- How the CEO balances business with life on a farm in upstate New York
- How COVID has changed her daily routine for the better
- Why hiring an executive coach has been a game changer
- Why getting 8 hours of sleep every night is her secret to success
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.”
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.”
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.”
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!”
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.”