Hayley Worley is the Co-Founder of The Sheet Society, a bed sheet company based in Abbotsford, Victoria, which she launched in 2017 with her partner Andy.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve always worked in the realm of clothing production and design. I’ve been in the UK for a role with Ted Baker, and before I started The Sheet Society I was leading the Design & Production team at a fast fashion retailer in Melbourne.
My current role couldn’t be more different! Being the founder I find myself across everything from HR to helping in the warehouse or fitting out our new store in Abbotsford.
I think that’s one of the best things about running your own business – every day is completely different!
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
We’ve got a little boy, Jake, who’s just turned one, so he usually greets us every morning with giggles and a few cuddles in bed. My husband and I head into the office together, which is nice as we’re on the same schedule, so we can share the day-care drop-off and pick up relay.
I usually catch up with the team first thing about everything from marketing, website design to photoshoot planning and growth plans. We’re looking to launch our brand into the UK early next year, so that will become my next big focus.
I try to fit in some product development and catch up with our suppliers a few days a week to sign off on any new colours or fabrics and make sure our orders are running smoothly.
Product design is such an important part of our business, but I think because it’s my ‘usual’ job, it always seems to slide down the to-do list.
The day typically ends with a meal at home with the family and a few episodes of a good series on the couch to wind down before bed.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
With the latest COVID restrictions, we’ve definitely had to adapt as a team to remote working. We’re quite a new team, so the energy in the office is always really fun and exciting. For that reason, most of our staff prefer to work in the office rather than remotely.
I’m in the office 3 days a week and I usually have another day out and about running errands for work with Jakey by my side. On that fifth day, I really make an effort to spend some quality time with him at the park, going for a swim or a playground date.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I’ve actually learnt a lot about myself in terms of what I need to feel fulfilled and happy over the last 12 months after having a child. Since launching the business in 2017, I was literally living and breathing The Sheet Society.
Stepping away for maternity leave last year made me feel like I lost a little part of myself. When people talk about work-life balance, it usually means to take out a little work and add in a little more life, but in my case I needed to step back into work again to feel balanced.
I really love working and those little achievements you get from clearing out your inbox or finishing off a project. It means I’m able to feel more fulfilled, which makes me enjoy that time away from work so much more.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I’ve been trying to get up just an hour earlier every day. It’s enabled me more time to plan out my day in a more meaningful way, rather than starting it feeling rushed. Time in the morning is so much more productive for me than time in the evening, so getting up earlier now means I’m going to sleep earlier, too.
Life with a baby can feel like the days just merge into one, and I found it so hard to get to the end of the day and think, ‘Ugh.
I didn’t even manage to get out of my pyjamas, I haven’t achieved anything today’. Instead, I made a conscious effort to mix up my idea of a ‘successful’ day, and if I went to bed feeling happy, that was a win.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I really love The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – I think I’ve gifted it at least 10 times now. It’s a quick and light-hearted read but really made a difference to the way I live my life. My favourite podcast is a bit of a guilty pleasure – a pop culture podcast called ‘Shameless’.
I also really love listening to ‘How I Built This’ and hearing such amazing and honest stories from some pretty successful people. My favourite newsletter is ‘Lunchbox Architect’ for some serious home inspo. It’s the dream to one day build such a beautiful home.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Aside from the obvious iPhone, laptop and headphones, I am pregnant with our second child, so checking in on the pregnancy app and seeing what size fruit our baby is each week is definitely something I couldn’t live without.
I’ve never really used a calendar until this year. Seeing so many meetings and appointments kind of freaked me out. I’m adapting well to the new calendar lifestyle and actually loving not having to apologise to friends for double booking myself.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Definitely Zoe Foster-Blake. She’s created such a polished brand while bringing up two beautiful children.
As my business grows, I’ve started to let go of a lot of areas of ‘life’, and the fact that Zoe has such a strong brand while obviously juggling a lot in a personal sense is a testament to her ability to lead a team so well.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work, life and balancing the two is such a unique mix that’s personal to you. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it, and it’s certainly not something you can cut and paste onto your own life.
I used to feel so naughty working on weekends as it’s technically the time allocated for you to ‘switch off’, but that worked for me and enabled me to start the week off feeling really prepared and happy.
It’s important to find your own balance, whatever that is. When you’re feeling happy and fulfilled, you know you’re making your own juggle work.
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