Women across Canada are kicking butt in the workforce, all while maintaining their cool and doing the things in life they enjoy. “Motivation Monday: How she does it” is a news series where we profile notable women working in various fields to find out how they juggle work-life, balance. For this installment, we chatted with Christie Lohr - Founder of job websites Style Nine to Five, Beauty Nine to Five and most recently Bev Nine to Five.
You launched Style Nine to Five back in 2010, can you tell me a bit about how you started?
I’ve worked in the fashion industry ever since I’ve been 19-years-old, while I was going to school in fashion marketing at the time. My last job before I launched Style Nine to Five, I was working as a recruiter and it was in that position that I realized there was a need for a fashion specific niche job board, because there wasn’t any out there. I was posting on general job posting sites and even spending money on newspaper ads, and I couldn’t find the quality candidates that I was looking for. That’s when a light bulb when off in my head. I literally picked up the phone and called a web designer that I knew, and I told him my idea, and asked him if he could make it happen. So we created the website together and then I quit my job about three weeks later.
A lot of people think of launching a business, but they don’t actually do it! What gave you the confidence to go forward with your idea?
I’ve always been a risk taker and I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur, and I’m pretty fearless. Yes, a lot of people get an idea in their head and they don’t do it, but I say, when you have an idea, take the action while the passion is still there and ignited in you. If you wait a month or so, that passion can start to fade. I’m the type of person that if i have an idea, I do it that day and I don’t wait.
So what does a typical day look like for you starting from the moment you wake up?
So as soon as I wake up unfortunately, I grab my phone. Before I even turn on the lights, I’m flipping through my phone, looking at emails, and posting on social media for about 15 minutes. Sometimes, I’ll even post my first Instagram from bed. Then I’ll jump out of bed, throw on minimal makeup and I’ll go out for coffee. I do that every single morning. I have a home office, so I need to leave my place every morning and it’s that 10 minute walk up the street to get coffee that sort of sets my mind and my day. I’m most productive before 2 pm or 3 pm so I like to just sit down with my coffee and get as much work done as possible before then, and then I’ll do the tasks that aren’t as important. Sometimes I’ll take a break and go for a walk to go get a smoothie. At 5:30 pm, I do a gym class every day and after I’ll eat dinner, and I’ll do more work till about 11 pm. So my days never end. That's why I say you have to really love what you do because you just always have to work at it.
And what do your daily tasks entail?
So throughout the day things can be pretty different. Like last week, I went to a showroom to see new collections and samples to share on social media because my brand is something I take seriously as well. So my days are kind of all over the place. But for the most part, I’m working on brand development, customer service and social media stuff.
Can you think of any challenges you've faced as a business owner either professional or personal?
I don’t know if it’s a challenge, but the growth of my website was a little slower then it could have been or should have been had I had a ton of money backing me up to do advertising campaigns in magazines or billboards, or whatever. So I think a challenge was not realizing that I could have allocated more budget to that. Also, since I launched seven years ago, there was no Instagram or influencers to help me grow my brand. It was different times. So really in the last two and three years the website has really grown because of social media.
So when you started out things were slow. Did you ever feel discouraged?
No. I’ve just never had a plan B and I just always knew that this would work. I didn’t take my mind off of the end goal. I envisioned it to be a household name and the number one place to go for fashion jobs, and I just kept looking at that goal, and I just did it. I always believed in my idea.
Now that you’ve been running a business for seven years, do you have any tricks that help you juggle work-life, balance?
What I’ve started doing is allocating different days to work on different websites. My websites are Style Nine to Five Canada and Style Nine to Five New York, which I launched about three years ago, and I also have Beauty Nine to Five and Bev Nine to Five. So everyday I try to focus on a different website because being busy doesn’t mean you’re being efficient and it doesn’t mean you’re being productive. I try not to feel guilty anymore if there’s things I want to do during the day too like in the summer, I’ll take a hike during the day. I don’t beat myself up over ‘me time’ anymore.
How do you like to unwind?
The gym! Those endorphins that I get after a workout are the best drug or the best stress reliever I can have. I also love the outdoors and being in the wilderness, and going for hikes. Then, there’s also Happy Hour and a glass of wine (laughs).
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
I never compare myself to anybody and I never even look at what the competition is doing. I don’t even know if there’s another website like mine and I don’t care. Don’t waste your energy looking at what everyone else is doing because you dilute your own unique brand and your own unique vision.
And today, how would you define success?
Impact on other peoples lives. I love helping people find jobs. I always loved fashion, but I needed more than just fashion. I needed a purpose and helping people find jobs, and hearing about their first day on the job, and the impact that I have is what I love.
Do you know someone we should feature in this segment? Send an email to Jennifer@picoum.com