Nicola Kropach is the General Manager at Aesthetics RX, where she manages the end-to-end production of two skincare brands along with the new product development for 53 clinics located nationally.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started out in the beauty industry as a trainer for Clarins. I was lucky enough to live for some time in France and also London and was trained by the founder of Clarins, Jacques Courtin-Clarins.
The time spent with him is one of the most memorable of my whole career. I was lucky enough to travel extensively with Clarins in Asia, all of Australia and New Zealand training consultants and beauty therapists how to use the brand and the Clarins Paris method of facial and body treatment.
After around 8 years and so much travel, I needed to keep my feet on the ground and I decided to move into a management position with BLC Cosmetics in Australia.
At that time BLC was the exclusive distributor of the French brand Thalgo in Australia; together with my team, we developed one of the largest export markets for the brand in the world, and I ended up becoming the General Manager of the company.
During my 5 years as General Manager at BLC Cosmetics, I started to import and distribute a number of other brands, all sourced from Europe and the USA and by the time I left, we had acquired 10 brands in total.
I started an MBA while I was at BLC, which was incredibly challenging to do while working full time and I continued this study when I moved on to become the General manager of Skinstitut.
I ran Skinstitut for 3.5 years and in that role doubled the annual revenue of the brand, positioning it in the top 3 Australian cosmeceutical brands.
Today I am the General Manager of Aesthetic skincare & merchandise at SILK Laser clinics. In my new role, I manage the end-to-end production of two skincare brands along with the new product development for our 53 clinics located nationally.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
8.30am – media head shots; 10am meeting with PR agency; then back to the office to work on developing education content for four new products we are launching.
3pm – record podcast for our skin techs discussing why skin needs to be prepped with cosmeceuticals prior to dermal therapies and why post treatment skincare is critical to the safety and the efficacy of treatment and results.
4pm – work with new supplier developing suitable packaging for new products; 5pm review marketing material for new body treatment (EmSculpt) for our clinics.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
My role actually is totally remote from our head office because I live in Sydney but our head office is in Adelaide.
The plan is to commute to Adelaide frequently but for now I share a small office in Manly with three SILK Laser clinics colleagues who also live in Sydney.
The pandemic has definitely put our travel on hold for the time being. I’m so lucky because I live locally and my daughter attends school in Manly too, so life is less hectic than it has been for me in years gone by.
These days I walk along Manly beach to get to my office. When I worked for Clarins and BLC I felt like I spent my life on a plane or in a hotel. It wasn’t glamorous at all!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I prefer to think of this subject just as ‘Life balance’ because my work has always played such a big part in my overall life; it’s impossible for me to think of the parts of my life in separation.
I am passionate about my work, it brings me so much joy, satisfaction and personal reward, and I am equally passionate about life’s other aspects including nutrition, health, exercise, social fulfilment and spiritual growth.
So I make sure that I allocate enough time to each of these so that there is balance between all of them. Above all, I prioritise the time I spend with my daughter.
I am a single mum and she is 16, I’m conscious she is not going to want to spend as much time with me in the future as she has in the past, so for now we are world travel companions, gym buddies and study partners.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have practiced power vinyasa yoga for the past 20 something years, and in the last 12 months decided to take that one step further and become a yoga teacher myself!
I am currently doing the 200 hour yoga teacher training and I have also recently completed my Yin yoga teacher training. So now I have a daily yoga and meditation practice.
This is the thing that made iso bearable actually. It was something to look forward to every day and it never failed to keep me focused and the endorphins moving.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
My favourite book of all time is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a book explaining how the most successful people reach their goals, from people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, elite athletes to business owners.
It talks about how special talent is less to do with success than what hard work, determination and continued practice is.
I also love to read the translations of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to deepen my understanding of how the chatter of the mind sometimes gets in the way of finding happiness and is the source of self-doubt.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I am obsessed with my sleep tracking app, and I still wear a Fitbit every day to make sure I walk 12,000 steps a day minimum.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Michelle and Barak Obama are work life balance goals! I’d love to hear from them on the subject.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
It is possible to achieve a healthy balance in life as a single mum at the top of her career game; one of the things I had to learn was to drop the mother-guilt though. If you don’t carve out time for you, no one’s going to get the best out of you, including you.
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