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Thursday, 1 October 2020

My WFH Routine: Jude Benhalim, co-founder of Jude Benhalim jewelry

Jude Benhalim, co-founder of Jude Benhalim jewelry: Each week, my Morning / WFH Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Jude Benhalim, the co-founder of her namesake jewelry brand, Jude Benhalim.

My name is Jude Benhalim and I’m a jewelry designer and business owner. My title at the company is designer and marketing manager — but that only actually occupies around 20% of my time. The rest of my time is dedicated to managing the team, resolving problems that come up, working on product development and brand expansion — and inevitably getting sucked into every little bit of the business.

Thankfully, I have my mom as my business partner and CEO to handle the operational management. Even with these titles, we both still find it almost impossible to stick to our job descriptions. It’s a huge learning process for me and I love the challenges and finding ways to tackle them. It’s very experimental and I guess that’s what excites me most.

I wake up at 8 am everyday. Each day has to start with a cup of coffee in complete peace and quiet. I head to the office at 9am and am immediately set up in front of my screen, jumping on calls, and catching up on work. Throughout the day, my work really differs on a day-to-day basis, depending on the projects we have in the pipeline. Right now, we’re preparing to launch a new collection, but when we’re in the designing phase, I spend a large amount of time on research and working out problems with each department.

My work days generally end at 5pm. Granted, there are a lot of distractions — I sometimes unwind in the middle of the day with a quick episode of a favorite show (New Girl is my go-to) and while working from home, I also have to account for time that’s lost to household needs like cooking. To be honest, I don’t spend much time reading up on the news or on social media. I’ve found it gets very overwhelming, so I’ve deactivated my social media profiles. My husband still reads the news and reads Enterprise religiously in the mornings.

On a personal level, I handled the shift to WFH pretty well. I like to work from home and actually manage to be quite productive. But I had to set up my environment to be conducive to that — I change into a comfortable yet work-appropriate outfit (pajamas are a no-go during work hours, even at home) and set up a space in my house dedicated to work. I do not recommend working out of your bed.

It was very challenging to adapt to the change as a team, given that we are a small team of 10 people who are very reliant on each other and on face-to-face communication. I implemented a task-based system where each department is assigned a set of tasks at the start of every week, and we meet over Zoom on Thursdays to discuss the progress and what’s been done. Obviously we also have a lot more smaller calls during the week just to discuss quick things. But this system was actually really helpful in getting things organized for us and I am still implementing parts of it now that we’re back at the office. The shift also encouraged the team to communicate together through email, which made things so much more efficient.

This experience taught me that I tend to take things too seriously sometimes. I’ve been taking time to actively slow down sometimes and reflect on things better. Professionally, I learned how to create a killer marketing campaign with a very small marketing budget — it seemed impossible but I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do. I also learned that my team was just too dependent on physical presence, but thankfully that has now changed.

During my time off, I like to watch TV shows — I watched a great series called Little Fires Everywhere and really recommend it. Recently, I’ve been hooked on New Girl. Hilarious. I also really recommend Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I found it to be a beautiful read. Otherwise, I like to wind down with an interesting documentary if I have the energy for it and I like to do yoga when I have time.

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