InAccessories, Fashion, Features

A Day in the Life of Helen McMurdo, Founder & CEO of Elle + Adhira

Elle + Adhira is a curated collection of bridal and special occasion accessories. Founded on the insight that in the age of online shopping and social media, there is an overwhelmingly huge array of choices for the modern woman – however far too many bridal and special occasion pieces are just, well… ugly! Think poufy veils, jewellery that looks like it belonged in a dress-up box, and gaudy crystal-embellished headpieces – we should be doing better.

To solve for this, Elle + Adhira presents a boutique collection of accessories, made in collaboration with designers and creators from all over the world.

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AM

I wake at around 6:15am, which is a sleep-in for me because outside of Elle + Adhira, I’m a yoga teacher who teaches a couple of early morning classes each week (which involve a 5am wakeup!). Keeping it totally real here: Before getting out of bed, I flick my phone out of flight mode and catch up on what I’ve missed while I’ve been sleeping. Almost half of our orders come from outside of Australia, so before I even sit up I check three things – our online store platform, to look at sales and traffic overnight; my email; and our Instagram activity. I don’t typically respond to anything just yet – unless it’s vitally urgent, or it’s from a time zone that’s about to end its business day – but getting across the activity first thing helps me feel ready to greet the day. If I don’t have an Instagram post already scheduled, I’ll often push one out now, because early mornings are a peak time for our audience.

My husband usually walks our dog MJ and makes breakfast (typically a protein smoothie) for us while I get up and get dressed, water the plants on the rooftop and take a moment to set an intention for the day. Then it’s time for breakfast over Instagram – this time catching up on other brands’ and bloggers’ feeds.

At about 8am, I leave home with MJ to grab a coffee and then arrive at the office, which is a very short stroll from home. MJ plants herself under my desk for her morning snooze while I clear out emails. I have a tendency to leave uninteresting emails for ‘later’, which can mean I never get around to them, so I try to make an effort to respond to every single one before moving onto other work. I check in with my team, who help with customer service and shipping, and make sure they have everything they need for the day ahead.

In the morning I often have conference calls with designers or collaborators based in North America. After that, I’ll make a point of doing the day’s least desirable task – like finances or analytics. I find I typically have loads of energy in the mornings, so I need a task I can throw my full energy into.

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PM 

Lunchtime is when I do my own yoga practice – typically at a studio nearby the office. One of the great things about working for yourself is that you can set your own schedule, so I make a point of not booking meetings around the lunchtime window. Doing a yoga practice at lunchtime helps me cleanse any nervous energy that’s built up over the morning, and it makes for an incredibly clear-headed afternoon. Without it, my afternoons would only be half as productive as my mornings.

I’ll eat lunch at the desk while doing something light visual – like adding to our Pinterest account, or reading influencer blogs. Afternoons are varied but over the week cover anything from marketing planning, shooting stock, arranging stock replenishments, writing a guest blog or responding to an interview, and working with our collaborating designers to develop new additions to the collection. We’re also starting to talk to retailers about stocking Elle + Adhira in their stores (both online and bricks and mortar) so the brand can keep growing, which is really exciting.

At 6pm I ‘down tools’, take MJ for a short walk, and make dinner. I always make enough dinner for two nights so that the big cook and clean up only happens every other evening – it’s a time-hack that I couldn’t imagine living without now! I try to stay offline at night, but if our customer service team member is offline and an email or live chat comes through, it’s up to me to respond to it. But where possible, I try to leave evenings as relaxing, non-work time – I think it’s vitally important for the nervous system to unwind once the sun goes down, and it’s alarming how few professionals and employers recognise this.

Helen McMurdo

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