Madison Rapa is the founder and managing director at Tanzee, a company founded in 2015, and home of the original self tan bed sheet protector.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Ever since I was little I have always thought a bit more out of the box, I had so many whacky ideas and have always been working away on little projects. People often thought I was just away with the Fairies (which maybe I am if you take our branding into account!).
When I was 12, I started a jewellery label with my pocket money called “Maddie Lu designs”, it was kind of legit, my parents helped me source properly printed labels and business cards which turned into me selling the designs in stores on consignment, so I have always had a passion for business even from a young age!
This sort of thing continued as I got older, and I dabbled in tonnes of other projects but for various reasons I never really went ahead with anything in a big way.
Tanzee was a lightbulb idea for me, and was created by something in my gut telling me the world needed it, there was nothing like it on the market and, I myself wanted it, so I just went for it, and here we are! Now Tanzee is a global brand and I’m still the founder and managing director.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I became really unwell around the same time I launched Tanzee, some days I might find myself undergoing treatment while replying to my emails, while others I might be having back to back Zoom meetings from my sickbed (with the camera turned off to remain professional).
My days are very unpredictable and untraditional, if you had asked me this a few weeks ago I would have told you that I was in Germany undergoing medical treatment, during a pandemic, while taking meetings from my hospital bed trying to plan our US launch.
It’s been a pretty crazy ride and no day is the same. A typical day for business flow can look like, business marketing meetings, production meetings, checking stock levels, ensuring we are forecasting for busy periods, formulation, planning, designing new products and so much more.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely, when I fell ill, as the business continued to grow I had to set Tanzee up to ensure it could be fully functional virtually- it’s really amazing what you can do in this virtual world we are living in. This has allowed me to keep working throughout treatment and I now have staff and colleagues that are located all over Australia and the world!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To be honest with you this is still a work in progress for me, I am a bit of a workaholic and throughout my journey of being unwell I really threw myself into Tanzee as a distraction from what I was dealing with.
You often hear founders say their business became their baby, for me that rings very true, however it was amplified dramatically as Tanzee was a way for me to keep moving forward and was a ray of sunshine in some otherwise quite dark days.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
My last 12 months have been pretty crazy! I traveled to Germany for urgent medical treatment and then due to the pandemic I got stuck over there, I only arrived home a week ago! So this was definitely a change in routine and my life!
I was fighting quite hard physically and the treatment was pretty gruelling, but I still had to be able to continue to work, especially with all we have going on with our global launches, so it was a real test of strength both physically and mentally.
I also had to go over there by myself due to the pandemic, so it was lonely at times especially because the time zones were almost opposite so I only had a few hours a day to talk to people and fit in my meetings.
But I feel really proud to have made it through that and pushed through it all while still running a company and striving for my goals, it makes it all the more rewarding because you can see all you have achieved even despite the adversity.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I really don’t have much time to read or listen anymore! I really love reading books! Especially books based on true stories in my (limited) spare time. I live and breathe business so if I do get free time I prefer to immerse myself in something unrelated.
I love books based on WW2 as they are so inspiring, the The Tattooist of Auschwitz was one I read not too long ago, which was amazing. My favourite Author is Liane Moriarty, her book The Husband’s Secret was the first story I read that turned me into a book nerd and kicked off my reading obsession!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I think my phone has fused to my hand at this point if that counts!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Richard Branson seems like he has figured out a way to relax and live life to the fullest (on his private island no less) while also being ridiculously successful. He’s got a really positive energy about him that I love so I’d love to read more on how he juggles it all!
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m still a work in progress and have to work on not letting work consume me emotionally. But I’ve been thinking maybe we need to stop focusing so much on separating work and play?
Go into it with a positive mindset and don’t say “I have to go to work today” but say “I get to go to work today!” I know there were times in my illness where I couldn’t get out of bed for months at a time where I would seriously have loved to be able to “go into work today”.
I believe in trying to not let work consume you emotionally (Which I’m working on!), but I also think it’s important to be positive, make friends, take time out on your lunch break to enjoy the sunshine, you know – get work done of course, but also do life while working! I don’t believe work and life have to be mutually exclusive and I encourage this within the Tanzee team.
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