Miranda Waple is the founder & CEO at The Six Senses, a beauty product company that manufactures brands in Australia, NZ and France.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m CEO of The Six Senses Group with offices in Melbourne and Auckland, a beauty product company that manufactures brands in Australia, NZ and France and sells around the world. I studied business in Paris, worked for L’Oreal, then founded my own company, starting with a perfume collection in conjunction with iconic NZ fashion designer, Karen Walker.
We are now relaunching our Blessed by Nature brand which uses naturally-derived and Australian botanicals that offer no-nonsense effective skincare, that is as friendly to your pocket as it is to the planet. It’s an exciting time.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I clear emails at 6am then make breakfast for my boys before my husband takes them to the bus stop at 7.20am.
I then spend an hour in the quietness of my home office, where I focus on the big picture, review the day’s schedule and must-achieve list.
I have a 2-minute commute to the office around 8.30am, then spend two hours with the NZ team before the Australian one has arrived at work. My focus is then on supporting the Australian team.
There are planning meetings, Zoom calls with retail buyers, meetings with designers or product development specialists, sometimes events to talk at or journalists who want comments, sales reports and strategies to review, often chats with my inspiring board members.
I encourage walking and standing meetings when possible.
I prefer to eat a quick lunch at my desk and continue to work with my Australian team when the NZ one has gone home.
At 4pm when possible I meet my two boys at home to spend an hour with them. I’ll then work in my home office for an hour or so, often in discussion with the Australian team, while my kind husband cooks dinner.
We have a family dinner together, but once the kids are occupied or in bed I often chat with partners in overseas markets, then try to get a head start so I can do it all again next morning.
Since I love what I do it’s not a chore to work until midnight the times when I have to.
I appreciate how very well supported I am: my husband makes the school lunches and cooks dinner every day. Without this support my daily juggle would be stressful.
It’s busy, but every working mother knows that. What really matters is enjoying the journey, and cherishing my family as the business grows.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
For the past 7 years I have worked between my home office, our Melbourne office, and our Auckland office. We are all very much used to “meeting” remotely.
Covid means I’ve been unable to travel, which has given me more time with my family, but has also meant I can’t be in key markets, meeting with my teams and my trade partners as much as I’d like to. I’m looking forward to being able to meet some of my new recruits in person.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I’ve created a company which allows me to spend time doing what I love, for the most part. So for me, work life balance means building a good business while trying to be a good mum, and enjoying each day.
If you enjoy what you do it’s astonishing how much you can get done. And I hope that my strong work ethic is a good example to my children. They see me working hard and they know how busy I am, but they say they understand that hard work enables us to have quality family time at weekends and holidays.
To ensure I have even a small amount of time with my children each day I concentrate on being unwaveringly productive when working; notifications are permanently switched off, allowing full concentration and fast decision making.
A quick break outside in the fresh air is combined with a phone call to a remote team member. I swap a lunch break for an afternoon tea break with my kids. These choices work for me so they are stress-free and make me happy.
I’m currently trialling blocking off 4pm to 5pm each day when my boys get home from school so I can hear about their day, and to assist with any homework queries. It means they get my full attention at that key time when they get home, but the flipside is I need to work later in the evening to complete all that I need to.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
My new routine of spending from 4pm to 5pm exclusively with my children is very recent. It helps to balance me and to calm the voice in my head that says I don’t give them enough attention.
We have also welcomed a puppy into our family 4 months ago and the early evening walk helps to clear my head and focus, as well as providing exercise.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I read predominantly for pleasure, almost entirely fiction. I have always loved to lose myself in a novel, and find this the most effective way to recharge and energise my brain.
That said, for business advice I am lucky to have access to an extremely experienced and talented Board including Theresa Gattung who has written her autobiography.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My smartphone and the internet. We sometimes forget how extraordinary it is for all of us.
I can find information quickly and easily, chat with my teams in remote locations then jump on a Zoom call to Paris or Lisbon as easily as leaning over the back fence for a chat. And I could do this when on holiday somewhere. It’s been a lifesaver.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
The Queen of England. She’s dedicated her life to serving from a position of power, yet is also a mum with all sorts of dramas and complexities on top of the day to day politics of her role. I’d love to really know how she manages that in her nineties.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Everyone’s idea of balance is different. My simple advice is enjoy what you do. If you do that, work with great people and make things that actually work, that are good for the planet and your pocket, it all becomes worthwhile.
Outsource everything possible so you can spend your precious time focussing on what really will make a difference, to your business, to your family, to yourself.
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