Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Laurna McDermott, Co-Founder at Wunjo Club

Laurna McDermott is the co-founder of Wunjo Club, a Dublin-based streetwear brand she founded in June 2020 during the COVID pandemic.

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

Absolutely! From a young age, I have always been quite creative. I always enjoyed Art and English at school and was quite good at both subjects. So, when I left school, I decided to study Multimedia at DCU (Dublin City University).

I graduated with a B.Sc degree and from there I began working in various IT companies in marketing and social media positions. My main interest was creating multimedia services or telling stories in an innovative way.

I focused on multimedia’s conceptual, creative and technological aspects. With my understanding of digital media theory, content, digital text, image, sound manipulation and multimedia authoring I was able to create and excel in the various roles I had.

My previous roles involved developing, implementing and executing a strategic marketing presence online to generate leads for the sales team, to attract potential new customers and retain existing ones.

I am very grateful for the experience I have to date as it made it quite easy for me to apply everything I was already doing in my previous positions and apply it to my own company.

To fast forward, Wunjo Club was founded in June, 2020 during the pandemic. I always wanted to work in fashion and move away from the software industry so with all the extra time I had on my hands from working at home and cutting out the commute I threw myself straight in.

As we are a startup brand, my current role involves pretty much everything! Wunjo Club was founded by myself and another Co-founder but at present I am the only one working full-time for the business. The day-to-day involves packaging orders, managing our social media accounts, creating online ads/videos and prospecting potential retailers.

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

Currently I am living right in the heart of Dublin City. So, to start my day off I usually take a little walk around the city and get a coffee to get my day started. I still split the stock 50/50 between our storage unit and the apartment.

So depending on if we have everything stocked in the apartment, sometimes I will have to take a trip to the storage and collect all ordered products, bring them back and ensure we have the correct stock for the following week.

First thing I do everyday is package our orders up. Our delivery guy usually comes between 11am and 1pm so this is always my first task to make sure I am ready for when he arrives. After orders are finished and packaged up, I will then get stuck into all statistics!

I am regularly checking our Google, Facebook and Instagram ad performance to make tweaks daily and constantly be improving our click through rate and performance. After this I will dive into our social media and marketing strategy and create new content for the week/or day.

After this I will then begin prospecting for potential new retailers. We have a Christmas pop-up this year in Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords, so lately the majority of my time has been spent focusing and planning our new collection and making sure our stand is correctly organised and planned.

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

Wunjo Club was created during the first lockdown in Ireland. For a long period, working from home was all our company knew. We are lucky enough to have the space to be able to package up our orders still from home.

Although, as we are now moving slowly back to normality we would now like to not only be online but also be customer facing. We recently took a trip to Paris as we are now stocked in three shops in the suburbs.

Also, I mentioned previously that we will be in a shopping centre at Christmas so I do believe our business can work from home but as we want to continuously grow we will need to be able to do both online and offline.

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

Work-life balance to me means that I have a healthy drive between engagement, productivity and retention in the workplace and in my personal life. It means that I am enjoying what I do and have the ability to switch off when needed.

I do believe that sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when you have your own company but when you learn to shut off the laptop and zone out after work it’s a great way to be. At the end of the day we work to live not live to work!

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

Funny enough I think my last answer is part of this answer. Before the lockdown and starting my own business I was commuting over 4 hours a day to my previous position.

I think once the lockdown happened and I became full-time working at home I really realised how much time I was spending on getting to work everyday. I think that was the main change that happened in my life. Not only did I have the time to create my own company but I actually had time to spend with my family and friends after work!!

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

I always recommend The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I think it is a great way to think and believe that if you simply train your thoughts the universe will listen.

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

Definitely couldn’t live without my iPhone! I recently lost my phone (for a day) and had no access to my bank account or social media accounts. Everything is now a two factor authentication which for me is sending a code to my mobile to access which I didn’t have – I was completely lost!

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

For me, one of the most creative, brilliant and inspiring people to ever exist was Walt Disney. I would have loved to read more about him and how he balanced his life and all his incredible work.

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

Don’t let others convince you that the idea is bad when your gut tells you it’s great!

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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.