Balancing the Grind with Lauren Deighton, Founder of By Ferne

Lauren Deighton is the founder of By Ferne, a newly established Sydney-based boutique jewellery store, offering hand-crafted, gold plated jewellery.

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

I studied a Bachelor of Journalism after leaving high school and have always thoroughly enjoyed writing and communications. Once I left, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do and initially fell into recruitment.

I spent a successful year in that space before a client asked me if I was interested in working in media & advertising. I applied for a role at OMD and this was really the start of my career within the media industry.

After a few years on the agency side I moved publisher-side. Since then I’ve worked at a number of global companies in Sydney and New York including News Corp, VICE Media and Bazaarvoice.

The pandemic hit when I was living in Manhattan, working as a Brand Partnership Director in the SaaS industry. It was devastating for me when this happened, as it had always been my dream to live and work there and I’d barely been there a year, but I decided it was best for my physical and mental health to move home to Australia.

When I arrived home I was initially unsure what I wanted to do next. I’ve always had a passion for jewellery and decided to create my online ecommerce store, By Ferne, while I was in lockdown. I went to jewellery school and then started creating jewellery from scratch, also sourcing some elements from across the globe.

I built my website and created my marketing collateral and launched it into the world all within two months! It was a whirlwind, but I’m so proud of what I built and want to continue to grow and learn throughout this journey. There’s something so satisfying about having an idea and then seeing it come to life – something to truly call your own. By Ferne is like my baby.

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

I usually wake early (around 5:30) and start the day with a spin workout & a coffee (recently bought myself a spin bike, so no excuses)!

I then head to my full time job. I recently moved to Newcastle and moved back into media agency life, so I’m working as a manager at an agency called Enigma across a range of clients.

A typical day is extremely busy. I split my time between my key clients based on priorities for the day. Some days I’m receiving briefs, other days I’m negotiating rates with media owners and working on proposals for clients.

There are a lot of meetings with publishers in order to keep up to date with the ever-changing media landscape. Then there is always a pile of admin and excel sheets to deal with if the day ever slows down and I’m looking for something to do.

I also try to incorporate some online training modules into my week to upskill myself across certain areas of the business or advertising mediums I am less confident in.

After the ‘official’ work day finishes, I generally take a dip in the ocean, head home and pour a glass of wine and work on By Ferne, updating my product range & designs, the website and working on my social accounts.

I try to pack orders every evening so that they’re ready to send off first thing the next day, as customer service & speed of delivery are the most important things to me.

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

My agency prefers us to work from the office due to the nature of our work and the collaborative approach here, however it’s possible to work the odd day from home. Having said that, I live super close to the office so I’ll sometimes pop home for a quick lunch.

By Ferne is different, as I can literally do it from anywhere, although as I’m a one-woman band at present, I have to take my jewellery with me if I go away so that I can ship things as soon as orders come through. Hopefully once I expand, I’ll have someone who can manage this from our HQ.

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

I’m a person that absolutely thrives when I’m busy, but I can’t function without my eight hours of sleep. I need some down time before bed. I switch my phone on airplane mode and catch up on the latest series I’m bingeing or reading a book.

I started a book club here in Newcastle recently, so trying to power through that novel at the moment. Work-life balance is also very important to me when it comes to my nutrition and fitness.

I need to work out and eat well in order to feel mentally sharp and physically strong. Being social is also important, although I’ve become a bit more introverted in my spare time over the past year – mainly due to lockdown and focusing on my new business. I also enjoy my solitude – essential oils and a nice face mask are the perfect end to the day!

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

I’ve recently cut back on alcohol dramatically. I love a drink after work. It helps me unwind, but I found I was drinking far too much in lockdown just to pass the time. It was really causing me to feel foggy and groggy the next day which I cannot deal with when I’m busy. When it started to affect my work and sleep, I knew it was time to cut back.

I’m also trying to listen to my body more: move it when it needs to be moved, rest it when it needs to rest and practice more self-love and self-kindness.

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

I’m really into NPR, in particular, How I Built This with Guy Raz. I find it so inspiring hearing from entrepreneurs about their ideas and how they’ve grown them into fully fledged global powerhouses. Something to look up to!

I’m a heavy crime and true crime reader as well – so anything in that sphere will catch my attention.

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

I love iFit on my phone – streaming workouts has become essential over the past year!
I am also on insta way too much, but most of this is ‘By Ferne’ related, or so I tell myself.

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

I’d actually love to read about a day in the life of Kayla Itsines. She’s got a multi-million dollar fitness business, a toddler and travels the world. I also think a business based on working out must be even more exhausting!

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

I don’t like the saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I think it’s important to recognise that even when you love something, there are going to be elements of it that are tedious or difficult and I think that’s okay. It makes us stronger, broadens our minds and reminds us that ‘work’ is not a dirty word, but rather a word that ensures we achieve great 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.