Welcome to Working On It, marie claire Australia’s series asking CEOs, founders, experts and trail-blazers the big (and not so big) questions about how they work.
Today we’re talking to Charlotte Blakeney, founder of cult jewellery label By Charlotte. She tells Working On It how she manages stress, the YSL bag that makes any outfit pop, and how Rosie Huntington-Whiteley helped catapult By Charlotte into the stratosphere.
marie claire Australia: What is your current role and how would you describe a typical day?
Charlotte Blakeney: I like to start my day early and active with either strength or Pilates and then spend the rest of the morning with my 5-year-old daughter Estelle. I then head to By Charlotte HQ for the workday with my amazing team. My evenings are all about family time – my partner and I like to read books, play and dance around our living room with Estelle. Ending my day with meditation is an essential part of my winddown ritual, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
MC: How did you get here?
CB: I was a makeup artist for 20 years in fashion and advertising which took me to some incredible places and introduced me to some special people. Jewellery has always been a passion of mine and working in the creative industry inspired me to chase that dream. I took the leap of starting By Charlotte travelling around Bali in 2012. Inspired by the story of the lotus flower, I started drawing necklace designs, found a manufacturer in Bali, and then started sampling. I was actually still working as a MUA and took some of the jewels to a shoot with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. It just so happened that they were styled in some of the looks which then featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. From there the By Charlotte brand blossomed and we’re now celebrating our 10th birthday!
MC: What was your first ever job?
CB: I studied beauty therapy for about two years when I was living in Perth and worked in a salon during that time.
MC: And what was your worst ever job?
CB: I’ve enjoyed all of my jobs but I definitely don’t miss 3am call times to be on set when I was a makeup artist.
MC: What’s your career advice to other women?
Learning from mistakes is more important than not making them. It challenges you to grow, so don’t ever shy away from taking a chance and facing your fears head on. Also surrounding yourself with positive people who support you and encourage you will inspire you to keep moving forward to fulfil your dreams.
MC: Describe your power outfit.
CB: My power outfit is anything I feel comfortable in! My day-to-day style depends on how I’m feeling and what will make me feel empowered that day – anything from activewear to a flowy Zimmermann dress. I must say though, I always feel great when I’m wearing something feminine.
MC: What’s your current work bag?
CB: I can’t go a day without wearing my quilted black YSL chain bag.
MC: How do you deal with your inbox?
CB: I am grateful to have a very supportive PA to help manage my inbox. I like to respond to emails very quickly and make fast but considered decisions. I think sitting on things for too long can often overcomplicate them so my decision-making process helps to keep my inbox manageable.
MC: And how do you deal with burnout?
CB: Maintaining a work-life balance is something I like to prioritise for myself and the By Charlotte team. We encourage each other to take breaks throughout the day, go for walks, sit in the sunshine and even meditate. Also, bringing our dogs into the office is such an amazing stress reliever! I am a strong believer that pets help us to connect and create a more collaborative environment. Holidays at By Charlotte are also encouraged, we all need to have a change of scenery and explore new places.
MC: What have you bought that’s made the biggest difference to your productivity?
CB: My noise cancelling AirPods have been a game changer in helping me concentrate. I generally listen to a very faint, calming sound to help me stay relaxed and focused. We’re working on something very special to help with stress levels which will launch later this year, so stay tuned!
MC: WFH or office?
CB: 4 days office, 1 day at home.
MC: BYO lunch or takeout?
CB: I mix it up!
MC: What’s on your desk right now?
CB: My lucky cat, crystals, photos of my loved ones, and my lucky travel stone which I’ve had for over 20 years now!
MC: Email sign off?