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Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Niccii Kugler, Founder + Editor In Chief at NASH + BANKS

Niccii Kugler is the Founder & Editor In Chief at NASH + BANKS, a curated marketplace for people to discover well designed ethical, sustainable and artisan products.

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

Sure. I have always had a thing for people who channel their passions to create something distinctive and meaningful. This interest has been the driving force in my career and has enabled me to work with some of Australia’s top design, content and marketing companies.

In my personal life, I was fortunate to spend some time working with an NGO in Costa Rica. It was an experience that taught me first hand the importance of a sustainable and ethical lifestyle.

NASH + BANKS is the perfect way to fuse my professional and personal interests in a business that enables and promotes today’s passionate makers and purpose-driven brands. Our curated market place and publishing platform helps people to discover products that positively impact people and our planet.

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

Mornings are spent with the family, followed by the school drop-off bonanza, and a dose of caffeine enjoyed while watching the surf or whales breaching from South Avalon. It’s the best commute there is!

From there, I head to the office and get stuck into whatever the day has in store for me. The struggle and the thrill of founding a start-up mean that no two days are the same.

The nature of the beast is that I have to go where the priorities of each week take me. But I like to create rhythm where I can, to allow me to tame the to-do list, deliver meaningful progress for the business, and also to provide room for creativity.

In the evening, I like to put my phone down and spend some meaningful time with my kids – ideally, at the beach swimming, rock hopping or exploring. And then once they’re in bed, I kick off again. My husband Timo is the Co-Founder of NASH + BANKS, so we often work on the business at night, or I jump online and complete anything that hasn’t been ticked off the list for that day.

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

One of the greatest things about my current set-up is that it enables the flexibility to work on something that I am passionate about, while also allowing me to be available for my family and to enjoy the magical place that we live. The juggle is real, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

Having an established rhythm and workflow, and a clear agenda of what the priorities are for each day is mission-critical, especially when you’re a “maximiser” (guilty as charged!) and prone to taking on too much.

I’m a list junkie, so I have lists aplenty to keep me on track and allow me to clear my head and organise my days. I use digital tools like Trello and Evernote for big-picture planning and project sprints, and my inbox and calendar to block out current tasks. Nothing beats the tangible feeling of crossing something off a list though, so my whiteboard is also always in heavy use.

And because we’re building our business from the ground up, I try to establish processes, templates and systems as I go to avoid doubling up and to assist in onboarding any new staff and clients. And if there’s a tool that can help streamline a process, then I’m into it!

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

I believe that it’s more a ‘juggle’ than a ‘balance’ – of work, life, love, family, friendships, health, rest, education, adventure, and so on.

For me, the most significant learning has been in recognising what is most important to me, understanding that life often serves up the unexpected and then permitting myself to juggle each day according to where my attention is required most.

Shifting my career to focus on a cause that I care about has undoubtedly helped to manage the juggle. My work now encompasses many of the qualities that I prioritise in life, and it puts me in regular contact with incredible and inspiring individuals who demonstrate the value of building a business that consciously aligns with your purpose.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Over the years, I’ve learnt to take the time to determine what’s important to me and what I’d like to achieve. I then refer back to this purpose when making critical decisions regarding the business and my approach to running it.

In the face of a challenge, my approach is to start by putting one foot in front of the other. Just leap and learn on the go, rather than waiting for perfect.

I’ve also realised how important community is in both work and life. Throughout my career, I’ve been very fortunate to work and collaborate with incredible people who have guided, challenged, supported and inspired me. People are everything; they are the key to that elusive concept of ‘balance’.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

  • Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard – Initially written as a philosophical manual for employees at Patagonia, it’s a refreshing lesson in building a business focussed on putting purpose before profit.
  • Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton (both his books and his feed)
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  • The Lorax by Dr Seuss – An oldie but a goodie!

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Get outside! Even 5 minutes in nature can set the day off on the right foot.

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

Only that a sense of humour goes a long way with all three!

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.