Designers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Lily Malykhina, Product Designer at UpMerch

Lily Malykhina is a Product Designer at ecommerce startup, UpMerch, a Chicago-based company providing an online platform for custom merchandise.

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

I’m a product designer for an eCommerce company based in Chicago. After doing my Bachelor’s in Communication at Syracuse University I wanted to work in fashion, and did my Masters in Fashion Merchandising.

After that I worked in eCommerce and found my way into design. I did a bootcamp in Miami, and got hired working at AMEX during Digital Acquisition.

Currently working with an eCommerce startup (UpMerch) remotely recreating their digital experience, but would love to take on more work.

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

COVID hasn’t really changed anything for me which is great in my opinion. Usually I look on Trello on the product scope, and what the CEO would like me to complete.

I finished Phase 1 recently which included pages like product detail page, header, the backend for the customers ordering the product too. We usually agree to talk once a week or so to see where I am, and updates on the pages.

I have been doing desktop first then mobile. Love not having meetings daily, definitely harder to get work done that way.

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

Yep it’s remote! I love to workout so doing that before I workout is important to me or doing some errands like appointments during the day.

I can bring my MacBook anywhere so when coffee shops open again or remote spaces that is where I go. I love to be around other people. Great for networking as well.

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

To me it is having plans that are not design related like going to a concert with friends or going out to dinner. It’s important to use your time wisely and make use of the calender.

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

I love to set a schedule for myself! I try to get up around 7a to get my day started – workout and look at any emails.

I recently deleted Instagram from my iPhone (still have the account though) this has really changed my life. I really recommend for anyone to do this, and see what it does. It also helps to have plans later in the day so I’m not working in the late hours.

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

Reading any design books you can get your hands on definitely helps,, Stephen Gates podcasts. I think looking on Twitter is big too – so much to learn on there.

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

Sketch app, InVision, Trello, iCal, and all my Apple products.

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

Stephen Gates who is an amazing product designer and public speaker. Not sure how he has time for everything!

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

I think to make any opportunity happen you have to get it, it won’t a majority of your time just come to you. I would network on LinkedIn and Meetups to meet people and make your dream come true whatever it might be.

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This conversation is brought to you by holistic health expert Josephine Zappia, helping individuals globally achieve wellness from within.

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.