Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Kayla Houlihan, Founder of Tribe Skincare

Kayla Houlihan is the founder of Tribe Skincare, a vegan beauty brand that she launched from her home in 2017 and has turned into a multi-million dollar business within 2 years.

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

I always struggle to answer when people ask me what my ‘job’ is. Being a business owner, I have so many job roles and to say I am a ‘business owner’ doesn’t really give much away. So I usually say something along the lines of “I own a skincare company” to somewhat sum up my role.

Previous to starting Tribe Skincare, I had a skin clinic in Geelong, VIC. I worked as a full-time skin therapist at the clinic, which was the direct inspiration behind me starting a skincare brand for sensitive skin.

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

Let’s go over today so far. I started the day with a trip to Bunnings because we needed new workbenches for the warehouse. Lucky for us, it’s just around the corner!

Then I had a meeting with our Google ads manager to get all the ads prepped for Black Friday sales coming up. After that, I started tackling my emails. Completing the tasks in my inbox takes up most of my day.

This afternoon, I am helping back the orders in the warehouse as we are 1 staff member down on Tuesdays. I love to do a bit of everything and it helps ensure I am across all aspects of the company.

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

It does! 3 years down the track. I started running the business from home so for a long time, taking time off was very difficult. But I went away last week and everything ran very smoothly without me here.

It’s a great feeling to know I finally have the freedom to take time off without the business being fully dependent on me. I am fairly strict on only working within business hours too. Sometimes things pop up, but generally, I am a 9-5 kind of worker. Finally!

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

For me, it’s not just about physically not being at work, but also being able to mentally switch off.

I feel like at the start of the business, I talked and thought about work 24/7 and it was honestly exhausting. I would burn out every few months. Working within business hours has stopped me constantly thinking about work and I no longer feel guilty when I am not working.

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

Well, I got a dog. That changes all habits and definitely my life. He has given my day a lot more routine and structure as he loves to go for walks twice a day. I guess it gives my days a start and an end.

Apart from that, I moved the business out of my house and into an office/warehouse. This was definitely a ‘life-changing’ move and I love going to work every day and have co-workers rather than working by myself in the spare lounge room.

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

I am definitely not a ‘reader’. I haven’t read a book in years, but have seen just about everything on Netflix! I really love podcasts!

When I first started the business, I learnt so much for the business podcasts, especially about digital marketing. Now, I listen to Mamamia Out Loud 3 times a week and find all the True Crime series really interesting.

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

TikTok! I am obsessed with TikTok at the moment. It’s been such a fun app and a great tool for gaining new customers. We are just starting to strategise on the platform by collaborating with influencers and we also share a lot of fun ‘behind the scenes’ content.

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

I absolutely love Mia Freedman as a businesswoman and would love to read her book Work Strife Balance. Since I am not a ‘reader’, I will opt for the audiobook version.

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

For me, the most important part of running a business is that it makes me happy day to day. If I am not enjoying it, that needs to change. It doesn’t have to be stressful or 24/7, you create your business to be the way you want it to be and make sure it works for you rather than the other way around.

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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.