CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Marina Martianova, Founder & CEO at Seamm

Marina Martianova is the founder & CEO at Seamm, a company that authenticates and digitalizes fashion goods so that consumers can use them in virtual worlds.

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

I started my founder career at 21 when I had yet to finish my bachelors degree in economics. That’s when I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and told that I would have to follow a strict diet with no sugar for the rest of my life.

The diagnosis eventually turned out to be false, but that’s how I came up with the idea of a FoodTech startup, Candice, selling desserts with no added sugar and securing distribution contracts for over 14,000 locations.

After successfully exiting Candice I continued along the startup route to become founder and CEO of Seamm, a platform digitizing fashion goods for virtual worlds. At Seamm we provide brands with technical means to expand into the metaverse by creating 3D twins of existing physical items or selling exclusive digital-only collections.

For users this adds new ways to personalize their game characters and avatars. My primary role as the company head is to make sure we live up to the promise of bridging the gap between real-life fashion and virtual worlds, empowering users to fully express their identity in every reality. 

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

My day heavily depends on the amount of sleep I get, so I try to squeeze in at least 8 hours. Normally I wake up at around 8 am and have breakfast with a cup of coffee. Work begins at 9 am — we have a distributed team, so it’s mostly calls and Slack.

My activity is primarily focused on business development and strategic decision making. I try to take a helicopter view at everything we’re doing in order to not lose sight of the goals behind the tasks. 

Depending on my energy level I either go to the office or stay at home and work from there. If I have calls with clients, I do my best to leave enough time before and after those calls, since I need to be highly focused. Sometimes I finish at 5-6 pm, sometimes I go on for much longer if I’m in the zone and generating new ideas. 

The message I convey to the team is similar: it doesn’t matter if you work from 9 am till 7 pm or go surfing in the morning and then stay at the office late. As long as all the tasks are completed and everyone shows up for important calls, I don’t care when they work.

My evenings are all about doing whatever feels right on each particular day: seeing friends, spending time with my family, going to dance classes, watching something relaxing or reading a book. It really depends on my mood and there’s no strict schedule here.

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

For me it’s a balance between 6 key components: work, sleep, sports, family and friends, time for myself, and therapy. If all of them are in place, then it feels right.

I see it not as a goal but as a process. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse. I just do my best to listen to myself and make progress.

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

I started 3 new ones that are helping me a lot just within last month:

  1. Got an Oura ring to monitor my sleep. Now I track changes to my lifestyle on a daily basis and make sure that my sleeping environment is as close to perfect as possible. 
  2. Here’s a weird one. I’m a very tactile person, so touching and all kinds of materials mean a lot to me. At least 2-3 times a day I touch something that I love: soft throws, my cat, plant leaves, etc. What’s important here is to make sure you’re actually paying attention to the feeling. Even describing it might help. It calms me down and helps to relax. 
  3. A day without calls. I choose one day a week (usually it’s Friday) when I’m not available for calls. It’s a day for strategic thinking, research and inspiration. We’re so busy with day-to-day tasks all week that we often forget to focus on the bigger picture. Now I have one full day every week to do exactly that. 

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

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is one of my recent favorites. I’m also subscribed to Bill Gates’ notes, where he recommends books on unexpected topics.

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

My dad, and I’m not kidding. He passed away earlier this year and although he was an entrepreneur, he always managed to find time for himself and his family. I can barely remember any days when he was emotionally unstable or refused some quality time together.

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

Don’t make your whole life about work. Lots of people focus on work-life balance to be more productive. It seems a bit artificial — if you’re focusing on productivity it usually means you’re not truly living.

Being productive is a normal state of our bodies and minds, so we should be just focusing on ourselves. If you’re full of energy, thoroughly enjoying your life and doing what you love you will be productive. It’s not about the number of hours you spend at the office.

Find the hacks that are good for you. Everyone is different, and if you read an article on someone’s healthy habits or effective techniques it doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for you. Try it, adapt it, pick what fits you best.

For example, I hate scheduled exercises even though they are supposed to be good for you. It always feels like I push myself too much. I like to do stuff because I want to, not because I have to.

Same with yoga — it’s not my thing, I prefer dancing or something even more energy-consuming. When it comes to healthy eating, it’s also tricky for me. It doesn’t work if I just restrict myself but knowing I can have a burger makes me want to eat something healthier.

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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.