- Founder Misty Reich on how she manages her two jobs as an executive coach and CEO of 35 Thousand
- Misty offers her tips about working from home including Spotify playlists, water, dogs and great Zoom lighting
- Why a breast pump on a business trip will forever be one of her greatest work/life memories that wasn’t funny at the time but is now
Misty Reich is the founder of 35 Thousand, a skincare brand born out of her struggle to maintain her acne-prone skin while 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.”
Tell us about your work
“I always say I have two day jobs. First, I am a non-exec/board member, coach and business advisor. At the company or organizational level, I help leadership teams develop and execute strong people and culture practices that align with their 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, it's super rewarding work and builds on all of my career experience.
My second role is as the founder of 35 Thousand. This is my heart's 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 Spain where we live during the school year. When I'm 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.”
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 a big knock on implications for other streams of work so not knowing may mean other people can’t progress work. Communication is key!”
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 couldn't 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're older, they have fewer but bigger 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 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 in Spain and a small herd of Texas Longhorn cattle at our ranch in Texas.”
Describe your day-to-day routine
“I start my day with quiet time for myself, making breakfast, 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'm most productive for other people (we have business in the US so time zones are always a juggle), so my mornings will be spent on me - including preparing 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 the dogs before heading to sleep around 11pm.”
How did the coronavirus crisis impact you personally and professionally?
“Personally I found it challenging being away from family who are in the US and couldn't 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 curveball for 35 Thousand. We thought for sure we would be launching the skincare line in early 2020. Nevertheless we are here and, ever the optimist, I'm 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.”
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've 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 can share ups and downs with without having to go to a public gym and sweat in front of the guys.”
What 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'm 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 and with whom, or would you rather stay home?
“Never stopped traveling, only slowed down. Have been back and forth between 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 multicolor pen/pencil, soft sided journal or Rocketbook notebook, phone, earbuds, memo water bottle, and sunglasses.”
What are your work-from-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 over the past five 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 racerback) bra
Hanky Pankies – IYKYK
Gold bangles, all the gold bangles at once!”
How do you see your business three 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 trip 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 coworkers I was traveling 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 coworkers, 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 coworkers 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's time for you to do something else you will know - if you don’t know, it's 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 realized 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, favor, 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.”