CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Margot Balch, Co-Founder & CEO of The One Two

Margot Balch is the co-founder & CEO of The One Two, a start-up disrupting what they call the “lazy” lingerie industry, with meticulously tested, beautiful and comfortable bras.

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

My background is solidly on the business side, previous roles include corporate strategy at Bain & Co, being on the team that launched The Iconic, the MD of a fast growing ecommerce homewares brand, Director of Strategy at News Corp – including working with Vogue, Sunday Style, and as GM of Folklore Venture’s first early stage fund. 

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

6:30am wake up to a baby squawking at me because he wants to get up. I promptly hand him over to hubby. Get up, have ⅓ of a cup of tea before I put it down and quickly forget it in the zone of dressing my 2 and ½ year old.

Stare at my closet seeking a unicorn outfit – chic, that fits me (I had a baby 3 months ago and a lot of my wardrobe doesn’t) and I can breast feed in. Settle for the last two things. Wash and blow dry just my fringe.

Hand the toddler over to my Mum or daycare, then head out with the baby to meet up with my co-founder at a cafe. 

We have a few cafes we frequent, but they must be light and have nice oat milk. They’re all big so they don’t care if we linger. There we will often start by workshopping the most important item on our agenda. I believe mornings should be saved for only the most important work, while the brain is fresh.

Meetings are pushed into the afternoon – this could be with investors, potential hires and advisors. If we hit an energy lull at any point we change venues. Baby is 3 months old, so there will be a few feeds and cuddles dispersed through the day. 

Rush to get home by 6pm, or 5:30pm if I’m on daycare pickup. Jump straight into toddler dinner madness. Restle her to bed by 8pm, hopefully fed and with clean teeth, then jump into finishing off emails. A call at 8:30 or 9pm with Europe or our factory in Sri Lanka, then feed the baby and hit the pillow.

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

Yes we are totally flexible. I say we’re radically integrating babies and business, so flexibility is key and my baby comes to 90% of our meetings. That being said, I generally work pretty solidly Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm and then again from 8-10pm. 

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

For me, work and life are fully integrated at this point. I’m fortunate to really enjoy my work – I have an amazing co-founder and great team. I do try to keep one weekend day completely free to switch off and focus on family. 

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

I have stopped all habits to fully live in the moment – letting go of trying to control life has been key to not burning out with a very full schedule of work and little children. I do try to have a full glass of water when I wake up in the morning and am figuring out how to regularly exercise. 

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

This is such a tough question – I love to read and love to recommend! So many books have touched and enhanced my life. Beautiful stories to me are where you get to step into the life and fully empathise with another human, fictional or real. 

Born a Crime, Trevor Noah – I was fortunate to live in South Africa and it’s such a wonderful, challenged, country. Trevor Noah captures the essence fantastically and his story is inspirational.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – a neurosurgeon with a young family writes through his diagnosis with terminal brain cancer. It’s deep and deepening, but also uplifting and inspiring (for such a weighty topic you won’t spend the whole book crying or feel flattened at the end).

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles was a wonderful uplifting historical fiction work.

I also have a penchant for detective stories – this isn’t high-brow, but is fabulous to switch off! Douglas Adams, Anthony Horowitz or Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym) are favourites.

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

Facebook’s portal is absolutely amazing to allow my 2 ½ year old daughter to talk to her grandparents without the need for a videographer (it’s directional microphone and camera follows her wherever she moves within the room). It also seems to have much better resolution than anything else I’ve tried.

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

Women who’ve done what I’m attempting to do right now – build a business while being actively present and involved in the lives of their little children

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

Curate your company. Pick the people you spend time with and then be their biggest supporter. Support is a two-way street and there is nothing as wonderful as being surrounded by people who know you love them and love you back. Yes, that includes work as well as home.

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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.