CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Kirsten Kore, Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Designerex

Kirsten Kore is the co-founder & Co-CEO at Designerex, the world’s largest peer-to-peer designer dress sharing platform.

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

I’ve been working since I was 13, and from 18 I landed in a Real Estate career. In 2014, Real Estate Awards Nights came around (which means – go find a nice dress to wear!), which led me to discovering a broken fashion system and one that didn’t provide me with a sustainable or justifiable way to consume high end fashion – especially for a one-off special occasion.

After some digging and researching, we realised this was a huge problem for millions of women, and the opportunity was exponential. So, with no fashion or technical experience (and stuck in the daily grind of my 9-5 job), I decided to quit my real estate career and dive head first to follow my dream of revolutionising how we consume designer fashion. 

Today, I am the Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Designerex. I look after and oversee all aspects of the business, which include the ideation & creation of the companys’ patent, right through to everything that enables Designerex to thrive and grow as a two- sided rental marketplace. 

Our mission at Designerex is to drive out the need for fast fashion and provide women with a better solution.

A solution they actually want. Fast Fashion has been successful because it provides consumers with what they have wanted & needed – something new, something quick and something affordable. Designerex address all of these wants and desires by completely flipping fashion consumption on its head – in an incredibly meaningful and sustainable way. 

Within months of a successful launch in 2016, Designerex was organically featured on National Breakfast TV Show, The Today Show as a go-to rental dress destination, and since, we have grown to become the world’s largest peer-to-peer designer dress sharing platform. 

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

Running a disruptive start-up, no two days are ever really the same. What is consistent is an early wake-up call from 2 toddlers, then a good coffee. 

After this, I grab my beloved laptop and get straight into it. Checking in with the team and priorities for the day is a go-to, as well ensuring we’re always doing something that ‘moves the needle’! 

The last 18 months or so have been full of Zooms & webinars, but I take a few walks in between to clear my head and get fresh air 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? 

Yes, absolutely. The business is a pure technology business. No inventory, no warehousing, we never touch or see any product that is rented between users. Our whole team has always worked flexibly and remotely. 

Remote and flexible work truly plays into the ethos of enabling and empowering diverse teams. The world is our oyster when a workplace is flexible and allows for remote working teams.

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

Work-life balance for me is probably first understanding that there won’t really be a time when everything seems to be ‘balanced’! Balance overall I guess is knowing you’re applying yourself 100% and prioritising the things and people that matter most.

In terms of achieving balance, I try very consciously to pinpoint moments, and situations and circumstances where I do my best work, and am most efficient and productive. Then I’ll try and hone in on that.

Efficiency and working ‘smarter’ not ‘harder’ is a huge priority for me, as well as checking in with myself that I have given time to family & friends. 

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

Well, especially over the past 18 months, my world has completely changed and routines thrown out. Having a second baby in March 2020 and straight into a lockdown was quite bizarre.

But it enabled me to slow down and spend more time with family, and not having the self-imposed pressure to be out hustling and grinding the pavement at conferences, meetings and the like! 

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

Currently I don’t get to read too many books, but when I do, I love autobiographies. Podcasts I love are Masters of Scale, BoF, Stop, Collaborate & Listen, Wardrobe Crisis and a heap more industry relevant podcasts. 

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

My MacBook Pro is hands down the best product I own, but an app I’m loving is Calm – highly recommended for meditation and the sleep stories are so good. 

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

Sara Blakely – self-made billionaire, mother of four, great story teller, passionate supporter of women & girls, overall great human.

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

Overall what I’ve learnt along the way, is to stay true to yourself, your vision and pursue something that you are truly passionate about, as well as be careful who you take advice from, have they actually done all the things they’re preaching to you about? Also, just 100% back yourself! We all have the potential to be great and do great, impactful things. 

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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.