This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Extraordinary Routines · Lisa Gorman

Extraordinary Routines

Madeleine Dore of Extraordinary Routines joins us again today, introducing the daily routine of one inspiring Melbourne business woman who should need no introduction!

Lisa Gorman founded Gorman in 1999 as a modest operation, wholesaling a small range of clothing through Melbourne fashion retailer FAT52. Sixteen years on, the label now has 30 stores nationally and over 150 employees. Lisa is still very much at the helm of the operation, designing ranges with her talented team, driving Gorman’s marketing campaigns and rolling out new stores. She’s also Mum to two primary-school aged kids, and works hard to maintain a careful balance between work and home life – no mean feat!

 

16th October, 2015

The Gorman team! Bottom row, left to right: Kayla Cassar (Graphics), Sarah Rosette (Design), Anna Brock (PR & Marketing). Standing, left to right: Julia Nikakis (Online), Aden Warrington (Graphics), Lisa Gorman (Creative Director), Lani Sommer (Design), Summer Li (Production), Bernadette Francis (Design). Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Lisa Gorman of Gorman in her HQ in Abbotsford. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Gorman studio details. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Fabric samples and swatches for past, present and future Gorman collections. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Sample shoes at Gorman HQ! Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Madeleine Dore
Friday 16th October 2015

‘An extraordinary life is just about trying to do the things you want to do, and accepting that you won’t always get everything done. Try most of it, and expect that some of it will work.’

The first thing Lisa Gorman said to me was that she doesn’t really have a routine. ‘I don’t want to come across as someone that is really under control and managed in life because half the time, I don’t feel like that.’

Lisa has a way of instantly establishing a certain candour and warmth that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers.

But like her quirky-cool label Gorman, Lisa is different. The brains behind the iconic fashion brand started out as a nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital before deciding to do a retail and visual merchandising traineeship.

What began as just a few pieces sold through her then flatmate’s fledging store FAT52 in 1999, Gorman now has a team of over 150 employees. With stores across the country, Gorman’s signature bright prints and bold accessories are instantly recognisable.

While Lisa admits it’s difficult to develop a consistent routine in the fast-paced world of fashion retail, having two girls in primary school has meant that she has become a master of prioritising.

Working in line with school hours has removed a lot of stress. ‘It was that change in family life that allowed me to find something that has been better for me personally’ she says.

From designing her next range at Gorman HQ in Abbotsford, to visiting the library and swimming pool after school, Lisa shares her ‘non-routine’ routine, some advice for handling burn out, and notes on the importance of trying.

Lisa Gorman’s Extraordinary Routine

6:30

Waking up at the same time each day is probably the only routine part of my day! Before the girls are awake is sometimes the only half an hour or so that my partner Dean and I can catch up. He has a coffee and I have herbal tea, and then we just sit around and talk about whatever before they are up it is all on.

7:30

The girls get up for school and I make them breakfast and Dean makes this crazy-healthy smoothie for us. There is a bit of a system going on where someone gets the kids ready, meanwhile the other is making sure the pets are sorted. We have chickens and a rabbit!

For school lunches I often make what we like to call ‘Spankops’ which is short for spanakopita, but is actually nothing like spanakopita. It’s fried kale and feta in lightly fried flat bread and folded into a sandwich type thing.

8:30

Dean does the kids drop off, so I try to leave then too, ideally on my bike.

9:00

Each day is different depending on the season. One day we might be designing the styles for the Spring ’16 collection, another could be spent on product analysis, another on an upcoming show. Our schedule isn’t strictly ‘routined’ – but good planning allows for all of that to happen.

I generally go into marketing first, and spend a bit of time looking at everything from our collection launches, weekly email to our customers, window plans, new store openings, and so on.

The fashion industry is a very spontaneous industry at times. While we have to design our collection 9-12 months in advance, in retail, short term plans can change really quickly.

I have definitely felt burned out at times, and see it in other designers and retailers, but something that I have learned with my business is if you worry too much about your decisions, you won’t actually get anything done.

The other thing is to always have clear priorities for any given day so that you don’t feel like you have to address everything that comes to you at once.

Lunch:

I generally don’t make my lunch because I will either grab something quick near my office, or I will eat leftovers from the night before.

13:00

It is pretty much meeting-to-meeting-to-meeting for me. I don’t have a personal assistant, but Anna takes care of all our PR and marketing, and that requires my time, so there is some planning there.

15:15

There are some things that are non-negotiable for me, and one is picking the girls up from school most days – that time is important to me. I don’t want to get stuck on that treadmill of getting home at 7:30 every night and only seeing them for half an hour.

In the summer we will ride home from school and maybe go to the library, swimming pool, grocery shopping, or getting something for a school costume.

Often I will still have to take phone calls for work. They hate it when I am on my phone. But I try to explain to them in the ‘olden days’ I would have had to stay at work because there was no such thing as an iPhone, so I couldn’t check things on the run!

But it is kind of a big debate really – does a smart phone give you more freedom, or does it actually chain you to work?

18:30

Dean is a really good cook so he will often do the grocery shopping and prepare dinner. I also cook, so if I’m preparing a meal the girls will either do homework – which usually requires some level of bribery – or muck around.

We aim to eat together most nights and that’s a time to chat as a family, ask them what has been going on at school and catch up a bit.

20:00

After we finish dinner and have yoghurt and fruit for dessert, it will be time for the girls to brush their teeth. Then of course they will procrastinate instead of going to bed for what seems like a lifetime!

20:30

After we do the girls reading and finally get them to bed, I sit down and let out a big, exhausted sigh. I will either clean up or not bother, and one of us will go water the garden, or put the bunny back in his hatch for the night.

21:00

To offset picking up the kids from school, I often need to do emails at night. This is the part of the night that becomes very thrilling: Dean and I sit at the end of the bench with our laptops open, tapping away.

I am trying to use email less. The more you send out, the more you are going to get back so by default the less sent, the less you are going to get! I don’t watch TV and movies generally make me sleepy, so I prefer to browse around on Pinterest and research stuff on the net at night. It’s probably really bad for your brain before bed, I know, but it is what I find myself doing.

22:30

I will then do house-y things like pick up mess or hang out the washing, unpack school bags and put the dishwasher on.

23:30

When I go to bed my head hardly touches the pillow – all of a sudden the alarm is going off again at 6:30 in the morning again.

Similar Stories

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

This Week

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Climate

Everything You Need To Know About GreenPower (+ Why You Should Make The Switch)

The easiest way to invest in in Australia's renewable future - and it's simpler (and cheaper) than you think!

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Boundless Garden Immersed In Native Bushland

A new coastal home on the Mornington Peninsula buried deep within a native grassy woodland, with stunning gardens by Plume Studio.

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Homes

A Quirky Redfern Terrace With A Hidden Green Roof

The unconventional family home of designer Sacha Coles, split over 4 levels!

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net