I mentioned in my last ‘office space’ post how I decided to break up the posts as they were just too ‘meaty’ for a single post. And I actually found the answers to my questions really useful and wanted to give them a bit more space on the digital page.
So first up is Naomi Mdudu, someone I have admired and looked up to for a few years – we met at a work dinner when we both worked full time on print media (she was Fashion Editor for The Metro at the time) and have since become friends. I was lucky enough to be one of the first women she featured on her amazing website The LifeStyle Edit which is a must read on successful women juggling life, work and, well, everything. And she has been known to practically ‘life coach’ myself and other blogger friends when we’ve needed life and career advice. So I particularly wanted to know how she manages it all..
You split your time between London and New York, do you have an office in NYC or do you work from home?
The majority of time, you’ll find me working from my dining table at home. After years working on a busy editorial floor where the phones were constantly ringing and people were always stopping by my desk, I absolutely love being able to write and work on my own in the day without distractions.
This year I made a vow to get out more so on the two mornings a week that I shoot for the site, I try and work remotely, which is usually at my favourite coffee shop in the West Village, The Elk. It’s always full of creatives and has a real vibe without being too distracting.
Aside from the site, I also run a consultancy under The Lifestyle Edit umbrella so regularly camp out in my client’s offices, too.
How important is it that your office space are chic/ reflect your work?
It’s SO important. I’ve always been anal when it comes to space. When I was a kid I couldn’t go to sleep if things were out of place in my room. I’d literally stare at disorganised corner until it annoyed me enough to wake up and sort out it.
If my space isn’t organised, I’m easily distracted. I get the most work done when I’m in a space that feels inspiring and that comes from little things like having natural light flooding in, to just a beautifully designed space.
How do you balance work/life as a freelancer?
I think that all the cultural conversations right now about balance can actually do more harm than good, particularly in the context of business owners and freelancers. When I started out, I put so much pressure on myself to get the balance right but the reality is, there’s no such thing and saying otherwise I feel sets people up for disappointment.
I did an interview recently with Maya, the co-founder of Jack’s Wife Freda and she said that all the pressure went for her when she accepted that there’s no distinction between work life and home life. We only have one life so the key is about creating non-negotiables for work and life so you can cut out the excess.
When I’m in work mode, I’m strictly in work-mode. I have certain desk sessions every week and won’t allow anything to interfere with that time. Everything else gets scheduled around that. Being strict with my working day means I’m able to blitz my work so when I switch off, I’m truly off. And I’m just as disciplined when it comes to self-care. I need sleep, I need to work out regularly and I need to eat well otherwise I’m not on form and can’t do my job well.
Realistically, what is your workwear attire?
Unless I’m in meetings, I pretty much live in sportswear. LNDR is my favourite.
How do you keep organised?
One word: MUJI.
Marisa is someone I’ve known in the industry for years, back from my days working at Eve Magazine and I worked on a lot of jewellery shoots. Clean everyday jewellery with a focus on precious stones, I am wearing one of the brand’s collaborations with Lucy Williams as I type. Here’s a little insight into her world as a growing business owner…
Whereabouts is your office?
We have an office at the top of Ladbroke Grove in W10. I love the area as it’s near my home, and 5 mins walk form the Golborne Road.
We’ve got a team of about 10 now, but it’s growing rapidly… 2017 is going to be an exciting year for us! We’re moving offices (just around the corner) as we’ve outgrown our space after just a year there.
How does your office space reflect your work?
The office has to have a zen, clean, minimalist look that clears the mind and allows for focused work. At the same time, I like to add creative touches with decorative objets, books, orchids, cactuses and crystals. I want it to feel like a home away from home as we spend so much time at work we’ve got to enjoy our working environment.
The crystals are there to absorb any negative energy and enhance intentions. Each of the team choose their own crystal to help them with their own goals and empower them. Whether it’s mind over matter, the power of intention or psychosomatic, we all enjoy a little extra help sometimes.
What inspires you in or around your desk area?
I love to be surrounded by plants so we have a lot of indoor palms and banana trees, cactuses, orchids etc. I like to see my crystals dotted around, and definitely pin boards with lots of inspo images.
But really, I also work off my team’s enthusiasm and passion for Missoma.
Does running your own brand/business creep into your home life?
Absolutely! As I sit here, I am working at home on a Sunday, getting ready for the week ahead.
I like to liaise with the team when I am in the office and actually find that when I work from home in the evenings or on the weekend I get a lot more brainstorming, planning and designing done.
What do you usually wear to work?
I always say I will get up a bit earlier and make more effort but I end up rushing every morning. So it ends up being a uniform of black, grey or navy blue.
Basically, skinny jeans, trainers or brogues, with a cool blouse, topped by a leather jacket or some kind of boyfriend blazer. I like to be comfortable and casual.