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Quarantine Diaries- Lauren Stevenson, Aisle 8

Today on Quarantine Diaries, we're talking to Lauren Stevenson, co-founder and director of Aisle 8, a PR and communications agency that not only represents Elemental Herbology, but a whole host of other beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands.
We wanted to find out how Lauren is navigating the 'new normal', while working from home and running a business remotely.

What's your name?

Lauren Stevenson

Where do you live?

Clapham, London

What's your job title?

Co-Founder & Director of Aisle 8

How has quarantine affected your work?

It’s been a pretty scary time professionally. Running a PR agency, you don’t just worry about your own business, but you are responsible for all of your clients and you feel every pain they feel. Stores, bars, restaurants and hotels have shut, travel has come to a standstill and that affects many of our clients. We have always been committed to our clients through the tough times and not just the good ones and we have had to flex how we work to support them. Our team has been incredibly supportive of every adjustment we have had to make and we have found new ways of working and brought new innovative opportunities to our clients. We see our clients and media every week but now we have adjusted to video calls and Slack.

How has quarantine affected your daily routine?

My team and I moved to work from home five weeks ago and we had to adapt quickly. The benefits is the time I save not commuting. I get up, go for a long run along the Thames, take the dog for a walk at lunch and then work next to my boyfriend all day before an Instagram Live HIIT class and dinner. Without my cleaner, I’ve gone back to cleaning the house and actually really enjoy it. Having more time without the commute has given me time to think, be creative and try and better myself, as well as our business.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced?

The biggest challenge has been the mental, emotional challenge. The past few months and the months ahead are completely unprecedented and that has made managing it professionally and personally incredibly challenging. You worry about your team, your clients, your family, your friends, your own business, paying the salaries, your office and supporting your suppliers and that takes its toll. Not being able to see your family and friends makes things doubly hard, but I’m thankful that we have remained healthy through this.

What are you doing to keep yourself feeling positive?

My morning run really clears my head. We have been so lucky with the weather, so running in the sun along the Thames embankment really sets me up for the day. I speak to my business partner Virginia, my team and clients every day and aside from the work conversation we talk about what we are doing under lock down and how we are preparing to get out the other side, which really inspires each other. There has never been a greater sense of collaboration and support for your neighbour. We now have a WhatsApp group for our road, and for the first time we all know each other as more than just a house number and everyone is helping each other every day.

What are you missing the most about normal life?

I really miss seeing my family and friends and doing simple things like going to the market on the Northcote Road, going for brunch or going for drinks with friends. I haven’t worn heels in five weeks being at home and I really miss getting dressed up and going out. I have made an effort to put on make-up and do my hair every day, but I feel like I’ve been wearing Sweaty Betty leggings for weeks. Let’s hope my jeans still fit when lock down eases.

What is one positive that has come out of the quarantine?

I think we have evaluated what we really need in life professionally and personally. It allowed us to pause and assess and do things very differently. Many of us were working, playing, travelling and shopping to excess and that all came to a full stop and we have had to live with very little- be it freedom to do what we usually do, access to people, product and services and access. I have learned that I need a lot less to be happy.

What is the first thing you will do once normal life resumes?

The first thing I’m going to do when normal life is resumed is have a BBQ with friends (crossing my fingers for the weather already!), I am counting the days until I see them again. We have been doing a weekly quiz together on Zoom and I miss seeing them in person so much. As soon as travel resumes, I’m getting a flight straight to Ibiza and I will soak up every detail; the orange blossom, the olive trees, the beaches and sea water, the cycle and hiking trails, the buildings in the old town, the delicious tapas food. I won’t take anything for granted ever again.

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