Arianne Sackville is the Founder of Bell & Bone, a company focused on creating products to promote healthier and happier lives for dogs.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
While studying a Bachelor of Business at Monash University I was offered and undertook a scholarship at Monash University, the Monash/IBM Future Leaders program. From here I went on to work at various multinational FMCG companies in several roles, however found that my passions were not fulfilled in a corporate environment.
So in 2018 I decided to marry up my two passions, dogs and nutritious food, and establish my own pet food brand Bell & Bone.
I launched Bell & Bone as a result of my frustration with the commercial pet food products available on the market. The lack of transparency in the ingredients list and the confusing mixed messages on the front of packs led me to the decision to take matters into her own hands.
I didn’t want to just enter the industry, but revolutionise it with purposeful food, clear messaging and a transparent ingredient list in a fairly unregulated market.
I launched my first line of dog food products called Superfood Dog Treats, using superfood, all-natural, human grade ingredients such as flaxseed, turmeric, chia, carob, coconut and ginger, which at the time was an Australian first.
Since then I have sought to continually disrupt the industry with a genuinely healthy product range. Today I have two new product lines that have been game changers for the premium pet food category. Freeze Dried Raw Treats and Healthy Dental Sticks, both full of superfoods, functional benefit and using natural ingredients.
My goal is to change the industry and fill a gap in the market for purposeful, honest and nutritious food that will help dogs lead healthier lives. And that keeps me very busy!
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day always begins with a to do list. Nothing more satisfying than ticking off a list in my opinion.
As a result of COVID, my day has changed significantly. I used to spend a lot of time travelling to stores to educate staff about the products or encourage them to give Bell & Bone more room on the shelf or at the counter.
I would travel interstate for this too. I would also attend and participate in industry events and meet with a lot of industry people and mentors to help grow the brand in new and interesting ways.
My job has been recently redefined, and to be honest I am still finding my feet. Meetings have become zoom calls, events have been cancelled and hopping from store to store educating staff is no longer deemed an appropriate reason to leave your house.
I have had to switch my focus, personally and strategically through the business. Online has become more important than ever and now I spend most of my time on that, at my computer.
I have started to collaborate more with brands online, shifted from outdoor events to online events via Instagram and have put in place a sophisticated email strategy that was long overdue. This strategy has been really rewarding as Bell & Bone has grown 120% since COVID hit and I have learnt to diversify and broaden my skills in a very short amount of time.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
The best thing about my role is that it is designed by me. I have set up my business so that I can work where I want and generally when I want. Although I have responsibilities and times and places that cannot be negotiated, I ensure I am flexible enough to achieve both my career goals and personal goals.
My mornings have always started with exercise. Whether it be walking the dog, going to gym or now doing a home workout. Exercise has always been a way for me to prepare mentally for the day ahead.
Being a morning person, I always try to accomplish my most challenging tasks first, leaving me with quite a bit of flexibility in my day come the afternoon.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work life balance means choice to me. I choose to work hard and sometimes I work long as well. I do what my business requires of me. But I choose when to stop and when to prioritise the other aspects of my life.
My priorities have always been work, my relationship, my dog, friends and family and balance for me is about making time for each of them. There are definitely compromises you need to make when you run your own business.
For example, I often work a few hours each day when I’m on holiday, however I also like to take significantly more holidays than the standard 4 weeks.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
In the past 12 or so months, I have become more aware of my emotions and how I am feeling in the day.
For example, if I am feeling lethargic and unmotivated by work on a particular day or time of day I have begun to let myself feel that way and will give myself the time off and the rest I need. Whereas I used to insist that I sat at my desk, pushing on until at least 5pm like a typical job.
I have changed my attitude about this and become kinder to myself. I will now walk away from my desk and go and do something I enjoy until I feel motivated again.
I know that my output when I am tired is not of a standard that I hold myself to so there is no point in trying. But giving myself an opportunity to balance and relax will enable me to feel better about myself and achieve the goals I set out to achieve.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
If you are trying to figure out the world of social media advertising then Perpetual Traffic is my weekly. I highly recommend!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Facebook and Instagram. I wish I could get off them but the reality is that I can’t.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Aimee Marks, the Founder TOM Organic. She reminds me a lot of myself, or at least, what I aspire to. Melbourne girl with a big dream, putting goodness into our world and taking on the big companies and providing women with a healthier alternative. She is a mum and an incredible entrepreneur who I would love to learn from and know more about.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Push yourself to be amazing at whatever makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be work but it can be, and it can be lots of things too. But being stronger tomorrow than you were today, that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning!
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