Balancing the Grind With Marlo Grover, Founder & Designer at MBM

Marlo Grover is the founder and designer of MBM (Marlo by Marlo), her fashion brand established in 2019, which provides handcrafted-to-order fashion designed to empower women.

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

I studied journalism fresh out of school when I decided I wanted to be publicist, unfortunately after one journalism lecture and a full time role in Fashion PR I wanted to poke my eyes out so I changed all my subjects towards advertising and marketing.

Before I knew it this ballerina was a digital producer and studio manager turned Senior Project Manager delivering web experiences upwards of $1.5 million. One day it occurred to me I wasn’t sure how I ended up where I was in my ‘career’. It didn’t spark joy. The salary and responsibility wasn’t worth the pain so I started sewing again as a creative outlet on work nights and weekends.

I was sewing into the early hours of the morning and showing my creations on my personal social media pages. I started to grow an audience and women were asking for their own; when I couldn’t handle full time work and all the sewing orders I decided I’d leave the corporate world all together and establish my brand MBM.

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

No two days ever look the same and that’s what I love the most about running my own show. A typical day starts with exercise – a lap around the park with my puppy and a coffee and an opportunity to spend time with my husband Hugh who also works in men’s fashion.

I spend the morning answering emails, keeping up to date with industry news and engaging with my Instagram audience (without whom my business would not exist!).

Afternoons usually involve getting on the sewing machine to create a new sample, running around Sydney picking up fabrics and accessories for orders, hand wrapping and posting designs or networking with other small businesses that I can collaborate with. As well as constantly creating content to keep up with the competition!

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

I work most days from home, from a cafe or friends office who also works alone so we both have company and someone to bounce ideas off and drink coffee with! My made to order cycles run every month so I can get away from Sydney if I need to between order cycles but carrying your sewing machine to different locations can be exhausting (I have done it several times!)

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

Work-life balance is an interesting one; when you work for yourself, assuming you’re doing something you’re passionate about, your passion becomes your life so naturally the work behind that passion becomes your life.

For me, weekends don’t exist, any day that I am awake is a day to work – with the fast pace of social media I need to constantly be dialled in. Because I work from home the challenge has been finding time to switch off from my work load and from Hughs.

Deciding to have dinner together without TV and technology is our current work/life balance. We know this will change down the track but for now we’re managing it.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

Exercise, exercise, exercise. If you are fit, feeding your body good fuel and getting enough sleep then you can perform at your best. Rise early, seize the day, move your body and then get into it. Once I get lazy and start sleeping in and feeling sloppy my work is sloppy too.

Also, if a task takes less than 3 minutes to do, just do it then and there.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I come back to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In a lot in terms of what I think I’m capable of and what I know I’m worth. Winging It by Emma Isaacs was awesome (and somewhat comforting) and Roxy Jacenko’s Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips & Tricks was super insightful and practical.

When I read I want to be entertained more than anything but Hugh has a longgggg list of books and he gives me the valuable sound bites from the likes of Tim Ferris & David Asprey so that’s handy!

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Write down my list of must dos the night before, that way when I wake up I don’t feel overwhelmed by what needs to be done I can just get stuck into them one thing at a time.

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

Emma Issacs, CEO of Business Chicks is married with 5 children and lives between the USA and Australia. I’d love to know more about how she still finds time to invest in herself and her relationships.

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

I think balance is going to look different to everyone and the balance now is not what it’s going to look like in 1, 5 or 10 years time. I think there’s time to push and prioritise work and other times when sharing the load between yourself and your work is going to be easier.

All I’d say is; make sure you’re pushing for something that you love and you’re valued for. Don’t drain yourself for something that doesn’t spark joy – that’s a wasted life.


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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.