As part of our new ‘A Day in the Work-Life’ series, we are excited to chat with Migara Tennakoon, Founder & CEO of Peacelily, a sustainable sleep company, specialising in natural rubber latex bedding.
What does a day in your life look like?
I wake at 7AM during the week. I jog to and from the gym as part of my daily workout. I make sure I eat a healthy and filling breakfast to help sustain me for the day. After breakfast, I meditate and spend some time in deep thought specifically about the business and current areas that need attention or immediate decisions. I head into work and I’m there from 9AM to 5PM. I spend time with my Melbourne and remote-based staff as needed. The days vary – sometimes I would be heavily involved in logistics, even helping load pallets. Some days, I would be more focused on strategizing with the marketing team.
In the late afternoon, before or after I head home, I start to focus on the Sri Lankan side of the business which has more to do with manufacturing and fabrication of our products. Around 7PM, I prepare dinner or would sometimes catch up with friends. Between 8PM and 10PM is when I start to wind down. I would either listen to an audio book or maybe watch a video. I take care not to bring work into the bedroom so I am mentally conditioned for sleep around 10.30 to 11PM.
Weekends are generally for leisure though occasionally, I would put in an hour or two for work that needs to be completed urgently. I enjoy spending time going for long walks on the beach or making time for friends. Sunday is for market shopping. I enjoy planning nutritious meals and preparing them with fresh produce.
What advice do you have for others who want to be in your position one day?
Every time I get asked this question, I say that I don’t think it is reasonable to recommend this role and responsibilities to anyone. This response elicits laughter but I am deadly serious. Owning a business of this scale you need complete self-awareness of your capabilities. You need the mental bandwidth to manage and direct your energies equitably into different channels, whether it is manufacturing, logistics, customer service, marketing and more. You need to be determined, with a strong level of certainty about the direction of the business as challenges arise along the way.
What skills would someone need to do the role you do?
Prioritisation is a key skill for someone who is in charge. Aiming to accomplish as much as you can within the day but also realising that you can’t fix everything immediately. Following structures and processes will allow you to provide a consistent quality of products or services. Projection and planning are important to help you stay on track.
Be efficient with people management. Hire the people best suited for the roles that need fulfilling in the business but be ready to put time into eliciting quality outcomes from your team – this could be in the form of coaching or task management.
Try to see different perspectives, which can include that from your team. Think about as many possible consequences of decisions made short or long term. These decisions should always be based on what your goals are, which again could be now or in the future. It is always a balance – having a sense of intuition and being confident in every decision I make.
Tell us about your company…
The company was founded in 2018 with the aim of improving sleep health for Australians, without compromising environmental health. Our latex bedding (mattress, topper, pillows) and kapok pillow are all handmade using top quality natural materials that are sourced sustainably. We own our factory in Sri Lanka where the best rubber latex is produced.
The Peacelily latex mattress is flippable and features a medium plush and firm side. We offer the 100 Night Risk Free trial since we believe that the best decision you can make about comfort suitability is within your natural sleep setting in the bedroom. Our mattress and topper are compressed for ease of transport, available to order from our website and delivered free to most cities in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Any products returned as part of the trial are donated to our charity partners.
One thing we are passionate about is educating consumers about healthy sleep. There is a lot of myths and misinformation about latex with some claims that it is hot to sleep on or is expensive. In fact, latex has an open cell structure which allows for great airflow and no heat retention. Our products are also free from non-toxic chemicals such as fire retardants or harmful petrochemical based materials like memory foam. Latex production has been around for nearly a century and the process is kinder to the environment compare to petrochemical-based memory foam manufacturing. The fact that latex mattresses last for decades (we offer a 25 year warranty for ours) means that buying throwaway mattresses that sag after only a few years is reduced. This then also reduces landfill impact.
Where are you located and what is your office space/work area like?
We actually just relocated from Oakleigh South to Moorabbin. Our headquarters house our warehouse where we dispatch orders to be shipped nationally. Prospective customers can also book a private Sleep Experience in our showroom guided by our customer service team. Our marketing and logistics team are based here as well.
Our teams all have their own work spaces with breakout rooms for calls and meetings. The vibe in the office is very casual where we are free to move around and chat. There are no barriers to open communications, physical or otherwise. For our overseas counterparts, apps like Trello and Slack allow us to stay in touch and keep one another accountable for tasks and projects. Once or twice a month, we get together for a team lunch where we trade stories and share life experiences. Given that our team is very diverse in terms of age, ethnicity and work backgrounds, we allow for time so we can learn from each other.
Some of our staff prefer to stand so they were provided with standing desks. Our brand manager even has some workout accessories by her desk. Everyone is encouraged to communicate what they need to work efficiently, from supplies to snacks.
Why is a focus on sustainability important to Peacelily?
Getting good quality sleep should be a priority for all as it is necessary for efficient daily function. Peacelily products were designed specifically to provide comfort and support for better sleep, but still priced well so it is accessible. When you choose the quality we offer, it is tantamount to committing to taking care of your health. Self-care goes hand in hand with caring for the environment since this is our habitat. We all have the responsibility of caring for both our health and that of nature as we can not exist without the latter. This accountability also goes beyond the now and reaches into the future for the generations to come.
Thank you to Migara Tennakoon for chatting with us! If you’re looking to upskill in the hope of being a founder one day, check out our advice on upskilling here. Or, if you’re on the hunt for your dream job, find current positions here.