Laura Hnatow, vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Sea Bags, is a Women in Retail Leadership Circle board member and omnichannel marketing veteran. The below is a first-person account of a typical day for her at Sea Bags’ Portland, Maine-based headquarters. This is a great opportunity to get to know Laura better.
5:30 am: I start most days before my feet hit the floor with a mental scan of the day or I meditate. I wish I meditated more, but a mental scan is, quite honestly, easier and works well with the snooze button. So today, it’s a scan, snooze, and then my day is off and running. I venture to the kitchen, still a bit tired, to make coffee and lunches for my kids before I wake the clan.
6:30 am: Once my husband is out the door, I start my workout. This morning my eight-year-old daughter joined me, which certainly motivates me to try harder! I pick up my phone for the first time (other than hitting the snooze button) after my workout and do a quick check on email and text messages.
8:00 am: My daughter walks to school with a friend, which gives me a few minutes to myself in the morning. After I send her off, I push play on the current book or podcast I’m listening to and then I get packed up for my day. This morning I started a new book, “The Content Trap,” by Bharat Anand (I’ll let you know how it turns out!).
8:30 am: I have a 15-minute commute door to door, so I’m at my desk by 8:30, which I know is a luxury. For the first 30 minutes I typically check in with industry newsletters, LinkedIn and Sea Bags’ brand social media while my team filters into the office by 9 a.m.
9:00 am: This is my first inbox review of the day, and I’ll scatter them throughout the day. I resist the urge to let my day be dictated by my inbox. I do email audits in short sprints, but I’m not always successful at this. This morning, I also fit in an ad-hoc styling review with the marketing team for a lifestyle photo shoot of our new Sea Bags Spring and Summer product line. We sort through photo props and abundant wardrobe options. I’m so grateful it’s sunny and moderately warm out today (40 degrees), but we will make it seem like spring in these shots!
9:30 am: Jumped on a conference call with our friends at Stonewall Kitchen to discuss an upcoming collaboration for the Maine Bicentennial Campaign. Brand collaborations are one of my favorite things that we do on our team.
10:00 am: Quick email audit to deal with the day’s most pressing issues.
10:15 am: I have a “deep work” session reviewing proposals and pricing for a website re-platform that we’re evaluating. I like using the Deep Work approach championed by Cal Newport in his book by the same name. I will actually close my email inbox and put my phone on “do not disturb” to resist the opportunity to get distracted.
11:00 am: Every Wednesday at this time our PR team meets to discuss strategy and timely opportunities. This week we’re tackling PR for our retail expansion plans to the Great Lakes, the West Coast and a few additional stores on the eastern seaboard. On the way to the meeting, I take time for a quick check-in with our fulfillment and operations team on the new custom product visualization feature we launched on our website the day before. I was thrilled to confirm with the team that orders are coming through as expected, and our Design Your Own Custom Sea Bag production process is now even more streamlined!
12:30 pm: I grab lunch at my desk while I catch up on emails that have been accumulating. While I’m not an advocate of eating at your desk, it’s preferable to me so I can take a walk later for fresh air or our department Starbucks run. I also use this time to check in with my team; today I knock out some copy reviews for our content specialist.
2:00 pm: We’re working on using new sustainable alternatives to our in-store signage, and our retail expansion is where we will be piloting this. I meet with the team to give artistic direction on the signage package and new photography for the project.
3:00 pm: As I mentioned, collaborations are one of my favorite things to work on, especially when I get to work with our president, Beth Shissler. We’re trying out a new strategy working with a media collaborator in the TV space. So much creative energy was flowing that our meeting ran over by 30 minutes!
4:30 pm: With the meeting running over, now I’m scrambling to tie up loose ends for the day. I do a quick check-in with the business intelligence analyst and also our marketing coordinator on key projects before packing up my laptop and hitting the road to pick up my kids.
5:00 pm: At home with the kids, we make dinner together and unpack their day (and their backpacks — it’s amazing how much stuff they can accumulate in them). It’s great quality time, and tonight we’re waiting for dad to get home — he’s a little later than usual.
7:00 pm: My husband is home from his long day, and we shift gears so I can sit down on the couch in front of the fire with my laptop to crank out a few more unfinished items due to a heavy meeting day while he focuses on the kids. I deliver my weekly report to Sea Bags CEO, Don Oakes, and also follow up on a series of social media questions from the marketing communications strategist.
8:30 pm: It’s tuck-in time for the kids, and if possible, I try to fit in some reading with them (… while they’ll still let me; my son is 11 and growing out of it).
9:30 p.m: Now it’s time for my evening routine, which can range from knitting a few rows on a sweater that I’ve been knitting for four years (no joke), reading a few pages of a physical book (usually fiction at night) — I’m currently enjoying “Killing Commendatore” by Haruki Murakami — or watching a little TV with my husband. Tonight it’s TV. Lights out around 10 p.m.