Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Lauren Williams, Co-Founder & Director of Will & Bear

Lauren Williams is the Co-Founder & Director of Australian fashion brand Will & Bear, a company she started with her partner whilst travelling around Australia in their vintage Kombi.

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

I come from a finance background, I was a mortgage broker prior to my current role. Currently I am the Director of Will & Bear (an Australian hat brand).  

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

My days all start with exercise & a big healthy brekkie.  Then I’ll spend the first hour of the day on Asana, organising mine and my team’s daily tasks and catching up on emails.

Next I’ll jump into my own tasks for the day, which could consist of anything from team meetings, photoshoots, marketing, finance etc. I wear a few hats!

I normally have at least one or two phone meetings a day and I set them around 11-2pm (when I’m at my most productive). I have a break and go for a walk most days after lunch. 

At the end of the day I will spend some time on Asana again to make sure everything is complete, or if not reschedule our teams tasks. 

This is a standard office day, other days I might be on set all day shooting or travelling in our van for an event. It varies quite a bit. 

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

Yes, we set our team up about two years ago to work remotely. Alex (my business and life partner) and I have been living in our van, running the business remotely off and on for 5 years now.  We have a team of 10 all working remotely and a warehouse in Sydney fully staffed. 

I find that the more I can keep my daily routine the same (whether on the road or at home) the easier it is. It takes some hard work and commitment but it’s worth it.

My favourite quote is “With commitment comes freedom”  The more we can automate parts of our lives  to work for us, the more we can spend time on new experiences, new habits & new ideas. 

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

I measure my balance on how present I am when I’m not working. As long as I’m finishing work at a reasonable time and truly present when I stop working, I’m happy with my work life balance.

I found early on in business I would stop working, only to be thinking about working still. So I never really switched off. Now I actually try to switch off, whether it be by reading a book, listening to a podcast or exercising when I finish work, something to switch the mind always helps. 

I find the more I switch off the more I lose myself in something fun or creative,  the more motivation I get for going back to work with an excited mind. 

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

Reading before bed. I’ve already read, sometime during the day, something at night. But I made it a habit this year to read 30-60 minutes before bed every night. It improved my sleep and mindfulness hugely.  

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

  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear 
  • Plants for the People: A Modern Guide to Plant Medicine by Erin Lovell Verinder
  • Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman
  • How I Built This with Guy Raz
  • TED Radio Hour

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

Asana – I’m a big organiser.  

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

Tim Brown – Allbirds owner. 

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

For me, I have found balance in the routine. The trick is to be able to keep a routine no matter where you are.

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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.