me cope, because otherwise I worry about them being cooped up indoors on a screen all day. This pandemic has been so hard on them mentally and physically and they miss their friends and school.

One rather lovely new routine is a Saturday morning walk with my husband – although we are together all week we are busy working/dealing with children/on domestic duty – and this time is just for us, to chat, catch up and have a laugh. We always get a coffee and a croissant and I really enjoy the routine. Previously, Saturday mornings were all about getting the children to activities – this is much more chill! 

In September 2020 I ran 100 miles over the month to raise money for The British Red Cross ‘Miles for Refugees’ campaign. This was a lot more running than I’d done for years, so it was a good challenge and I raised over £400. I enjoyed the focus it gave me and felt proud of the achievement.

Writing my @micropleasures 28-day daily challenge in February has been enjoyable and fun and a nice way to connect with people in a positive way. Writing the posts has become a new little routine.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Cake! My daughter has become a veritable baker and will bake about three things a week. It’s inspiring watching her get really into it, with no adult help whatsoever. Annie Bell’s Baking Bible is her go-to book these days. We all love her homemade offerings. 

Otherwise, walking, exercise, connecting with friends – including old friends, which has been lovely – in real life and on Zoom for quizzes and chats. My husband has been amazing planning and cooking lots of meals, which he enjoys – without him in the kitchen I think I would have gone bananas. 

My lovely neighbours and the community where we live in southeast London has been amazing – it’s made me really value the support and friendships I have on my doorstep and appreciate all the green space and parks.

Lastly, our two cats, Peanut and Lebron, are my constant working-from-home companions and bring the whole family so much pleasure.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

“I learned to relax more at home (when I wasn’t working) and not always be ‘doing’ stuff. I also learned to appreciate the little things more. I have had time to practise mindfulness and meditation and live more in the moment rather than constantly planning ahead or living in the future.

The covid pandemic has made us all more aware of the importance of our health and the value of the NHS and the nurses and doctors who are there to protect and care for us, and I feel a responsibility to stay fit and healthy, which I never felt before. 

It’s made me even more passionate about my belief in books and literature as a way to discover stories and philosophies to help you escape and find freedom in your mind.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I would love to get away somewhere warm and sunny, like the Cote d’Azur or Italy, where I can walk, swim, switch off and not have to worry about work or home-schooling or anything domestic! I wouldn’t mind a couple of days on my own, and then the rest of the family could join me afterwards.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

“My handbag has been replaced by a Lululemon belt bag which has become my favourite bag and is used every day. It contains my Nuxe lip balm, tissues, key, face mask, phone, Revolut card and coffee shop loyalty card – the essentials.”

The Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip balm is a handbag essential

What are your WFH saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

Coffee from a local roastery, which is delivered to the door by bike, and which we grind at home – it’s become part of our lockdown routine as something to keep us going. This was particularly important when all the coffee shops were closed! I have also developed a penchant for scented candles and I love having one burning on the desk while I work – this wouldn’t be an option in the office, so I am taking it as a WFH win.

Otherwise, my daily walk, Radio 6 Music, endless mugs of tea, and frequent hugs from my daughter who loves interrupting my work calls.”

Describe your style?

“Relaxed with a sprinkling of smart. I love a cashmere jumper, and I am currently very fond of my Boden trackpants. I love a pop of colour and a dab of leopard print. Erica Davies taught me everything I know!”

Liz loves her Boden track pants for WFH

Name your 5 essential items of clothing
How do you see your business in two years from now?

“Bigger, better, brighter, bolder. I want us to expand and grow so we can reach more readers and inspire, motivate and help more people.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“You only regret what you don’t do – so don’t say no, say yes.”

Follow Liz on Twitter @lizzgough and @yellowkitebooks and on Instagram at @micropleasures @yellowkitebooks

If you loved reading about Liz then you will love our other How She Carries On articles which delve into the daily lives of other inspirational women here

Bridgette McAdoo is the recently appointed Leader of Global Sustainability at the customer service corporation Genesys. Speaking to 35Thousand from her bedroom in Maryland, US, where she’s implementing her future strategy for the business, she talks exclusively to 35Thousand about her new role, how a career break gave her new direction, the hidden blessings of the Corona crisis, and how she’s dreaming of spa breaks with her girlfriends once it’s all over.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Passionate, driven, determined, loyal.”

Tell us about your work…

“I lead the Global Sustainability practice at Genesys. I am responsible for sustainability as a management approach that holistically optimizes our economic, social, and environmental impact. I also drive our stakeholder engagement, education, and the evolution of the sustainable strategy and programs across Genesys.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“Right now, I am working in our bedroom while we redesign a spare room to be my new office. My husband got the nice big home office when we moved to Maryland.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“We are in the foundational strategy building phase of sustainability.  Sustainability is new to our company and I am thoroughly enjoying the process of setting the strategy while educating our workforce and engaging our stakeholders.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“I don’t have my team built yet so there are some fatiguing parts of the job right now.  I am having to respond and handle all things versus being able to delegate. “

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Honestly, it was taking a break in November 2018, when I left my previous job..  It gave me time to focus on my family and faith.  And it renewed my confidence in myself and my purpose.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“At the beginning of my career, I had a leader tell me that I was going to be judged for three things and I needed to find out how to use them to my benefit and not carry them as a burden.  Those 3 things were:  I am Black,  I am a woman and I have brains. It took me a while to stop apologizing for being who I am and to stop cowering for others comfort.  At the end of the day, I will wake up every day the same smart Black woman.”

Bridgette at work
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I am married to my husband; Shannon and we have an English bulldog named Captain.  I love travelling (when it was a thing).  I am a foodie.  I love spas.  I also love red wine, champagne and bourbon.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Pre-pandemic, I was going into DC to work.  I would come home, cook dinner and get ready for the next day.  Weekends were brunches or dinner with friends, or traveling to see friends and family.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I now actually have time to workout and meditate.  Well, let’s be clear…I now have no excuse not to workout and mediate.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“I actually started at Genesys in December.  Between the pandemic and the rise of social justice issues, I was receiving a lot of interviews. This unprecedented time has turned into a blessing professionally.  It has also created more space for my husband and me.  In the normal routine of life, you can just exist around one another.  We actually have found a way to enjoy one another.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Lately, my mind is racing of all of the things I want to do with Genesys.  I am so lucky to have a leadership that is supportive and motivates me to be as impactful as possible.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Gin and Gym.  Just kidding.  I am not a cyclist, but we luckily bought a Peloton right before the pandemic and now I am a huge fan.  As for gin…replace it with rosé and bourbon.”

What has kept you sane? 

“I have started to limit the amount of news I take in.  I was starting to be in a constant stage of anger and disbelief, especially in 2020. “

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I was never naïve about the state of America – my parents grew up during the civil rights era and my father was on the front lines – however, I was somewhat amazed how others were surprised.  But it goes to show that you can only prepare for what you have exposure to.  And my experiences shed a different light on me than others.”

Bridgette with her husband
Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“My God, Yes!! I would love to go to any beach on any ocean.  The water is my safe space.  I would say I want to go with my hubby and I…but I have so missed my girlfriends, and would love to have a girlfriends wellness retreat.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“As of today, sanitizer!”

What are your work from home saviours? 

“My WFH routine is now:  wake-up, meditate, check email, make coffee, workout, work, eat lunch, work, cook dinner, check email…bedtime.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“A pair of jeans, a blazer, a jazzy sneaker, a timeless pump and tank top.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“In 2 years, I hope to still be at Genesys.  But I hope to also be on a board or two and to be more public facing.  I would love to do more public speaking and mentoring.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“I hate to admit this…I technically cannot swim, but love water. 

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Your circle of friend’s matter.  Make sure that you can sow into them and that they can sow into you.  Also, I would teach fiscal responsibility.  Early education on finance is something that is lacking in the Black community – how to truly have generational wealth.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“Adversity introduces one (man) into themselves (himself).”

If you loved reading about Bridgette, then you will also really enjoy peaking into the lives of other inspiring women in our How She Carries On series here

Ara Katz, Co-Founder + Co-CEO of Seed Health is a woman on a probiotic mission, having created the brand to disrupt the global probiotic market with scientifically studied, state of the art probiotics. Quarantined in LA, she spoke to 35 Thousand about her passion for her work, her bitter-sweet experiences of the Corona crisis and her WFH lifesavers.

Ara Katz co-CEO and co-founder of Seed
Describe yourself in 3 words

Dot-connecting, creative and persistent

Tell us about your work…

“At Seed, our mission is to realize the potential of microbes to impact human and environmental health.

We develop scientifically-studied, next-generation probiotics with a mission to bring much-needed precision, efficacy, and education to the global probiotics market. Our environmental R+D division, SeedLabs, develops novel applications for bacteria to solve some of our most pressing ecological challenges. We’re disrupting the BS in the $50B global probiotics market and stewarding the future of how we will use bacteria to restore and sustain human (think: gut, skin, oral, vaginal, and more) and planetary (think: honey bees, soil, water, food supply, plastics crisis, and space) health with serious science.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“While we’re quarantined, my guest house in Venice, LA.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Creating with our internal team and ecosystem of collaborators.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Compressed periods of meetings and email that compromise deep work.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Co-founding Seed with my co-founder, Raja Dhir.”

 Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“She didn’t always follow the recipe”

The Seed products
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“A precocious 5 year old, a fellow start-up founder husband, hiking, and the entire team, community and ecosystem at Seed.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Up at 5:30am. A Venice neighbourhood walk to a coffee shop for a matcha with my son around 6:45am. A walk to the office a few blocks away around 7:45am. Meetings (many walking ones), calls and work until 6pm. Home or out for dinner date with my son and husband in Venice. Work 8pm – 11pm (likely later if I’m telling the full truth). Yoga and working out sprinkled in between. Rinse. Repeat.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been impacted in some way. It has been a spotlight on the disparities in our society, the failure of our systems (at the scale of government and in our own lives) and true test of our resilience. 

It has been bittersweet; there’s been more time than I ever would have had with my son, a true test of my partnership at home and at Seed, the inception of a nature-based school program and a greater than ever conviction for our mission.” 

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I am not kept up at night, but I do wake up thinking about the problems that need solving – a design challenge, a role that needs to be filled, a strategy shift that needs to be devised.”

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? 

“The combination of increased work time and being alone and with my son has felt deeply fulfilling (despite the logistical challenges). While Zoom fatigue is real, I am endlessly energized by the work we do and the way we navigate challenges. 

Spending time in nature and exercise are longstanding routines that have become even more meaningful this past year.”

Ara in LA
What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Nature, FaceTime and StarWars.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

“I would say it made me want to live in more alignment with my outlook on life. It was a great reminder of what I value, care about and want to change about the world in whatever small way I can.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“When it’s safe to do so, travel is always the choice. It’s one of my favourite things to do.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

“’Currently stashed in my handbag’ is something I would never say because I only wear backpacks. 🙂 

ALT 1:

“Currently stashed in my handbag is my Seed DS-01 Travel Vial :)” 

ALT 2: 

“Currently stashed in my handbag is the latest book I’m reading.”

ALT 3: 

 “Currently stashed in my handbag are the rocks my son finds on his nature school hikes.”

What are your WFH saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“A yoga mat, wood-burning fireplace, meditation, books, Lego for days, Matcha, Spotify, time with my son, and the AllTrails app.”

Describe your style?

“Essentialist.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Lauren Manoogian long cardigan coat.

High compression socks.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“Living up to our vision to pioneer microbial applications to impact human and environmental health.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“She didn’t always follow the recipe.” 

This quote was printed on a small wooden pin my mom gave me just before she passed away when I was 16 and I have had mounted to a small piece of wood and hung in my bedroom.”

If you loved reading about Ara then grab a cup of tea, kick back and read the rest of our How She Carries On series here

Claire Burrows is the founder of the shoe company Air & Grace, which include boots, trainers and a vegan collection. Having worked within the shoe industry for twenty years she set up on her own to create shoes that were as comfy as they are stylish (our very own editorial director Susannah Taylor is a big fan of the vegan Cru Signature trainers which she has described as ‘Genuinely the comfiest pair of trainers I’ve ever worn’).

Here Claire talks to 35 Thousand about what it’s been like running the business throughout COVID-19, why she’s not a fan of doing her accounts, how the Worth Retail Award kickstarted her business, why she is really missing travel and why she now makes time for the gym as well as gin in her life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Determined, caring, tired!”

Tell us about your work…

“I started Air & Grace 6 years ago following a 20-year career working for international footwear brands. I was over fast fashion, I wanted quality and design that would stand the test of time and wasn’t defined by seasons. But most importantly I wanted to combine that with comfort, but not the ugly kind. I wanted shoes that looked as good as they felt. So I created our patented “Tender Loving Air” footbed which Trinny Woodall says is “Like walking on butter” and launched Air & Grace.”

Air & Grace
Cru Signature White, Red and Blue Trainers, £159
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“Definitely other. Air & Grace is based at a design studio on Bermondsey Street near London Bridge, it’s a lovely place to be but we’ve all been working from home since the first lockdown. That’s come with some extra complications for me as we were mid-way through renovating our home. The kitchen got ripped out the night before the lockdown announcement, (there’s been a lot of BBQ’ing) and we had a huge hole in the back of the house so we had to chase foxes out most nights! It’s still not finished, but thankfully we’re warm, watertight and fox free now. I’ve started working at the studio again a few days each week, it’s nice to be back.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Without a doubt reading customer reviews and comments. This is everything to us. When customers say “The perfect trainer, and the perfect fit! It really is like walking on clouds” we can’t help feeling energised and uplifted.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Accounts – ironic really being as I was nearly an accountant. I ran away to work at a bar in Tenerife for a couple of years instead and the rest is history. I’m of the opinion that some tasks are better to outsource, so I have an amazing accountant and bookkeeper. Both are thankful I ended up designing shoes.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Winning the Worth Retail Award for the ‘Brands of Tomorrow’. This was the moment that made Air & Grace a reality. I had spent every penny I had and more creating a sample collection, but I didn’t have the funds to go into production. I saw the competition in the Metro newspaper and applied. I went through a series of stages culminating in a “dragon’s den” style pitch and won first prize – an investment of £150K. This meant I could finally produce my shoes and create my website.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“It sounds simple, but don’t run out of money. Get to grips with cash flow – it really is the ‘be all and end all’. So many great ideas fail due to poor cash flow. I used to spend every Sunday morning updating a mammoth cashflow spreadsheet. It wasn’t my idea of fun, but it got me through the difficult times. I could see in advance if I was facing credit crunches and would shift outgoings accordingly to keep us afloat. Now we use an app called Float which integrates and automatically syncs with our website and accounts platforms. It’s been a revelation; I’ve got my Sundays back.”

Air & Grace
Alto Indigo leopard print high tops, £179
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I’m pretty simple. I work hard, play hard. I really value my downtime as I don’t get much of it. I adore cooking and Sundays are sacred – no work! Instead, I love cooking up a feast, it relaxes me, and having people round to enjoy it is the best. I live with my long-term boyfriend Jason in a house we are renovating in Hither Green. In normal circumstances we see my mum and brother often and visit Jason’s parents in France several times a year. I also love a party night out with my girls. I can’t wait to get back to normal.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Busy! But it’s still busy. So there’s not much change. It’s never the same each day, I designate time for design, but a lot of my day to day is reacting to what’s going on. This can be anything from a surprise post of our shoes by Fearne Cotton to dealing with customs delays. It keeps me on my toes.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“Like everyone my life changed overnight. I went from working in the studio with my lovely team each day to shouting “Can you hear me?” on Zoom. I haven’t visited our manufacturing partners in Europe since January 2020 and I’d usually be there most months working closely together creating our shoes.  But we’ve figured it out and got on with it. As a small business we’re pretty nimble, so we’re able to adapt.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Immeasurably. I did not realise that I was running at a pace that was not sustainable until this happened. I’ve been running on empty to keep everything going for the past few years. I’ve now woken up and taken steps to rectify that. It’s a cliche but I really do now make time for me, carving out gym time, no excuses! As a business 2020 has been incredibly challenging, our manufacturers closed for 3 months and we’re still playing catch up, but we’ll get there. For me personally, lockdown afforded me the time to take a step back and think about what I should be doing and what I| wanted to do… It’s led to closing our wholesale channel and going back to our roots of being an online only brand. We’re feeling the positive effects from that decision already.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“My to do list!”

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“One of the moments I look back to with fondness is our charity collaboration with Gaby Roslin for The Prince’s Trust. This project had been in progress for over a year and all launch plans had to be cancelled due to lockdown. We switched to a virtual launch and sold out in less than 4 hours raising nearly £10K for The Prince’s Trust Charity. It was a moment of positivity in a year of challenges. 

As for gym or gin? A bit of both. I have 100% found fitness during lockdown. I’ve been gym shy my entire life and now I don’t even recognise myself – I’m working out every day. I’ve finally made some time for me. But there’s always Gin time.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Walking has been my big thing. I’ve always loved walking, but it’s taken on a new meaning now that it’s a safe way of meeting with friends and family. Meeting for a walk and a chat is a pleasure I have enjoyed and will continue to.”

When we are allowed to travel again will you be travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Absolutely travel ready! I can’t wait. I usually make approx 10 trips a year to visit our manufacturing partners in Portugal and Spain and I am missing it so much. I love being hands on in the sample room, working with our amazing craftspeople and sourcing materials. These trips are where the magic happens. It’s not been easy for me doing that process remotely, but I’m lucky to have brilliant partners in location who have been able to step in and bring my visions to life.”

Bardot Tan Suede Ankle Boots, £99.50 (in sale)
Finish this sentence: “In my handbag you will ALWAYS find…”

“Leather swatches and most probably a few shoe components.”

What are your WFH saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“I’ve found getting into a routine has really helped. In the beginning I really missed the mental transition of travelling home from work and found it difficult to switch off. To combat this, I started taking a walk after I called it a day working on the sofa. Now Winter has drawn in I’m lighting scented candles and changing into loungewear to signify the end of my working day.”

Describe your style?

“I’m either fuss-free or high octane, there’s not much in between. 2020 has definitely been a year in gym gear, but it doesn’t take much of an excuse for me to glam it up. I love design that transcends time so I invest in well cut, beautifully made pieces that will transcend seasons. My designer go to’s are Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. I have pieces that are 25 years old that I still love and wear. I’m a pounds per wear girl. It’s the same ethos I apply at Air & Grace – longevity in design.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“White silk shirt, well cut blazer, biker jacket, leather leggings, leopard maxi dress.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“Unusually for me, I’m not forecasting so far ahead. We are building on our successes, but not being over ambitious. With so much uncertainty I feel it’s best to take a cautious approach and anything else is a welcome bonus. I’ll always be happy if we continue to make our customers happy.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“Work hard and be nice to people.”

If you loved this article, then you will love our interviews with many other inspiring women such as Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings of FLOWERBX and journalist Sarah Vine

Marion Rebate is the founder and CEO of Parisian athleisure brand Ernest Leoty. Marion is a designer whose love for ballet, led her to her passion for costumes then to the archives where she discovered the heritage corsetry of Leoty.

Her collections are modern with a subtle reference to french tailoring, with clean lines including activewear, cotton tracksuits, merino wool leggings and jumpers – perfect for life in 2020. Here Marion talks to 35 Thousand about taking her life in to her own hands, the things that keep her up at night and the ways in which 2020 has changed her outlook on life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Passionate, driven, dreamy…”

Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder of Ernest Leoty, an activewear brand. We bring chic into activewear. We work with best in class patternmakers and factories to create beautiful clothing. We sell mainly online on our website ernestleoty.com. I am the founder and CEO. That means I oversee creative, as well as the day to day running of the business. My days are very varied, and never a minute to be bored! I work with a team of 5 and some external partners also. We are a small start-up, actively growing.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“A mix between kitchen table, my work office that is an old studio, and a spare room. I am a nomad.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“I just love seeing the brand grow, and seeing other people input their passion and vision into it, and the brand taking on a life of its own. Whether it is a photographer, our amazing designer, our team and partners. I love the creative side of it, even though I have a business background.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“All the admin, and dealing with problems: the warehouse, carriers, tax, accounting, all of the paperwork basically!”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“When I quit my 10 year career in banking to launch Ernest Leoty, an athleisure brand. It was always my dream to be an entrepreneur, and to do something creative. I wanted to go to art school but studied maths. Taking your life into your own hands is very empowering. I have also massively grown as a person since.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Someone once told me, it’s fine to do mistakes, just give it your best. I think that is very true. You will never regret trying something, you will regret having being passive.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“Yes, I have a family, and a lot of close friends. I am the type of person people call when they need advice. We are also getting a dog which I am super excited about. My hobbies were yoga and travelling, but I haven’t had a lot of that recently.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Pre pandemic, I used to travel a lot. I live in London but would go every week to Paris. I would go for dinners, meet new people all the time, go to the gym. I love travelling so would do as much of that as possible.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Professionally, the Corona crisis was an accelerator of our digital transition. We went from a mainly wholesale brand to mainly digital, selling through our own website.
Personally, other than the short term changes, it perhaps made me more grounded and brought me closer to my family.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

Our Instagram account was just hacked – that kept me up at night. Otherwise, the financial viability of the business to be honest. And keeping my team happy.

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I would say mostly walks in the parks, talking on the phone, Netflix, a glass of wine, long baths…
I have also “cocooned” my house by buying some items I always wanted to buy but never got round to doing: lamps, cushions, a new table etc”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I think it is just accepting the way things are. There is nothing we can do about it. Going to the park for walks, speaking to friends I had lost touch with on the phone. Because I was more at home, I had more time to reconnect. With regards to family,spending more time at home with them has made us closer actually, I really enjoyed that part.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

“Yes, it has shown me not to take anything for granted, and to really appreciate freedom, and ability to travel. Also has shown me how quickly things can change. Finally, it has made me appreciate more my home and family, and how to enjoy the small things.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Truth is, I can’t wait But I will only do it when I feel it is safe. We are going to Switzerland for Xmas, but wont be going out of the house really.
But I am dreaming of summer holidays, yoga retreats, going to see my family in NY, Sri Lanka and many other projects that I can’t wait to do again.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

My Malin + Goetz lipbalm
My lancome hand cream
My phone & keys
At the moment – some Aesop hand gel

Ernest Leoty
Marion is a fan of Malin and Goetz Lip balm
What are your WFH saviours?

“My Amazon Alexa for music, Clippers coffee, Dyptique candles, fresh flowers and walking in Hyde Park in London.”

Describe your style?

“I would like to say classic, sexy, and comfortable, like Ernest Leoty.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“I live in our black corset leggings – they are my daily go-to piece. I also love my white J-Crew “Essential” T-Shirt and our Bertille trousers which are made in the Hermes knitwear factory. I would also say a navy Stella McCartney blazer and black Roger Vivier pumps.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“I see it much bigger, more established, with lots of new product lines including swim, homewear, accessories. I see a bigger team and US expansion also. I am so excited about what is to come!”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

““Everything will be ok” I guess, or “Let go”. They are both about the fact that you need to accept that you have a destiny and things are meant to happen the way they unfold, for the best.”

If you have enjoyed reading this then you will love our archive of other How She Carries On articles from inspiring women such as Sarah Vine, Rae Feather and Bobbi Brown

When Andrea McDowell’s wedding video business ground to a halt in lockdown, she was inspired by her own garden to start a dahlia business. Having just launched her website www.dahliabeach.co.uk, she talks to us about her very clear vision for the brand, her coping strategies (a cup of tea watching the sun come up), and how she sees herself in six month’s time – on Dahlia Beach farm, in a pink shipping container surrounded by a riot of colourful blooms.

Andrea was inspired to start up Dahlia Beach by her own garden
Tell us about your work

“I’m a former TV Director from London who escaped to the Cotswold borders with my family in 2013 in search of a better life. I’ve always had a huge passion for gardening and my stone courtyard in Brixton wasn’t cutting it.

I then ran a successful wedding video company which I absolutely loved. Our awesome team of 6 produced nearly 300 weddings a year and I was able to work part time to fit around the family. Life was pretty sweet. Then Covid19 struck.

​2020 was going to be our busiest year yet, but when the couples began postponing (understandably) and cancelling, we could no longer afford to pay the bills. We were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to close.

​Overnight I went from running a busy, thriving business to having no purpose, no income and worst of all, no idea what the future held. I needed something that would nourish my mental wellbeing and give me something positive to focus on and it became dahlias.

I scoured the internet searching for the right combinations of dahlia colour and varieties and watched countless videos on YouTube on how to grow them.  I found that the nurturing and caring for the dahlias gave me a renewed sense of purpose and a reason to be hopeful and excited about the future. 

 I watched in ancipation as they grew bigger and stronger and when they eventually flowered I was overwhelmed with joy; my garden and my home was overflowing with the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen.

Within 4 months I had created a border that was way more impressive than the one I’d spent 4 years growing in my back garden. It has also cost a fraction of the price, which got me thinking….

2020 had seen a huge surge in new gardeners; picking up a trowel for the first time to give gardening a go.  

What if I could inspire and educate these newbies and give them everything they needed to grow a thriving cut flower for themselves? What if I could create a brand that was accessible and relatable, reducing the overwhelming choice to make gardening accessible, mindful and fun?

And so Dahlia Beach was born!”

Andrea surrounded by an explosion of dahlias
Where do you physically work currently?

“Currently from my 11 year old daughter’s bedroom but next spring, I’ll be in a pink shipping container on an acre of land plotting my Dahlia Beach Farm; a destination where people can pick flowers, attend workshops, drink lots of tea/coffee and be surrounded by colour and joy. Maybe even a festival one day?”

What is the best thing about your work?

“It’s a new industry, a new challenge and an opportunity to channel all of the transferrable skills I’ve learnt in growing my wedding video business into a huge passion of mine; gardening.”

What is the worst?

“Nothing yet but ask me again when I’m sat in a freezing cold shipping container, in a barren muddy field with no heating.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“COVID-19. It has changed the path of my future forever and following the collapse of my wedding video business, it’s allowed me the time, the head space and the opportunity to create a new direction for me. I believe that this has been my calling.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

“Success is 20% skill and 80% psychology. You don’t have to be the smartest, the most knowledgeable or the person with the most experience – you just have to be the one who 110% believes in what you’re trying to create and who doesn’t give up. That’s me!”

‘What’s your context outside of work?

“I have three kids, a dog, 2 rabbits, a cat and a husband who works away Monday to Friday.

Before Covid struck I was training for a half ironman and had a coach and an 8 hour a week programme. I injured my knee whilst skiing in February which meant I had to take time out of training and so I threw myself into gardening. Obsessively. I have an addictive personality. 

I have always loved horses and with my first big dividend from my wedding business I went out and bought a horse without telling my husband. I just rode it home and put it in the garden one day.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“Pre-COVID I worked in an office and employed 5 people full time and managed a team of 6 sales agents who attended wedding shows on our behalf. It was a busy office and we produced nearly 300 weddings a year.

I always finished at 3pm and had Fridays off to make time for the family. It’s one of my core values and flexible working hours for mums is something I feel passionate about.”

The dahliabeach.co.uk website where you can shop 9 different collections of flowers
What is your day-to day life like now?

“Well now I don’t have an office or a wedding video business. I work from home on my website and my social media and I’m now on a mission to find a farm that’ll lease me an acre to grow and sell my dahlias. Things couldn’t be more different.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Professionally I have pivoted and I’m really enjoying the change. I love change and I thrive in new challenges and opportunities. 

Personally I was heart broken at the time but I have done a fair bit of soul searching and trying to find the meaning in things and actually I am happier now than before. I have a much greater sense of gratitude and appreciation for the small things, I’m more confident because I have proven that I can be resilient and resourceful and I’m enjoying the gardening community I have found on Instagram.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“I don’t indulge negative thoughts very much, its not even so much a conscious thing, they just subconsciously don’t register. I miss my family and friends and having people round to the house but we’re living through a global pandemic which will be talked about for the rest of our lives and long after we’re gone. I’m determined to make it a positive memory and not a negative one for me and my family.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“Gosh. How long have you got? I’m lucky that I have a loving family and a husband who I find both fit and funny (two of the key ingredients I think for a successful marriage!) Finding new ways of killing time together has been fun (home schooling was a BIT challenging) but we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves and chose to focus on the things they don’t teach at school – how to navigate a dingy through the rapids in the river at the end of our road, mountain biking up a big hill (VERY challenging for mummy with a fear of heights but a competitive streak which meant I did it eventually but cried in the process.)

Gardening has brought so much happiness to me personally this year – the mindfulness of sowing seeds, potting them on and planting them out and watching them bloom is pure joy. Literally its like drugs. Picking them and arranging them and filling your house with them – even more joyous. Also addictive.

Coping strategies – I have a few. Don’t listen to the news; it’s opinion and they rely on it being bad otherwise they are out of a job. Watch funny movies. Drink tea in the garden as the sun comes up (this is a daily ritual) Watch the bees and butterflies – a LOT! Swim in the lake, walk the dog, phone a friend, eat a brownie, go to bed early and savour the small things.

Daily gratitude is a big one for me.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“DEFINITELY! It think it’s proven that we’re made of strong stuff. That we can make the best of any situation and perhaps we don’t need to fill our lives with as much outside influence as we first thought. Jonny and I gave up alcohol at the end of June – Jonny was a big drinker and it was getting worse and I stopped to support him. We’re BIG socialisers and our house was a great party house but giving up the booze has improved our relationship and whilst I still find it hard sometimes, I’m proud that I am dealing with the good and the bad emotions myself and not by supressing it. I’m untamed!”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown? And of your family?

“I’m actually doing a Positive LIVE on Instagram every weekday during this lockdown and it’s been so interesting. I have always been aware of my mental health and the things I need to do to manage it (a bit like managing your weight or your fitness) I’m not happy all the time but when I feel myself spiral down, I know what to do to bring myself up and it’s different for everyone.

I’ve realised that I get a lot of joy from making other people smile and maybe inspiring them to try some ‘positive’ wellbeing exercises. Did you know that gratitude is one of the biggest contributors to happiness (I didn’t know that until I read The How of Happiness) and I find it all so interesting.

I’ve thought that maybe I’d like to do some coaching training because I like getting the best from people and seeing others thrive. “

Andrea has also created a range of funny gardening t-shirts
What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“Just booked flights to Portugal for Easter!”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“A pair of secateurs – I carry them around in a bright red Mulberry bag and a trip to Waitrose will inevitably result in a bag full of berried holly, eucalyptus and pine cones! I have this thing for wreaths what can I say?”

What gets you through Working from Home?

“A morning cuppa in the garden. We also bought the kids a couple of rabbits that look like baby koala bears so when I’m feeling a bit moochy, I’ll go and sit with them in the garden and they make me laugh.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“I must admit that I am definitely not as ‘on point’ as I was before COVID. I generally wear mum jeans, tucked in jumper and Converse every day but I DO have to make an effort for the daily week day Live videos so I generally slap on some pink or red lipstick and that makes me feel better!”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“Mum jeans, knitted jumper, Converse, wooly hat (for the garden) and a parka”

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“Oooh this is easy. I could see my vision as clear as day, from the moment I came up with the idea and that same week I found a photographer and drove 2 hours to my nearest dahlia farm and asked her to take a load of photos of me there.

This was now what I had to work towards. I printed them out and stuck them on the fridge, saved them as my screen saver and started to tell people that’s what I was doing. No idea how yet but I’ll work it out.

I launched the site 7 days ago and I’ve taken 49 orders already so I must be doing something right! Some days I take bigger steps than others but each day was a step closer and the small wins eventually add up.

Next summer I’ll have a dahlia farm where I’ll host workshops in gardening, flower picking and arranging and also sell my dahlia collections as plants (not just tubers) I’m going to create lots of ‘dahlia beaches’ where people can hang out, drink coffee, meet friends and pick flowers. 

I’ll also have sold 500 boxes of my dahlia collections as tubers and taught my customers how to grow them all. Their feeds will be overflowing with gorgeous photos of the flowers they have grown and everyone will want a Dahlia Beach of their own!

Then In three years time I’ll have my own specialist dahlia nursery and I’ll also supply all my local florists, farm shops, cafes and wedding venues with my flowers.

I want it to be sustainable. I want to promote mental wellbeing and encourage community involvement through local colleges and charities. I want to make gardening and flowers accessible, relatable and fun. I’m convinced that you can grow yourself happy and I’m confident that I can show you how.”

www.dahliabeach.co.uk and follow Andrea on Instagram here

If you loved this inspiring article then you will love hearing about another incredible flower business, FLOWERBX and it’s founder Whitney Bromberg here

Ashley Burghardt is the UK Styling Manager at Stitch Fix the personal style service for men and women in the US and UK. After an online style consultation, Stitch Fix use a stylist to hand pick you a curated wardrobe edit taken from many stylish brands including Boss, Whistles, and Rag &Bone. This is then delivered to you at home where you can try everything on and pay for what you keep. Ashley talks to 35Thousand about how she’s juggled her team with her job throughout lockdown.

Tell us about your work

“I’m the UK Styling Manager at Stitch Fix, based in London. I lead an amazing team of people leaders and stylists (145 in total), whose main focus is making our customers look and feel their best and making sure our teams feel the same. I sit on the local UK leadership team, working alongside a group of highly motivated and talented leaders who support various functions of the business. I’ve been with Stitch Fix for over 6 years now, in both the US and the UK, and hands down, the company culture and unique individuals I’ve had the opportunity to work with have made my experience.”

Where do you physically work currently?

“Given this new world we’re operating in, I’m working remotely from my home in West London. Prior, I was based in Holborn.”

What is the best thing about your work?

“There is a lot of responsibility in leading teams: individuals growth, development, and employee experiences rely heavily on you as a manager. It isn’t always easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Being a part of someone’s journey and helping them achieve their goals is one of the best things about my job.”

Stitch Fix use stylists to hand pick you a wardrobe edit which you will then receive by post
What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Making the decision to uproot my family and move us from Texas to London to launch Stitch Fix in a new country. At the time my daughter was 2 and my son was 5. It was no small feat! But the last 2+ years have included the greatest learnings and growth I’ve experienced in my career to date.”

What’s your context outside of work

“I live with my two children and husband in West London. Our son is 7 and daughter is 4. They definitely keep us on our toes. I love working out and I really enjoy cooking…which I don’t get to do to the level I like often enough. A good yoga session energizes me like nothing else. In my life before Stitch Fix, I was in fashion design and I have a creative/artistic side I like to fulfill in my free time. That side can come out in many different ways, from colouring in a colouring book with my little ones, to decorating my husband’s restaurant that he opened this May. The restaurant has been a project that has taken a lot of my focus outside of work this year.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“During the week, I was waking up early and jumping on the Tube to get a workout in at the Virgin Active in Covent Garden, quickly showering and getting myself to the office to kick off the day. As we work globally with US partners, I have meetings with CA counterparts that go a bit later, so I generally left the office around 2 or 3 p.m. to commute home and finish my meetings from my home office. This allowed me to jump out of a meeting that ended at 6 or 7pm and be able to sit down for dinner with the family, instead of commuting and getting in just before or after bed time.

My husband and I have always prioritised continuing to date, so pre-COVID there were many more dinners out exploring all that London has to offer. We are big foodies and live (and travel) to experience great food, libations, and cultures. 

Weekends held a lot more time out in London exploring. At the time COVID hit, we had only been living here for about a year and a half so there is still so much to see. We’d also play with the kids and getting in good family time.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“I worked remotely for years before moving to London and have actually always found great balance with a remote set up. It takes away wasted time commuting and allows me to focus that time in work or personal areas of life. You can also take those little breaks between meetings to throw a load of laundry in or water the houseplants (because yes my house has become a jungle since lockdown, I’m all about the houseplants!). I really feel I thrive personally and professionally remote. Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting with my team and coworkers in person, but I find day-to-day, I’m more productive when I’m remote and like to use in-person time to really foster connection and build relationships.

Stitch Fix work with many top brands to build clients’ wardrobes

Generally, I kick off my mornings with some snuggles with my kids, cartoons and a coffee. I usually get the kids sitting down for breakfast as I head upstairs for a quick workout. I get ready for the day, which varies greatly depending on the meetings I have in the calendar for the day. I wear anything from yoga pants and tinted moisturizer to a full face of makeup and smart look if the day calls for it.

My husband and I have inconsistent schedules and we are fortunate to have an amazing nanny that helps with school runs. I’m usually sitting down by 8:30am to jump into my work day. On the nights my husband isn’t working at his restaurant, I make sure to close work by 5:30pm and get good family time in. Other nights, I’ll do meetings a little later to capture more time with US partners and sign off closer to bedtime so I can get the kids down. I’m reading the Harry Potter series to my son and it’s our special time together in the evening. 

Date nights and weekends definitely look a bit different. During warmer months, we spent a lot more time in our garden and at local parks. Since it’s been a little cooler and darker we’ve found ourselves playing more board games and cooking together.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“The seasonal changes are definitely feeling challenging. Being a native Texan the chilly, damp, and extremely short winter days take their toll. It was the biggest adjustment when we moved. As we reach the time of year where you still have hours of your work day left when it looks like the middle of the night, I have to make sure I take care of myself and find ways to keep energy up without drinking my weight in caffeine. Being back in lockdown in November feels like it’s going to be much harder than those long warm spring and summer days we had. 

It’s also much harder with young children who need to get their energy out. When you can’t get to the playground or just run around outside after school, the evenings get long as they just aren’t as tired and feel a bit more restless.”

After an online consultation Stitch Fix work with many stylish brands to deliver a curated edit to your door
What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

‘Self care. Making sure I continue to work out and eat well has always been important to me to keep stress down and ensure I’m feeling my best. It’s been even more important during these times. Also, just allowing time to decompress. So what if that load of laundry doesn’t get done or the dishes sit for a little bit longer. If a break is needed, I try to just take it.’

What are your current handbag essentials?

“Tinted lip balm, hand sanitizer (of course) and a great hand balm to counteract the dry skin. Sun glasses and a compact umbrella, because you just never know what this UK weather will be like.”

What gets you through working from home?

“We’ve always invested in a good coffee machine. I’m a flat white kind of girl, so a good machine and milk frother is a must. This definitely saved us in the lockdown transition as 1-3 cups of coffee are a daily must. I’ve also been drinking mushroom coffee recently and love the way it makes me feel.

I also love my standing desk – since we aren’t out and about as much, remembering to stand up and move around is important. I’m in a good deal of meetings and being able to take them standing at times is great.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be?

“On work from home days with no meetings, I’ve always been the type to stay in my workout clothes to keep it comfy. Generally I’m in comfy yoga pants or joggers and a put together top.”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“I’d be lying if I said yoga pants weren’t a staple a good deal of the time. I recently got this oversized cardi by Find (Amazon’s brand). It fits so well and looks great with jeans, dresses, skirts, you name it. I went back and got it in 3 colours and wear them all the time. Then my Dr. Marten boots also get their wear in – I love tossing them on with a wrap skirt and top or with warm socks and leggings, depending on the day. I would also have a simple black, high neck bodysuit (you can do so much with it) as well as stylish trainers and my jersey midi dress.”

If you loved reading this article then you will love the rest of our How She Carries On series with many inspirational women from Sarah Vine to Whitney Bromberg Hawkins founder of FlowerBX. Read more here

Faith Russell is one of the founders of leading podcast production and promotion agency Mags Creative which brings a number of UK voices to the podcast space including Laura Whitmore, Deliciously Ella, Alice Liveing, Amy Lane and Clemmie Telford. In a world of mindless scrolling, Mags Creative believes that the power of the spoken word brings us all a little closer together.  Their shows have been downloaded over 12.4 million times to date.

Here Faith tells us about being an introvert and being pushed out of her comfort zone, letting go of the urge to plan right now, and why listening to podcasts and talks of vulnerability has got her through this year.

Tell us about your work

“I started a podcast production and promotion agency called Mags Creative with my sister Hannah 18 months ago and we’ve grown to a creative team of producers, sound engineers, brand experts and researchers. We actually named the company Mags Creative after our unsurpassable grandma, Margaret –  known to the many that loved her as Mags or Maggie. I think of her every day and I love that her name lives on in this company.”

Where do you physically work currently?

“I work at my home in Camberwell and I somehow manage to work in every room in the house during the working day. I tend to change my background for every call to keep things fresh in my own mind..!”

What is the best thing about your work?

“It’s such an incredible feeling to be creating content that has a meaningful impact in showcasing stories that wouldn’t have previously been heard or progressing important conversations. This month, for example, we’ve had the pleasure of working with Lily Cole on the release of her podcast Who Cares Wins: an ancillary audio supplement to her Penguin released book earlier in the year.

The podcast series holds a series of divergent opinions that ‘solve for climate change’ with insights from the likes of Elon Musk, Patti Smith, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir David Attenborough to name a few. It’s such a buzz to work on a podcast that is rooted in a sense of mission and purpose.”

Faith has found podcasts particularly therapeutic throughout COVID 19
What is the worst?

“Hopefully a lot of business owners can relate to this one, but when you really love what you do and have real ambitions for growth, I think it can be a challenge to give yourself permission to switch off without guilt. Guilt is such a useless emotion, isn’t it? I’m working on this one because I know that my most creative moments have come from the unexpected – when I’ve given myself space and freedom to think inventively rather than being bogged down in the minutiae and consistently staring at a laptop 12 hours a day.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“When we first launched Mags Creative, we were a marketing agency that supported brands across podcasts, events, social media and influencer campaigns. Twelve months in, we saw the growth of podcasts and made the (daunting) decision to relaunch solely as a podcast agency. We had to turn down other work along the way but we’ve stayed true to our belief in the podcasts we were producing – and thankfully we haven’t looked back.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

“My mum is great at advice and my sounding board when I can’t quite get perspective on something. As we’re hitting growth goals, I naturally have an ‘onto the next’ approach but my mum always encourages me to appreciate the wins in real time. It’s so easy to be waiting for the end destination and end up missing the journey of getting there. 

Another thing I learnt really early on is that mistakes are inevitable – I’ve made many mistakes in my career and no doubt I’ll continue to get things wrong in the future. I love any insight around reframing failures as opportunities for growth and try to instil this in my team. 

Ultimately, my biggest challenges have taught me so much more than any successes and I’m now the first person to hold my hands up and say ‘this is really hard, isn’t it?’ It feels like this takes more courage than ‘faking it till I make it’.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“Hannah gave birth to the most beautiful little girl called Alba in the middle of lockdown and I fell in love with her instantly. When work is overwhelming, I’ll message Hannah ask her for some ‘Alba-therapy’. Babies are great at keeping us present as Alba will never let me look at my phone and get distracted with work emails!”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“I’ve always been a morning person – it’s the only time of day I feel free to be slow — whether that’s taking my time to enjoy (rather than inhale) a cup of tea, an online yoga class or a long walk before the rest of the world has woken up. When the pandemic hit, my mornings became more sacred than ever – it’s the time I feel most centred and set up for the day ahead.”

Who Cares Wins is one of Mags Creatives podcasts by Lily Cole following the launch of her book of the same name this year

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Personally, I feel that the crisis has made my relationships more meaningful and helped me find happiness in the simplest of things. 

Professionally, lockdown happened at the same point as Hannah went on maternity leave, which means that there was a whole new set of business challenges during this time. Hannah would usually oversee new business pitches whilst I manage our existing clients but this year, I’ve had to step into her (very large) shoes and take on the role of being more outward facing for the brand. I have to admit that, as a natural introvert, there have been moments of imposter syndrome and doubting my pitching abilities, but ultimately it’s built my confidence and made me feel empowered to grow the business.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“An ongoing challenge is releasing the urge to plan. When the world has no idea of where we’ll be in 1 month, I have to sit with the discomfort of holding off on planning the next 12 months of Mags Creative, but trusting that with my team (who are awesome) we will continue to be reactive and adapt to the situation in real time.”

What has got you through?

“A predictable answer from me, but podcasts! Listening to honest conversations of vulnerability make me feel so much less alone. Some of the podcasts that saw me through lockdown include Mo Gawdat’s podcast Slo Mo for perspective on happiness, The Squiggly Careers podcast for career advice during a very uncertain time for so many people and Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place (the episodes with Glennon Doyle and Russell Brand were particularly incredible).”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I am embracing the knowledge that there is so much that happens that is outside of our control.  Sometimes we just have to sit in the not knowing. (I know, it’s uncomfortable just typing it…!) No hypotheticals or no future plans to hide behind. Also, realising that we actually pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things which can either be a scary thought or a liberating one – and I choose to take the latter approach.”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“From the start of lockdown, I’ve tried to keep checking in with myself, my friends and family and my team to encourage a dialogue about how we are all coping through such an uncertain time. We have a team check-in everyday to not only touch base on what we’re working on but to share how we’re feeling and to voice if we’re struggling. There will undoubtedly be low moments but having a support system is so important and something I don’t ever want to take for granted.

I realised this when I started volunteering with Independent Age where I call the elderly once a week who don’t have any relatives to support them through this time – it can be heart-breaking but also incredibly rewarding to be doing something to help. Practically, I try to bring some consistency to my wellness routine with yoga videos or walks in nature, cooking healthy and delicious food and enjoying boxset Sundays with my boyfriend.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I had no idea how much I value travel until we were told we couldn’t go anywhere. For me, the act of physically removing myself from my day-to-day routine and setting gives me so much perspective. I usually do one big trip a year and often I go alone (solo travel is the best kind in my opinion). Last year I went to India on a solo yoga retreat, and I had plans to go to Bali this December to do the same.

This isn’t happening in the current climate, so it’s definitely encouraged me to appreciate the escapes closer to home. Instead, I’ll be going to St Mawes this December for cold, wet walks, warming soups and box set days. Dreamy.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“I’ve never really been into lots of ‘stuff’ apart from the usual keys, wallet, phone but one thing I’ve always done since I was little was carry around a snack stash wherever I go. (It used to be Wagon Wheels and as an adult, I’ve upgraded to Deliciously Ella bars).”

What gets you through Working from Home?

“I’m a creature of habit and my lunchtime scrambled eggs made my boyfriend is always a highlight. I also love the ritual of making a matcha latte in the morning and drinking it really mindfully.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“I’ve always been into the less is more approach when it comes to my wardrobe – I’d rather buy quality pieces that I wear again and again. One benefit of lockdown was that it prompted me to reorganise my wardrobe and re-wear items that haven’t been worn for years. 

When we started Mags Creative from our kitchen table, I would get fully dressed in my work outfit to help get me into the mindset of productivity. When lockdown happened, I started dressing for work as if I was leaving the house – but as it’s getting colder and darker outside, I’ve gone for comfort instead (think comfortable leggings and warming jumpers).”

Faith has a collection of Anthropologie headbands for quickly adding glamour to her look
What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

Denim dungarees 

Not really an item of clothing but I love an Anthropologie headband 

A colourful print shirt to brighten up winter days  

A cosy cashmere jumper 

Sweaty Betty leggings  

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“We want to keep creating content that brings important conversations to light and reaches audiences in a meaningful way. The big vision that we’d like to become the largest independent podcast company in the UK – and the exciting thing is that I truly believe that we can do that.”

If you loved this article then you will love our other How She Carries On articles. See journalist Sarah Vine’s here

Karen Cummings-Palmer is a beauty brand owner and an integrative wellbeing and beauty consultant specialising in age and weight management as well as beauty from the inside out.

No matter how many products she tried, Karen could never find a product to treat her dry eczema-prone skin, and so she set about creating her own. In the award winning 79 Lux Balm Karen has used the highest quality, carefully chosen, organic ingredients that leave skin deeply hydrated without greasiness. With her nutrition background (Karen is a well known nutritional therapist), she wanted to create a product that was more than just a cream and actually fed skin with anti oxidants and deep nourishment. The result is a product that contains a skin saving cocktail of high quality essential oils, shea butter, and rose quartz as well as being rich in hyaluronic acid, amongst other anti inflammatory ingredients .

Next in the capsule range came the 79 Lux Golden Oil, a therapeutic and gold infused top-to-toe super oil containing Marula, Frankincense and Rose. Most recently Karen has added the 79 Lux hand Cream to the range which is intensely restorative and contains Rose geranium, Squalane and Vitamin C. It is the perfect antidote for our Covid-wrought, moisture-stripped hands.

Here Karen tells us about her personal experience of lockdown, running her business and the importance of staying healthy in these troublesome times.

Tell us about your work

“At the core of what I do is integrative health and nutrition specialising in age management, I have both private and corporate clients.  I also work for health and beauty brands that are aligned with my values, helping them develop or tell their story.  In January 2019 I launched my own skincare brand 79 Lux which delivers solution specific, serious skincare for the body in luxurious formulations.”

Where do you physically work currently? 

“Like so many – in my home office, or in my kitchen whipping up fast food ‘delicious nutrition’ and giving cooking classes to local clients.”

Karen applies her 79 Lux Golden Oil cheekbones, limbs, and feet
What is the best thing about your work?  

“I have the privilege of helping people.  Seeing transformations, both emotional and physical is such a joy.  Developing 79 Lux is a challenging and wonderfully creative process -seeing the product on shelves and receiving feedback is always a thrill.”

What is the worst? 

“About once a month I think “Why didn’t I climb a corporate ladder with the stability and security (real or imagined) that it brings?”  About ten minutes later I realise it just wasn’t my path and I am so grateful for my own magical, sometimes rocky, ever winding path that has led to such beauty.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?  

“Creating 79 Lux, launched first at Cult Beauty then soon after at Libertylondon.com.”

Karen with her body and handcare range which uses organic and wild crafted ingredients
What is the best advice you’ve ever had? 

“Just do it.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“Work and personal life are integrated rather than separated, family and friends are all very supportive and I take full advantage, so lines are blurred. But I am very strict about switching off small screens by 9 pm, proper meals at the dining table and Sundays are still sacred.  I am lucky enough to live close to both woodland and water in South West London so being in nature is both easy and more important now than ever.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?  

“,Every day starts with a few minutes of meditation a stretch, some water and between ten and twenty minutes of movement which includes Pilates, yoga and free weights.  I often follow with some oil pulling.  I don’t pick up my phone for at least an hour after waking, I’ll then check on overnight emails and Instagram activity.  

Next comes a green juice sometimes followed an hour or two later by some sort of cooked breakfast, otherwise a bullet proof coffee comes twenty minutes later.  Then I will fire up the computer and do an hour or two of admin or brainstorming.  A client might come to me or I may head out to see them and I will often have a meeting about 79 Lux or with a corporate client.  

I’m a bit of an early bird when it comes to supper, I like eating light and early in the evening except when I’m out to dinner in which case I relax and tend to eat pretty much whatever takes my fancy with the exception of dessert – excess refined sugar is reserved for big celebrations only.”

The 79 Lux hand cream is one of the finest we have tried, leaving hands nourished but not greasy
What is your day-to day life like now?

“My morning routine remains the same. Most clients are now on Zoom and of course I miss the big raucous gatherings, dancing, and theatre that would punctuate the pre Covid months.”  

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?  

“Like so many I have an ever great appreciation for simplicity – the beauty of nature, the importance of spending time with family and dear friends. In many ways I am very lucky because wellness is at the core of my professional life – I have the tools to help me get through the crisis both emotionally and physically.  My need to ‘walk the talk’ is real motivation to stay well which doesn’t mean denial – balance is key, I drink red wine often but I try to stick to one glass (preferably organic) and have three alcohol free days a week.”

What are you now finding challenging right now? 

“Hanging on to the truth that this too will pass.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“My morning movement routine, loungewear that makes me feel and look good. Burning candles, walking in nature, 79 Lux Golden Oil that I rub on my temples to help relieve stress, on my face for nourishment and luminosity, and on the soles of my feet to help support immunity. Then there are real phone calls with or without videos (text messaging doesn’t cut it).”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?  

“Everything feels more urgent – if not now when?”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“Wellbeing continues to be front and centre, which for me means a set of tools not a set of rules.  Mental health is at the top of my priorities – I have even greater respect for the need to constantly fine tune and create balance.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I have always been the strange woman that wipes down the plane seat, sprays air purifying essential oils on my travel blanket and hand sanitizes on a regular basis so my personal habits remain the same but of course this is a collective challenge and responsibility so my approach is that the greater the circle of contact the greater the chance of the spread and whilst I am not high risk, people around me may well be so I try and limit unnecessary travel. “

What are your current handbag essentials?  

“79 Lux’s new Restorative, Protective hand Cream that is both incredibly nurturing and antimicrobial.  Altrient C’s Vitamin C sachets, Zinc and Colloidal Silver nasal spray and the Organic Pharmacy’s hand sanitizer.”

What gets you through working from home?  

“Stretching on the hour, supplements – I take a few, but two non-negotiables that seem to help everything feel and look a bit better are Og Wellbeing Omega 3’s and Lumity’s amino acids. I’ll have two cups of espresso pre-lunch, two cups of Matcha green tea post lunch, I’ll listen to classical music, and make sure I have one purely social call.  I also love flowers, some dark chocolate or one of my oatmeal and chia cookies and take some time outside.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“Most days I’ll apply 79 Lux Balm, spritz Frederick Malle’s Superstitious, wear pretty knickers, an old cashmere jumper, some version of a sweat pant and thick socks.  On the one or two days a week I have face to face meetings or dinners I’ll wear a dress probably by Maria Grachvogel, Sika Designs or Max Mara.   Otherwise its jeans, a Lisou London silk shirt and a tailored jacket.  My favourite shoe designer is Roger Vivier they do a walkable, wearable heel that works with everything, in the old days it was the other way around, so that the days of loungewear felt like a ‘treat’.”

Karen is a big fan of Sweaty Betty’s Gary yoga pants which are part of her WFH uniform
What are your current 5 essential items of clothing? 

Sweaty Betty Gary yoga pants, a Uniglo Sweater, White Company socks, Frame Jeans and a fifteen-year-old Max Mara Cable Knit Cardigan.”

What is your vision for the future of your business?  

“Rolling out more solution specific luxury skincare and continuing to support women first, embrace then manage, and celebrate the privilege of ageing.

Loved reading this? Then you will also love our How She Carries On series here

Maryam Meddin is the founder of a new, innovative behavioural health clinic in London, The Soke (the name is taken from its location – South Kensington), a first-of-its kind clinic bringing together mental health and wellbeing services with professional development support, all under one roof. 

Maryam attributes her interest in mental health to a personal history that includes an interrupted education, growing up in a war zone in Iran and Iraq, an attempt to resettle as a refugee in the UK aged 16, destitution (she came to the UK with nowhere to go and would sleep at Heathrow airport) as well as experiencing the horror of suicide among members of her immediate family.

But it was Maryam’s life experiences that then led her to embark on a Masters in psychotherapy & counselling which led her to work part time in an NHS clinic for a couple of years, offering psychotherapy to severely traumatised refugees. Her idea for The Soke stemmed from there, as she felt the industry needed to change.

Here Maryam tells us about setting up The Soke during the Corona crisis, and how humour, iced coffee and dogs help get her through.

The Soke which is set to change the way we manage behavioural and mental wellbeing
Tell us about your work…

“I’m the founder of a new behavioural health centre called The Soke. We’re making psychotherapy, psychiatry and other non-acute mental health services more accessible and more comfortable – literally & metaphorically –for everyone. 

There are about ten of us (including a clinical board of five) turning the wheels backstage, and then of course numerous other practitioners offering different specialties to make sure we pretty much cover every type of expertise that could be helpful to our clients. 

What I love about what I’m doing is that it’s universally relevant. There isn’t anyone whose mental health doesn’t factor into their life, it’s just a question of where they sit on the spectrum of wellness, and we can make a difference to them all.”

Where do you physically work currently? 

“I work in an iconic building – which used to be the Queen’s Elm pub – in South Kensington. Directly outside sits The Flower Stand which is also a bit of a Chelsea landmark. In this otherwise completely urban corner, I’m greeted every morning, and bid farewell every night, with the view and fragrance of nature’s finest.”

What is the best thing about your work?

“Without question it’s my colleagues. I’m part of an organisation where people are required to bring their brains, their compassion and their ethics to work in equal measure and it makes for a really unique culture. Also, our COO, George Broke, is one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever met, so there’s never a working day when I’m not doubled over in hysterics at least once.”

What is the worst?

“Well, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can change things if they’re not working, so I have no complaints.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“There have been more than one, but in each instance I’m going to point to friends and the moment that they said “Of course you can do it” which spurred me to take leaps of faith, knowing that they’d catch me if I didn’t find a soft landing.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

“My dad always said it would serve me better to know a little bit about lots of things than a lot about a single thing – his view was that this would make me equally conversant with a prince or a pauper, which he interpreted as a sign of both intelligence and humanity. There have been times when I’ve watched or read things that have been deathly dull, just because I have his words ringing in my ears.”

The interior of The Soke make a welcome departure from the usual stark setting of mental wellbeing clinics
What’s your context outside of work?

“I’m single and live in London. Since I lost my boxer, Casper, a couple of years ago, I’ve become a very popular dog sitter for all my friends who, rather dubiously, are now militantly opposed to me getting another dog of my own.”

What was your ‘normal’ day to day life like pre COVID-19?

“When you’re trying to get a new business off the ground there isn’t really a ‘normal’ day or routine. The only thing that was consistant was that there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing from one meeting to the next. I confess, moving the meetings online was absolutely fine with me.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“The renovation of the Soke building was completed during the lockdown so now that we’re able to work from work (mental health is an essential service so we’re fully operational), my daily life is very different than it had been for months during which I’d been working from home. That said, I think that like everyone else, we’ve now incorporated Zoom into our standard practice for meetings, and on that side of things I don’t imagine that things will ever return to the way they were.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“On a personal front: my mother and my brother are abroad and I haven’t seen them for 12 and 10 months, respectively. On the professional front: I’m definitely one of the lucky ones – I have a job and my sector isn’t under threat. The benchmark for good fortune doesn’t need to be very high these days.”

What are you finding challenging right now?

“The weight gain that comes with menopause. Covid had nothing to do with it.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“Humour has generally been a useful tool throughout my life, which has had its fair share of twists and turns. I’m a survivor of revolution, destitution and significant bereavements – but I still haven’t come across that thing that isn’t [darkly] funny.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I suspect that, like many others who were lucky enough not to have had everything upended by the pandemic, I used enforced isolation as an opportunity to purge my life of activities and people that weren’t bringing me joy.”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“My inner peace is fuelled by time spent in the company of dogs. This isn’t a flippant comment – I’m genuinely at my most content when I can spend a few idle hours in a park with a dog, I find their natural euphoria to be contagious.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I’m not travelling and have no plans to travel. The threat of quarantining and the uncertainty around the rules don’t make it very appealing.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“My glasses. I’m becoming increasingly helpless without them.”

What gets you through Working from Home?

“Ice cubes. I’ve developed a habit for iced coffee & tea.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“I now wear a jacket with my jeans.”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“Jeans. A scarf. And three layers of anything.”

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“I hope that a time will come when everyone takes a proactive interest in their psychological and emotional wellbeing and that when they do, they view The Soke to be a trusted champion for good behavioural health.

Enjoyed this article? Then you will find this article about how yogi Sara Quiriconi manages anxiety attacks

Sarah Vine is a writer and journalist for the British newspaper The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, where she has two columns a week. She is also married to a prominent member of the Conservative party, the Rt Hon Minister of the Cabinet Michael Gove (who was in the race to become Prime Minister before Boris Johnson took the role.)

In an exclusive interview she tells 35Thousand how she’s juggled increased deadlines thoughout the Corona crisis whilst home schooling her two children both at critical points in their education with GCSE’s and A-Level. She talks here about the ‘ghastly’ Zoom, her worry for the younger generation at this difficult time, and how bike rides, dog walks, gallons of Earl Grey tea, magnesium baths and taking a break from the news have got her through.

Tell us about your work…

“I am a writer for the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. I have a regular column on a Wednesday and a Sunday, and in-between I write features and opinion pieces. I mostly work from home, just because I’m one of those people who needs to concentrate quite hard and the office is full of distractions; but I also go in at least a couple of days a week to contribute to editorial meetings, catch up with colleagues and also gather vitally important gossip. I love it because every day is different and the challenges are endless, and I’m surrounded by the best in the business. I also do bits of broadcasting and write books.”

Where do you physically work currently?

“I have a desk at work, but I tend to write at home. Right now I’m sitting on the sofa next to the dogs.”

What is the best thing about your work?

“The constant challenge and the fact that it keeps me on my toes. I feel I’m only ever as good as my last piece.”

What is the worst?

“Being shouted at by people who have never read a word I’ve written, but who judge me on the basis that I write for the Mail and I’m married to a prominent Conservative politician.” 

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Moving from The Times to the Daily Mail to take up the Wednesday column seven years ago. I was absolutely terrified, both that I wouldn’t be up to the job (I had some seriously big shoes to step into, including Allison Pearson and the legendary Lynda Lee Potter,) but also because I had heard so many horror stories about the then Editor, Paul Dacre. In the event I encountered the most incredibly supportive and professional set of colleagues who made my job so much easier, and Mr Dacre himself was – and is – a complete inspiration, a true professional who really understands his metier and not nearly as much of an ogre as he is painted.”

Sarah Vine, for Mail On Sunday, Photography Natasha Pszenicki, Hair and Makeup Virna Midgley

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

“Don’t read the online comments: that way madness lies.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“Husband, two teenagers, two dogs, one cat. I live in Hammersmith and I like to cycle, walk a lot (dogs) and, whenever possible, spend time in the countryside away from London. I read voraciously, and I like a bit of gardening and gardens in general. I’ve got various books on the boil, writing-wise, but it’s a painfully slow process because my day-to-day journalism takes up most of my time and energy. Maybe one day I’ll finish one of them.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“I’m always up around 6.30/ 7 am, then I drop my son at school, walk the dogs, head back home, walk or cycle to the office, and attend various meetings. Sometimes I’d have a work breakfast, but never lunch because I like to get everything done ASAP so I can get home to supervise the teenage terrors and, of course, attend to my main function in life which is to walk the dogs.

If writing on edition, I file my copy anytime between 5pm and 7pm (depending on the timeframe: sometimes I don’t get asked to write until quite late in the day), then make supper for the kids or whoever’s around. Then I read final proofs, have a glass of wine and make something to eat for myself (my husband is invariably in the House of Commons or at some work-related dinner), maybe watch a bit of telly or call a friend. I then walk dogs again, have a bath and go to bed around 9:30pm/10pm, read, think about the following day’s ideas, do some random worrying, Sleep.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“The main issue for me with lockdown was suddenly having a house full of people, all of whom seemed to need feeding all of the time. At the same time my writing workload shot up, as did the amount of time I was spending on the ghastly Zoom. So I was working even harder while at the same time having nowhere to myself to concentrate. Plus there was the challenge of home-schooling at GCSE and A-level – I won’t even go there. Suffice to say I am not one of those people who has enjoyed lockdown. “

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Personally I’ve been very lucky: my mother, who lives in Italy, had Corona but seems to have recovered remarkably well; professionally it’s been a huge challenge, not least because I don’t always see eye to eye with government policy, which can occasionally be awkward at home. But my husband is firm believer in freedom of self-expression and, I think, sees any difference of opinion in the spirit of healthy debate. Otherwise it’s just meant a generally heavier workload.”

What are you finding challenging right now?

“Helping the children – both of whom are at vitally important stages of their education – navigate the problems and setbacks caused by Covid. In both cases their learning has been severely restricted, and while Teams and Zoom are all very well, it’s just not the same. Also, both have found the social restrictions hard to deal with. Kids this age really rely a lot on their friends for support, and are not good at being on their own. Inevitably it is having an impact.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“Magnesium baths at night, which I find help me relax and sleep, going on long bike rides, regular Sunday nights at our local pizzeria (when we were allowed) with the family to catch up on the week’s events and prepare for the next. Then there’s been gardening and organising my stuff, and staying on top of admin. Basically, controlling what I can when all else is in chaos.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I dislike it on principle as a curtailment of people’s freedoms, and I don’t like the surveillance element of it. To me it should be the absolute last resort, and very definitely not ‘the new normal’. If anything it’s made me more attached to my freedoms – and even more convinced of the importance of privacy and free speech.”

Sarah is a a big fan of Desmond and Dempsey pyjamas
Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown? And of your family?

“I found taking a break from the relentless torrent of bad news really helped – so if I wasn’t not working I tried to avoid listening to the radio or endlessly refreshing my news feed on Twitter. I encouraged the teenagers to keep a sensible routine and to resist the temptation to just sleep all day. It wasn’t easy, and it was pretty relentless keeping on top of them (I hate having to nag all the time) but it was worth it I think.

A lot of their friends went really stir crazy during lockdown – a number were admitted to hospital for mental health issues, including self-harm and easting disorders. I really think people underestimate how hard it has been on this age group: they are of course very resilient, but they are also highly social creatures and being cooped up with their parents is not easy for either parties.”  

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I haven’t made many travel plans, but then I tend to be quite a last minute traveller anyway. I’m going to try to get to Italy to see my parents, as I haven’t been since last year. But as for holidays, there aren’t really any on the cards at the moment: too much work to do.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“Airpods, facemask (obviously), hairbrush, Carmex. Valium (only joking).”

Sarah is never without her AirPods, her face mask and her Carmex lip balm
What gets you through working from home?

“Gallons and gallons of Earl Grey tea. I always have an egg on toast for breakfast which keeps me going for ages. I walk the dogs at least three times a day, which helps clear the mind and stops my body from seizing up. “

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be?

“The only real difference is that I’ve completely lost the ability to wear heels. Everything else is the same old stuff. “

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“My Zara pleather culottes, my Clarke’s walking boots, my Arket parka, my oversized grey cashmere jumper from H&M and my Desmond & Dempsey pyjamas.”

Liked this article? Then you will also LOVE hearing how Whitney Bromberg, CEO and Founder of FLOWERBX has run her business throughout the Corona crisis here

When Stephanie Capuano’s boys reached their teens and started having skincare problems, she couldn’t find a brand that was natural, effective, or that they would actually want to use. So she did what all good entrepreneurs would do and set out on a journey to create a teen and men’s skincare line herself. As a result, 31st State was born, a brand that reflects Stephanie’s Californian upbringing, consisting of everything from the breakout-busting Foaming Face Wash to the cult Overnight Clearing Pads which help keep pores clear, a Spot Control Gel, and for street cred worthy hair, the Style and Shape Hair Putty.

Here she reveals what life has been like in lockdown and how, despite the immeasurable nightmares of the Corona crisis, working from home has, for her, been a work blessing.

Tell us about yourself…

“I am the founder of 31st State, a natural skin and body care range for teen boys and young men. Its named after California, my home state. California is a place and a state of mind, a way of doing things that’s a little more natural, where we all ‘untry’ harder. I tried to bottle that ethos and way of life for young guys everywhere. I’m also a founding partner in &Three, a boutique African safari specialist. It’s fun!

The two pursuits are a great compliment to each other – the skill set needed for each are a bit different, although both allow for a huge expression of creativity. I think it’s important to not have a single focus in life, but rather a variety of pursuits to challenge your thinking and way of doing things. I am certainly never bored.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I am married with three teens. While originally from CA, I have been in London for 20 years. We used to travel a lot as a pastime, spending as much time as possible in Africa. I am so inspired by the landscape, the light and the people. Now we are obviously travelling less and fill our free time with lots of tennis, yoga and art tours of London with my friend’s organisation called “Art with Mary P”, when time and safety allows.”

31st state
Stephanie with her boys who inspired her brand
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID? 

“Pre-COVID a normal day involved being up by 06.30, checking emails, checking sales from last night, checking in on orders going out that day, make coffee and getting my daughter off to school by 8 am. I was usually out the door by 9 am to meetings around London with agencies or networking on behalf of the brand.

I always tried to make time for some yoga, a run or tennis, but it was hectic squeezing in my own self-care with work, running the family and making sure there was food on the table every evening. So much of being a founder involves constant networking, which can take away time from sitting down and getting all the work done. I love that part, but it’s a huge challenge to get the balance right.”

31st State Style and Shape Hair Putty for holding hair without the 80’s varnish
What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“My days are still the same but with far less pressure to take meetings around town. I get to spend so much more time working from home, which has made me massively more productive. I feel far less stressed in my day-to-day life, am sleeping better and generally feel healthier with more time to exercise and rest when needed. While I can’t meet people as I used to, I am doing a lot over Zoom or a phone call. While not as personal, it allows so much more time for actual work, family and my own wellbeing. I fully recognise that being able to run my businesses from home is a blessing and the many positive outcomes I feel from it, I think were already in the making, only accelerated by the pandemic.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? 

“Pre-pandemic, professional and personal had really become one for so many people, especially for working mothers like me. Pre-COVID we were already trying to change the way we work and live because of general burn out, especially for women also raising families and running households. The pandemic just sped that up.

The old way of working was fuelled by stress and burnout and being always “on” and “perfect.” When work was moved into the home for so many of us, it became vital to create boundaries between our work and our home lives. A big part of our “new normal” is a more human-focused way of working. For us, we are trying to build this around what actually makes us productive, creative and healthy. It is not without challenges, but I think it’s the way forward.”

The Overnight Clearing Pads to help unblock pores and reduce acne
What are you now finding challenging right now?

“I think I speak for many women when I say that even before the pandemic, we bore a disproportionate share of the mental load of running a household – beyond just housework, scheduling, dealing with school issues and problem solving. That undue burden of mental load takes a toll on our wellbeing. And that’s only increased since the pandemic. While I am blessed with an incredibly supportive and involved spouse, it’s very challenging to balance all of this with my professional life. It’s been vital for me to make time for my own well-being during this time.”

What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you never would?

“I have discovered that there is very little that I miss about life before Covid. Genuinely, I only miss dinners, parties and gatherings with friends. Oh, and travel!”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“The news cycle has never been more negative and well, beyond imagination. I try to set a news cut-off time at the end of the day. Of course, we want to be informed during this time of Covid, Brexit and the US elections, but setting limits to our media and screen time has helped us have a more restful night’s sleep and put the stressful news into perspective.”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“In our house we have decided that it’s important to pick a time to declare an end to the day – even if work feels unfinished. This was easier when stopping work meant leaving an office and hopping on the tube or the bus home. To prioritise family life meant getting comfortable with incompletions! By declaring an end to the day with some exercise or a glass of wine, we’ve been more present, have had more time to connect with ourselves and each other, and are sleeping better.”

31st State Foaming Face Wash proven to prevent breakouts
What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I am DYING to hit the road again! I love all kinds of travel, be it business or pleasure and am missing every aspect of it. At the moment we are really not going anywhere and in fact, trips keep getting cancelled. So we are sitting tight, dreaming and planning future trips. With my safari company, we have lots of travellers planning for late 2021 and 2022. Fingers crossed!”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“I am a huge Amly fan, especially now when there’s a huge focus on more natural ingredients, and of course, female-led brands.”

My key products are the Amly Digital Detox face mist, the Amly Purifying Hand Mist, MZ Skin Tint and Protect Zamani SPF 30 tinted moisturiser, Axiology Balmies for lips, cheeks and eyes – zero waste and no harm to humans or the planet. Also no forgetting Caddis reading glasses, masks and mentos!”

How do you think COVID-19 will affect your future?

My hope is that this new way of working and living will allow people to operate from a place of strength, calm and empathy, which will boost their resilience and make the world feel a little bit saner.

31st-state.com

Enjoyed reading this? Then you will love our other How She Carries On interviews with other brilliant business women here

Sacha Newall started My Wardrobe HQ, a fashion rental and retail company in December 2019, four months before the world was plummeted into lockdown. Here she describes how she’s survived, both personally and professionally and how ‘being the only one in the office’ has got her through.

Tell us about your work…

“I’m the founder of My Wardrobe HQ, it’s a new fashion platform that allows customers to rent and buy luxury fashion from individuals and brands. Everything is set with a ‘buy’ and ‘rent’ price, so you can try that Vampire’s Wife dress before committing to buy it and if you do buy it, the rental comes off the price. Then you just leave it on the platform to rent and buy so that if you wear it a few times and fancy a change you can do so guilt-free. It’s a completely circular economy designed to prevent fashion waste and support fashion designers who put their hearts and souls into beautifully made clothes.”

The My Wardrobe HQ website where you have the option to rent or buy quality items (new and second hand)
Where do you work?

“Our office is in Kensington, next to a 24 hour supermarket where we have free three hour parking which is a joy in central London and has meant that most of our team has been able to come into work, albeit for a few hours, just enough to keep ourselves sane.”

What’s the best bit about your job?

“The best bit about the job is the team. That moment of calm when we all grab a coffee outside and plan the day ahead. We really are in unchartered territory, both with the nature of the business and of course these COVID times. We’ve overcome so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and it’s the resilience and fortitude of every member to the team that gets us there.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“We launched in December last year, so there isn’t really an ‘outside of work’ at the moment. We have two children and two dogs and everything is quite chaotic as I’m out 14 hours most days.

We launched two weeks ago in Harvey Nichols so that’s weekends too for the short term. We spent lockdown in a flat in London so that we could look after my husband’s mum. It was hard with the boys, but they ended up playing sport in the road as all the cars disappeared. It seems a bit surreal that they had table tennis set up on one of the main through roads in the area!”

The My Wardrobe HQ pop-up in Harvey Nichols, London
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“Pre COVID-19 the business was really starting to flourish, we launched in December and by February we had hit our budgets for the first 6 months. And then COVID, no going out and fear of infection. A pretty tough combination for a fashion rental business. Luckily we always had resale as part of the business, so we focused on that and spent lockdown securing stock from brands who had had cancellations from retailers and also from individuals, many of whom spent lockdown refining their wardrobes.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“Since the ‘going out’ rules are still pretty restrictive, we are still working on the resale side of the business, with a few rentals starting to happen. We are cautiously optimistic the emergence of a new ‘dinner party’ culture.

We work with a table top rental business called Maison Margaux (they literally rent out super stylish tableware), and they are starting to see a lot of bookings, and it’s exciting for us. We have some INCREDIBLE gowns coming in, and the idea of very flamboyant at home parties that are a real alternative to going out, could be great fun.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you professionally?

“The biggest challenge is keeping everyone motivated, the team are amazing, but of course when people are remote, it can be hard to feel motivated all the time. We have a little Friday night ritual where we open a bottle of fizz and stand outside on the terrace chatting. We’ve been so lucky with the weather, it makes all of this possible and quite special.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“Everything is challenging as there is no certainty. We are all on minimal wages and not spending any money. Personally, I’d like to feel more financially secure, but I’m not missing ‘spending’. Since we don’t really go out now and I can’t imagine queuing to shop, I just thank God that everyone is healthy and I’ve had work and the responsibility of looking after the team to focus on.

On the bright side, the dogs have LOVED every minute, everyone at home and unlimited walks. Dog heaven!”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies? 

“With the boys home, I did lots of exercise with them to keep them active and fit in lockdown. They now look like body builders, I, managed to gain 10 pounds. I’ve always been a gym goer, but I’m not rushing to go back. I quite like the freedom of going for a run in the park whenever I fancy it or using the Pilates machine.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now? 

“We were lucky in that we managed to get a trip to France prior to quarantine measures being imposed. They came in later, and it would really make me think twice now, there is no point in travelling if it requires two weeks at home after. I’d rather just stay in the UK, but that’s easy to say after the beautiful Summer we have had!”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“I rarely carry a handbag. I have a phone holder with my debit cards and ID and pockets for my mask! On the flip side, I have a MASSIVE 50 cm Chanel bag that fits literally everything. So if I need a mobile office, I’m fully equipped!”

What gets you through Working from Home? 

“I wasn’t good at working from home, I found it quite depressing and was desperate to get back into the office. It’s about 500m from where we were locked down, so thank goodness could get back quickly.  I was the only one there, but being in a work environment definitely made me feel more confident that real life was coming back. 

Coffee pods kickstart the morning and in the afternoons, Duchy afternoon tea, English breakfast with a hint of Jasmine, it is delicious. Oh and 85% dark chocolate has been essential.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“The work wardrobe is back to normal – we work in fashion and you can literally register people’s disappointment when you look too casual, even on Zoom. We have some gorgeous earrings from Pink Piglet that are a winner to spruce up any outfit.”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

This elegant black Victoria Beckham coat which is up for rental for £32 a day but would retail at £2000

Classic quilted Giant Chanel XXL bag which you can rent for £118 a day and it would retail for £6000

Ripped jeans from Zoe Karssen

Adidas Gazelles

This Monse dress with asymmetric hem which you can rent for £30 a day but would retail at £1870

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“I’d love to see a future where every one gets to enjoy the best of fashion stress free, it shouldn’t hurt their wallets and it shouldn’t hurt the planet.

Imagine if we could refine our wardrobes down to the core essentials and then just rent and return the rest. We have just launched kidswear and the aim is to offer rental packages by age, that are returned once outgrown. It’s all about being sustainable but keeping  the fun and the thrill of dressing up in fashion.”

mywardrobehq.com

If you enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read about how other fascinating women have managed their lives in lockdown with the rest of our ‘How She Carries On’ series here

Back in 2015 Dallas born Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings quit her job as head of global communications for Tom Ford where she had been for 19 years and started the online floristry company FLOWERBX which sources flowers direct from the growers and delivers their incredibly stylish arrangements straight to your door. She tells us what life’s been like as an entrepreneur throughout this year’s pandemic and how she, and the company have coped.

Whitney Bromberg Hawkins CEO and Founder of FLOWERBX
Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder and CEO of FLOWERBX, a global online delivery floral service.   I love building something that didn’t exist before with a highly motivated, passionate, smart team of overachievers that are helping me deliver the impossible, daily.  The UK team is based in a very unglamorous warehouse in Park Royal, but any environment is beautiful when it’s filled with flowers.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I live in South Kensington in London with my amazing, superhero husband, Peter, who is the Senior Vice President of Menswear for TOM FORD.  We have three wonderful children, Barron (12), Snowdon (10),  and Wallis  (4) and an elegant blue whippet, Ursula.”

Dahlias for days from FLOWERBX
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“My normal day pre-Covid was in a constant state of motion.  I literally was always running and – between work,  my family and a tireless social life that I found important for building our business – I literally never stopped.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“While I am running less, I am working ALL. THE. TIME.  The acceleration to digital has provided a huge opportunity for our business as an e-commerce platform that sells flowers, and I feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to seize the opportunity and make the most of an unfortunate situation.  That said, the one silver lining is spending more time with my family, and this will be a gift that I will treasure forever.”

Beautifully simple Hydrangeas from FLOWERBX
How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?  

“Like almost everyone, the Corona crisis has dramatically impacted every single aspect of my life.  As a naturally optimistic and positive person, I am constantly trying to find the silver linings,  but even with a very positive outlook, it is hard to ignore the sadness and destruction this is reaping on so many.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“Focus has been a challenge for me since the onset of the virus.   I am a very structured and organized person, and the lack of certainty makes it hard for me to focus and plan for the future.  

I am also very preoccupied with the general, pervasive global sadness right now, what with the political and civil unrest in the US (as a native American), the global climate crisis and the Covid pandemic –  it is a very unsettling time.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?
FLOWERBX has brought the old fashioned bouquet of flowers firmly up-to-date

“Exercise has been key for me as has wine!   I think it is also key to take one day at a time, as thinking about the future right now sends me into a tailspin.”  

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I think lockdown has taught all of us how little we really need. It has also taught us true gratitude for all of the gifts we had previously taken for granted.  I am so grateful for life’s simple pleasures, a delicious peach, a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers (from FLOWERBX, obvs), and time with my family  – none of which I appreciated as wholeheartedly  as I do now.

The YSL Pinstripe Blazer – one of Whitney’s daily wardrobe staples for visiting their offices
Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown as well as that of your family?

“I am so preoccupied with keeping the kids’ spirits up at home and being a cheerleader for my team (of almost 40 people at FLOWERBX) at work and trying to keep everyone motivated and feeling positive about the future that I don’t have much time to think about my own wellbeing. I am also lucky that I have a wonderful husband and partner who shares all of my burdens, so nothing gets too heavy.  Being with my family at our cottage in the Cotswolds on the weekend is the greatest therapy and the best way to reset for another week.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“We had an amazing, last minute 3 week trip to Puglia over the summer and it was magical.  As Italy was so hard hit, restaurants and outdoor spaces seemed very cautious and considered, and it did a WORLD of good to change scenery, air, food and everything after 6 months indoors.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“A mask,  sanitiser, floral scissors, a notebook and my phone.” 

What gets you through Working From Home?

 “I think it’s vital to exercise in the morning, and this enables me to start the day with a positive mindset.  I also think it’s important to have the camera on whilst on endless Zoom calls – it helps me and the team stay engaged and connected.    I have been going to the warehouse often since lockdown has eased as connecting with my team makes me SO happy.   I am so lucky to love my team and love what I do.

What are your 5 essential items of clothing?

“`As I am in and out of a warehouse every day, I’m constantly in my REDONE jeans, a white ATM t-shirt, Gucci loafers and a Saint Laurent navy, pinstripe blazer.    This uniform can take me seamlessly from warehouse to school gates to a Zoom meeting.”

Whitney Bromberg Hawkins
Gucci loafers – one of Whitney’s instant style updates
What is your vision for the future of your business?

Covid has accelerated the shift to online consumption, and we have seen our D2C sales quadruple during the crisis, a shift which we see as permanent.  We hope to continue our expansion across the USA (we have launched the East and West Coast during the pandemic)  and replace the traditional florist as THE way to consume flowers.

FLOWERBX.com

If you have enjoyed this article you may also like to read an interview with style entrepreneur Rae Feather here

Amanda Thomson is the founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Ltd. Having always had an interest in healthy living, her Organic Vegan Prosecco and Noughty, Alcohol-Free Chardonnay are revolutionising the wine industry. Certified organic and a Certified B Corporation, her products are made with the greatest of care for the environment and sustainability whilst never compromising on the quality and taste of her products.

Amanda says, “My obsession with the perfect 100% Chardonnay champagne is the reason Noughty is so damn good.  We created it to come as close to that special feeling as possible that you have with the alcoholic corks popping. We want people who aren’t drinking to stay at the heart of every party instead of feeling excluded. We also want a drink that tasted like it was made for adults and not just a one glass only sugar bomb.” 

Tell us about your work?

“I am the CEO and founder of Thomson & Scott the original creators of Skinny Champagne and Prosecco and now the leaders of the alcohol-free wine world with our gorgeous new bottle Noughty – organic, vegan, alcohol-free sparkling Chardonnay.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I have two fabulous children – 18 and 12 and a husband (does he count as a pet too?) I live in Hampshire.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“Insanely busy.  Running a start-up is a 24/7 experience.  You’re never off duty and every day is either a huge high or a massive low.  It never just rumbles along.  So juggling that, travel to international markets, school runs and everything else that a 2020 woman copes with, was a daily challenge.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown? How have things changed?

“Both my children have now fled: one to university and the other to weekly boarding.  Lockdown forced me to drastically rethink the business as most of our customers were hotels, bars and restaurants before the curtain came down with Covid (or ‘Rona’ as my kids call it).  So, I had to pivot pretty quickly to focus solely on the online world and direct-to-consumer sales, which was a monumental mountain to climb.”

Amanda’s Noughty Organic Sparkling Champagne
How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Professionally, it’s been a rollercoaster.  We initially feared the worst but then an incredible review by a top wine expert starting the phone ringing off the hook from across the globe.  In a way, after the initial idea that people could sit in their gardens and drink all day wore off, the idea of an alcohol-free alternative for the BBQ started to make sense to a lot of people and our sales grew and grew thankfully. 

Personally though, like for many of us, it’s been claustrophobic to remain in the house, which is by no means big, for weeks on end trying to cope with heightened emotions all round and a sense of frustration that we have been given endlessly changing instructions on how to live our lives. That said, I am luckier than most with countryside around me so I’ve bee constantly check myself there when I feel ratty.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“The uncertainty as to when this will all be over, and life will return to reality.  At the moment it feels like we’re slow walking through a disaster movie. I love people, travel, parties… Zoom just doesn’t cut it for me.” 

What has got you through?

“Fitness, food and friends. I’ve kept up my exercise regime as much as possible, which has kept my mind sane.  We’ve tried to eat as well as we can to keep energy levels up and not fall into the easy trap of sofa suppers.  A quick run and mutual moan with a great friend around the corner is a huge mood-boost, especially as she’s a fellow entrepreneur. (And the occasional sneaky online purchase – the odd pair of earrings or new fitness kit to make me smile).”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“It’s made me appreciate the freedoms that we had before this all happened and how much I want them back!”

Personally, how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown? And of your family?

“Routine has been absolutely vital for us as a family.  We’ve made sure that everyone has stuck to the usual sleeping times and we’ve also remained vigilant about mealtimes.  I know if I don’t eat at regular mealtimes my brain doesn’t function.

Technology has been an issue that we’ve had to manage throughout the lockdown like most.  It was too easy for everyone to dive onto their phones or spend the afternoon gaming when the sun was blazing outside, so we made sure that we walked regularly and tried to maintain a healthy approach to social media. Easier said than done sometimes.” 

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I’m about to travel to Italy for a few days with a friend so it’ll be interesting to experience the protocols to see how stringent they really are.  We have discovered new parts of the British countryside that might not have happened without this pandemic.  We’re now deeply in love with Devon and are off to Cumbria this Christmas.  

My husband is currently recovering from a critical illness so we’re very cautious about taking precautions, wearing face masks and washing hands wherever we go.  The children’s grandparents are also a concern so we’ve all learnt to be careful and follow the ever-changing rules.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“iPhone, lip balm, hand cream, floral mask, bank cards for tapping everything! And of course my Chloe perfume to remind me to enjoy certain luxuries.”

What gets you through Working From Home?

“We went nuts a couple of years ago and bought the most swanky coffee machine.  It’s been grinding all day every day since March and hasn’t failed us yet.  Finding a spot in the house to work is the biggest challenge.  My husband also works from home and when it was a full house, it was a challenge to find a background for my Zoom calls that wasn’t populated with either a child, a grumpy spouse or a school homework work plan stuck up behind me with blue tack.”

CEO and Founder Amanda Thomson
What is your vision for the future of your business?

“The alcohol-free market is growing very quickly.  The beer and spirits industries have already recognised and reacted to this trend but the wine industry has been incredibly slow to see any value in it.  

Thomson & Scott is already considerably far ahead in what we’re doing – creating a delicious non-alcoholic sparkling that is difficult to distinguish from an alcoholic version.  We’ve very much taken what they call “first mover advantage” with Noughty and are watching it launch in a number of exciting territories around the world including New York, California and Australia. So the future, put simply, is shifting the global drinks industry and making a really big impact across the globe!”

Thomsonandscott.com

Thomson & Scott is available at the following retailers around the world, but if you can’t find the wine, contact them on hello@thomsonandscott.com.

Ireland – €12–15
Pembroke Wines, all Avoca Handweavers shops; Whelehan’s Wines; Gibney’s Off-Licence; The Grape & Grain; DSix Liquor; Wicklow Wines

Hong Kong – HK$95
Sipfree (launching August 2020)

Spain – €10.73
The Blue Dolphin Store (to be launched in the next couple of months)

Netherlands – €11.95
de Bijenkorf

New Zealand – NZ$19.99
Red & White Cellar

Australia – AU$19.99
Craftzero

USA (Texas) – $14.99
Central Market (launching shortly in all outlets across Texas)

Jersey – £8.99
Lovewine

Portugal – €18 (free countrywide shipping for 12 bottles upwards)
Six Senses Douro Valley Bottle Shop

Italy – €22
Locanda Al Colle

Dubai
Spinney’s

Sophie Theakston is a jewellery designer based in West London. She talks exclusively to 35 Thousand about her love of India, being creative in lockdown whilst juggling family life, her love of nature, meditation and her 5.15 am starts when husband, (presenter Jamie Theakston) leaves for work.

Tell us about your work…

“I am a jewellery designer, designing fine jewellery using 18ct gold and precious and semi-precious stones.  I work from my home in London which is where I have a studio and showroom, but I have my collections made in Jaipur, India.  I have a wonderful team of people who work for me over there and I have a great assistant based here in London too.  

The thing I most love about what I do is travelling to India.  I am obsessed with that country basically!  Everything about it speaks to me; the people, the food, the design, the elegance and beauty, the richness and opulence amid the craziness and chaos.  It is an over-used expression, but it really is an assault on the senses. I have travelled extensively, but nowhere is like India.  It inspires my soul…  Alongside the travel, I am lucky enough in my work to see the vision of what is in my head come to life in gold.  I will never tire of that creative process.” 

Jewellery designer Sophie Theakston
What was your normal day-to-day life like pre COVID-19?

“My day consists of a very early start at 5:15 when my husband goes to work.  I immediately check in with India on everything they’re working on for current designs.  Whatsapp in my pyjamas!  I then feed and walk the dogs and have breakfast before taking my two boys to school.  It’s then straight back home to more coffee and work, in India, but also keeping on top of sales, orders and general admin back here in the UK.  If my assistant is working with me we have lots of planning discussions and will stop for a bit of healthy lunch and a non-work catch up, although quite a lot of tea and chocolate is also eaten throughout the day! If she isn’t with me, I just grab something at my desk. I also have days when I might visit stores and regularly have private clients come to have a look at the collection and buy.  Its a busy and varied day with nose to the grindstone right through ’til the boys come home from school.”

What is your day-to-day life like now?

“The boys have been at home which has really changed things a lot, so my time has been very stretched between looking after their needs and running the business.  My husband has continued to work (Jamie is the co-presenter of the Heart breakfast show on Heart FM) but he has been home earlier to help.  Apart from that, India was hit really hard by COVID.  It has been terrible to hear about conditions out there and how it has affected people’s livelihoods.  My team in Jaipur were pretty much unable to work so the manufacturing stopped for a few months.  It did mean that I went into over-drive with design though!  A slower pace and fewer deadlines and time-pressures has actually made that part of the process really breathe and flow.  It has felt like a very creative time for me…

Running your own small business also means there is CONSTANT flow of administrative stuff to deal with.  Not my favourite thing at all. My assistant has been pregnant during COVID (quite anxiety inducing for her!), but we have managed everything remotely.  And customers have been buying well remotely too.  I think Instagram was an absolute Godsend for lots of small businesses like mine, basically.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I have two boys Kit and Sidney, (10 and 12), two dogs and two cats.  Oh and a husband!  We live in Chiswick, West London.  Apart from the weirdness of home-schooling, we have all been outside on lots of walks together which has been really lovely, and, again, inspiring from a design point of view.  Nature really is my go to for re-connecting and checking in with myself, so the part of lockdown that has seen us take a daily woodland stomp, has been incredibly restorative.  We are a stones throw from Richmond Park and have the fabulous hidden gem of Chiswick House & Garden right on our doorstep.  I like to pretend it’s my garden if I’m honest!

My hobby really is my work.  But I do try to separate myself from it otherwise I become obsessive. So apart from that grand passion, I devour books (especially biographies), classic movies (anything with Bette Davis in it) and  I regularly visit galleries here in London: Tate Britain, V&A, RA are my favourites.  I try to do at least one every fortnight if I can.  Obviously eating and drinking out in London is always a treat too.  As far as wellness goes, I do meditation and yoga at home too.”

Jewellery Designer Sophie Theakston
From left to right; Emerald Lotus ring, Diamond Om ring and the Ruby Om ring all by Sophie Theakston
What are you finding challenging right now?

“I think just the lack of a new perspective when I look outside.  In spite of the beautiful outdoor spaces here in London, we are largely in an urban environment, so I miss being able to breathe in a new location and see something other than houses and roads!  But we are very lucky that we have a garden and space so I mustn’t grumble.  I do miss direct contact with my co-workers too and, of course, the face-to-face with my team in India and seeing the work in process.  I am itching to get back to the heat and beautiful craziness of Jaipur!  But obviously you cannot rush these things.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

I have definitely found – like most working people – that we are able to do most things remotely pretty efficiently and whilst face-to face is lovely, it really isn’t absolutely necessary.  And that can only be a good thing for the environment.  I will definitely re-think the amount I travel after this. 

I have definitely slowed down, and taken time to be with my family and not to get too sucked into my work life.  I am a bit of a workaholic if truth be told, so this has been a great time to re-set and re-connect with life outside of that.  Nothing is more important than my boys and my husband.  And we are so privileged to have had no family members or friends fall seriously ill, so I have learned to really live in gratitude for that and all that we have in our lives.  Some people have suffered terribly during this period and I cannot imagine what working in frontline NHS or having lost a loved one… so Lockdown has taught me to say my prayers and count my blessings.”

What raises your stress levels and how do you manage that?

“I don’t tend to get too stressed out… since I started yoga and meditation several years ago, it has really helped me manage anxiety and accept that there are things you can fix and things you just can’t.  So a sense of perspective is vital in that.  

My assistant, Tori, is also brilliantly calm, competent and efficient, so I speak to her whenever things might be feeling stressful.  I think working life is always going to throw you challenges, missing deadlines on something, people or situations not quite matching your expectations, or you not matching theirs, but that is just the nature of business and LIFE, quite frankly.

 You have to work to solve the problem and if the moment has passed for you to fix something, you need to work together on an alternative plan.  I think its so important to have positive, calm people around you who give good advice and have got your back.  I am super lucky in that respect.  My husband is also always there with sound advice and a bear hug if things get really bad!”

Who/what has been the biggest inspirations to you in life or in your career?

“I was very inspired by my parents who were both successful in the jewellery business.  They had their own retail outlets but they were also very creative themselves in design…so I think my lifelong obsession with jewels was started from being around them – it was in my DNA.   

As far as business is concerned, my career before jewellery was working as Global Membership Director for  Nick Jones at Soho House, so I was fortunate enough to to travel the world and meet and work with lots of fascinating and creative people .  Nick is like no one else I have ever met.  He is driven, passionate, takes no BS and sticks to his vision on a project.  Not only is he a visionary, he is also hilariously funny and extraordinarily kind.  He has been a huge part of my life and I will be forever grateful to him for giving me the self-belief to follow my true passions that has allowed me to go for it and do what I do today.”

Jewellery Designer Sophie Theakston
Top: the Moon and Star cuff. Below the Moon and Back cuff by Sophie Theakston
Are you travelling currently?

“I have put all my plans for travel to India on hold for this year.  I think they all need time to heal over there as the virus is just at the point of peaking.  If and when I do get on a plane ( I haven’t yet) I think I will be pretty relaxed though.  I will take all the necessary precautions obviously, but I do think we have to, at some point, get the world moving again and the economy growing.  I will take all the advice on what to do, when and how, but I will definitely be first in line to try and get back to some form of normality in our lives.”

What do you wear to work?

I am pretty obsessed with clothes. Not buying new ones necessarily, but styling and putting looks together. They make me feel better and I love how my mood can change depending on what I have reached for that day. I wear the same style of clothes whatever day of the week it is and whatever I am doing.  My husband loves to point this out on our country walks!!   So I don’t really have weekday wear or weekend wear.

 I like flowing things, beautiful fabrics, things that are well-made and definitely not “in fashion” necessarily.  It is really a mishmash of favourite designers, vintage market finds and some very old favourite pieces… I literally always have a cashmere wrap within reach too, all year round.  I have them in all different colours and have them hand embroidered in Delhi.  I don’t want to admit how many in print…”

If you had to edit your wardrobe to 10 items what would you keep?

“A Vintage Missoni Coat, Dosa Silk Trousers, Dosa Camisole Dress The Row Cashmere Rollneck, Metier Suede Hold-all, wrecked GAP boyfriend jeans, Dries Van Noten Long cardigan, Forte Forte Leather Boots, Isabel Marant Slides…. and as many cashmere wraps I can smuggle onto the list without you noticing.  I would look like a (luxe) bag lady, but I think that tends to be my look anyway so bring it on!”

Sophie uses Liberty notepads for all her work and design notes
What are your handbag essentials?

“Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, my purse, business cards, Smythson diary and pen, Liberty Notebook and pencil for design and work notes, house keys, Lindt chocolate balls, Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Stick to add much needed colour if I am starting to fade…. obviously now I add a protective mask to that list.”

What are your home-working essentials?

“Lindt chocolate balls, bowls of nuts and dried apricots, sparkling water on tap, my iPad, tons of Liberty notebooks all over the place, each for a  different thing .  I love to write and draw, I am not at all good with virtual organising of my thoughts and ideas.  I am terribly old school…”

Sun, Moon and Stars necklace by Sophie Theakston
What or who do you rely on for managing life’s juggle?

“I have a very considerate and generally lovely husband who is usually home by lunchtime after a VERY early start, and he is brilliant at helping with school runs and sports matches if I have something that means I can’t do it.  I also have two brilliant women I work with both here and in India who pick up when I have to drop.  And of course some truly wonderful friends who will always be there for me if they can, when I ask.”

How do you manage your mind and well-being on a daily basis?

“I walk my dogs in the woods and think… but actually try to not to think, which is much better.  I also practice Yoga and do daily mediation and am a total Eckhart Tolle nut.  Podcasts for mindfulness are really big news for me.  I am also am a HUGE believer in gratitude lists.  I have been making my boys do them since they were about five and I love looking back on what has changed in their worlds and mine.”

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Sophie is never without Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream
How do you stay healthy?

“I gave up eating meat and drinking alcohol about 2 years ago, and I can honestly say I feel superhuman in comparison to how I felt before.  I also try to be with people who are kind, laugh a lot and have my best interests at heart.  Good people are the key to a good life I believe.”

How do you relax?

“Reading, films, music, art, cuddling my boys and of course my ever-present pets.  I always have some fluffy animal at my feet.  Usually a few of them….”

If you could speak to yourself when you were just starting out…?

“I would say stick to your dream and don’t listen to naysayers.  You only have one life and if you have a burning passion to do something creative, go for it.  You may stumble sometimes on the journey, but pick yourself back up and stay focussed on the vision.  If you try to just enjoy the journey, the destination will take care of itself.  Creative fulfilment is out there for everyone… you just have to reach for it with all the energy and passion you have.”

To see Sophie’s designs head to www.sophietheakston.com

Read more How She Carries On interviews here

Alice Cracknell is the founder of the UK’s first not-for-profit fashion brand Origin, based in Devon, UK . She and her husband create ethical garments and use the products to fund important projects in Africa. She talks to 35 Thousand about the kitchen table office in Lockdown, their fair trade suppliers and the life-changing projects they help to support in Africa.

Alice with her husband and one of their suppliers
Tell us about your work

“I am the founder of the UK’s first not-for-profit fashion brand, Origin. We create ethical garments and use the products to fund projects in Africa. I founded the company with my husband 3 years ago and we are based in North Devon but run pop ups across the UK and support projects in Mali, Gambia, Togo and Ethiopia. 

We support a variety of projects run by local communities, they span from healthcare initiatives (for example we support an HIV clinic in Gambia) to remote sanitisation in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia. 

The key thing is that these projects are all locally championed, sustainable and have a positive impact on the community. In addition to this, during the past few months we have also funded sending PPE to Gambia, Togo, Mali and Ethiopia to protect the healthcare providers and enable them to continue providing life saving treatments to their communities.

I love my job because we’re doing something with purpose and I’m really connected to the projects that we run so it’s a very fulfilling career.”

An Origin T shirt
 What was your ‘normal ‘day-to-day life like pre COVID-19?

“A normal day for us normally starts with cycling to the Studio, where we check in with our projects in Africa over WhatsApp or video calls in the morning and often spend the afternoon updating the website adding new garments or blogs. 

We are very lucky that production was not affected by Covid-19 and we made a commitment to continue to order from our suppliers and support the artisans we work with in Africa. Though lead times took a little longer than normal, we managed to avoid any big gaps in stock by placing orders throughout lockdown.”

Tell us more about the fair trade element of your business..

“We currently use two brilliant wholesale suppliers for the creation of our base garments (before printing them in the UK using Vegan and non-toxic dyes). Our first supplier, Rapanui, has a renewable energy and fair trade factory in India, which is Organic and Soil Association certified. Stanley and Stella, who create our base tees have a factory in Bangladesh which is FairWear Foundation certified and is committed to ethical and sustainable production. 

Our ambition is to move all production to Africa within the next two years to create jobs and empower local production, however we have to ensure that standards for workers, fair pay, and all sustainable certifications are met before we make this move, which takes time working with local suppliers. The key thing for Origin is to be transparent about the entire supply chain which is why we use block-chain technology powered by Provenance (https://www.provenance.org/) so our consumers can track the production of every garment and their certifications from factory to store.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I’m married and we don’t have any kids yet but we have a beautiful dog (a cocker spaniel called Jeffry). We live in North Devon by the sea, so a lot of our hobbies are outdoorsy (I pretend to surf but I can’t really).”

 What is your day-to day life like now?  

“Unfortunately the Covid-19 situation did mean we had to shut down the studio for some time. We normally open it as a shop so that was a bit of a hit for us. However we were very lucky we received a lot of support and some amazing online sales during lockdown. Plus we we’re used to running the business from the kitchen table (as we had done for 2 years) so we switched back to that quite easily!”

Presenter Fearne Cotton is a fan of Origin
 Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

 “We have been really fortunate as it hasn’t had to change our outlook a lot because we’re a small and growing organisation which means by nature we are dynamic and always adapting. We are constantly dealing with all sorts of hurdles and challenges in the developing countries where our projects are based so we are very aware of the need to remain vigilant and aware of our communities’ needs. We have to stay responsive to issues that arise… and arise they always do.”

 What raises your stress levels and how to you manage that?

“We have a great following on Instagram however from time to time I do find the world of social media difficult to deal with and a little bit stressful, especially as I’m on it for so much of my day. I’m happy to say we have an amazing team around us and they help support me. 

I think it’s fair to say that when you put your life and soul into something you feel everything very personally, so we are grateful to have such an amazing and loyal following on Instagram who have been a big part of our journey of growing as a business.”

Who/ what has been the biggest inspiration to you in life/ in your career? Why?

 “There are a number of things which have been an inspiration to me during my life and have definitely been a catalyst to starting Origin. I was always inspired by my parents growing up, which is an obvious thing to say, but they were a huge part of the person I have become. 

Secondly, there were a number of authors whose books I found inspirational during the time of founding Origin including Muhammad Yunus’ book Building Social Business and Leila Janah’s “Give Work.” Their innovative thinking and perspective completely reframed my thinking. Finally meeting my wonderful husband who has always really challenged me and inspired our ideas on aid and how to help alleviate poverty, these concepts are of the soul of the business we have built together.”

 Are you travelling currently? 

“Unfortunately as a result of Covid-19 and the travel restrictions in place, we have had to cancel a number of trips to Africa including one to Ethiopia this year and a more recent trip we were supposed to take to Gambia last month. At present we cannot travel to the countries in which we work as it wouldn’t be safe to do so for us or our projects to do so. Therefore we will be putting travel on hold for the time being. However, we have close relationships with the founders and leaders of our projects in various countries across Africa and we fully support them in managing their incredible initiatives through these uncertain times. We chat to them all the time about how they’re getting on and how/if we need to support them.”

An Origin supplier
 What do you wear for work?

 “As a founder of an ethical fashion brand I live in our garments. I’m always wearing an Origin tee or sweatshirt to work. They are so easy to style, dress up or dress down.”

If you had to edit your wardrobe to 10 items what would you keep?

 “Ooooh tough question. I would keep my favourite pair of jeans (they are several years old but so comfy I live in them), and a casual white shirt. I’d have a pair of classic flip flops as I live by the beach and wear them a lot. There would definitely be a pair of Lucy and Yak dungarees, a few easy-to-chuck-on dresses… and obviously my favourite Origin tees ❤️.”

 What are your handbag essentials?

 “My handbag is a MESS! I always have dog treats for Jeffry (this is key to an easy life!), a good face moisturiser, a pack of tissues (#hayfever) and a random selection of Origin tags, leaflets and labels so I have it all on-hand whenever I’m chatting to anyone about what we do.”

 What are your home working essentials?

 “Numerous cups of tea! And it definitely helps me to have a good routine (a proper lunch break and a walk with the dog). I think a bright sunny spot to sit in really helps too – surrounding yourself with plants and being in a calming environment is key.”

Who or what do you rely on for managing life’s juggle? 

“I’m a big fan of an old fashioned list. I would be nowhere without the millions of lists I make. I’m hopelessly disorganised but somehow a simple pen and paper makes all the difference.”

A mobile clinic during Covid-19 is just one of the projects their business supports
 How do you manage your mind and wellbeing on a daily basis?

“It’s hard, on some days managing your own business can be totally overwhelming. However, we have an amazing purpose behind the business and that definitely keeps me going on the tough days. I also try to maintain a good work life balance, having regular breaks and finishing work at a reasonable time then turning my emails OFF. This doesn’t always happen… But I’m working on it.” 

 How do you stay healthy?

“We are so lucky to have a very outdoorsy lifestyle here which is why we moved to live by the sea. Long walks on the beach, a swim or surf and cycling to and from our studio keep me happy and healthy.”

How do you relax?

“I really adore cooking and for me it’s a signal that the working day is done and the relaxing can begin. Trying new dishes and being creative in the kitchen totally chills me out and winds me down after a long day.”

 If you could speak to yourself when you were just starting out your career, what advice would you give yourself that would have made the most difference to you?

 Lastly, trust yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think, just trust your gut, and that way you’ll have no regrets.”

For further information go to Originfafrica.co.uk

PR Becky Stevens runs Stevens PR with her sister-in-law. Here she reveals how she’s managed to juggle 10 clients with her 5 children (number 6 is on its way!) during Lockdown and the life lessons she’s learnt as a result.

Tell us about your work

Stevens PR is my own PR business that I set up 15 years ago which I now share with my sister-in-law. We look after health, beauty, fitness brands and aesthetic doctors. We have 10 clients in total.  I work mostly from home and I’m a member of a gym where I can work from the cafe but I also pop over to my business partners flat ten minutes away and do what we call ‘hours of power’ together.

I love that it’s an expanding and ever changing industry. I’m a people person so meeting new clients and journalists boosts me mentally. I also love linking people together, be it a client to another client or a journalist with another journalist or PR.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day-to-day life like pre COVID-19?

“I would wake up at 6.30 am to stir four out of the five kids who are all at school. I have Lettice and Edith who are 11 (twins), Ottilie 9, Tattie 5 and Foy, 2 (and I am pregnant with another girl). In normal times, my twins get the bus to the French Lycee, so it’s just a case of making sure they are fed and on the right bus. I then do the school run with my younger two which is a 10 minute car journey or 30 minutes depending on London’s glorious traffic.

I would then squeeze in a workout in the gym for around an hour on the way home (that’s my me-time and puts me in a better fighting mood). Then it was home for my coffee and I would work through till 5.30pm.

My little boy, who is 2, is at home with me but I have a live-in helper who takes care of him during most of the day, and I tend to have a cuddle and lunch with him. I try and mark out a day for meetings so I don’t spread myself too thin – I normally organise about 5 press meetings a week and about 2 client meetings. 

Pre COVID the twins would come home at different times on the bus, so I wouldn’t need to worry too much about them (although I’m on ‘Find my friends’ a LOT until they walk through the door).  I have a French Teaching Assistant who normally brings my other two back from their school to help with their homework.

Supper for kids pre COVID was around 6.30/7pm. I do supper if I can and always do the witching hour which Ed and I take a deep breath and share together. Then it’s bath time (not every night), and the slow haul to bed that could be between 8.30 to 9.30pm. Ed and I don’t have much time together most week nights. Supper is always homemade with a large glass of wine and then bed by 10.30pm to rub essential oils everywhere, drink Pukka Relax Tea, put some meditation on and zonk out. Our Corona Kitten joins us and mostly sleeps above my head!”

Pr-Becky-Stevens-Covid-19
Pr Becky Stevens in Majorca
What is your day-to day life like now? 

“We have got used to blissful lie-ins until around 8.30am – even the toddler sleeps til 9am. Then I squeeze in a Zoom workout online. I have just taken on a PT as a client, so I switch between her classes and my American client, P.volve (read about this unique online body sculpting training programme here.) After the Zoom class I have been used to school Zooms that would start at 10am, and I would get to sit down and do work, although it’s very fractured.

My husband managed to sneak off to the office throughout most of Lockdown (his excuse was ‘Too many children at home to concentrate’). I needed to make sure the tweens were up for 8.30am as their Zoom calls started then (between all 4 they’d have about 6 to 8 calls a day). This has been interspersed with ‘Mummy I’m hungry! Mummy I’m bored!’

I have tried to feed them at 12pm before they snack on yellow food all day but I have on many occasion been so knee deep in work I have forgotten their lunch. I have therefore stockpiled Charlie Binghams Lasagne, Fish Pie and Cottage Pie.

In late afternoons I have met mothers in parks so my kids can still get to play with their friends. I feel this has been essential to keeping me and my children sane! Bedtime has been getting later and later for everyone. We nearly all go to bed at the same time now which is 10.30pm/11pm even for the toddler!”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I’ve just bought a Corona kitten and I take Friday’s off to hang out with my two year old boy. My hobbies are fitness and commitments are my children and husband!  I love to see my bro who has constantly popped round during Lockdown as he lives by himself and gets lonely. Also my business partner Holly has a little boy.”

What are you finding challenging right now?

“The juggle, and patience. To spend time with each child whilst putting the same effort into work. At the moment work is slipping as I have been homeschooling four kids with a toddler nipping at my ankles. Then there’s the guilt: the guilt that my children aren’t doing enough work; that they aren’t outside playing in fresh air; that my tweens are constantly staring at their screens.”


Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“Yes totally. It’s changed my outlook on schooling and how much I respect the teachers who spent time and love on the Zoom calls and homework. It was a challenge for parents and teachers and kids and we all had to work together to make it work. It’s also shown me how much my kids need a routine and highlighted the most important things in life. It’s now less about work, work, work, if I manage 3/4 hours of work a day that’s actually enough screen time for me.

Lockdown has proved that I don’t need to be at my screen all day or attend pointless meetings for meetings’ sake. I have the confidence post Corona to say ‘no’ more. Previously I used to run myself ragged saying ‘yes’ to everything.

I’ve also realised my children need me more – for playdates, or taking them out to stretch their legs in the park. It’s important I’m more present rather than fretting about meetings and work.”

What raises your stress levels and how to you manage that?

“The witching hours between 6pm – 9pm. Toothbrushing and laziness also stress me out and the words ‘Mummy I’m BORED!’

Other people’s reaction to Lockdown have been stressful too. I had to really bite my tongue on a few occasions with close friends – it seems we all lived out Lockdown in our own way and we all needed to respect each others’ way of coping.”

Who/ what has been the biggest inspiration to you in life?

“I think clients have inspired me as they have believed in me. Even with 5 kids, every time I was pregnant I won new clients. I’m lucky as the industry I work in is more female so there is a sense of community of women supporting other women. 

Holly, my sister-in-law who joined me 5 years ago has been a total boost. She joined me when I was pregnant with number 4. I realised I needed support but its very hard to let go/ share something you have built up yourself. I trust her and she brings a youthful edge and outlook to StevensPR, especially when it comes to social media and tech.”

Are you travelling currently?

“Yes we made it out to Mallorca, our second home, on 5th July. I did the antibody test which came back positive. I did feel very ill at the beginning of lockdown and I was 16 weeks pregnant so it was worrying and a very confusing time for me. I now feel more positive and less worried. I did start wearing masks when we travelled in the airport and now in Mallorca the rules are very strict. There are masks everywhere – wearing one is slightly claustrophobic when you are heavily pregnant in the heat!”

What do you wear for work?

“Mostly fitness gear! I’m always rushing from the gym to meetings,  but I do style it up a bit and splash on some foundation. Most press and clients know me so well they know the busy life I lead, plus I did look after a very stylish fitness wear brand so I wore my client to meetings – great excuse. If I’m not in athletic apparel I wear easy breezy clothes, sometimes I dress like a teenager in dungarees. I have never needed to wear a suit for work.”

If you had to edit your wardrobe to 10 items what would you keep?

“Floral floaty dresses, flat sandals, pretty puffy shirts, my mom jeans, white trainers, (Reebok or Veja!), leggings, sports bra and fitness vests. “

What are your handbag essentials?

“SPF 50, Vitamin C Serum (mostly La Roche Posay), Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, Hourglass Arch Brow `Microsculpting Pencil, Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara, Deodorant, my toddlers Wet Wipes (SO handy) and a diaper. I always have one in the bottom of the bag and sometimes by mistake I haul it out at meetings! Maybe there’s also a toy truck or a Shopkins from my 5 year old girl. Oh and a mobile phone cable as I never have any battery.”

Becky is a fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation
What are your home working essentials?

“My mobile phone, coffee, and Pukka Tea throughout the rest of the day. Ashwagandha and magnesium supplements, DoTerra Oils to keep me alert and/or calm, and green apples. I’m also addicted to Tabasco and I put on everything – my poor gut!”

Who or what do you rely on for managing life’s juggle?

“My live-in cleaner/nanny who we adore and is part of the family – she helps with my toddler as he isn’t at nursery yet. She clocks in at 7am – 10am then 5pm-8pm. I’ve always had to pay for extra help as we don’t have parents nearby who can help – my lovely French helper is so supportive if I’m running late for school pick-up which is always the case .”

How do you manage your mind and wellbeing on a daily basis?

“I have finally have got into meditation. I took a 4 day crash course with Jillian Lavender who I love who runs the London Meditation Centre (there is also a New York Meditation Centre). I use the Calm App at night and do breathing techniques I’ve learnt via healers and the DeRoseMethod. I find Instagram has been a huge support during Lockdown and I’ve found new healers and ways to Zen from gong baths to sound healing sessions. I also use essential oils in my Neom diffuser. An episode of Friends helps OR any cooking program I find very relaxing as I adore my food! 

Now I’m in Mallorca, I’ve just a day retreat with 10 girlfriends and done crystal healing, Yoga and meditation topped of with dancing where we just leapt around at 8pm.”

How do you stay healthy?

“I live for fitness. I adore Heartcore and Paolas Body Barrre online. I love my supplements but I’m so keen to learn and try the next or newest fitness craze or find the newest healing craze.”

How do you relax? 

“By seeing friends, walking or bicycling around London or having sushi and a bottle of Cremant and seeing my brother who lives down the road from me. Ongoing projects I do in Mallorca help me. I love interiors too and I put my heart and soul into doing up our finca over the past 5 years. Im awaiting to do up a ramshackle building on our land – my mind is boggling with interior ideas.”

If you could speak to yourself when you were just starting out your career, what advice would you give yourself that would have made the most difference to you?

“Don’t compare yourself to other PR agencies or PR’s – there’s enough room for all the PR’s out there. Saying ‘no’ is just as powerful as saying ‘yes’. I sometimes underestimate how much we nurture our clients. We go above and beyond for all the brands that we look after and even clients have told me I shouldn’t undervalue my services. Sometimes’ I need to remind myself that I’m ‘worth it’!

Finally, if a journalist never replies its not because she doesn’t like you it’s because she get thousands of emails a day. Be patient and persist.”

Dr. Nicola de Savary is a consultant in General Medicine and Elderly Care for Oxford University Hospitals in the UK. Here in an exclusive interview she tells us how she’s carried on on on the front line of COVID-19, from wearing PPE (and the lack of it) to worrying for colleagues’ safety and the tremendous global effort for sharing medical knowledge throughout.

Q: Tell us about your work…

A: “I work between 2 hospital sites; a satellite hospital in Banbury and the main hospital in Oxford. Usually I run the Acute Ambulatory Medical Unit which involves me taking the phone referrals from GPs and A&E for acutely unwell medical patients (not trauma or surgical problems but things like pneumonia, sepsis, heart attacks, drug overdoses, and acute confusion). I decide on the phone what I think is wrong, whether they need hospital review or whether I can give advice to the Doctor or Paramedic on the phone.  If they need to be seen by the medical team, I then decide whether we can manage them on the Ambulatory Unit with treatment during the day and then our nurses going out to give them treatment in their homes, or whether they need admission to hospital and our Emergency Medical Admission Unit.”

It’s a fabulous job – I love the diversity and pace – and I hear all kinds of stories. I have the opportunity to be the first to work out what is going on and what’s the best way to try to make it better and whilst I lead the Ambulatory Team on our unit, I also work with multiple teams of doctors, nurses, therapists and managers across the hospital. The downside is that I’m ‘A Jack of all trades, master of none’ and it can also be a rather stressful job  – I have to manage diagnostic uncertainty, bed shortages and a very fast-paced environment”

Dr Nicola de Savary how she's carried on covid-19
Nicola with her three boys
Q: What’s the context outside of your work?

A: “I live with my husband Tim, a publisher, our three boys, and our badly behaved dog, in an 18th Century stone farmhouse in a village in Oxfordshire. We feel incredibly lucky that we moved to this area in a panic when the boys were all tiny. I had twins which meant I managed to end up with three boys under 2 years old.  Our choice of relocation after the twins was a rushed decision but it has turned out to be a fantastic place to live; beautiful countryside, idyllic local school, close to Oxford and London and full of super fun and like-minded local friends.

“I work part-time and do the constant work/ life juggle.  However, on my day off in ‘normal times’, when the kids are at school, I squeeze in some time for yoga, wild swimming, dog walks and the odd gallop on a friend’s horse. We love spending time with local friends and having friends to stay for weekends. Holidays are a big part of our philosophy and we love to travel whenever possible normally. We always go to the Canadian Great Lakes in the summer but also try to fit in some skiing when we can. Every once in a while I manage to join a yoga retreat or escape for a horse riding adventure in South America with a friend who runs Ride Andes.”

I wouldn’t say I have tremendous routine  – my work is varied and my home life probably not as organised as it should be. However, overall I would prefer to maintain the opportunity for some flexibility and spontaneity. I hate the feeling of being all booked up.  Yoga is a weekly fixture on a Monday and I usually do some work from home on Tuesdays, and then I work at the hospital Wednesday to Friday.”

Q: What has your day-to-day live been like during COVID-19?

A: “In some ways daily life hasn’t changed that much.  I still go to work and try to keep on top of things at home. Having 3 teenage boys at home all the time and home schooling is quite full on – it’s amazing how much they eat.  With no social gatherings we have definitely done more gardening and work on our home.  Unfortunately we are mid-way through a renovation of our house and the builders have stopped, leaving us in a bit of a building site.”

 “Work-wise, it has obviously pervaded every part of my work, but there has been excellent morale and a real sense of camaraderie.  The down side is that COVID is horrible and we have lost a lot of patients and some colleagues.  When I get home I go straight for a shower, put my scrubs in to wash and try not to bring work stresses or COVID in to my home.”

Q: Tell us about PPE…

A: “We all now wear scrubs and PPE to see all our patients which adds a whole other layer to our daily practice – ward rounds go on forever and my hands are so dry from all the washing.  PPE is basically annoying.  We’ve all learnt how to “don and doff” the kit but it’s hot, time consuming and the masks make my throat tickle – every once in a while this can lead to a coughing fit, which clearly doesn’t go down well when everyone’s worried about catching the bug.”

Q: How has the virus impacted you personally?

A: “Personally I feel very lucky that COVID has not impacted me too badly. I haven’t lost any relatives or close friends to the virus.  Like everyone, it’s stopped me seeing people I love and generated a fundamental layer of anxiety. I am sad for my children – the twins are missing their last term at their school, and my eldest is missing key GCSE work and time with his friends.”

Q: How do you feel the virus has been managed in the medical industry?

A: “In the UK we were lucky to have more time to plan and get ourselves organised for this pandemic.  We heard reports from colleagues in Italy that broke our hearts where they were rapidly overwhelmed and had to work in incredibly stressful situations. Locally we redeployed nurses/doctors, re-organised wards, and cancelled elective operations and clinics. This gave us space and we weren’t overwhelmed. 

“However, there have been some distressing shortcomings in our response.  The lack of provision of PPE, COVID testing and support for Care Homes has been terrible.  They have worked incredibly hard independently to keep their residents safe but it highlights the critical need for social care and the NHS to be joined together.”

Q: What have you found most challenging?

A: “Probably following all the infection control guidelines and wearing PPE as well as working out some coping strategies so I don’t bring my work stresses home.”

Q: What have you found most worrying about COVID-19?

A: “I have worried about colleagues being exposed to the virus – especially those in the high risk groups and I have felt added responsibility for their safety.  I do worry about my family too – my father is super high risk and really must not get the virus.”

Q: Are there any important insights into the virus you have noted?

A: “During the early days, there was massive uncertainty as to how we managed patients with it.  We can only really offer supportive treatment such as oxygen, fluids and good nursing care. Yet even in that we didn’t know what our thresholds should be for types of assisted ventilation or if we should keep our patients wet or dry.  But due to a tremendous global effort to share knowledge and experience through webinars, free articles and teaching sessions we have become more knowledgeable and have more confidence in how to provide optimal management for these patients.  Something like proning patients (asking them to lie on their stomach) to improve their ventilation was new to me and is now routine.”

Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?

A: “The national response has been incredible.  People willingly isolating themselves and denying themselves their normal activities and pleasures has been extraordinary.  The tremendous support for key workers and the NHS has also been fantastic. Some of the best of humanity has clearly been on show – Captain Tom (the 100 year old UK war veteran who walked 100 lengths of his garden to raise money for our National Health Service, and raised £32 million in the process) is a prime example.”

Q: What do you miss about life before COVID that you never thought you would?

A: “Freedom.  Not being able to see those I love has been very hard.”

Q: What have been your coping strategies?

A: “My yoga teacher (and great friend) Nicole Page-Croft  is providing weekly Hatha Flow sessions on Zoom and I attend these religiously.  Dog walks are key – especially with nature being on such incredibly fine form, and forest bathing is most definitely good for the soul and I’ve just restarted some wild swimming.

I have designated my sister and a couple of friends as “go to people” for a phone call debrief on my way home, when I feel overwhelmed, and mindfulness and breathing exercises have been helpful in acute moments of stress.  I’ve probably drunk too much alcohol and definitely enjoyed too much food. But I’ve managed to keep my spirits up.”

Q: What has been your mindset about how to use your time at home?

A: “I haven’t had that much extra time at home. We have definitely done more gardening and work on our house. I’m sad that I have not been able to be more creative, but occasionally I join one of my sons for a drawing session.”

Q: How are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

A: “I have been keen that we all get out for a daily walk or exercise and have really enjoyed going for runs with boys, although they leave me for dust pretty quickly.  We have played more family games and I’ve really enjoyed our meals together.  I’ve been much more liberal about screen time for the boys – which they have definitely enjoyed! I’ve kept reading novels to take my mind off things but also really enjoyed Pale Rider which was an incredible account of the Spanish Flu and gave me some perspective on this pandemic.”

Q: How do you see the world changing because of this?

A: “I really hope we can incorporate some of the positives from this experience in to the future. For me the biggest seems to be the environment – we must capitalise on the reduction in traffic and unnecessary travel.  In addition, the compassion for the vulnerable has been wonderful and long may that continue.

In medicine, colleagues have exhibited remarkable flexibility and compromise. I think it has made us more nimble and less set in our ways.  The free sharing of knowledge, journals and remote teaching are definitely things I hope will continue.”

Q: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

A: “I think I will look back on this family time with real nostalgia.  I used to worry if I did not have organised activities and plans – now we can just hang out as a family and are much more relaxed about our days. It has given us a chance to reflect on our values and what’s important to us.”

Q: What have you heard about the vaccine they are creating at Oxford University?

A: “I had signed up for the Phase 1 trial of the Oxford vaccine.  I really wanted to be supportive and thought it must be good for people on the frontline who might catch the virus to be involved. Unfortunately, due to one of my screening test results I could not be included at that time. 

I am so proud of colleagues in Oxford who have worked so incredibly, if not miraculously, hard to develop and test the vaccine so rapidly.  Oxford is also running the recovery trial of various different treatment options, and again this was set up with breathtaking speed.  I really hope the vaccine is a success but I also wonder whether the virus will just burn itself out over the next year, like other past pandemics.”

Also discover how entrepreneur Rae Feather has coped throughout the Corona Crisis

Claire Cooper runs the Human Resources business Claire Cooper HR. She talks exclusively to 35 Thousand from her home in Devon, UK, where she’s been busier than ever throughout lockdown. She tells us how she’s getting by with bedtime reading, cocktail making and her teenager’s cappuccinos. For employees, she also has five tips for re-engaging your team when lockdown ends (see end.)

Q: Tell us about your work…

A: “If you ask my children what I do, they would say I have coffee and chat to people. In reality I’m a Strategic HR Partner for 27 global small and medium sized enterprises who have offices based around the UK. I help business owners put their business plans in to practice – hiring, firing, training and developing their teams to work to their optimum ability to achieve the business objectives. 

My clients range from PR agencies, charities, racing car workshops, hospices, electrical engineers, manufacturing, coffee roasteries, estate agencies, private house staffing, to bingo hall equipment! The same legal basis but with all needing different characteristics within their teams.

I have an office at my home in Devon with a team of eight who are all working mums – seven who work within the business and one magic fairy who keeps my home organised.”

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: “I love that no two days are ever the same, and that with case law regularly changing, I am always learning. I love it when a team really works well together – when you align a set of company values with the people within the company, I feel immense pride. I also love to see people succeed and I feel proud to support them through their journey.

I love laughing with my team and my clients, when days are tough – and putting stressful situations into the perspective of life.”

Q: What’s your context outside of work?

A: “I have one teen, one tween and an 8 year old who’s our comedian! My home is full of life: children being dropped off by friends first thing as they head off for work (we have a car that can take 8 children to school) and then there’s the team who work in an office within the house, followed by neighbours in the evening often popping in for drinks. Its rarely quiet.

I love sea swimming, laughing with friends as we fight our way into our wetsuits in a Devon beach car park, long walks (with a coffee half way around) and paddle boarding as the sun goes down.”

Q: What is your normal day-to-day life like?

A: “I’m an early riser. It’s the time when I can sip a cup of lemon tea by myself, hugging the aga in the Winter and sitting on my back door step watching my dog run around, in the Summer.  I love to listen to the birds and take 15 minutes just for me, before the house awakens. If I can I try to do a HIIT session, if I’m not distracted by emails.

After school runs (shared with my husband), I’m in the office, usually at my desk for 8.45 with the team being in for 9.15. We work together until one of us breaks to make us all lunch. We use a group lunch break to share knowledge and catch up on any personal news. We all work together until 3pm when the team may leave to pick up children or stay until 6. If they leave early, they pick up work in the evening.  Evening work is often helpful for clients; they are usually working ‘in’ their business during the day and find it easier to work ’on’ their business out of hours.  It is also helpful for international clients working within differing time zones. Other clients prefer not to have any emails or communications sent or received out of core hours.  All are different.”

Claire Cooper runs her own HR business from Devon, UK
Q: What has day-to-day life been like during lockdown in COVID-19?

A: “My teenage son has crossed off the week days on the calendar; Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs are now simply ‘day’, day’ day’ day…!

We may not all be in the same boat but we are all going through the same thunderstorm.  With the team all working from home and all of us being parents of differing age children, our hours have had to fluctuate.  Its very easy to start work at 6.15 am and not leave until bed time.  I stop for lunch and supper with the family, but otherwise, I’ve been working at full capacity, furloughing, restructuring and contingency planning.  Its an emotional time for clients, their families and their employees and there have been a lot of tears on all sides.

My job is to listen, to provide the legal response and then to coach the owners to move forward.  It’s been a time of survival for most, and their businesses are their babies. Hard decisions have had to be made.

One of the things I have found challenging is that my magic fairy has gone – sounds ridiculous, but with the house in array, my head feels unstructured as well!”

Q: How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

A: “My clients are all on retainers and the business of the management of HR is required in buoyant periods as well as tough times. The impact on my business? To be honest, there’s been no change, just a little more appreciation.

I’ve had some intense conference calls with clients feeling numb and exhausted and yet still have to be guided through difficult decisions. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.”

Q: What are you finding challenging?

A: “The lack of time out. I walk in the morning before breakfast and then break at 3pm and do some exercise with the children. It took me a while to get to grips with giving the children house chores – my children are like my husband where they seem to start lots of projects during the day and leave carnage as they go…”

Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?

A: “I have a positive outlook on life, I feel this is incredibly important. My family and my friends make me laugh.  However acknowledging how you are feeling is also incredibly important. Positive thinking shouldn’t mean denial. It is natural in a sad or scary situation to feel sad or scared. It is natural in an infuriating situation to feel fury. Dont feel like you are failing for having natural responses to unprecedented events.

A walk by myself at the end of the day is important where I can listen to the birds again as my dog skips along by myside. A hug from one of my children is the best, or a bunch of flowers picked from the hedgerows and brought to my office with the biggest of smiles – it’s the simple things!”

Q: What do you miss most about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

A: “Structure, and time for me – I can’t even escape to the loo without a little one wanting to chat to me! I also miss sea swimming, walks and laughing with girlfriends in person.”

Q: How are you getting through?

A: “Watching the countryside come into bloom. Enjoying the company of my family. Group Pilates and group girlie chats, both via Zoom, are great!”

My coping strategies are breathing, long and deep. Take stock. Don’t hide. Confront, close down and move on. Regular cocktails also prove beneficial.”

Claire mid the work/ family juggle during lockdown
Q: What is your mindset about how to use your time at home?

“My work has enveloped me. Its ok as I know we’ll get through it. I’ve tried to keep weekends as family time, and we’ve worked on our garden, planting seeds and watching them grow. I’ve also enjoyed bike rides and family walks, and we’ve played – jumped in muddy puddles, giggled.

My 8 year old has learnt some great new skills – Barista training initiated in week one and I’m now receiving delicious cappuccinos at 11am every day!”

Q: Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

A: “My family appreciate a basic routine. Boundaries help them to know when they can use a screen or do their own projects and when they may need to knuckle down with a family activity or school work. They like to know where they stand and feel more relaxed because of it.

Eating together and reducing any snacking is ensuring we all enjoy meal times ( and I know what’s in the cupboards!). Sticking to sleep patterns has also been key – we all need it. We’ve skipped evening TV to cuddle up in bed together and read. It prepares all for a better nights sleep.”

Q: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

A: “Carpe Diem! Seize the day and enjoy the here and now. Hug, laugh and play. Enjoy cooking, (we’re baking daily and cooking everything from scratch). Enjoy drinking – my cocktail skills are improving!! Reflect on habits and use this time to change anything that you don’t like.

Here are my 5 tips for re-engaging your team when lockdown ends:

1.Care

Show you care about your people. Ask about their experiences, ask how they are coping and how their families are doing. Be openly caring – but be authentic. Ask yourself what they may have been through, and how might they be feeling.

2. Emotional intelligence

Some have more of it than others, but it’s time to dig deep. Watch out for signs of stress – reacting to an issue like they would not have done so before like being too quiet and removed or getting easily upset. Allow your people some latitude – please don’t take the approach that ‘They’ve had 6 weeks off, so what’s the issue?’

3. Patience

Have some patience, don’t be a ‘bull in a china shop’. You cannot drive your team to make up for lost time too quickly.

4.Team building

We’re not talking about making your team run up a mountain but just organise some get-togethers. Start before you return, with video calls. Tell them your plans, offer time they can call you before they return. Be a part of the team discussions.

5. Communicate

Like never before. Welcome everyone back, whether from furlough, homeworking or just to normality again. Show empathy in what you write and say. Share plans to get things back on track and share the progress you make towards them.  Highlight a couple of stories from within the team as people love real-life accounts. Say thanks, and then say it again.

Clairecooperhr.co.uk

If you feel you need to find more balance in your day read our article on finding your Zen here

Development Director of BRANDstand Communications, Millie Kendall MBE, tells 35 Thousand how she is juggling this role and her other as CEO of the British Beauty Council in lockdown. She talks us through her newfound love of Tai Chi, life as a workaholic and how she misses travel right now.

Q: Tell us about your work…

A: “I am a multi-tasker so I have two jobs currently. I am the development director of BRANDstand Communications, a boutique beauty PR agency. We have an office in central London where I have two partners, Andrew Perera who is the worlds nicest guy and a successful and talented publicist, and Anna-Marie Solowij, former Beauty Director of British Vogue who I have known for over 25 years. We met when I was running the cosmetics brand Shu Uemura and she was the beauty editor at Elle Magazine.”

“I am also the CEO of the British Beauty Council, a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising the reputation of the beauty industry by enhancing education and investing in innovation. We are pleased to support a successful, innovative and inclusive beauty industry. We have defined and valued the industry of the past year and it is worth an incredible £28.4 billion to Britain’s GDP which is something to be proud of. We create open source reports and hold events to showcase our industry to the public and future-proof it for generations to come.”

Q: ‘What’s your context outside of work?

A: “I have two daughters – one is Lucia, 13, who lives with me part-time and spends a few days a week with her Dad, and my older daughter Sadie, is 23 and lives in LA, which is where I grew up and where most of my family live. I live in Highgate, London, which I love. I like the vibrancy of life here, the 4 seasons a day, the nightlife and the people.

I have no pets – I can barely keep a cactus alive. I’m a workaholic and it is my downfall, but I am learning Tai Chi to counterbalance the work load and the fact that my mind never switches off. I also like going out – still at 53 if you ask me to go down the road for a drink and a chat, I’m there. I rarely say no!”

Q: What is your normal day-to-day life like?

A: “I am an early riser and I like the quiet time in the mornings. I like my own company, so a shower and half an hour at my dressing table is absolute bliss for me. It’s like my own type of meditation. I’m not much into staying home and watching TV at night, so I’m usually socialising or chatting to friends (though I can pull the odd coach potato day at the weekends).

I do try to cut my work week off on a Friday night and recharge over the weekends. When I became aware that all I did was work, I realised that if I didn’t make the disconnection at the weekends then I just wouldn’t live very long. I like long walks on Hampstead Heath, pretending I have a dog.”

millie kendall ceo british beauty council
Pr Executive and CEO of the British Beauty Council, Millie Kendall
Q: What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID-19?

A: “Well it has changed dramatically. I thought I worked hard before, but my goodness I’m up at 5am usually sat at my desk by 5.30am. I take a walk in the mornings, around 9am and then do Tai Chi in the garden at 10am for an hour. I work through lunch and try to finish at dinner, but lately, with trying to support an industry and workforce of almost 600 thousand people I find I am working until I go to sleep. I am also currently all Zoomed-out.”

Q: How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

A: “I have good days and not so good days. It’s hard because whilst I love spending time alone I can’t see my daughter in LA. I have cancelled a few trips abroad, so that’s a huge shame – I was meant to go to Jamaica, Bergerac, Iceland, Amsterdam, Paris etc…I had so much travel lined up and was really looking forward to it but am focused on rebooking those trips for next year.

Professionally I am just swamped. Our industry has really come together over this, but my role at the Beauty Council really means I am having to step up and remain calm and concise.”

Q: What are you finding challenging?

A: “Not being in my office, not being outdoors enough and the intense increase in work. Homeschooling and just motivating my 13 year old is also a challenge.”

Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?

A: Just the thought of seeing my daughter really. I feel hope just watching her thrive throughout this awful time in a country 5000 miles away.”

Q: What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

A: “Coffee made by someone else. Walking past the BT tower every morning. My call to my best friend on my way to work. Sleep! I am not sleeping much at all.”

Q: How are you getting through?

A: “Honestly the Tai Chi has been a life saver. I had a friend called the Barefoot Doctor who practiced Tai Chi every day. He passed away earlier in the year and I was really quite shocked by his passing. When lockdown started I noticed a group of people in my communal garden practicing – people of all ages, around 8 of them. I sort of longingly looked out my window hoping they would invite me to join and then one day they did. We are all spaced responsibly throughout the large garden and we practice Qi-Gong and Tai Chi every morning at 10am rain or shine. I love it.”

Q: What is your mindset about how to use your time at home (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

A: “I thought I would relax more and have more time, but I am cooking, cleaning, homeschooling and working. I am definitely hustling. I haven’t found relaxing very easy.”

Q: Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

A: “My beauty regime is a big part of my wellbeing, because it’s my personal time with me. I am not one to share my beauty routine on social media, because in a way it is so private to me.”

Q: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

A: “Gratitude and kindness. Hopefully a renewed respect for the NHS and our nation’s hairdressers too!”

Brandstand Communications

British Beauty Council

The entrepreneur and founder of the fashion editor’s favourite accessories and clothing brand Rae Feather, on running the entire company by herself, her newfound love of Peloton and why she misses driving during lockdown.
(Note the above personalised face masks will be available from next week)

rae feather how she carries on
Rae Feather
Q: What’s your context outside of work?

A: “I live in the countryside in Oxfordshire and have four sons and 2 dogs – a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy that is handful and a little terrier that is very old and very blind.”

Q: What is your day-to-day life like now?

A: “I like routine and in the current climate, routine is really important to me. I work out in the morning, walk the dog, sort out my kids and go to work.

I’m running my business single handedly which is a great privilege in so many ways but challenging. My team are furloughed so I have a lot of plates spinning and I have had to learn a lot of new skills in the last few weeks.

I am mainly in despatch in the afternoons and when Royal Mail departs, I tidy up, do a supermarket shop and get home to prepare supper. Dinner every night has always been family time and never has it felt more important than now. We all get to catch up on our day and have quality time.”

The Rae Feather Jenna Basket
The Rae Feather Jenna Basket
Q: How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

A: “Personally it has been amazing for me to spend real time with my kids. I have a Peloton and have got quite fit as I have been religious about working out almost daily. I have also been way more experimental in the kitchen and also quite creative with ingredients. There have been some disasters but also some great successes.”

“Professionally there are positives and negatives. I have engaged with my customers in a really positive way. I am ‘Customers Services’ so I pick up the phone and speak to people and without exception they have all been so lovely! I have gone back to where I started and I am running my business alone and making my own decisions and that feels really good.”

Rae feather bag
We have teamed up with Rae Feather to give away a Monogram Leather Cross Body Bag, worth £195 (including personalisation) See details here
Q: What are you finding challenging?

“I’m finding the the uncertainty challenging. I try to live for the day but for so many businesses this is really tough. For so many individuals, their future is really messed up.”

Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“I am an optimist and think a lot of good has come from this. Both professionally and personally Professionally, it has allowed me to reassess so many elements of my business and I can see the mistakes I have made along the way.

Personally, I have got to know my kids even better than before. You think you know them but this time has tested us all. I have found their weaknesses and their strengths – long term this is so beneficial as I can support them in the areas they struggle with.”

Q: What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

“I miss driving. I know that sounds odd. I take detours now so that I can sit in the car and listen to music for a few minutes more – is that crazy?! I also miss swimming, I knew I would miss it but not as much as I do.”

The Rae Feather Monogram Soho Lambswool throw
The Rae Feather Monogram Soho Lambswool throw
Q: “How are you getting through? What are your coping strategies?

A: “My belief is that this is out of our hands. We are told to adhere to the guidelines/rules laid out very clearly for us. I try to respect those rules for the sake of others.

I find working out is key – getting daily exercise is uplifting. Experimenting with new recipes has been great and creatively satisfying. I have also really enjoyed engaging more with my audience on social media.”

Q: What is your mindset about how to use your time at home (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

A: “I have some good days and some bad and I have a terrible habit of working in bed. Some days I am still in bed at 11am planning and researching. I get a huge amount done but I find I chase my tail for the rest of the day.”

Q: Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

“I am mentally pretty strong, obviously like many, I have had bad days but I think it’s important to take the good with the bad. I made a rule very early on, that when the going gets tough, go to your room. It works and everyone respects it.”

The Rae Feather Rainbow Organic Hoodie
The Rae Feather Rainbow Organic Hoodie
Q: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this – a silver lining perhaps?

“For me this time has been life changing, particularly professionally. I am back at the helm and that feels so good and positive. Personally, I think the world has had to sit up and listen, whilst this time has brought so many negatives and great sadness to all those who have been affected by the loss of loved ones, environmentally and sociologically this time has brought many great positives.”

raefeather.com

Daisy Bradley is a member of the Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew. She talks exclusively to 35 Thousand about her passion for the airline industry, her new-found love of TikTok, airline safety throughout COVID-19 and the camaraderie amongst the world of aviation at the moment.

Q: Tell us about yourself

A: “Currently I work for the British transatlantic airline Virgin Atlantic Airways. I am based out of London Heathrow’s airport and fly to many destinations all over the world, mainly to the United States but also parts of the Caribbean, North America, Africa and Asia. My primary job role is to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers that travel with us – ‘safety’ being the key word.

I absolutely love my job, getting paid to travel the world and see the most amazing destinations is something I am truly grateful for. I meet new people on a daily basis, whether that’s my fellow colleagues or the passengers onboard. Those 3am conversations flying over the Atlantic never get old…”

Q: Whats your context outside of work?

A: “I live with my partner Kyle, who plays professional football for Cambridge United in the UK and we live together in Cambridgeshire. It’s a beautiful area, with amazing countryside and historic towns.

I am extremely close to my family although we all live quite far apart. My older sister who lives in Germany is also a flight attendant which is how my interest in travel and aviation first began. Kyle and I don’t have any pets just yet, but we’ve spent hours during quarantine researching and watching YouTube videos on getting a puppy, so watch this space!

Apart from travelling – which is my first love – I enjoy working out (lately over FaceTime calls with my friends,) enjoying quality time with loved ones and cooking. However my most recent hobby has been making TikTok videos, mainly about being cabin crew, which seem to be helping lots of people who are interested in the industry.”

Q: What is your normal day-to-day life like? 

A: “My life is constantly on-the-go, packing, unpacking and packing again and flying to 5 or 6 different destinations per month. It’s a constant juggle of my personal life, my social life and my busy work schedule.

Pre Covid-19, my normal routine was to prepare myself for work, packing my bags, getting myself ready and driving two hours to Heathrow airport. I will then fly to whichever destination I’m travelling to. I’m then lucky enough to spend some time at a destination, which is my free time and I usually go shopping or sightseeing. We then get ready and do it all over again and fly home.

The flights can be anything from 6 to 15 hours long depending on the route, and each time I fly with a different crew. No two days are ever the same. On my days off back home, I catch up with my partner, watch him playing football or visit family and friends, and of course there’s always piles of washing to catch up on!”

Virgin Atlantic Flight attendant daisy bradley
Daisy in her Virgin Atlantic uniform pre lockdown
Q: What’s day-to-day life during COVID-19? 

A: “My life has dramatically changed since the COVID-19 epidemic. At the moment I’m not flying. Everything is so uncertain and my heart is broken by how badly many airlines all over the world are suffering.

I miss flying, even just putting on my lovely red uniform which is why I have begun making Tiktok videos. My days now consist of making videos that are inspiring and informative to anybody who wants to become cabin crew. I have gained an audience of over 30 thousand people, and have had over 750 thousand likes on my content.

I have also started a cabin crew blog and am enjoying interacting with people of all ages and races from all over the world who also love travelling and aviation. I am trying to appreciate the time at home with my partner and it’s great to enjoy the normalities of a daily routine and enjoying things I don’t normally have time to do like decorating, healthy eating, exercise and my writing blog.”

Q: What extra precautions did you and your fellow colleagues have to take whilst flying during COVID- 19 pre being grounded?

A: “Before I was grounded, the airline and the crew had put methods in place to keep us stay as safe as possible. Before a flight we were given supplies of masks and hand-gels to take with us onboard. We wore these throughout the flight along with gloves and we were washing our hands and using the gel a lot more frequently. But there’s only so much that can be done in the confined space of an aeroplane.

The planes were being cleaned more throughly and the crew were much more vigorous with cleaning. We were also being more vigilant with the passengers, making sure nobody was showing any visible and obvious symptoms of the virus. If the passenger figures were low we allowed customers to spread out with more seats between them. The destinations we flew to were carrying out temperature checks on arrival and we were made to fill out detailed medical declaration forms. At destinations we were also advised to stay out of the cities and keep to ourselves.”

“My base, London Heathrow, has closed off two of its major terminals and all operating flights for cargo or commercial are flying from one terminal. I suppose this makes it easier to ensure social distancing. “

Q: What did you find most difficult about your job before you were grounded?

A: “Flying can be a nerve-wracking experience for some people at the best of times, but then adding the COVID-19 crisis into the situation puts everybody on edge. I myself found it daunting travelling during this time. It was hard trying to maintain the standard of service and the atmosphere in the cabin, especially when everyone is on edge and you’re all hiding behind a mask. For me a smile is what makes people feel relaxed and comfortable, so it was hard when this simple way of sharing happiness and positivity was taken away. We had to get creative and make our customers feel comfortable with our presence in the cabin. It was definitely a challenge.”

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted you personally and professionally? 

A: “Professionally I have been impacted hugely.  I haven’t flown since March as the majority of the aircraft fleet have been grounded. Thankfully I have been able to receive 80% of income through the furlough scheme.

Personally I am just thankful for the most important things in life such as health, a roof over my head and food to eat. The thought of how many people are being affected all over the world so dramatically from this situation puts everything into perspective. I have become a lot more appreciative for what I have.”

Q: What are you finding challenging? 

A: “At first Kyle and I had to adjust from being very independent people with our own busy lives, to then spending 24 hours a day together without a break. I’m sure many couples can agree with me on this one that sometimes you need a break!

Due to the nature of our careers, we didn’t have the privilege or distraction of ‘working from home’. (Although I’m tempted to pop on the uniform and ask if he wants ‘chicken or beef for dinner sir’ ). All jokes aside, we have had to find our own routines and focus on things to keep us busy and proactive. I also miss my friends and family and look forward to reuniting with them.”

Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism? 

A: “The aviation industry is one-of-a-kind when it comes to hope and optimism. No matter the airline or the colour of uniform we are one big family and we have all come together at this difficult time. I have been in close contact with my colleagues and have been networking with crew from airlines all over the world, supporting and just checking in on one another.  This gives me hope and keeps me optimistic. I’m positive that we will come out stronger.”

Q: What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would? 

A: “I never thought I’d say this, but I miss those early morning alarms going off at 2 or 3 am! At the time they are unbearable and I wonder how I will make it through a 10 hour flight, but right now, I would love to be getting up and getting myself ready for work.

I also miss the two hour commute back home after a night flight, stopping at the services and slugging my way to the nearest cafe for a double espresso. Normally the barista would spot my uniform and ask where I’d been and how my trip was. How I would enjoy one of those conversations right now…”

Q: How are you getting through?

“I have been doing HIIT workouts with my close friend over Zoom most days. This has been a massive coping strategy for me – I always struggled to keep on top of working out regularly but now I have a great routine and it really helps me feel better.

I’ve also been doing weekly quiz nights with my family and friends over FaceTime.”

Q: What is your mindset about using your time at home? 

A: “For the first few weeks it was amazing to enjoy the break from all the hustle and bustle of reality. However, as time has gone on I’ve realised that this is a perfect opportunity to be productive with my new found free time.

I’m a ‘people person’ and even though I’m not flying I’ve found a way to communicate with hundreds of people, helping them achieve their goals of becoming crew.”

Q: How are you managing your mind and wellbeing? 

A: “I’m doing my best to keep a routine, wake up at the same time have a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m also working out to release those endorphins. My partner and I have even been doing yoga together too, which really helps us stretch out and relax. I have also decorated which has been therapeutic.”

Virgin Atlantic Flight attendant daisy bradley
Daisy at her former job
Q: What do you personally carry with you for personal protection/ for health reasons when flying ? 

A: “In my crew bag you will always find, gloves, a face mask and hand gel. These have been essential when travelling during COVID-19. I also make sure I carry hand soap, which seems silly but we’ve all been to a bathroom that’s run out of soap! I feel comfortable knowing I have my own available if ever needed.

This ust leads me on to say, wash your hands as much as possible. During my experience flying, its crazy how many people don’t wash their hands on board the aircraft, I know this because at the end of a 12 hour flight the soap bottle has hardly been used.”

Q: If people are going to be flying what tips would you give? 
Q: As someone within the travel industry, what message would you like to share? 

A: “Be hopeful. Aviation and travel is not as we know it, but have hope that it will slowly begin to return to normal. You will be able to go on your holidays, visit your loved ones around the world, attend those life changing business meetings. And when you do, it will be all that much sweeter.

I can assure you that airlines all over the world are doing their best to get things up and running so we can all be connected once again. In the meantime, be appreciative of what you have, be kinder to yourself and others around you, use this time in whichever way is going to benefit you the most and most importantly, keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”

Q: Despite all the negatives, do you think there is a silver lining?

A: “There are many positives to take from this situation. In regards to travel, once life slowly becomes ‘normal’ again, there will be a huge influx of people wanting and needing to travel. I feel the journey to get there will be priceless. I feel that generally, people will appreciate life, experiences and time with loved ones more. I feel everyone will see the world through rose tinted glasses again.”

Follow Daisy on Instagram here and on TikTok here

The makeup artist and cosmetics entrepreneur Trish Mcevoy talks to 35 Thousand about how she’s maintaining her business and managing her health in these turbulent times

Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder and CEO of Trish McEvoy Beauty. I started my career in New York City as a makeup artist, launching my own line of skincare, makeup, and brushes in 1975. To this day, I run my business out of our New York office on East 57th Street where I work with my fabulous team; some of whom have been with me for 35+ years.

My favorite part about my work is the way that I am able to interact with people and make them feel good. My brand’s mission is to help demystify beauty in order to help women and men feel their most confident. Being able to help others in that way has truly been a blessing.”

trish mcevoy
What’s your context outside of work (do you have family, pets, where do you live, hobbies, and commitments)?

“Despite living in Manhattan for so many years, it will never lose its magic touch for me. I spend much of my time outside of work continuing to explore the city. I love walking my dogs in Central Park and catching up with friends over dinner at local restaurants, both new and old. Outside of New York, I love to travel. London is among one of my favorite cities. I can’t wait to go back.”

What is your normal day-to-day life like?

“No two days are alike, however if I had to describe it, I’d say it starts with a scroll through Instagram. I absolutely love using Instagram for inspiration. People share the most amazing things and I love being able to share what I find with my team. We meet daily at 9 am to review any and all inspiration for the day before diving into upcoming tasks, meetings and events. After a busy day of meetings and calls, I unwind by staying active. Whether it be a walk with the dogs or a run on the treadmill, I find it helps me to clear my head.”

What’s your day-to day life like now currently during COVID-19?

“I am so fortunate to say that it hasn’t changed much, aside from the fact that I now do everything from my apartment. Our team has quickly adapted to Zoom meetings and we still kick the day off with inspirational pieces, whether it be a post from Instagram or a song to help lift our spirits.

In terms of staying active, that’s gone virtual, too! I do virtual workout classes with 305 Fitness and Bandier.

The Trish McEvoy Power of Makeup makeup planner is the perfect companion for busy women
The Trish McEvoy Power of Makeup makeup planner is the perfect companion for busy women
How has it impacted you personally and professionally? What are you finding challenging?

“There isn’t one person in the world that this hasn’t effected both personally and professionally. I feel so blessed to have my health, family, friends, and business, but there certainly have been obstacles.

As I mentioned earlier, I love the human interaction of my job. While Zoom is a fabulous way to stay in touch with friends and colleagues, it isn’t quite the same, as I’m sure so many can relate.”

Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“As I mentioned, I love the sense of community that Instagram brings. I’ve found countless people—such as Kirsty Godso and Tanya Zuckerbrot via Instagram who bring such positivity and light to a dark situation. Having this time at home has also helped me find new music, which truly helps to set the mood. I absolutely adore Dua Lipa. Her song “Physical” is my go-to for an instant pick-me-up. I love to run on the treadmill while I listen! I’m also a fan of Maluma, a Colombian singer a friend of mine introduced me to.”

What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

“Truthfully, I’m not shocked by what I miss. I miss it all and can’t wait to be out exploring the world again.”

How are you getting through?

“When faced with uncertainty, my biggest piece of advice is to recognize how you are feeling and allow yourself to feel that way. Even if what you are feeling is uncomfortable, it’s important to take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax into that feeling.

Once I allow for that to happen, I sit down, write out my plan for the day to give myself some structure. Then, I have my sense of purpose for the day and can physically cross things off my list, which truly allows for a sense of peace. When I need to go deeper, I will write out what I am feeling in my journal or FaceTime someone that will uplift the mood that I’m in. It’s so important to remember we are all in this together, and more often than not, others close to you are feeling the same.”

What is your mindset about how to use your time at home (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

“It’s made me stay motivated. I work with my team tirelessly to brainstorm new ways to engage with our community and to think of ways that we can help be their source of hope and optimism.”

www.trishmcevoy.com

Kristen Pressner is a Global People & Culture executive living in Switzerland. She talks to 35Thousand about juggling back-to-back virtual meetings with four teens in lockdown, daily meditation, and getting ‘Back to better.’

Tell us about your work…

“I’m a Global People & Culture executive. I’m American but have lived in Switzerland for 12 years. I work in the diagnostics/pharma/healthcare industry and in the context of COVID-19, it’s an honor to see the work we do every day impacting patients’ lives around the world in a very real way.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“My husband of 20 years, Dan and I have 4 teenagers (19, 18, 16 and 13). We’re especially blessed to be all together during these ‘shelter in place’ days. It’s been 4 weeks of just the 6 of us (plus Mochi, our cat) and I am surprised how well it is going!”

What is your normal day-to-day life like?

“Typically I travel about 50% of the time, all over the world. I am frequently meeting face-to-face with all different sized groups, from one-on-one to meetings of all sizes, to addressing crowds of thousands. We’re transforming our People & Culture organization to an agile working model and thus the day to day often requires thinking in a very different way than in the past, both about our business and the way the People & Culture organization plays a key role in enabling it.”

What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID-19?

“All meetings are Zoom, Hangouts or phone call – back-to-back. I had to learn how to organize myself and my days in a completely different way.”

Kristen Pressner working from home during the Corona Crisis
How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

“I’m juggling trying to eat well, fit in meditation, a well as exercise (I used to take the stairs up 18 flights to my office each day) and also make sure that my teams’, my colleagues’, and my family’s emotional and psychological well-being are also being cared for, albeit in some cases, from a distance.”

What are you finding challenging?

“Firstly, being purposeful to find the new normal and establish patterns that work. Secondly, not being stuck in front of my computer, or having back-to-back meetings all day. Some days, it’s about just being kind to myself.”

Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“This pandemic will end. The world won’t go ‘back to normal’ but we do have the opportunity to establish a new, better normal. We like to call it ‘Back to better’. I feel this is possible and hope that an unthinkable humanitarian challenge can then accelerate important and positive change for the better.”

What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

“Wearing fabulous shoes! I broke my foot 8 months ago and was on crutches and a cast. I longed for the days I could wear all my fabulous shoes again. Then after I healed, COVID-19 happened and I still only wear trainers! My heels must think I’ve abandoned them.”

How are you getting through? What are your coping strategies?

“I am very serious about fitting in my daily meditation (my favourite is the app 10% happier – they are offering certain elements for free during COVID-19). I also get sunshine and fresh air every day, but I know we are privileged to have a garden. I am also being kind to myself. I find the whole “People who changed the world while in quarantine” pressure, or the ‘Use this time wisely’ talk unhelpful. They probably didn’t have four teens at home.”

What is your mindset about how to use your time at home (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

“I don’t have ‘newfound time.’ My work is accelerated in ways that a day feels like a year and the stakes are incredibly high. In addition, the additional ‘asks’ at home such as re-working routines, finding food for 6 in these times, caring for peoples’ emotional needs and worrying about family and friends all over the world, actually has me quite exhausted. What I do plan to do during this time is play the long game of mental wellbeing and learning to ride the wave for when we are ‘back to better.’”

Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

“Meditation and open discussion. We talked about what we are grieving the loss of and how ‘Comparative suffering’ (see Brene Brown podcast) is a trap we don’t want to fall into. We’re now cultivating a daily practice of gratitude – for being together, for being healthy (so far), for having a garden and sunshine, etc.”

Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

“I do think the ‘Back to better’ will include accelerated advancement in working from home, location agnostic workforce and gig working, telemedicine and other healthcare advances and a newfound gratitude for the simple things in life.”

Former makeup artist Bobbi Brown and founder of new wellbeing brand Evolution18.com on her coping strategies and her current passion for cleaning during lockdown.

How are you right now? How do you feel?

“Right now, I’m great. I just used a new Dyson vacuum and it really works. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time cleaning these days. In general though, I’m really okay. Some moments are better than others, but I’m trying to be positive, and I have many reasons to be grateful.”

What’s happening business-wise amidst the Corona Crisis?

“It’s definitely an interesting time. Our retail EVOLUTION_18 sales are definitely not as strong as they were, but they are doing better than we expected. And as a silver lining, our direct-to-consumer business is doing quite well. People are focusing on their health at home now more than ever.”

Bobbi brown catching up with her team on Zoom
Bobbi catching up with her team on Zoom
What are you most worried about currently?

“I’m most worried about the health of people I love. I’m also incredibly concerned about all the people that don’t have food to feed their families and money to pay rent.”

What are your coping strategies?

“Every morning and evening, I go on a walk and call a friend, a ritual that I find lends itself to deeper connection with loved ones who I haven’t spoken with as often as I would’ve liked.

Recently I called my dad, who continuously inspires me. He reminded me that it’s all about perspective. So I’ve been choosing positivity. I’m staying hydrated, moving my body, taking breaks from my phone, adding a scoop of EVOLUTION_18 Collagen Powder $24, to my smoothies, and enjoying this family time. And of course, I love to make a clean cocktail at night with vodka and green juice to calm down.”

What are your priorities currently?

“Right now at home, my priorities are to take care of my health, take care of my family, keep up with the laundry and housework, and meet with my team over Zoom. I’m also staying open to any opportunity that comes my way—especially to spread positivity and help people adjust to these times.”

Evolution 18 beauty collagen
Evolution_18 Beauty Collagen
Personally how are you managing your wellbeing and that of your family?

“If I’m in a funk or a bad mood, I try to shake it. I’m definitely trying to help my family by keeping the house clean (though I know I’m actually driving them crazy) and putting food on the table.”

Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this for you? A silver lining perhaps?

“There’s definitely less overall angst or stress about obligations. Everything has been taken down a notch. I’m also spending quality time with my family, which is always a plus. When social distancing ends, I’m not jumping right back into the same routine. I’m taking these lessons with me.”

Evolution-18 is available at Boots.com in the UK and evolution18.com

Tell us about your work…

“I’m the Chief Marketing Officer of Chili’s Grill and Bar based in Dallas, TX.  I love getting to think about making people happy every day.  My email subject lines often involve Margaritas and baby back ribs.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I’m married to a corporate pilot and have two sons, 8 and 5, plus a dog, Bo, and a fish called Dory.  We live in the ‘burbs outside Dallas.  I love to cook, read, travel, plan parties, and binge watch TV with my husband (after the kids are in bed).  We spend weekends (non-quarantine) at the pool, gym or ballpark.  Our families live far away, so we count on our nanny to help us.”

What is your normal day-to-day life like?

“Usually, we get the two boys off to school (Shoes! Teeth! Backpack!) and traverse the one hour commute to the office.  I talk (hands-free) on the drive to make the most of it.  Usually meetings all day, back to back at the office including working lunch.  I have about 8 hrs of meetings a day, varying from leadership team to agency recommendations/decisions to coaching and 1:1s.  There are lots of decisions.  The drive home is another hour.  Then begins dinner, bath and bed – usually our nanny will have helped with homework and to straighten up the boys’ spaces.”

Ellie Doty multitasking in her new home office
What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID-19?

“The morning routine is much more chill – my husband and I usually both have calls beginning around 8, so we take them while the boys are on devices and eating breakfast. Then we tag-team homeschool in between obligations as best we can.  Truthfully, he does most of it.  I still haven’t figured out how to access all the portals.  Plus our 8-year old is dyslexic and has ADHD, so he needs lots of breaks.

All the usual routines are off as we are in survival mode (with me in restaurants, him in aviation).  I have put in place daily video chats with my team to stay connected.  I like having no commute though.”

How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

“Professionally we have been hit hard with restaurant dining rooms closed – that’s significant revenue loss.  Same for corporate aviation which has ground to a halt.  We’ve had a few ‘state of the union’ convos, refocussing on a new budget and new savings horizon. 

Personally, it has been delightful to be with my children and husband more than usual though.  We have been swimming and cooking almost every day, which fuels me up!”

What are you finding challenging?

“Managing fear and uncertainty for myself, especially in isolation.  Being fuelled by interaction with other humans, it’s a big change to me to lead from afar.  I also find leading others in fear and isolation a new challenge.  I’m working on practicing transparency, vulnerability and community – which still works even now.  The biggest one has got to be HOMESCHOOLING though!”

Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“It is encouraging to see how easily and quickly we come together in a dramatically new normal.  It gives me hope that no matter how this ends up going, we’ll be changed for the better on the other side.  Particularly, at the restaurants, there are millions of stories of the ‘helpers’ – teams helping guests, guests helping teams, and teams helping each other.” 

What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

“I actually miss going to the office – this life with no commute, time to cook and time with my kids has long been a fantasy of mine. But, man, it’s hard to get the sort of work done I need to without being in person with the team – it’s dozens of people and millions of dollars.  Those cats are easier to herd in person.  Also the gym.  Which I usually dread.”

How are you getting through? What are your coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you are finding particularly uplifting right now?

“Well, if I said a vodka drink at 5pm, would you judge me?  Seriously though, my husband and I have been coping by getting those household tasks you always put off , done (my closet looks amazing) which is super satisfying.  Music is helping too – whether peaceful Hawaiian to help everyone chill out, Edith Piaf for cooking, or loud pop hits for a kitchen dance party, there’s nothing like some tunes to shift the mindset.  Oh, and all those built-in speakers are now functional thanks to coping tool #1.”

What is your mindset about how to use your time at home? (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

“A little bit of all three.  The hustle was ON in the first couple weeks when we could barely break away from our phones as one blow after another hit restaurants and aviation.  Now, we are feeling grateful every day for the gift of time – with each other, with the boys, with our home.  In some ways, it is exactly the sort of full stop needed to kill the inertia of life’s obligations.  Like a flood or a forest fire, life is now ALL about the important things like togetherness with your immediate people, creative nourishment, and quiet ways to care for yourself.”

Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing? and that of your family

“I’ve noticed a real difference in the way extroversion and introversion preferences show up right now.  As an extrovert, I need social interaction for my wellbeing so I have been very proactive about reaching out, facetime happy hours, Zoom birthday songs, just checking-in texts.  But I hear from my introverted friends that they are in heaven! “

Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining?

“YES.  A dramatic reprioritization of what matters and how to show up for others. Perhaps this ‘crisis like collaboration’ will help us find the muscles to accomplish other things together like environmental protection.  It forms a case study for government in action (across all countries and states) that may open our eyes to previous rhetoric, bias and advocacy.  And, for me, on a small scale, it is such a gift to have this much time with my boys at these ages.  I feel like we are making memories we never would have made otherwise (in a good way).”

As a medical physician at Houston Methodist hospital Anh Nguyen is working shifts in the emergency department. Here she tells 35 Thousand how it has changed her life so far.

Tell us about your work…

“I’m an emergency medicine physician in Houston, Texas. I work for Houston Methodist Hospital, the best hospital in Texas for many years running. I love my job. I get to take care of the sickest patients, work with inspiring colleagues, and make a difference in the community.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I live with my husband and our 2-year old daughter. We love traveling and being active.”

What is your normal day to day life like?

“Work, reading, crossfit, playing with Kennedy. We love outdoor activities such as hiking and going to the park. We dine out often and we try to travel once every 2 months.”

What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID 19?

“Work has ramped up significantly with COVID- 19. In addition to shifts in the Emergency Department, I am working with my colleagues to update processes to prioritize staff and treat critical patients.

We spend many hours researching treatments and clinical recommendations as our knowledge on this disease evolves daily. I also work remotely from home doing telemedicine.”

Anh Nguyen at home
Anh at home with her daughter
How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

“It’s profoundly impacted every minute of my life both at work and at home. At work, being on edge all the time is very mentally draining and exhausting. I am constantly trying not to infect myself and my family members.

At home, it’s nice to all be together, but we all feel severely limited in our movements and activities, especially with a two-year old. We know that we are among the lucky ones to still have jobs and our health, so we try to keep things in perspective. On the bright side, this is the most time we’ve ever spent continuously together.”

What are you finding challenging?

“Everything. Figuring out how to work from home, managing my anxiety, and amusing my toddler.”

Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“In all the helpers all in society – everyone is making huge sacrifices. There is nobody that has not been negatively affected by this in one way or another, but so many people have reached out to volunteer their time and efforts to support those of us on the front line.

I really appreciate small businesses donating products and food to help out healthcare workers even though their businesses are taking a huge economic hit.”

How are you getting through?

“Exercise and leaning on friends and family. I also treat myself with sweets and a glass of wine every day.”

What is your mindset about how to use your time at home? Do you hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time or dive into unexplored creative pursuits?

“I have had actually way less free time as my daughter is home all day (she usually spends a lot of time with her grandparents and has her usual classes and activities). When she gets to bed, I try to write. I actually wrote a children’s book on how she must be feeling at this time.”

Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

“We try to compartmentalize and dedicate time each day to be “COVID- 19 conversation-free.” We figure out what we can control and focus on that. We exercise together and play together. Kennedy has never had more new toys in her life.

For myself, I try to reach out to my friends and colleagues if even to video chat for 10 minutes. I also try to journal, if I have time.”

Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

“The speed of research and collaboration with doctors and scientists internationally is nothing short of incredible. We have never had access to this much data instantly. I have learnt so much from our global colleagues in China, Italy, NYC, etc. We are all using social media and groups as a way to disseminate knowledge and commiserate with each other. We are truly all in the same boat, and we all believe we will get through this together.”

Laura Beckford is the founder of the wellness supplement brand Supernova Living. Here, she speaks about how the Corona crisis has impacted her daily life.

Tell us about your work…

“I’m a mother and a wife firstly, which has become quite obvious during this time (!)

I also founded Ology Kids Casting, a specialists children’s casting and modelling agency, which I run with my brother; in more recent years, I founded Supernova Living, a holistic vegan wellness company. 

I made a conscious decision when I left working as a TV presenter, age 24, to spend the majority of my time living my passion. With Ology Kids Casting, I adore giving children money-can’t-buy experiences on TV commercials, modelling for international brands such as Burberry, Marks and Spencer, Boden etc, appearing in feature films, soaps, on Netflix and doing voiceovers for Disney and Nickelodeon animations. 

As my family and knowledge grew, my passion for wellness was elevated and I made the decision to start Supernova Living. I have always had a deep interest in holistic wellness and the power of plants – I studied homeopathy in my early twenties, my dad is a Reiki master and my aunt in a naturopath, so health has always been a priority in my family. I am obsessed with self-optimisation and prioritising wellness for my family and now also others, to help as many people as possible get the very best out of living.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I have two children, age six and seven, have been married for almost 10 years, we have a dog called Buddy and have chickens which we hatched one Easter and kept in a bath in the kitchen for weeks! (My children have been vegan since then). We live in the countryside between Manchester and Liverpool, surrounded by fields. We’re currently expanding our vegetable patch as I get such a kick out of having no food in the fridge yet being able to make a delicious dinner from the garden, (mostly in summer though.)

I love yoga and regularly play tennis at the local club and also love cycling to the woods for total relaxation. I’m trying to get into running while in lockdown as it’s great for some headspace and I pop a Goop podcast on to take my mind off my exploding heart.”

What is your normal day to day life like?

“Normally we get up at 6am for school on weekdays, and I always make time for a great breakfast for the kids. Nutrition is my priority. I grab a Supernova with rice milk in my Supernova Can and take them to school. I always listen to a podcast on the way back to focus and inspire me and then either head to the gym for a class to workout or to a meeting in Manchester. I’ll either go home to work for a few more hours on emails, marketing, sales, social media or new product development, then I try to pick the kids up several times a week, but having to leave at 2.30pm makes it a short day.

My husband is amazing and splits the childcare completely. If I get the kids, I will take them to their after school activities such as tennis, horse riding, swimming, netball, karate and football – it’s relentless. I then make dinner and do homework – standard mum stuff. We’ll both put them to bed and I will then work again until 11/12pm to get all emails, accounts, invoicing, etc done. I try to meditate before bed but I usually just fall asleep.”

What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVD 19?

“There are no commercials or work from Ology and my husband who is a Sky Sports commentator has no work either. We are always at home together,  so that’s the same but I love that we now don’t set an alarm. The kids still get up early but not until 7-7.30am which is a dream and much-needed. We then don’t rush or worry but get ready for Joe Wicks PE at 9am, which is great structured and positive way to start the day.

We take it in turns to ‘home school’ and have set up a mini time table. I’ve always thought I’d like to home school (theoretically) so I want to make sure I do as I have always visualised! I try to do meditation with them, some gratitude journals, yoga, and LOTS of outdoor learning; practical learning. We have some lesson plans from school so I use them as a guide and get creative from there. I did start to ‘work’ with them with my laptop but it didn’t work.

I want them to look back on this experience with fond memories and for them to feel that I was really present and engaged with them. I’m so used to saying: “one minute”, and being so busy doing something else and I don’t want them to feel that they’re not my priority. When Jermaine is teaching them I go to my office and try to be as productive as possible with work for a few hours. We then ‘play’ in the afternoons: the kids are so happy to have us both do this with them and I have to try and not feel guilty for it. I know the business won’t grow as much as it would have done in the next few months but my family is my priority and I have to try and accept that it’s ok, which is difficult if you’re as ambitious as I am!

We play boules, go for bike rides, have treasure hunts in the garden, go down the lane, have football matches, play tennis, make obstacle courses for the dog and we’re trying to do some serious restructuring of the vegetable patch. We’re far more relaxed on bedtime but I do still work most evenings to catch up. It sounds idyllic when I read that back but trust me it’s difficult.”

Laura Beckford founder of Supernova Living
Laura Beckford, founder of Supernova Living
How has COVID 19 impacted you personally and professionally?

“Jermaine’s work has completely stopped – with no football to commentate on – and we’re both self-employed, so like many, finances have been slashed. It is a worry for everyone but we’re seeing this time as something to be grateful for. If it wasn’t insisted upon, we wouldn’t be spending so much quality time all together and it has forced me to work less.

Personally I feel it’s almost a God-send , as I was working too much and it has been a real realisation that the business won’t crash and fall if I don’t work on it for 100 hours a week.

I also needed to refocus on my husband and children as I was pretty much just a machine prior to this, which wasn’t good. Ironically we’re getting along better than we ever have, perhaps because it’s a crisis and we’re working together more.

Professionally, with very little work coming through Ology, has given me more time to refocus on Supernova where sales are doing well. It’s a strange split as gyms and independent stores have shut and therefore are not ordering and some customers are cutting back and cancelling subscriptions. However the stores who sell online are doing well and our online sales are great too as so many people are starting to prioritise their health. It’s also making me be a little more proactive and creative in connecting with people to raise awareness for the brand. This is important as we have some exciting NP hopefully, launching towards the end of the year.”

What are you finding challenging?

“Getting the balance right: I want to be totally focused on teaching the children but it’s difficult with a business to run. When I’m working I feel guilty that I’m not there for the kids. Then there are the three meals day; it’s the same usual balancing/juggling act but with them at home 24/7 it’s more difficult. I can always hear one of them screaming that they’ve banged their knee or that the other one has more grapes, etc, etc

I am finding the ‘not knowing’ the biggest challenge; and we were looking forward to a friend’s wedding in France in the summer. I want to plan details and events for the business and new products but can’t as we don’t know when everything will be ‘back to normal.’ 

I’m just trying to enjoy this interim period of connectiveness but I know (like everyone) that lack of income will start to become more of a problem in the coming weeks/months.”

Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“I believe with certain acts and rituals like good nutrition, exercise, gratitude, not listening to the news too much, and a positive mindset, we can create our own happiness to some level, so I do still try to prioritise these.

I try to be super optimistic and I have had quite a few ‘talks’ with friends to help put them back in a positive mind space in the last few weeks. I am so grateful for what I have – the space, all my family, our health and happiness. 

Supernova Living is doing well still and I have balance back in my life which was desperately needed. The fact this has happened in spring means there are sunny days and more to come. There is also so much support from other companies and the media business-wise, and I love that we’re all connecting more and helping each other. I’ve been reaching out to other small businesses to see how we can collaborate and support each other. 

I feel we need to try to see all this as a positive – nothing will come of us viewing any situation with anger, resentment and negativity. It will only cause illness and depression in ourselves. This crisis will create a heightened awareness for the importance of our health and happiness and people will hopefully start to prioritise that. I hope it will reconnect everyone, extended families, partners, as we play silly games on House Party and do Tik Tok dances together.

We will be so grateful in the future to go to the park or beach or for a dinner party, to hug friends at the school gates and to have a whole six hours to work in peace whilst the kids are at school!”

What do you miss about life before COVID that you never thought you would?

“Going to the beach, the gym; hugging friends and family. Being able to order anything on demand and logging onto the Ocado app! Freedom of choice, I think.”

How are you getting through? What are your coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you are finding particularly uplifting right now?

“Yes, lots: body brushing and ending the shower with freezing cold water for 30 seconds to 1 minute every morning. It’s hell for a minute but so invigorating and I always feel great after I’ve done it. Making sure I actually get dressed and ready for the day.

I have Supernova WOMAN 01 every morning, which instantly lifts my mood and energy and changes my ‘state’. 

I try to have some level of routine, and a check list to keep me focused so I feel a sense of achievement, even if it’s clearing my wardrobe or checking in on friends. 

I love the Headspace app, which I always use – if the kids or work or both are driving me insane, I just sneak off and put that one for 15 minutes. Stuart Sandeman has some great free breathwork classes on Instagram live, too which are insane. 

I get out on my own every day – I’m try to ‘run’ most days with a Goop Podcast on. To be honest it’s a gentle jog / power walk but I always feel great after it. I’m also starting to go on bike rides too. 

I’m spending more time cooking and baking, rather than just throwing a few bits together, I’m enjoying taking more time and getting the kids involved and making delicious meals.”

What is your mindset about how to use your time at home? (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

“I personally flit between all three. I certainly don’t have more time. I have definitely had to reprioritise the time I have and work has taken more of a backseat as I would hate for the kids to look back at this part of history and say “mummy just worked.”

I am trying to make time to read – which I never did – and I’m definitely spending more quality time with the kids, but my passion is my business so I will always want to spend lots of time on developing that too. We have such exciting plans and new products coming out so I am trying to work on the creative side and get the kids involved too. I certainly won’t come out of this speaking Mandarin and I have yet to ‘Marie Kondo’ our wardrobes but if my business is still doing OK, the laundry is done, my marriage is still intact and my kids have said it was THE best time, then I will be happy.”

Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

“I try to always be conscious. We are in control of our minds and it’s a technique to master as it’s so dangerous to let it ‘run wild’ as there are too many negative influences that can easily turn your happiness upside down. I do try to meditate and encourage my kids to do so too. If they prioritise their peace at an early age I think it’s such an incredible tool for life. 

Wellbeing is my passion and priority and self-optimisation, is why I love my work so much.

I ensure we all exercise every day, usually twice, as that immediately increases our vibrations, energy levels and endorphins. 

I use fresh produce a lot – I make fresh juices every day and make lots of vegetable curries, soups and salads. We take Supernova Life Powders every day to maximise our nutritional intake with organic adaptogens to reduce stress and boost immunity. 

We try not to watch the news too much which is a major part of my happiness. We subscribe to The Happy Newspaper and use it as part of the kids’ reading. 

I also ensure my husband and I have some time out to ourselves each day for our sanity.”

Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this – a silver lining?

“I genuinely feel we will be more grateful, be more connected as a community and families. I think (and hope) people will have more awareness and prioritise their health and their immunity. Creatives will be more productive, having to adapt and think outside of the box.

I think, most importantly, that people will have some kind of an awakening, whether it’s to leave their jobs and start their own business, rebalance their work/life roles, focus on their health, or change heir relationships. I think with most having more time on their hands they will have to ‘look within’ instead of burying their heads and running away from whatever issues they have. This can only be a good thing. Enlightenment will ensue.”

supernovaliving.com

Jennifer Trejo is a naturopath whose company, The Abundant Life Wellness Centre in Fort Worth, Texas, offers advanced, natural health services, She educates her clients about how to live a healthier and more holistic lifestyle. Here, Jennifer talks to 35 Thousand about telemedicine appointments,the joy of unexpected time with her family and why it’s a tough time for naturally ‘huggy’ people right now.

Q: Tell us about your work

A: “I own Abundant Life Wellness Center in Fort Worth, Texas.  I am a Naturopath and love helping people find solutions to their chronic health conditions.”

Q: What’s your context outside of work?

A: “I have been married for 18 years and have a 17 year old daughter and a 13 year old son.  We have two cats, two horses and one tortoise.  We live in Fort Worth and I love to read, spend time with my family and serve at my church.” 

Q: What is your normal day-to-day life like?

A: “I work Monday through Thursday at my wellness center seeing clients and leading my staff.  Evenings are spent going to my children’s activities, overseeing homework and having long talks with teenagers (if they feel like talking that is.)  Fridays are when I take care of myself and do administrative duties for my practice.  Weekends are reserved for family and church.”

Q: What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID-19?

“I am offering both in-office and telemedicine appointments for my clients due to the virus.   And after I have worked all day, I now get to go home and help to homeschool my children so that is unexpected!  They are older so it definitely could be worse; I am grateful I don’t have to homeschool elementary-aged children.  Not having to rush to sporting events or school meetings after work has also been a big change.”

Q: How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

A: “It has impacted our family travel plans personally.  We had an 11 night Italy and Greece cruise planned for the summer so that will definitely not be happening.  My children are sad that they can’t see their friends whenever they like.  Professionally, my staff have had to stop providing certain services but other services have increased greatly so there has been a balance. 

I have not had to lay off any full time staff – I have been creative with assigning work duties but no one has lost their jobs.  I have an amazing staff and they are willing to do what it takes to serve our clients.”

Q: What are you finding challenging?

A: “Helping my son with 7th grade math!”

Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?

A: “In less than 18 months, my daughter will be leaving for university, so before all of this, I was trying to savor every moment I could get with her.  Now, I have her undivided attention so much more.  We cook at home more than we did before, and we have more time for family game nights which I love.”

Q: What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

A: “I am a natural hugger; I hug most of my clients, my staff and my friends.  I can only hug my immediate family now. It feels uncomfortable for me to say goodbye to many people and be unable to give them a hug.  Physical touch can be so healing to many people.”

Q: How are you getting through and what are your coping strategies?

“My Christian faith is what is getting me through.  I have always had a morning quiet time with the Lord before my day started but now I have an extended time to help calm my mind before the craziness of the day hits.   I love to listen to praise and worship music and pray on my drive to work because it gets my mind and spirit in the right place.”

Q: “What is your mindset about how to use your time at home (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, or dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)”

A: “I am being productive because my practice will be moving this Summer to a larger space that will include adding more services.  My family will be selling our home and moving about 45 minutes away to a new home.  So this time has been a Godsend to be able to brainstorm and get organized for the many changes coming later this year.”

Q: Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

A: “If there is a glimpse of sun outside, we make sure we are walking or playing outdoors.  Exercise and fresh air does wonders for our mind and wellbeing.  I am also ensuring my family is supplementing with immune boosting nutrients like healthy food, Vitamin D, C, Zinc and probiotics.  Getting plenty of sleep and exercise is also invaluable to our wellbeing.”

A: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus, are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

A: “I have much more family time that I truly never thought I would have at this stage of our lives.  Our pace of life is slow and sweet and I am so thankful for that.”

The Abundant Life wellness Centre

Kelli Valade is a Dallas-based CEO within the restaurant industry. She talks to 35 Thousand about how her world has changed in lockdown, from the management of her team to virtual Happy Hours and the coming together of her neighbourhood.

Q:Tell us about your work…

A: “I’m currently the CEO and President of Black Box Intelligence. We are the leading provider of data, analytics and insights for the restaurant industry. Our portfolio of products are used by restaurant operating companies to drive superior performance. Prior to joining Black Box Intelligence in 2019, I spent 22 years at Brinker International.  My last position was COO and President of Chili’s Grill and Bar. I am passionate about restaurants and I am passionate about helping those that work in, and support restaurants.”

Q: What’s your context outside of work?

A: “I grew up in Upstate NY, though I have lived in Dallas Texas for the last 27 years. 

 I am a mother to two awesome children, Morgan, a 19-year old freshman at OU #boomersooner and Christian, a high school junior.  My husband Don has been my partner in life for over 26 years; we have been married for over 21.  We have an awesome Golden Doodle named Lucy, who is particularly curious about post COVID-19 life, wondering why we are all home so much, and in general is just loving the extra attention. My hobbies are working out, especially attending hot yoga classes, cooking Italian food, and binge-watching fixer upper shows on HGTV.  I believe that I have a knack for design, though I have no formal training, but I have flipped a couple of houses . When we travel, and we do a lot (or at least we used to), we divide our time between new places and countries we have never been to before, and our second home in Boston’s North End.”

Q: What is your normal day-to-day life like?

A: “My normal day-to-day was leading and managing our Dallas-based company.  My focus has been on taking a founder and family-owned company to the next level to realize our full potential in the marketplace.  I spend my time driving innovation, leveraging strategic partnerships with our restaurant clients, speaking at industry events, and helping others understand industry trends, insights and best practices.

My new normal is doing some of the same, but my time is now being spent thinking about what our business will look like post COVID-19. Because the restaurant industry has been hit hard, so have we.  I used to travel about 25-30% of the time, speak at a dozen or so industry events a year, and teach/coach on leadership topics. That has all changed and it looks like I will have the summer off, like many others.  My day is now spent thinking about how government funding can help my company and the restaurant industry. I had to lay off a third of our team, only after exhausting all other measures to keep us financially viable and sustainable.  It was heart-breaking, but it was a decision that had to be made.

We’ve also used this time to offer our assistance to the industry at large, and we have been very busy trying to answer questions and help our customers who are in desperate situations. We are now running our data and reports for free, and letting customers defer their payments to us, in hopes that they remember us when this is all over.  It’s a risk, and I can only hope I am making the right decisions for our future. Aside from my team, the recovery of the restaurant industry is my first priority. It’s an industry I have always loved, and I have never appreciated it more.”

Q:How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

A: “Personally, and as a mom, I am a natural worrier when it comes to my family.  I have become pretty fanatical about handwashing, and cleaning products.  I have also tried to follow ‘Shelter in Place’ 100% because that is the way I believe we will stay safe, and because I believe it is our responsibility in doing the right thing. I have been at odds with family and friends at times, and that has been difficult.  I am also a rule follower, and these are the rules, so I will follow them and hope it creates order in a time of chaos. That said, this is one of the scariest things I have ever experienced, and I hate it. I hate it so much, and I want someone to tell me with certainty that everything is going to be ok.   I’d also prefer it if that same person can tell me exactly WHEN we will be okay .  Until then, I am not ok, and every day there is a black cloud that I see above us all.

Professionally, I bounce back and forth.  I think I know what my company needs from me, and I have a job to do, and that brings me energy.  It doesn’t bring me satisfaction, but there is energy for it and urgency.  I also believe the most important thing I can do right now is provide a steady and compassionate hand.  Leading with purpose has never been more important, and that same purpose is being tested and questioned every day, but it is the only way.   I’ve tried to stay calm, even when I don’t feel calm.  My leadership team has been there for me, and done an amazing job of being courageous and taking care of their teams.  I am grateful and learning from them every day. 

No one has a playbook, and no one has the answers, but I am grateful for the friends and leaders in my life that are giving me strength.  I’ve also learned to do wellness checks with people on the team – I learned that from one of my leaders, and it has been helpful.    Finally, like everyone else that is now working from home, we are finding ways to stay connected beyond the typical conference call. We’re doing Zoom meetings and finding ways to “see each other”.  We’ve even done Zoom Happy Hours as a team. Connection is so important right now, and seeing people faces on a screen makes you feel at least a little connected.  I also started doing virtual Happy Hours with peers in the industry and friends – it has helped to know I am not alone. “

Q: What are you finding challenging?

A: “The uncertainty; the fear for my own safety and the fear that people that I love could be hurt.”

kelli valade
Kelly in work mode pre COVID-19
Q: Where are you finding hope and optimism?

A: “In addition to the above, I am finding hope and optimism in talking to others. In some cases, I am reaching out to those that may have stronger faith than me.  Leaning on folks that process things completely differently than me, has been helpful.”

Q: What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you would?

A: “I DO NOT miss my long commute to my office every day, but I miss the time to think and listen to music, and think about the day ahead. I miss NOT worrying to this degree.”

Q: How are you getting through?

A: “I have tried to stick to my routines as much as possible. I still get up early, even though I have saved 2 hours a day in commuting.  I get up now at 6 am and work out, which is a whole hour later than I used to get up, so I appreciate that.  My daily workouts and yoga are critical for me.  It’s also been critical I get “dressed” for work each day; though I am certainly not getting dressed in the same way – yoga pants are the daily uniform for me right now, and make-up is definitely NOT happening, unless I am on a Zoom call.”

Q: There is a new part of my routine that has emerged since all of this started….

A: “Once I am done working out, I sit on my front porch and try to just breathe for a minute. The mornings are quiet, and the weather’s been beautiful…It’s a chance to try and still my mind and thoughts.   Every day, however, feels exactly the same. The same potential is there for it to be a great day, but the potential isn’t really there…not now anyway.  And I find it ironic – in the quiet of the morning, you can’t feel the fear, and the chaos and the deaths. The sun keeps shining, and there’s another day upon us, another day full of potential. Yet how can that be?”

Q: What is your mindset about how to use your time at home? (Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits?)

A: “What a great question. I have many days tried to think about what I should be learning from this time, or what other things I should accomplish with this extra time.  Hug my kids more? Definitely.  Clean my closet out and donate my clothes?  Done. Read that book that’s on my nightstand? Not yet .   Beyond that, I’m also kind of exhausted most days and I feel like I am doing ok, just sticking to those few things. That’s a big enough list for any of us right now. 

We have, though, started doing puzzles and formalizing movie and game nights as a family, and I am proud of how my family has come together to connect and just talk.  My kids have inspired me more than anyone else. They are young adults with their own opinions, and they too are having to adjust, yet they have been concerned for me and tried to be extra helpful right now; I have truly never been more proud of them. 

Additionally, I have made closer connections with those in my neighbourhood.  We have shopped for each other, had social hour sitting in our driveways and watched people up and down our streets come out to say hello and be seen.  I believe profoundly right now, that “being seen” is one of the most powerful things you can do for someone else right now.”

Q: Personally how are you managing your mind and well being for your family?

A: “Walks, and workouts.  Everyone in my family is working out more, and walking together when we can. “

Q: Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this  – a silver lining perhaps?

A: “The silver lining is the time with my family, and not taking things for granted. I believe we will forever be changed for going through this, and I believe that in some crazy way, that is the lesson that we are supposed to take away.  “Be different for getting through this, slow down after this and make the most of everything you have.  You have it good”.

From lie-ins to home office hustling and family meals together, Nicola Elliott, founder of Neom Organics talks about how Covid19 has affected her family and her business at this difficult time.

Tell us about your work

“I founded Neom Organics in 2005 and I still own it, working as creative director.”

What is your context outside of work? (Do you have family, pets, where do you live, hobbies, commitments)

“I have 2 kids (9 and 12) and 2 dogs. I live in the countryside, in Harrogate in the UK and my hobby is… ferrying kids around!”

What is your normal day to day life like?

“Head office is Harrogate but I’m in London every week. We have an office and team there and I have many meetings so I stay over most weeks.”

What is your day-to day life like now currently during COVID-19?

“Lockdown comes with ups and downs. I lie in a bit longer, I enjoy a slightly slower pace of life and eating every lunch and dinner together makes it seems far less hamster wheel-esque. However, I’m still working pretty hard so being in my home office for hours is tough and not being able to unwind with friends or change the scenery.  I’ll be happy when these things start again.”

nicola elliot neom home office during lockdown
Nicola at-home in her office during lockdown
How has it impacted you personally and professionally?

“We are selling via online channels now as our shops have had to close, of course, so it means changing quite a lot in the business. We don’t know what’s coming (like everyone), or when, so it’s really hard to plan in business. I say plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

What are you finding challenging?

“Not seeing my sister and mum.”

Where are you finding hope and optimism?

“Everywhere. I genuinely believe what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I’m loving the sense of community and kindness that we are seeing, personally and through the brand. Our tribe are getting involved at NeomOrganics.com so much – be that through meditations, Work out Wednesday, paying forward kindness, nights in with Neom… it’s just a lovely vibe.”

What do you miss about life before COVID19 that you never thought you would?

“Driving around.”

How are you getting through – what are your coping strategies?

“Taking regular breaks from my home office, trying to stay out of the lounge until evenings so it seems like a different zone, home workouts, and not putting too much pressure on myself to home school!”

nicola elliot neom wellbeing pod
The Neom Wellbeing Pod, is an essential oil aromatherapy diffuser, from $100
What is your mindset about how to use your time at home? Hustle harder with newfound time, be still and soak up the gift of time, dive into unexplored creative pursuits…?

“Bit of all of the above. I keep thinking I’ll get a veg patch going (I’ve bought the books on Amazon) but not sure. I’m enjoying the extra hour in bed. Oh and I’ve bought some pink hair dye, if I don’t do it now I never will.

I’ve got a weekly fish delivery, as well as meat, veg, The Mindful Chef and milk man just in case one goes down! And I enjoy cooking anyway but we are definitely eating well (and more!)”

Personally how are you managing your mind and wellbeing and that of your family?

“Pretty well to be honest – you’ve got to be pragmatic. Giving back and doing what you can for others helps, I think. Taking care of your basic wellbeing needs is absolutely crucial – fresh air, eating well, moving, taking that bath every night and taking time to reset is so important. My Neom Wellbeing Pod is in overdrive, obviously.”

Despite all the negatives and the brutality of the virus are there positives you feel are coming out of this – a silver lining?

“I think we’re having our eyes opened to a new pace of life and how that needs to change, plus how we need to heal the environment and connect with community more.”

neomorganics.com

We asked 35 Thousand founder Misty Reich about herself, this website and what else lies in store.

Tell us about yourself in a few sentences…

“I’m a Texan living in London, a Town and Country girl. I’m a wife, mom, Christian, animal lover. I’m a coach, CEO/Entrepreneur and board member.”

Tell us about 35 Thousand…

“35 Thousand is about the intersection of women building careers and fulfilling lives and travelling.  Juggling all of those things is so hard, and when it works, it is so so rewarding.

We also aim to support women on their journey to juggle all of this by developing products that make it all easier and more beautiful, and create a community where we can share the ups and downs and all the tricks to make it work.”

How did you come up with the idea for the brand?

“I realised that I am not the only one struggling with life on the road, career and life outside of work.  Throughout my career I have spoken with so many women who are so talented but not going for the big jobs because it all looks too daunting- they don’t see how their personal aspirations can gel with their career goals so career gets sacrificed and I don’t think that is right. 

If we can collectively share our hacks and improve the tools and resources available to women who are out there trying to make it happen I believe we can make a difference in terms of women staying and climbing higher on the ladder. Ultimately we want to see more women fulfil their potential, in career and beyond.”

35 thousand misty reich
Misty Reich (Image by Annalisa Burello)
What role will the website play in this aspiration?

“We love a lot of different things: Beauty, Wellness, Career Inspo, and travel, and there are loads of great resources out there for each of those things but there’s not a place where all of them come together with us (career gals) in mind.

Our hope is that the website becomes a destination for all of us to find stories of women who have made it to where we want to go, and understand some of the detail behind how they did it.  35 Thousand is a lifestyle/travel/beauty/career mash up that we have been looking for.”

What can we discover on the site?

Inspirational stories of women who are juggling all the things and insight into how exactly they are doing it.

Information to help you navigate more successfully, safely and beautifully

Product recommendations that are tested and proven by gals on the road.”

What for you is a must-read?

“The ‘How She Carries On’ section – I will never tire of learning from other women.”

Who’s in your team?

“We have a small but mighty team and some of the agency best partners in the business

You’re a business coach – what’s the best piece of advice you could ever give?

“I don’t know if it is the best single piece of advice but something people would probably say they hear a lot from me:

You are good. You have opportunities, weaknesses and challenges, but get in line behind the rest of us because we all do!  The trick is to figure out the best coping mechanisms to keep your opportunity areas/weaknesses from derailing you, put them in place and then move on. Stop obsessing about what you aren’t good at and go spend all of your energy building your strengths into towering strengths.”

What is next to come from the brand?

“We have been working since October 2017 to research a very special set of products that will make our experience as women on the road more beautiful and effortless.  Watch this space!”

Main image credits from top left: Sunglasses Finlay & Co, MemoBottle, Chanel Les 4 Ombres in 354 Warm Memories, Gogi Collection Wireless Bluetooth headphones in Rosegold, travel wallet – stylist’s own, perfume Frederic Malle Potrtrait of a Lady.

Rosemary Ferguson is a model, author and nutritional therapist. Here, she talks us through how she manages life on the go.

PART ONE

PRO TRAVEL TIPS
What luggage do you travel with?  

“I use an Eastpak holdall and a vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase. It’s a mix of functionality and being chic(ish)” 

What do you use for hand luggage?  

“I use either a Nike rucksack or my Smythson tote bag. I can fit everything in there – travel documents, liquids, blanket, socks, you name it!” 

What’s in your carry-on/ hand luggage that you never leave home without? 

“I can’t leave without my wide range of tinctures, face oils, serums and bag of hydrating beauty. Some of which include a lovely Contour Lift Effect, Dewy Glow Botanical Oil by Orveda $225.00. I also love Penny Frances Apothecary who has a lovely Rose Geranium and Hibiscus flower Botanical mist $29 which is perfect for instant hydration. I am also a big fan of Augustinus Bader‘s The Rich Cream.” 

rosemary ferguson is a big fan of augustinus bader's the rich cream
Rosemary is a big fan of Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream, $265

What’s your approach to eating on travel day?  

“Depending on the time of travel, I make sure food leading up to my flight is hydrating, full of fibre to keep things moving and rich in protein, fats and vegetables as opposed to carbs. I think this is really important as travelling is quite sedentary.” 

What’s your approach to skincare when travelling and flying? 

“HYDRATE. Drink plenty of water throughout the flight. I always take a hydrating serum and face oil especially on long haul and apply that to keep my skin hydrated and feeling fresh, before I land.” 

How do you approach your wardrobe on the road?  

“I’m not the sort of person who has new outfits every day. I always plan what I’m going to wear but make sure that shoes can be worn with a few outfits, and that also goes for jumpers, vests and T-shirts. I always  take jewellery to accessorize.” 

What do you wear to travel? 

“I tend to always wear a good pair of jeans and a classic black t-shirt or vest and some black ballet pumps. I also always take some silk pyjama bottoms or cashmere joggers on the plane and change.” 

Do you have any in-flight routines? 

“I always change into pyjamas when flying long haul and I also take a massage ball to roll with my feet whilst seated to promote blood flow. I also try to stick with the time zone I’m going to, so if it’s night time where I’m heading, then I’ll try and sleep or I’ll read and rest. This game plan doesn’t always work but it does help at the other end.” 

Plane food or own-food? 

“I eat plane food but always opt for a gluten free vegan meal as it’s less irritating to the gut.” 

Do you carry snacks with you when travelling and if so what? 

“I always take my own snacks like nuts, seeds, protein balls, crudité and hummus so I have something healthy at hand.” 

What do you read, listen to and/or watch in flight? 

“I love podcasts, which changes depending on what the theme is that month. I’m a big fan of Dr Mark Hyman ‘The Doctor’s Farmacy’ which I’ll usually download before a flight. I also like a good series on the plane or a comedy like The Big Bang Theory.” 

What is your seat preference and why?  

“Window seat always as it feels like I have more room.” 

Do you have any safety measures when travelling? 

“Not really. I just like to ensure there is always enough time to reduce any possible stress.” 

If you are a nervous flier, how do you cope? 

“Through all the years of travelling with modelling I’ve never been a nervous flier. However Rescue Remedy $11.37 is a great thing to have on hand if you are. Another would be CBD oil.” 

Is there anything you take onboard to feel ready on touch-down?  

“I always change back into my jeans and I feel naked without perfume. A spritz of Penhaligons Malabah or Dior Rose Gipsy $220 and I’m good to go.” 

Rosemary feels naked without a spritz of fragrance and loves Rose Gipsy by Christian Dior
Rosemary feels naked without a spritz of fragrance and loves Rose Gipsy by Christian Dior ,£200

PART TWO

KEEPING UP WITH LIFE ON THE GO
What is the best experience you have had travelling for work and where was it? 

“It’s really hard to pick one. I’ve been super lucky and been to some amazing places – The Bolivian salt planes were pretty amazing. More recently I went to Elsewhere in Goa, where I did a yoga retreat at Ashiyana and learnt about Ayurvedic methods. It left me feeling amazing and so inspired.” 

What was a terrible travel experience that wasn’t funny then, but is now? 

“Driving from London to Deia in Majorca. To sum up, there were forest fires everywhere, all the main highways were closed and we opted for a cross country route which resulted in a completely shredded tyre on top of a deserted mountain at night time. Then we missed the ferry. Oh and we had 3 kids and 3 dogs in the back of the car.” 

What do you do before a trip to ensure life at home runs smoothly whilst you are away? 

“I make a thousand lists and make sure everything is scheduled and completed before I go. I also have a little team that run things whilst I’m gone. “ 

How do you keep connected to loved ones whilst on the road? 

“Facetime, Whatsapp groups, emails…” 

What situations related to travel do you find hard? 

“Delayed flights are never good as you plan everything around reaching your destination at a certain time” 

How do you make your hotel room feel like home? 

“I love to have all my skincare products out in the bathroom with my straighteners laid out by the mirror. Also I make sure I have great lounge wear to put on if I’m ever in the room relaxing.” 

How do you manage your wellbeing when away?  

“When I’m away I always try to meditate in the morning for about 5 minutes and do some form of exercise whether that’s a run, walk, hike, dog walk, or yoga. I also always take my supplements wherever I go to which keeps me feeling well.” 

Do you have any do’s and don’ts about nutrition and food when travelling? 

“Eat plenty of fibre, good fats, hydrate a lot and take in as much green veg as and when you can. Avoid processed food and sugar as they will only make you feel worse and irritate the balance in your gut.” 

How do you manage your mindset if you feel overwhelmed when away from home? 

“I’ll make a call home, talk to my kids, husband and our little sausage dog. Or I arrange to do something nice like a massage, go for lunch or take a Yoga class.” 

Is there any outsourcing that you do to ease the burden? 

“I have the most amazing team and a sensational PA and they help with a lot of planning and logistics.”  

What are your tips for combating jet lag physically, mentally and facially? 

“Hydration – it’s so simple but so crucial. Next , take a probiotic to help your gut plus a fibre supplement to get things moving and maybe 4000mg of vitamin C to keep your immune system up. Make sure you get as much natural sunlight as possible after travelling to help reset your body clock.

Facially I would say always have a great hydrating sheet mask to hand… I like the Decorte and Verso ones.” 

www.rosemaryferguson.co.uk

This hugely successful fashion, beauty and red carpet makeup artist, Cher Webb, explains which products make the plastic bag cull

PART ONE

PRO TRAVEL TIPS
What luggage do you travel with?

Away cases are my luggage of choice because they are lightweight, durable, they look great and have the added bonus of a built-in charger.”

What do you use for hand luggage?

My hand luggage is usually an Away Carry-on case $225, or a medium sized leather holdall. Something that is easy to access, never too heavy and fits all the carry-on essentials.

What’s in your carry-on/ hand luggage that you never leave home without?

“My skincare/makeup bag,  Bose Headphones, eye mask, comfy socks and a good book.”

Cher webb always travels with her Bose Noise Cancelling headphones
Cher always travels with her Bose Noise Cancelling headphones $432.68
What’s your approach to eating on travel day?

“I always aim to eat at the airport and have a nice meal. I also try to avoid the aeroplane food but I am quite partial to breakfast when on a red eye flight.”

What’s your approach to skincare when travelling and flying?

“It’s a huge factor for me, firstly I never wear makeup on a flight and I top up my skin every 1-2 hours with my long haul favourites. I see a noticeable difference when I put a skin routine in place on the flight.

I take travel size editions of my haircare and fragrances but when it comes to looking after my skin I always take the full size in my luggage.”

How do you approach your wardrobe on the road?

“I like to take a mix to be prepared for any eventuality. I generally will treat myself to a couple of new additions to the wardrobe before I travel (panic buys DO happen!).

For me, a good mix of comfy and smart is key. When it comes to packing I have discovered the joy of packing cubes that I divide and separate my clothes in to to. They instantly give the illusion of being organised!

I tend to always wear the same staple pieces of jewellery such as my engagement ring, locket necklace and a couple of silver bangles. I don’t often wear costume jewellery unless it’s for a big occasion such as weddings or red-carpet events.”

What do you wear to travel?

“Comfort is my main priority, especially when flying. I tend to wear leggings, sneakers, a t-shirt and hoody as there’s nothing worse than restrictive clothing and being cold on a flight.”

Do you have any in-flight routines?

“First thing I tend to do on a flight is my skincare routine which involves a quick cleanse, a generous application of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum and some lip balm. I always plan what movie I’m going to watch but I generally prioritise up on the things I don’t get enough of at home, such as sleep and admin.”

Cher webb is never without Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair in her carry-on
Cher is never without Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, $64.54 in her carry-on
Plane food or own-food?

“I always treat myself to something sweet for the flight from the airport (normally Mini-Eggs or aGalaxy Smooth) but I usually eat before I fly so I don’t have to rely on plane food.”

Do you carry snacks with you when travelling?

“I’ve always got a Smart Water and a selection of nuts and crackers in my bag.”

What do you read, listen to and/or watch in-flight?

“I always buy a couple of magazines at the airport, usually Grazia or Harpers Bazaar, I download podcasts pre flight and I’ve usually got a book with me that hasn’t ever been opened.

Instead I tend to watch classic movies on a flight that I’ve seen a thousand times.”

What is your seat preference and why?

Always a window seat (much to my fiancé’s distain), then give me a travel pillow and I’m out for the count (after my admin and a couple of Baileys of course).”

Do you have any safety measures when travelling?

“I always keep my seat belt on during the flight.”

Which beauty products make the plastic bag cull?

Elemis Superfood Kefir Tea Mist $32.15 , Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair $64.54, Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial $66.77, Aurelia Probiotic Aromatic Repair and Brighten Hand Cream $35.24 and Bobbi Brown Tinted Lip Balm $32.15.

If you are a nervous flier, how do you cope?

“Not at all, I get excited more than anything else!

Is there anything you take onboard to feel ready on touch-down?

“Toothpaste, mouthwash, my skin care routine, a light make-up application and spritz of my favourite fragrance.”