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Balancing the Grind with Jade Phillips, Founder of Mane Hook-Up

Jade Phillips is the founder of Mane Hook-Up, a platform dedicated to helping afro hair and beauty businesses thrive by connecting them with the customers who need them.

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

My background is in marketing and I have around 7 years experience in generalist, communications and leadership roles.

I was really fortunate to start my career at Nike (after working on the shop floor for a few years, I got an internship with their DTC team). And since, I’ve worked in a few industries from PR to non-profit and fintech. 

At the moment, I’m doing many things! I’ve created a business of my own – Mane Hook-Up – that focuses on helping people to find and book appointments with afro hair stylists. I started the business almost two years ago and it’s been quite the journey.

For me, this is all about serving a community that is hugely over looked in the beauty industry. Despite the fact that black women spend somewhere around to 5-6x more on hair and beauty products/services than women of any other race, they aren’t catered for in many respects.

Mane Hook-Up will be a platform that really changes that by helping these women to find the products and services that are right for them. 

I also work for an fintech company called Coconut – they’re trying to create a world where being self employed is as easy as being employed through their accounting software. This is the first time I’ve worked in the finance industry and I’m learning a lot! 

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

Well, that all depends on what day it is. When I’m not working on Mane Hook-Up or Coconut, I’m training at an athletics track. I’ve been a sprinter since I was about 15 and train with a group of athletes 5 days a week. Fortunately, I’ve created a work routine that works really nicely around that too. 

So, let’s imagine it’s a Monday. I start by getting up at around 6am because I need to get to the track and have the best part of four hours training with my group (usually a running and weights session).

Then, I get home by about lunchtime, grab some food and get to work with Coconut. I’ll have a mix of meetings with the team about various projects/initiatives and get my head down to try and get my work done.

This will vary too – I could be prepping for a campaign, checking out stats or pulling content together for a newsletter. I’ll wrap up in the evening and then spend an hour or so checking up on Mane Hook-Up. 

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

My current role at Coconut is very flexible – I have work hours that work around my training schedule and I have enough time to check in on my business as well.

They also went completely remote at the beginning of the year due to Covid – so I work at home Monday to Friday. Saying that, I do miss people so I’ll head into the office a couple of days a week when we have more freedom to move around. 

Because of the part-time, flexible and remote conditions of my role, I really do have the freedom to create a routine that works for me. Which brings so much value to my life – that balance and having the time to channel into other things that are important to me, means everything. 

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

To me, work life balance is quite simply being able to do the things that I love, without exhausting myself.

Whether that’s family time, catch-ups with friends (over Zoom for now), or working on my own business initiatives, I need that time and space to channel my energy into the things that are important to me, to feel really fulfilled. That helps me to bring the best version of myself to the table. 

Achieving that ultimately means having to negotiate. I have always worked part-time and I have been very fortunate to also be able to climb the career ladder without compromising that at all.

Knowing your worth and also knowing what you are and aren’t willing to compromise is a must. You can only create a work life balance that works for you when you know what is important and then prioritise it. 

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

Not really! I don’t believe that all successful people have to wake up at 5am, or that having your life mapped out will necessarily guarantee anything. But, I do believe in doing things with intent.

Now, there are times that we just go straight into autopilot to get things done. We simply tick a task off the list. And that rarely brings the really fruitful results that we’re looking for.

On the flip side, if we turn up to every task with intent (e.g. engage people, drive a result, run at x speed), that’s when the magic really happens. So my new year’s resolution is to make sure I have defined or decided on the intent for everything that I do. 

I guess you could say I’m trying to ditch the autopilot to bring more focus to what I do. I’ll let you know how that went at the end of 2021!

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

Here’s a list of a few great books that I read last year.There are a mix of different genres here and not all of them are business or work life balance related. They are just good books that I didn’t regret picking up! 

Diversity & race:

  • Diversify by June Sarpong
  • Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Rennie Endo Lodge

Feminism:

  • The Guilty Feminist: From Our Noble Goals to Our Worst Hypocrisies by Deborah Frances-White

Business & marketing:

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  • Subscribed by Tien Tzuo
  • The Art of Logic in an Illogical World by Eugenia Cheng

Self-help:

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

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

Citimapper! Generally the best app to use for traveling around. When we were moving around more freely, I was using this app everyday. Other than that, I love using Notion to take notes and collaborate on projects with people.

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

Megan Markle, because I can imagine that achieving work-life balance as an actress was challenging enough. To now be royalty, a mother, a wife, a philanthropist and find work-life balance is something else. 

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

Figure out what work-life balance actually means to you and then create it for yourself. This Is not a one size fits all thing – you need to know what is important to you and create time and space in your life for it. Above everything else, trust the process because all good things take time. 

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.