Brand : ohne
Name : Nikki Michelsen
Title : Co-founder
Nikki Michelsen is the co-founder and co-CEO of ohne, a fem brand whose main focus is to reshape the way women experience their menstrual cycles. With a range of organic period products, it provides women with the tools, data, and support they need to manage their entire cycles. Dreamt up following a few wines with her co-founder Leah after becoming frustrated with the mainstream menstruation market, it started off with the simple idea that everyone should be able to manage their period however they want, fitting it around their lives, schedule, and needs – because every period is different. Having set up your subscription, ohne sends you tampons in the post in time for the beginning of your period. From the famous ‘Holy Cramp’ drops, the UK’s first pro-period CBD oil, designed specifically for those times when you need some extra TLC on your period, to 100% organic tampons, ohne looks out for bleeding babes everywhere.
What’s your work week like?
It’s different every single week! Monday – Friday you’ll usually find me in the office…but I do have a lot of meetings, so it might be more accurate to say you’ll find me running all over London! At the weekends I try and take some time off, but start-up founder life usually means I end up catching up on emails and doing planning work. Weekend working is a lot more relaxed though – always with a cup of tea in hand, some good tunes, and of course my comfy clothes!
What are the signs when you’re under stress?
My skin! It’s always the first thing to go haywire. I’ve had problems with my skin ever since I was a teenager and whenever I’m stressed it comes back to haunt me. I think it’s a combination of experiencing hormonal imbalances (as a result of a thyroid problem) and high levels of stress which further exacerbates that!
What triggers you the most towards stress?
Not feeling in control. As long as something is within my control my stress levels are pretty manageable. The problem is that running a business involves lots of ups and downs, and lots of unexpected turns, so the biggest thing I’ve had to learn how to cope with since founding ohne is how to manage stress levels and accept that I can’t always control everything!
How to define Good Stress vs. Bad Stress?
Good stress is when I can acknowledge that I have a lot going on but I’m still able to take positive steps to getting it done without burning out. It either doesn’t feel like stress but more like being manageably busy. I consider ‘good stress’ to be when I’m aware of the high pressures and heavy workloads but still able to recognise that taking an hour away from my laptop to read, see a friend, or workout, will actually do me more good in the long run.
Bad stress is when things feel so overwhelming that I feel like I can’t stop. This leads to total burnout and not prioritising my health – which, in the long run, actually leads to less productivity. When you’re overwhelmed it can be easy to feel like you’re working non-stop but you’re not necessarily working in the most efficient way – anxiously flitting from one task to another without stopping to breathe and think.
It’s a difficult lesson to learn but it’s so unbelievably important to invest in keeping yourself healthy. Taking a break, whether that’s an hour in the evening, a proper day off at the weekend, or a full-blown holiday (the dream, right?!) is actually an investment into your work in the long run.
5 Q & A – How to de-stress
When you’re feeling overwhelmed…
When I’m in need of a chill out session I always – always – run a hot bath and fill it with magnesium bath salts (any brand does the trick!) and our holy cramp CBD oil. I’ll lie in there reading a chilled fiction book for as long as it takes for the CBD to work its magic!
When you’re feeling information overload…
Fresh air! A quick walk around the block is the best remedy for information overload.
When you’re making important decisions…
A glass of wine with my co-founder Leah is my go to. We can talk about anything – business, relationships, life – over a glass of wine, and we trust each other entirely. I’m very lucky to have such a great partner in business!
When you’re working under performance…
Sleep, sleep, sleep. I’ve recently learnt how important sleep really is for me. It’s okay if I need a bit more sleep than your average person and I shouldn’t try to fight that because I’m only harming myself and my work in the long run! If I have a really busy week with early mornings and late nights, I’ll try catch up on my sleep over the weekend.
When you’re feeling more stressed during period…
My stress and anxiety levels are generally much higher around my period – everything tends to feel more difficult! I take a daily dose of an ingestible CBD supplement and try to rid myself of any guilt I feel over the fact that I’ll be a little less productive due to my – perfectly natural – hormone levels. Being able to understand my cycle’s highs and lows has been game changing in my ability to manage PMS and period symptoms.