Vandana Chaudhry is the co-founder & CEO at Andisor, a curated B2B digital marketplace, purpose-built for fashion.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My current role is CEO of Andisor, a B2B marketplace purpose built for fashion. Brands are looking for sustainable ways to build relationships and revenue with a large, fragmented pool of retailers and serve their customers better, and we can help.
My experience in retail and buying spans over 15 years, and I have had the privilege of working on all sides of the marketplace table – as a marketplace operator, buyer and seller. I founded Andisor to help retailers and brands harness the power of technology and build thriving, sustainable businesses. My experience gives me a unique perspective on the retail industry that guides our approach to online experiences for retailers and sellers in a way that drives trust and efficiency.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day starts early with exercise and mindfulness. I love to take the time every morning before work begins, to reflect on the day ahead and the day that was. Working in a global business means calls can start as early as 6 AM. The mornings are often an act of balance between getting the boys to school and work.
I like working on strategic and creative pieces of work during morning hours. Afternoons are reserved for conversations, administrative and routine things.
To drive productivity, we are ruthless in our prioritisation. We deploy an agile way of working, and back that up with collaborative tools like Google Workspace, Miro, Figma and Canva to run rapid experiments, test hypotheses and double down on what works.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
As a remote-first company, we work asynchronously and that helps us maximise our outcomes while balancing work and personal life. A remote first culture helps us find and engage with best-in-class talent across the world.
As a parent, I wear many hats and the flexibility of being able to have a fluid work day means I can attend basketball games or volunteer at the school while still putting in 12 hour work days and achieving professional goals we have set out for ourselves.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance means having a sense of control and mastery over what you do, while also maintaining a healthy and happy life outside of work. It’s about creating a life that you’re excited to come home to every day, where you feel fulfilled both professionally and personally.
There isn’t one specific way to achieve work-life balance, as it will look different for everyone. However, some ways of achieving balance include setting boundaries with your time, using your vacation days effectively, saying no when you need to, and making time for yourself. Ultimately, it’s about creating a life that makes you happy and helps you fulfill your purpose.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
As a family, we have started spending a lot more time with nature. There’s just something about being surrounded by nature that helps put things in perspective and makes one appreciate the small things in life. I am a lot more disciplined about focused deep-work time, and being away from gadgets in the evenings..
I am working on giving up my obsession for perfection and instead prioritise speed in order to deliver outcomes faster, but it is easier said than done!.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I love learning about new things, so my favourite books are usually non-fiction. One of my favourites is Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. What makes this book so special is that it’s not just a tale of adventure and bravery, but also a story about the power of human resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
I’m also a big fan of podcasts, and my current favorites are The Artful Trader and Radical Candor. Both are absolutely packed with great insights and advice on everything from business to personal growth.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My phone, my calendar and my Kindle. I am currently reading No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings. It has been a fascinating read so far as they work towards building a culture of freedom and responsibility in a contrarian way.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Ariana Huffington, author of Thrive, is a great person to turn to for advice on work-life balance. In her book, she discusses the importance of disconnecting from work in order to focus on our personal lives and recharge our batteries.
She talks about how we’ve become so obsessed with work that we’ve forgotten how to relax and enjoy life outside of the office. And this obsession has had major consequences, such as increased rates of stress and burnout.
Ariana’s tips for achieving a better work-life balance include establishing clear boundaries between our personal and professional lives, disconnecting from devices after a certain hour, and learning to say no when we’re overstretched.
She also recommends taking time for regular breaks. I have tried to adopt some of these strategies over the past year and that has really helped me be more thoughtful, focused and effective at work.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
My favorite quote about work-life balance comes from Simon Sinek: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
So, two things I could leave you with are:
- We should be doing things that make us happy, and serve our higher purpose.
- Instead of work-life balance, plan work-life integration. That’s the key to thrive!
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