Balancing the Grind with Corinne Hollier, Sustainability Manager at Caprice Australia

Corinne Hollier is the Sustainability Manager at Caprice Australia, a major wholesale supplier of apparel, footwear and homewares to the Australian and New Zealand market.

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

I studied a Bachelor of Arts (Fashion) at RMIT University after spending many of my high school years in the textiles and studio arts spaces. In my second year I took a two-week holiday placement with a women’s fashion company, which turned into a part time job as a design assistant.

Once I graduated, I moved to a children’s wear company as a Product Developer. This was the area I had always wanted to work in and I did for many years. I worked for multiple companies in the wholesale mass end of the market and had a stint of freelance, while living in Canberra because of my partner’s work, where it is fair to say, the fashion design job prospects are low!

I have always had an interest in ethics, workers’ rights, the environment, and social activism, thanks to my parents who instilled those values in me at a young age. When I saw a shift happening in the mass market retail sector, I jumped at the chance to combine my passions by moving into sustainability. I was lucky enough to work at a company who supported me to make this transition.

I currently work as the Sustainability Manager for Caprice which owns Dri-Glo among other brands. It is challenging and rewarding in equal parts. Working across the varied pillars of our sustainability strategy means busy days and never a dull moment. 

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

Like many, my workday starts with a full inbox of emails. I like to end the day with a clear inbox and start the day by clearing anything that has popped up overnight. I am extremely fond of a to do list, which helps me to track my multiple projects and prioritise my day, week, month.

My days vary quite a lot. One minute I am working with our internal teams on more sustainable materials, preparing for organic certification audit, developing procedures, or working with our teams and partners on sustainable packaging innovation.

The next it might be direct waste in our offices, or GHG strategy, developing our Reconciliation Action Plan or working with RMIT on our Work Integrated Learning partnership.

Currently with the COVID lock down in place in Victoria, you can also insert some schooling from home and chief snack provider activities throughout the day! 

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

My role is well suited to remote working, and I think the last year and a half has proven that we can still achieve a lot, even when working from our own kitchen tables. I do look forward to when we can have a balance between the office and home.

Working collaboratively in-house with a great team of creatives is ever inspiring and I miss the opportunity to chat things through without having to set up a Teams meeting. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss wearing my slippers all day when we are all back in the office.

One of the major challenges with flexible work arrangements is that other institutions haven’t really moved with the times. School and childcare still work on the traditional schedule, so as someone with kids, I still feel quite locked into the standard routine.

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

Work-life balance means having the time and headspace to give all important aspects of my life, whether it be work, family, friends or personal pursuits, the right amount of quality time, with the emphasis on quality. The balance or amount of time dedicated to each is always fluid and shifts and changes depending on what is going on in the moment. 

This is easy to say in theory but is much harder to achieve in real life. I don’t always get the balance right, so ensuring I recognise the feeling of unbalance is important. I then give the feeling the attention it deserves and rearrange things better to suit the moment in time.

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

The pandemic has caused so many routine changes that have changed my life, it is hard to narrow it down to just one. Schooling from home comes to mind!

A few routines that I have tried to keep as a constant during the pandemic are walks with my family in any patch of trees we can find within our 5kms and a weekly Zoom yoga class. This has helped to bring structure to the week and keep my mind and body healthy.

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

I have a deep love for podcasts, so much so that my friends made me a personal one for my lockdown birthday this year.

Some favourites are Beautiful Anonymous, Tig and Cheryl True Story, Wheel of Misfortune and any new true crime to come my way. 

I feel it would be remiss of me to not mention The Wardrobe Crisis Podcast here, as someone who works in Sustainability in the textile industry. It’s a great podcast by Clare Press which I would recommend for anyone interested in the ins and outs of ethical and sustainable fashion practices.

Green Dreamer and The Sustainable Jungle Podcast are also good places for some sustainability-related content.

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

My mobile is the obvious choice. Having your email, social interactions via social media and WhatsApp, and News sources in your pocket is both very convenient and sometimes a curse. 

I have been working to remove gadgets and apps from my hands in the evenings, with double screening becoming a problem. To help in this mission, I taught myself to crochet, keeping my hands busy. It is very hard to check Instagram when you are mid-way through a chain stitch! My crochet hooks are something I couldn’t live without.

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

Annabel Crabb. Her book The Wife Drought was brilliant and on topic. She has an enviable career while also raising a bunch of kids and appears to be having a good time while doing it. Tell me your secrets!

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

The perfect work, life and balance will change throughout your career and life stage. Don’t be afraid to change things up and see where it takes you. You might find new balance where previously there was none.

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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.