A Week in My Life: Ashleigh Hinde, CEO of Waldo
Waldo is a direct-to-consumer contact lens startup, currently disrupting the traditional eye care industry.
We caught up with Ashleigh Hinde, founder and CEO of Waldo, to see what her recent week at work looked like.
My week starts with a 6am wake up call, when I – admittedly, stumble into my bathroom and pop my contact lenses in. I can’t see much until this moment, so it’s a daily and important reminder as to why I started Waldo.
Morning routine done, I head to Shoreditch House for a breakfast meeting with our design team who we’ve been working with since launch; they’ve been a strong part of the company’s journey and it’s super important to myself and Waldo as a whole to maintain the strong relationship we’ve built up over the past three years.
After breakfast, I head to Waldo’s HQ for some one-on-one time with the department heads to ensure everyone is prepped, aligned and excited for the week ahead – we’re going through a really busy time internally, with new hires and expansions, and this is a key step to take every week.
The rest of the day is packed full of admin and prepping for tomorrow’s board meeting. Before bed, I do 15 minute meditation which I am really trying to get better at. It helps me unplug for the day.
This morning, I’m a guest speaker for a podcast. I’m talking about my story as a female founder and my experience with expansion, team building and fundraising. I love talking about the Waldo journey and really hope that it encourages more honest discussions about entrepreneurship and hopefully, inspires more female founders. As a female founder, this is something I’m really passionate about – we’ve got to empower each other.
I grab sushi on the way back to the office before my board meeting and have a call with Justin Mateen, the Tinder co-founder who is in LA at the moment and has really invaluable feedback about the company. The board meeting is shortly after at Waldo HQ with Sean Seaton-Rogers and Philippe Glessinger. I have a really close working relationship with everyone on the board and see their advice as invaluable to the growth of Waldo. We regroup for a board meeting quarterly, to make sure everyone is updated on new business objectives. The next one is going to be in New York so balancing schedules and timezones is a constant part of my day.
Tuesdays at 4pm is ‘Team Huddle’ time. This is when we talk through each department’s targets for the week, with our Ohio and New York teams dialling in too.
My Tuesday evening consists of yoga and taking time to myself; something I make sure I do as much as possible. I love Chroma Yoga in Shoreditch - they align the class with different colours and moods. It’s important to clear your mind and unwind from the busy day-to-day schedule. Waldo is my passion, but there is such value in allowing yourself personal time without work thoughts butting in. As well as yoga, I try to get out and take time out for photography which really helps me focus and get creative.
Waldo’s quarterly subscription of contact lenses arrives at my door this morning. We give the option for the lenses to arrive as and when it suits the user, and quarterly suits me perfectly. I like to be a part of this transaction to experience exactly what our customers experience, so I subscribe to remain part of this process from the customer’s perspective, receiving my lenses at the same time as everyone else. Our team puts a lot of focus into the unboxing experience and it’s really satisfying to experience it first-hand.
Our subscribers have increased significantly in the past six months, and with that comes a much bigger team. I meet with our head of customer care to ensure that the training of the new hires will fully verse them on our considered approach to customer care.
This evening, Waldo is hosting a founders meeting. This happens every second month or so, and the hosts alternate. I meet with brands like Harry’s, Stitch Fix, Huel, Away & Allbirds – always a great evening, it’s a brilliant opportunity to talk informally about business and compare notes to our DTC startups.
I end the evening with a FaceTime with my mum who lives back in South Africa where I grew up. Although we’re physically far away from each other, we’re incredibly close; she plays a big role in my life and is a key inspiration to me in business.
A growing company means a lot of interviews. My morning is jam-packed with candidate searching, with all potential employees going through a rigorous three-step interview process. This highlights their values and areas of expertise, allowing us to find our perfect match.
Lunchtime is largely spent catching up on emails and spending time with the team. Waldo’s US team are starting their day now, so it’s integral I’m contactable at this time. Especially as I’m on my way to them this afternoon…
A late afternoon flight to NYC finishes off my Thursday. I’m over there for most of next week in business meetings (which I prep for on the flight), so I’m giving myself time to adjust and be on my best form. I spend at least one week a month over there and really love it as it allows me to be close to both US and UK teams.
At the start of this week, we launched a subway campaign in Manhattan, so I’m heading down to 14th St Union Square and Time Square stop to see them in real life – another seriously proud moment! It’s special seeing things finally realised, and something I get to feel time and time again with Waldo. I send photos to the team with a ton of emojis to congratulate them on their hard work.
Our Friday team meeting acts as an overview of the last five days, as we chat through hits and misses of our objectives. In this meeting, we award our Waldo prize which happens monthly, and recognises one particular stand-out performer. This month, it goes to Ryan in our customer service team, as our satisfaction rate for phone calls is currently at an impressive 80%.
My afternoon is filled with desk-sides across the city with business and lifestyle editors, making sure I’m on their radar and spreading the love of Waldo wherever I journey to. I finish my week with a dinner with my partner in NYC and we regroup on our week and plan our weekend which usually involves a lot of downtime, exercise, board games together, reading and work to prep for the next week.