Karren Brady’s career advice on balancing workplace friends with responsibility


Joanna Silva, 44, is the founder of vegan beauty brand Elan Skincare. She lives in Greenwich, south-east London, with her company director husband Rafael, 39, and children Mila, seven, and Leo, 12.

I wake up at…

7am, to get the kids ready for school, except in the holidays when I get up at 6am to pack in an hour of uninterrupted, focused work. When time is scarce, I organise myself better.

A normal day involves…

I’m always at my desk in my studio at home by 9am. I dedicate one day a week to specific parts of the brand, such as marketing, calls to our regular business customers, connecting with prospective ones, or product development.

Currently, I’m working on a hyaluronic acid serum and smoothing body oil in a gel form, which our customers are testing. At the end of every day, I like to have ticked off one big task.

One day a week, I organise meetings in London with our collaborators, designers, influencers, beauty experts, business advisors and other beauty founders.

With a never-ending to-do list, it’s easy to come up with excuses for not exercising, but I try to swim a few days a week as, once I get active, my endorphins kick in and I’m more productive.

If I don’t have events or meetings to attend, I break at 3.15pm to be with the children after school, then I continue working until 9pm or 10pm. In this job, there’s no nine-to-five!

The best part of my job is…

Bringing new product ideas to life. I’m on a mission to revolutionise natural beauty. The range is designed to care for sensitive skin, but my main goal is to improve women’s overall wellbeing. 

And the hardest…

When I launched the business in September 2017, as a solo founder I did everything myself.

I didn’t have a clue about social media and it’s still a skill I lack, but luckily, with a fantastic team around me, I can focus on my strengths while letting others manage areas of the business I’m less experienced in.

I wind down by…

Having a bath. I apply a face mask and then read. As part of my evening skincare ritual, I apply my Pure Goodness Body Butter and do a facial massage with Whisper or Dream Organic Serum. According to my Fitbit, I’m usually asleep by 11.30pm.


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