Balancing the Grind with Tom Hodgman, Marketing Director at Ivory & Deene

Tom Hodgman is the Marketing Director at Ivory & Deene, a Tasmanian homeware brand which has curated meaningful pieces that will bring peace and comfort to a space.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to at Ivory & Deene?

My entrance into the professional world began with a focus on digital design, with an emphasis on user experience. The early years were a blend of designing and teaching as an industry educator, partnering with universities to bridge the gap between academia and the practical demands of design work.

Embracing this role while still new to the industry myself was unconventional but very beneficial to my development as teaching helped fast-track my own learning.

After half a decade immersed in agency work, my parents asked me to lead the marketing strategy at Ivory & Deene. Now, three years later, I’m leading an incredible team alongside my wife, as we continue to drive the brand into new areas with great anticipation for the future.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a typical workday at Ivory & Deene?

Being online,  we rely heavily on digital connectivity to communicate with our customers on the mainland and worldwide. With this in mind, a typical day starts with digital meetings and leading collaborative brainstorming sessions, conceptualising innovative ad campaigns and strategising on how to effectively convey the value of our products to our customers. I’m also the Creative Director for the business, which allows me to be a bit more adventurous, coordinating our video and photo teams at onsite product shoots – these days are always a lot of fun! 

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it within a family business?

Working alongside my family is a joy and privilege. Whilst we have different areas of focus and at times our opinions differ, we have found an exceptional benefit as working together allows for real transparency and creativity.

For us, the concept of work-life balance is better represented as a blend rather than a boundary. It’s less about clocking out at a specific time and more about maintaining the right proportions of work and personal life, ensuring a fulfilling existence.

As a family business, work doesn’t necessarily require separation from our personal lives, but rather an integration. Central to everything is our faith, not merely one aspect but the core that anchors and aligns everything from our relationship to our business ethos. 

For visual learners like me, I look at it like a bicycle wheel. Each spoke in the wheel is an aspect of our lives: work, family, friends. Our faith in Jesus isn’t just another spoke in the wheel, it’s the centrepiece that holds them together influencing our values, decisions, and direction. With our faith as the foundation for both work and life, we’ve found them to be much more easily integrated together.

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Can you elaborate on how Ivory & Deene stays relevant in the homewares space?

Staying relevant for us means embracing our passion and commitment to “timeless luxury” Bringing this to life across our range of products, liberates us from the ever-changing nature of trends, as we focus on offering products with enduring style that withstands the test of time.

On the technological front, we are proactive in adopting innovations that enhance customer experience. For instance, we are integrating enhanced reality features on our website, allowing customers to visualise our products in their space

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

I highly recommend The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast for invaluable leadership insights. As for reading material, Atomic Habits by James Clear and Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg are on the top of my list, both offering awesome perspectives on personal growth and productivity.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Every individual thrives differently. While current cultural narratives often prescribe a strict separation between professional and personal life, we advocate for a more individualised approach. It’s crucial to establish what works for you personally and professionally, fostering your own business passions.

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.