Melissa Giuffrida is the owner of Collécte, Australia’s first end to end marketplace for pre-owned, authentic, designer furniture.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I have been working in fashion, cosmetics, and interiors for close to 30 years. I started at Esprit as an assistant womenswear buyer and worked my way up to become the shoes and accessories buyer.
After Esprit relocated to Sydney, I stayed in Melbourne and started working at Bloom Cosmetics as the Export Manager and then onto General Manager. Interiors, however, have always been my passion – which led me to qualify in Interior Decoration & Design in 2007, start my own interior decorating company in 2008 and launch Collecte in 2020 albeit during a pandemic!
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
A typical day in my life sees me waking at 6:30am getting the kids off to school, a workout or a walk, and then off to work.
My workday changes constantly from meetings and calls, curating listings of new products, working on marketing campaigns, to analysing the daily reports! My day finishes in bed with a cup of tea and the latest book from a book group – great way to finish a day!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely! One of the joys of owning a technology business is that you can work from anywhere with an internet connection and at any time. I have a lot of flexibility with where I work, as my office is in my pocket, so it works very well for myself and the family.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me it’s more about the work-life blend. I love what I do, and I enjoy working hard on building the Collécte business, so I do answer calls/emails/texts at all times of the day and on weekends.
That can be whilst I’m at kids sport or even lunch with the girls. That way I can always be responsive to my customers whilst not missing out on some of the fun things. I find that blend works well for me right now.
However, as a mother of 4 kids, I have to manage this very carefully. I have set a few rules, one being we all have dinner together during the week uninterrupted with all phones turned off. My family has been amazingly supportive and all together we make it work. Being organised and sharing all of our calendars really helps!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started/stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes – I’ve started going to bed earlier!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Recent favourite novels are American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.
I love listening to How I Built This by Guy Raz – so many interesting and inspiring stories. As a total escape I also like listening to true-grime podcasts like The Teacher’s Pet and Dirty John.
I also subscribe to numerous architectural, interior and art newsletters like Est. Living, Vault Magazine and The Design Files to keep me up to date.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
- Apps – I can’t live without Spotify, either in the office or whilst I’m enjoying a drink at the end of the day; Commbank app – boring but practical.
- Products – My favourite perfume; Honoré Des Prés Vamp à N.Y., all-natural organic perfume.
- Gadgets – I have just purchased this all-in-one brush/hair dryer – game changer in the morning when getting ready, saves a lot of time. Also, I can’t live without my kindle.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Kelly Wearstler – Kelly is an American interior designer with a truly eclectic style. She has built a multi-million-dollar empire all whilst having a family.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work-life balance is such an interesting area. Whilst I believe the journey to find balance in your life is different for everyone, when I reflect on my own experience – as a mother and entrepreneur – I was so fortunate to have a support network to help me as I pursued my passion with Collécte. However, even with that support network in place – I think that blending work and life is the reality for most women who are pursuing careers, and that’s ok!
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