Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Riley Wolff, Integrated Marketing Manager (AUS) at StockX

Riley Wolff is the Integrated Marketing Manager (AUS) at StockX, a global marketplace for trading and consuming current culture.

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

I spent the formative part of my early career at adidas. I started there in an operations role as an Inventory Analyst – I was doing Uni online at the time. I eventually moved into a marketing role when I finished my Masters degree a couple of years later.

I left Adidas after six years because I wanted to broaden my experience. I did some agency stuff, which wasn’t for me at all, and then ended up as the editor at a running publication called Tempo Journal. I remember my first day there.

I was given a six-page PowerPoint presentation of what Tempo wanted to be, and a web developer, a month later we had a functioning website and the biggest sports brand in the world was backing us. I spent almost five years there looking after editorial strategy, managing freelancers, conceptualising brand campaigns, and writing about a sport I love.

It was an amazing role – one that doesn’t fit nicely into a box on people’s work experience, but the exposure I got to the big brands around the world was incredibly valuable for my own development. 

Travelling to NYC or LA to talk to the big sports brands about running was a thrill, and I can proudly say we changed the way the sport of running is presented.

Today, I’m looking after marketing in Australia and New Zealand for StockX. We’re a global marketplace for trading and consuming current culture, which includes hyped sneakers, street fashion, collectibles, hard-to-find electronics, and more. It’s a US-based tech startup with an incredible user base around the world. 

I’m primarily concerned with localising the brand for our audience – whether that’s through campaigns, content, influencer activity, and more. 

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

You know, I don’t want to sound like a cliche – ‘I get up at 3am, do 10,000 sit-ups, write a book – then have a teaspoon of orange juice for breakfast’, but I do squeeze as much as I can out of each day. 

So I’m usually up in the early 4’s – around 4:15. I’ll take our four-month-old labrador, Hershey, out while I have a coffee, then I’ll go and meet some friends for a run, usually at Albert Park. Depending on the program we’ll run anywhere from 10-20km, which sounds like a lot but when you’ve been doing it for years it really doesn’t seem that way!

I’ll then head into the office, where the first thing I do is look at what was bought by Australians the day before, it’s a great way for me to stay on top of trends. The first couple of hours in the office could be spent chatting with the US team about upcoming marketing campaigns, content plans, or just feeding back on trends we’re seeing in our market. 

The middle of the day is often spent with my manager, Kelly, who is the Director of Australia & New Zealand at StockX, looking at macro trends and bouncing around ideas on how we can achieve our targets.

Depending on the day, I’m usually doing some influencer management with our amazing influencers, writing content, or chatting with our CRM team based in Hong Kong. It’s one of the things I love about the role – the exposure and impact across so many facets of marketing and the chance to link up with colleagues around the world. 

I’ll try to get home just after 5pm, where I go for a short second run, or my wife and I will take Hershey for a walk.

In addition to my role at StockX, I do some freelance writing and photography in sport. I do most of this on weekends but there are always a few emails or invoices to prepare so I’ll spend an hour or so on that before I chill out. I’m shocking at relaxing – my wife will often find that I’ve wandered off to go and sand a door frame or something when we’re supposed to be watching a movie! 

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

I’m not sure if I’m the person to answer this! Balance for me is about devoting my time to the things I love – I genuinely love work, and outside of that I spend my time running or working on personal projects.

I don’t really do downtime, I would always rather do something than just sit around and relax. I’ve been really lucky to have some great opportunities come my way and my attitude is to say “yes” to as many things as I can, while I can. Someday I’ll be old and I don’t want to reflect on my life and say ‘I wish I’d taken those opportunities that came up’, because you never know where even small opportunities can take you. 

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

I try to do the little things that will allow me to function better – I prioritise good sleep and eating well. I have this silly thing my wife teases me about called ‘the drinks window’ which closes at 7:30pm, because I don’t want to get my sleep interrupted by needing to go to the bathroom! 

The other thing I’m doing lately is learning to not be so hard on myself. I’m very critical of myself and will agonise over simple things – I’ll tie myself in knots trying to decide if I ‘deserve’ a drink with dinner, or ‘have I worked hard enough / done enough today’ and I’m trying to let go of some of that pressure I put on myself. 

If you think I sound really fun – you’re right.   

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

I’m not generally into podcasts but I do enjoy the uniqueness of Scott Galloway – he has a couple of podcasts, one called ‘Pivot’ and another called ‘The Prof G Pod’. He’s a brilliant marketing mind, and an NYU Professor. He’s witty and charismatic, but also strategic and forward-looking.

People get so caught up in the micro details in marketing – in different tools and triggers and that’s great, you need that, but I enjoy his bigger picture view of the world. I grew up wanting to be an economist but wasn’t good enough at maths, so the way Scott looks at the world touches on an economist’s viewpoint, which I love.

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

Probably someone who’s struggling to get by, if I’m honest. The habits of people who are wealthy enough to pay for conveniences like assistants, drivers, and whatever else are not that interesting to me. Money solves most of those issues. 

But I’d love to better understand what life is like for a young, second-generation Australian who is putting themselves through uni while helping keep their household afloat. What can we learn from them about how valuable time is, and what can we do to help them? 

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

I think the easiest thing in the world is to comment on what other people are doing, and the hardest thing in the world is to do it yourself. I guess that’s my clumsy way of saying ‘talk is cheap’.

So do things – do more. Say yes to things. It might mean you watch less TV or sleep in less, but those things don’t matter. There’s never going to be a better time to start doing whatever you’re thinking about and you don’t need to be an expert the moment you start. Just start and figure the rest out later.

I think hard work can make up for a lot. If you’re starting a new job or a new endeavour, you won’t know everything, or you’ll lack some of the skills you need – but you can control how hard you work. I think that allows you to bridge those other gaps pretty quickly.

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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.