Welcome to our monthly editorial series A Day in the Life where we ask women we admire to share the daily minutiae of their professional lives, from the morning rituals that set them up for success to their evening wind-down routines. This month, we caught up with Charlotte C. Pienaar, the founder of Everyday Humans, to chat about what inspired her to launch an SPF-led skincare brand, why she’s working toward the goal of no screens before 8 a.m., and how she manages her time while working 12 hours ahead of EST.
Tell us a bit about Everyday Humans and what inspired you to launch your business. What whitespace did you see in the market, and what need did you want to fill?
We’re a newly launched DTC skincare brand that makes comfy, planet-friendly sunscreens for all. As a conscious founder who cares about the planet and cultural diversity, I’m passionate about sustainability and inclusivity and created Everyday Humans with the belief that sunscreen should be for all humans and the foundation of all skincare routines. I saw a whitespace in the market for SPF-led skincare products that combined multi-tasking formulas, good for the planet packaging at everyday prices.
Now, let’s talk about your workday routine! First, are you a night owl or a morning person? When do you do your most important work and why?
I’m physically a morning person so I schedule calls with the team and external parties and review my to-do list in the morning, then I do reactive work throughout the day, like approving things, responding to emails and requests, and general ops and coordination work. My brain only fully activates and the real magic happens in the after-hours when my creative side kicks in—deep-dive research, product ideas, campaigns concepts, marketing strategy—comes through at night.
What time does your alarm go off, and what’s the first thing you do upon waking?
I have two children so my alarm is my youngest who is one and a half years old and I get up before 6 a.m. on most days. The first thing I do is to get to the kitchen to make a bottle of milk for him. Nothing fun or glamorous, just good ol’ parenting.
What does your morning, pre-work routine look like?
This is the time when the entire family sits together for breakfast before work or school. I try to be as present as possible to spend quality time with my husband and kids. Sometimes, urgent emails and requests get in the way but I’m working towards no screens before 8 a.m.!
Take us through your morning skincare routine. How do you prepare your skin for the day?
I’m a really lazy skincare person so I like products that are multi-purpose and can combine steps. The first thing in the morning is to wash my face to get rid of excess oils that developed overnight. I’ve been really into face cleansers with a gentle exfoliant as it brightens and resurfaces my skin before I apply any skincare on so everything absorbs better. We’re in the midst of developing one so it’s extra awesome to try many brands and to test drive what works for me.
After that, it’s toning. I’ve recently been obsessed with Hada Labo’s lotion as it’s a toner, serum, lotion combo that helps my skin feel prepped and ready to go. My last and most important step is a multi-tasking serum and sunscreen, and of course, it would be my Resting Beach Face SPF30 sunscreen serum, which is a super lightweight organic SPF30 and hydrating serum all rolled up in one. It doubles up as skincare as it has moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid and pentavitin, antioxidant-rich spinach and green tea extract, and kopara extract that wards off urban pollutants and pollution. I rarely wear make-up so the bonus is it leaves a gorgeous lit-from-within finish that makes my skin look healthy, glowy, and well-rested.
Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” What’s the first thing you do when you get to your desk?
The first thing I do in the morning is also the most important. I update my to-do list to make sure I have a bird’s eye view of what I have to work on for the day and schedule and prioritize accordingly.
What are you working on this week?
It’s been an interesting week as I’m on a 21-day quarantine and trying to balance work with two small children! We’ve just done a one-year review of the brand, putting together what we’ve achieved so far, what we’ve missed the mark, and how we’re going to improve in the future. It’s been challenging to work with kids in the background but I love doing big-picture and strategy work to align with all stakeholders so this has been a great week.
What’s been the most rewarding part of running your business? The most challenging?
Seeing customers happy and calling our sunscreens their holy grail. We have a Slack channel where we share mentions, reviews, and customer feedback to the entire team and it always makes me smile from the inside when we receive a positive note from a total stranger. The most challenging part is to always be one step ahead of the game. We’ve just celebrated our one-year anniversary and the landscape has changed so much since the inception of Everyday Humans. To be able to not lose sight of your mission while being able to innovate, plan ahead and execute flawlessly are all super hard but when you overcome obstacles and come out stronger and wiser, it’s incredibly rewarding.
Do you ever reach inbox zero? What tips can you share for handling the constant influx of inquiries and communication founders are so familiar with?
TBH I don’t think it was ever a goal, and friends are freaked out by the amount of unread messages I have! I love subscribing to newsletters so perhaps that doesn’t count?
What is your go-to work lunch?
I try to limit my carb and protein intake to keep my energy up. My go-to’s are a healthy helping of vegetables in various forms—steamed, stir-fried, grilled, raw—just as it is or as a warm or cold salad, my other go-to is brothy and vegetable-heavy soups that keep me full without feeling like I’ve overeaten (or else I’ll get sleepy!). I’ve always made my own lunches—even before the pandemic—so it’s extra awesome to see how other people put together theirs and take inspiration from them.
What advice do you have for balancing the minutiae of day-to-day tasks with big-picture planning?
By making it compulsory. We schedule monthly huddles, quarterly check-ins, bi-annual re-alignment, and annual planning.
What are some work habits that help you stay healthy, productive, and on track to reach your goals?
Taking time off every month to focus on your hobbies is compulsory at Everyday Humans. I try to encourage our team to share what we do outside of work and it’s been fun to learn about everyone’s interests. There’s something about sharing your intentions with a close group that encourages you to act on them. I’ve picked up some new hobbies that I never thought I would get into, like journaling, virtual workouts, and pottery because I spoke about it to my co-workers!
Any favorite apps you use regularly?
We run our entire company off project management software Asana so that’s my #1 favorite app.
What are you reading, watching, or listening to right now to help you wind down at the end of the day?
When do you go to bed? What’s your “optimal” number of sleep hours?
As I’m 12 hours ahead of EST, it’s hard to not stay up late for calls and emails till midnight or 1 a.m. The ideal is to be in bed before 10:30 p.m. and my optimal is 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
What’s the most rewarding part of your day?
Besides happy customers, seeing my team members grow makes me super happy. My job is to empower and equip my frontline staff to make better decisions than myself, so witnessing the fruits of my labor is incredibly rewarding.