Balancing the Grind with Lydia Bertini, Head of Customer Experience at Miss Amara

Lydia Bertini is the Head of Customer Experience at online rug store Miss Amara, where she works with customers to design their dream space.

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

In my career I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing brands, including David Jones, Pandora and Tigerlily, focusing on growing brands, curating memorable customer experiences and having the joy of taking local brands overseas.

Before I went on maternity leave, I was working more closely on designing the physical retail experience, which sparked a new appreciation of interior architecture and design.

My daughter, Camilla May was born just before Covid-19 hit and my husband and I spent the first few months quite isolated with just the three of us at home. With lots of time indoors scrolling Pinterest and reading interior design blogs, it felt like kismet when my current role at Miss Amara came along.

Having held senior roles with omnichannel fashion retailers, stepping into a pure play ecommerce business has been an exciting challenge – I love the agility and fast pace of e-commerce.

As Head of Customer Experience I am in my dream role – working to refine, optimise and elevate the customer journey at Miss Amara and helping our customers design their dream space!

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

My day now starts at 5.30am when my 7-month old daughter, Camilla May, wakes up! My husband and I will go for a walk on the beach in the morning to map out our day.

I like to check emails, Slack and meetings the night before so I can hit the ground running in the morning. I work from home so I’m at my desk with another coffee around 8 when I start my day.

From there, I could be collaborating with my team via Zoom on a new customer initiative, meeting with colleagues to hammer out details around strategy, or working on our newly launched menswear brand, YP Threads.

As I’m writing this I’m preparing for Friday drinks which we hold over Zoom, allowing for our team around the globe to dial in and participate which is always fun!

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

Yes! Miss Amara is a global brand and I have team members across three continents! I’m lucky enough to work from home in Sydney, which is a delight as it means I’m never too far away from Camilla.

Working from home with a baby has its own challenges, but I’m fortunate that my husband is incredibly hands on and also has a flexible role, and we have a family who care for Camilla four days each week and cook us meals. It takes a village!

By nature I’m a very social person, and I’m fortunate that Miss Amara has such a strong culture of team and togetherness that builds a great sense of community around you, despite the geographical distance.

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

There’s no secret to it – if there is please let me know! I find it’s something you need to work on – making small decisions, every day to try and keep things balanced! Having Camilla has made me much better at prioritising – a crying baby doesn’t care if you haven’t finished that last email!

Working remotely has definitely forced me to become more disciplined – the temptation is there to work intermittently all day and night – so having a dedicated space to work in definitely helps with the email creep!

Having a team that you trust is also crucial – I’m fortunate to work with an inspiring team that is amazing at what they do and I can rely on to get things done, especially when I’m running on only a few hours sleep!

Recently, I’ve learned to ask for help a lot more – whether that’s from family, or by outsourcing tasks to professionals, it’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders to just let some things go.

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

Becoming a mother for the first time has certainly changed life as I knew it! It’s certainly helped me slow down and appreciate the everyday luxuries – lunch with friends, a coastal walk, a good glass of wine and an afternoon nap!

I also walk for around an hour morning and night, before and after work. At first it started as a way to punctuate my workday, but now I’ve realised it energises me and creates clarity at the start of the day, and helps me wind down at the end of it.

We’re lucky enough to live near the ocean which makes for some pretty breathtaking sunrises too!

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

Having spent a lot of time travelling in my previous roles, I am a voracious consumer of podcasts. My go to is Ted Talk Daily – I like to listen to ideas that challenge the way I think about things, and open up new spaces in my mind.

Other favourites are This American Life for incredible stories, Conversations with Richard Fidler for a window into amazing lives, and Hay House Meditations for when you need some down time to regroup and refocus.

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

I can’t live without good coffee; the Spotify app – music is an instant mood changer; Google Calendar, my Apple Watch, and something called a BabyBjorn – a baby carrier that lets me strap Camilla to my front like a baby koala, so I can get everything done on my days off!

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

I’m not necessarily a monarchist but definitely Queen Elizabeth II!

Possibly the most tenured employee of all time and a powerhouse work-wise; I’d love to hear her speak candidly about staying motivated, adapting to change, and being a powerful woman in the male dominated world of diplomacy and politics.

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

Don’t be afraid to try things and fail! Inaction is worse than making mistakes, because you can’t learn from doing nothing. I’m a huge proponent of just getting things done – if it’s not quite right on the first attempt you can always go back and fine tune things later! Perfect is the enemy of good!

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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.