Larah Loutati is the co-founder & managing director of Vitable, a personalised subscription service delivering vitamin and supplement recommendations.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My career began in Paris where I studied business and finance, and where I landed my first role as a management consultant. After 4 years in Paris, I made the decision to move to Australia as it had always been my dream.
I joined Hello Fresh, the meal kit company and was Head of Customer Experience. In this role I was in charge of improving the customer journey through deep-dive data analysis, customer research and implementation.
During my time at HelloFresh, I developed a passion for direct to consumer brands and subscription businesses. I really believe that you can deliver so much more value to consumers with an engaging brand and a meaningful experience.
It’s also about that time that I started to experience low energy levels and brain fog and I couldn’t figure out why. I went to the chemist and found myself with shelves full of thousands of similar bottles and one-size-fits-all products.
I found the experience extremely overwhelming and I knew that there was an opportunity to bring more personalisation and honest guidance to the market. This is why I decided to start my company Vitable in 2019.
Vitable is a personalised subscription service that uses a research-backed algorithm to deliver personalised vitamin and supplement recommendations tailored to individuals’ diet, lifestyle, and health goals. It brings Aussies evidence-based supplementation that’s affordable and conveniently delivered monthly directly to their front doors.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I live in Sydney and with the recent lockdown, things haven’t gone as planned! But usually I wake up at 6am, walk my dog (a kelpie cross called Jack) and go to the gym and either run on the treadmill (my favourite!) or do some resistance training.
I really need exercise to balance me out. I’m half French so I often don’t have breakfast in the morning, but I have adopted the must-have Australian flat white which I grab before work near our Surry Hills office.
During the day I’ll have several team meetings to go through our roadmap with our team members and set and deliver the objectives for the week. We are a very customer-centric company so everything we do, we do with our customers in mind!
At lunchtime I normally sit with the team outside on the balcony to get some sunshine and to keep our vitamin D levels up: our lunch favourites are sushi, falafel wraps or nourish bowls.
The afternoons usually consist of strategic calls with my co-founder Ilyas, financial planning and updating our investors with the latest evolutions and achievements.
At the end of my workday, I usually walk my dog again – or my partner does – and unwind by watching an episode of a series. Around 9pm I put my phone on flight mode to start relaxing and read a book until I decide to go to bed.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
When not in lockdown, we work from the office 4 days a week. Given we are a small business, we find that being at the office helps a lot with teamwork and to build a nice culture! But I think that the team appreciates the one day work from home as well.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance to me means appreciating every single day. I think that so many people work hard all week without taking time for themselves and their mental health, and when the weekend arrives they are too tired to do activities that bring them joy.
I am always working toward achieving that goal and I have to say that it requires discipline. Making sure that I reach out to people I love daily for a chat and hopefully a laugh, going for a nice walk and enjoying the fresh air (I personally love Centennial Park in Sydney and how leafy it is!) and taking time to relax my brain by meditating and surfing. These are all the things that help me enjoy my day to day.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I tend to stick to what works for me so I don’t usually try too many new things! I like a good routine. I started learning German with the App Duolingo during the last lockdown and I have to say learning a new language is quite enjoyable, I had forgotten the feeling! It is relaxing but it has a challenging element to it that gives some satisfaction.
I also started adding weight lifting to my exercise routine this year and it made a huge difference to my fitness. It boosts my energy levels and my metabolism and it has helped me a lot with my back pain – which is mainly caused by my poor posture when I sit in front of a computer.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Podcast: How I Built This is an amazing podcast for founders or aspiring entrepreneurs! Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies and I find it so inspiring.
Newsletters: I like ‘The Hustle’ which shares business and tech news from an angle and with a tone that I find extremely entertaining.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I love the App Calm which is a meditation App, but that also offers relaxing music to unwind and also to fall asleep. They’ve done an amazing job.
I also enjoy convenience and because I don’t have time to cook I got hooked on Dinner Ladies which is an Australian meal delivery service. The food is cooked with high quality ingredients and no nasties and it’s absolutely delicious!
Our Vitable Magnesium Night Powder: I know it looks like product placement but I can’t go to bed before taking this product! It’s a powder that we developed based on the latest science and that helps relax and sleep better. I wake up so refreshed the next morning!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Barack Obama. He always amazes me with his composure and his calmness. He seems to be an incredible father as well as a successful individual. He also has a great sense of humour which is so important to enjoy life!
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Running a startup has taught me that perfectionism is impossible to attain because of lack of time and resources, and it was probably the best lesson I have learned. So if I may give a piece of advice: to remain sane, it is important to try to let go of perfectionism. The key is to aim for greatness, but never for perfection.
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