Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Alain Guglielmino, Founder of Pacifico Optical

Alain Guglielmino is the Founder of Pacifico Optical, a Bondi Beach-based eyewear brand he founded with his friend Nick Guzowski.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

During and after my studies in Marketing/Advertising and then International Business, I worked within the wine industry. I started in sales, marketing and product development, moved into production and winemaking and then finally operations.

I’m a creative person and have an entrepreneurial mind, so I have a passion for products and am always looking for gaps in the market. Sunglasses just happened to be one of my favourite products when we identified the gap in the eyewear market.

Creating Pacifico from scratch meant that my co-founder and I would be required to wear a lot of different hats, as any founder would. We did our best initially to delegate each other’s roles and I was tasked with Design, Marketing and sales.

Since then I have moved into operations, product and business development and focus more on running the business. Though, as a small business I am still required to manage a lot of other tasks.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Well it is never really the same and can be pretty stressful at times. I do have daily tasks but the larger jobs differ a lot depending on what we have happening at the time, e.g. if there is a new campaign being shot or we are opening a pop-up store.

One day I might be designing products, picking materials and liaising with suppliers and manufacturers. Other days I can be answering customer support, managing inventory and scheduling EDM’s.

A more recent day, I spent 30 hours straight building a financial model for the business. It varies a lot but I know the direction I want the business to go, so the work is foreseen well in advance.

We have a growth strategy and I know most of the work coming up. However, it can change quickly and you have to re-strategies, as many businesses have had to do recently in light of COVID-19.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

It does, which is great because I have to do a lot of moving around between the office, home, the warehouse and between meetings. I also travel to Hong Kong and China a few times a year to oversee production. Being able to work from anywhere definitely helps maintain a work-life balance but can also be unproductive at times.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance to me is really important. I have been the guy who sits at my desk for 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week and you can slide into a really unhealthy state of mind quickly.

I find if I am able to exercise or get outside daily, find time to cook at home and enjoy some time with friends and family once a week, my mind becomes a whole lot clearer, work is more enjoyable and my productivity can go up considerably.

To achieve work life balance, I try to exercise every morning before the work day starts. Doing this is the catalyst of everything else you want to do to balance your work life as you have more energy to cook after work or catch up with friends and family.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I stopped training for 6 months between August 2019 and January 2020 whilst going through our first capital raise. I simply didn’t have time. I started back up again in the new year and have started to feel a lot better about myself and work.

I have recently started to read more books instead of watching Television. Mainly historical fiction novels but also inspiring autobiographies. This is mainly a health choice, but also educational, in order to better myself.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

How I Built This podcast by Guy Raz is really inspiring. It features the founders of some of the largest success stories in the world and a lot of them have a similar story. No one gets there instantly and all of them go through challenges whilst building their business.

Newsletters I read often are The Hustle, Shopify Blog and foundr. The Hustle is good general news across a lot of industries and great to keep up to date. Shopify Blog is great for tips and case studies and can help with a number of things. Especially if you are running a Shopify store. foundr, also offers great tips, case studies and inspiration.  

I recently read Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight which was great. I am currently reading Steve Jobs’s Autobiography but still have a bit to go.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I can’t live without Spotify as music can contribute to so many things, including training, working and lifestyle.

In terms of products, I carry around a set of mini screwdrivers everywhere that I use to fix eyewear. I use them daily and would struggle without.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. He has an unreal work-life balance and a really successful company. He often brushes work to climb mountains and encourages his employees to self manage themselves. His business generates 500 mil plus in annual revenue which proves you can have success and work-life balance.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t be afraid to take an hour or two out of your day to read, surf, go for a run, or have something to eat, no matter the time. Having a clear mind allows you to focus on the task on hand.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.