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Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Vanessa Farrugia, Head Of Marketing at Beauty & Cosmetics

Vanessa Farrugia is the Head Of Marketing at Beauty & Cosmetics, and also the founder of a side passion project called Sahha Wellness.

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

I began my career in retail, working as a part of the Management team at David Jones whilst completing University. Upon graduating from a BCom majoring in Marketing and Management, I joined Estee Lauder Group of Companies to embark on my Marketing career with M·A·C.

I’ve been in the beauty industry for over 20 years and am currently in a Head of Marketing role. throughout my career, I have managed all elements of marketing, from campaigns, digital & e-commerce, events, visual merchandising, creative & content development, branding, collabs, pr, communications and social media with a range of brands including: Guerlain, Burt’s Bees, Glasshouse Fragrances and Candles and hair care brands: OGX and Maui Moisture, Johnson and Johnson.

Prior to the pandemic, I took a few months sabbatical and travelled through India and studied yoga in its birth home. After watching Daughters Of Destiny on Netflix I was successful in my application to volunteer as a teacher at a Boarding School for children of the Untouchable Caste in Bangalore, called Shanti Bhavan. I spent a couple of months living on campus teaching all different subjects to children in Grades 3- 7. To date, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

In addition to my day job, I have a side passion project called Sahha Wellness, health coaching women on all things hormone, thyroid and metabolism related. I also teach yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in nature, to adults and kids with a focus on sustainability – a partnership I pioneered with my local council.

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

My workday is either one of the two: back-to-back meetings or days where I can focus on getting work done sprinkled with a couple of meetings in between. I like to schedule meeting days early in the week, so the latter half of the week is focused on projects and working with my team.

Here’s an average workday:

  • 5.30am Wake up
  • 6am Workout
  • 6.45am Quick scan of emails for anything urgent
  • 7am Walk
  • 8am – Breakfast, get ready for work and personal email time
  • 8.30am – Begin the work day
  • 9.30am – 1pm Meetings
  • 1.15pm – Lunch
  • 2pm – 6.30pm Work time
  • 6.30pm – Evening routine

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

The business I currently work for has recently moved to a hybrid workplace model – one of the good things to come from the shift of business practices with the pandemic. I am fortunate to have the choice and options to go into the office and WFH, or both on some days.

My team and I usually go into the office at the start of the week to review results from the previous week and it affords us the opportunity to have our weekly WIP’s in person, which is important in staying connected, especially with team members that enjoy the social aspect.

If there is a bigger business meeting or brainstorm session, we will go into the office, otherwise a good part of the week is spent working from home. The business utilises Microsoft Teams which makes internal comms and meetings super accessible, remotely.

The move to a hybrid workplace has transformed my daily routine. It has given me back time saved from the daily commute to and from the office. I use the time to get in more exercise and try out new recipes.

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

Working from home has the propensity to blur the line between work and personal time. In order to ensure the two don’t mix, I have implemented some boundaries so that my time at home (my sanctuary!) does not feel like an extension of my workspace.

Fortunately, I have a study room that is my office which allows me to preserve boundaries and balance within my space. My work remains in this room and does not extend into any other part of my home.

Everyone’s lives are so individual, and I don’t think there is a magic formula in finding balance – for me, it’s more about the rituals and practices to help each day “flow” a little more fluidly.

I start each day with time invested in my self-care. I start with a workout or a swim (weather permitting) and get out into nature for a walk. I then get ready for the day. When I walk into my office, work mode kicks in – I always start with checking out our sales performance from the day before and then get into emails. Depending on the day, I’m usually straight into meetings or start the day by working through tasks that require more concentration.

In managing the week, I try to keep Fridays free from meetings to tie up loose ends. I like to balance the busy week with connecting with my team before the week ends to celebrate our wins, what we are looking forward to on the weekend and always share a good laugh!

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

Taking the concerted effort to have less screen time is something I have focused on over the past year.

Being online and on social media is a big part of my day job, so it’s important to have time to switch off. I take some time each evening to minimise screen time and I don’t spend a lot of time on my personal socials. Unless I get caught in the TikTok vortex, then it’s all over haha!

I have started a daily Gratitude practice, since returning from India. I end each day with writing down 3 things I am grateful for from the day and keep the little notes in a jar.

At the end of the year, it’s been soul-filling to reflect on the 365 notes accumulated. Taking the time to be thankful has changed my perspective on so many things in life, to keep mindful, present, and grounded.

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

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey would have to be up there – I read this early on in my career and each habit is just as relevant today. All of Brenè Brown’s work, I especially love Dare to Lead which is focused on being a ‘brave leader’ and creating a courageous culture – qualities I feel are important as a leader. I was fortunate to hear her speak of her inspirational work when in Sydney a few years ago.

Some other of my faves include Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of NOW as well as anything and everything by Joe Dispenza. The Bhagavad Gita is also a life-changing spiritual read.

Next Level Human by Dr Jade Teta is my go-to podcast – it’s the ultimate combo of all things health, life, finance, philosophy with tips on how to be a better human for yourself and those around you.

To quote “as humans we have four jobs: to earn and manage money, to attain and maintain health and fitness, to build and sustain personal relationships and to find meaning and make a difference.” Jade’s approach is real, honest and practical.

I listen and read up on all things Beauty and Marketing related to keep on top of research and trends in the industry, as well as all things health, nutrition and wellness oriented.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I could not live without my phone and Spotify – music is my everything !

I use the Insight Timer Meditation App every day – I have my own personal daily meditation practice and also love ending the day with a guided meditation.

My desk is surrounded by new beauty products we are testing, essential oils to maintain zen and crystals as they are a big part of the energy work I do.

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

I would love to chat to Arianna Huffington about all things work-life balance. I also really enjoy talking to people that have different lifestyles/careers and hearing about how they juggle priorities – there’s something to learn from everyone.

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

Balance means and looks different to everyone. For me personally, starting the day with a walk out in nature, taking time to breathe throughout the day, eating nutritious food, drinking lots of water and ending the day in gratitude helps me maintain balance and be present. This allows me to be the best version I can be for myself and those I show up for every day.

Each day do something that makes your soul happy – just one thing, it doesn’t need to be anything big. All the little things each day, add up! And, on the tougher days, that one thing means everything.

There are already so many pressures on us all in life and “perfect” life balance is something that doesn’t exist in my world. To me, balance and harmony are about what makes you personally feel good and is realistic without the added pressure.

Spending time with loved ones, catching up with friends, being of service and grateful for what we have in life and living in good health – mentally, physically and spiritually, is to me, what defines balance.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.