Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Zoe Wood, Marketing Manager at NuRange Products

Zoe Wood is the Marketing Manager at NuRange Products, one of the leading providers of shade products to wholesale customers both in New Zealand and globally.

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

I have had a very varied marketing career over the last 11 years. I always knew that to become the best marketer I could be, I needed to try lots of industries so I could hit the ground running on any brand in future.

However, over this time I also discovered that nothing quite compares to working for a brand you can 100% get behind and have a personal as well as a professional passion for!

Beginning my career in FMCG beauty, I moved on to alcohol, retail marketing then organic beauty before landing my dream job in tourism as Marketing Manager for Shotover Jet. Being an avid traveller and tourist myself this job became second nature to me, and I was lucky enough to experience so many wonderful adventures and experiences throughout my time.

Fast-forward 2.5 years and Covid-19 hit the Tourism industry hard and unexpectedly my role came to a sudden end. Although I was devastated, I knew that this opened the door for something new and exciting and I searched high and low to find a brand I could be equally as passionate about.

That is when I came across NuRange Products where I have been working as Marketing Manager for three months now. NuRange Products is a global leader in shade manufacture making incredible brands such as Wave Shade for customers all over the world and NZ.

This role has been a perfect fit for me as I love home renovations and home decorating and am currently completing my third renovation and landscaping project.

I also love applying my international tourism experience to the export industry and have already found so many crossovers. I am so lucky to have found another role where I can immerse myself in a personal passion!

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

In my new role I am a full-time remote worker, so my days have changed a lot over the last few months! I have become so much more routine in my habits and my health is thanking me for it.

I am an early riser and am usually up by 6.15am and out the door to an early F45 gym class. I then head home and get ready for work and try to be online by 7.45/8am to clear my emails and make tweaks to my digital campaigns while having a coffee and eating breakfast.

I have a daily catch up with my team around 9.30 where we talk about the exciting new brand and project we are working on and assign tasks for the day.

After that, like any marketer, my day is never the same. I jump all over the place from one task to the next however this role is great because I also get to do a bit of business development and help with customer quote requests which I find is helping me learn our products SO quickly!

I break the day up with a 30-minute lunchtime walk or run before eating lunch at my desk and try to wrap up around 4.30pm or 5.30pm at the latest.

After work I like to go Roller Skating on my Impala skates (a hobby I acquired over lockdown) for 30 mins to an hour with some good music to wind down.

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

I work remotely 100% of the time. My company is based in Dargaville and I am in Christchurch, so this career change has also been a major lifestyle change for me!

Although it took some time to adjust to, lockdown was a good introduction and I now absolutely love the flexibility work from home provides.

Working remotely means I have some flexibility to start and finish earlier if I need to or work my hours in less days, hit a lunchtime gym class on the odd occasion I feel like a sleep in or pop out to a doctor’s appointment knowing I can make up any hours in the evening.

As a result, I find I finish my days and weeks feeling a lot less stressed than I have in the past meaning I feel well rested enough to really make the most of every evening and weekend!

I also find I work many more productive hours than I have in the past and it leaves me feeling like I have achieved great things each day.

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

Work-life balance is so important. I know that when work takes over my life, I feel less motivated and productive.

By taking regular breaks and allowing myself the flexibility to fit in the things that are important to me like good meals and daily exercise, I actually work so much harder in the hours I am working and power through so much more!

However, my major learnings on work-life balance this year have been around how to work effectively from home. Without routine, personal and work life tends to merge, and you can find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Setting up a dedicated office space rather than working from the lounge makes you feel like you are going to work in the mornings and gets your mind in the right headspace.

Making sure you make an effort to get out of the house to see people either for lunch or a coffee or an interactive group fitness class like F45 are key to feeling that sense of personal connection you get from an office.

Finally, getting out into the fresh air and going for a walk around the block or a local park to break up the day is also so important whether you are in an office or at home. A brisk walk around the block always clears my head and gets me focused for my next task! And more recently, a roller skate outside in the park!

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

I do not think I realised how unhealthy my habits were until we went into lockdown and was forced to be at home.

I had got into a bad habit of stressing about work 24/7 and sometimes not making personal commitments just in case I needed to travel for work that weekend or just in case I needed to catch up. As a result, I missed out on important milestones with friends and family and felt pretty flat.

By developing the work-life balance mentioned earlier, I now feel more fulfilled in both my work and personal life and my energy levels have never been better!

I have continued my daily walks around the park that developed over lockdown and there is no better cure for a busy mind than some fresh air and getting out into nature.

Over lockdown I also picked up roller skating as I needed a new hobby to focus on when I couldn’t see my friends and this has now developed into a huge passion of mine! I cannot go a week without roller skating now.

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

I do love a good podcast however at the moment in my downtime I find myself putting on some Taylor Swift or Dermot Kennedy. No matter the day I have had, these two always put me in the best mood. They are also great background music for work.

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

I cannot live without my Garmin smart watch! It keeps me accountable to fit in my daily walks and helps me to realise when I have been bottling up stress and prompts me to breathe. I also love my kindle for quiet time away from a computer or TV screen.

The My Fitness Pal app is a pretty important part of my life at the moment too as I really focus on my health and I love using Headspace when I need a moment of calm.

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

We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘To Do’ List!

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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.