Premium members Teagan West and Grace Newman worked together in our previous role and we were the ultimate work wife duo – so much so that people (clients and colleagues) thought they knew each other before working together. When the pair were both between jobs and feeling a bit “eh” about the jobs they were applying for, they took the leap and started a business together. We chatted to Teagan and Grace as part of our Work Wives series, profiling women who support and champion each other at work. Read on to find out more about these two talented women and their new marketing agency, Free Folk agency.
“My work wife turned into my business partner and it’s honestly changed the course of my career and life (for the better),” – Teagan
How did you two meet?
Grace: We met on the job. We were the only two women on the team in our previous job, besides our CEO, and so naturally we had to be friends. We worked together side-by-side for 18 months and bonded over Taylor Swift tunes, rosé and a get sh*t done mentality.
Teagan: We thought we were work wives then, but we truly are work wives now. We share clothes, call each other way too much and finish each other’s sentences.
What are your working styles like? Are you two peas in a pod or completely different?
Grace: Can we be both? We’re usually on the same wavelength when it comes to strategy or direction for our business and also our clients. We’re both relationship builders, and love nothing more than a good rosé and big bowl of pasta after a long week in the office.
I’m more of an “A-type” and like to have all of the plans, goals, and spreadsheets humming along and processes down pat, whereas Teagan likes to live in the moment and take every day as it comes, head on of course. She’s a little more YOLO, so we balance each other out – it’s why we work well together.
How did you come to be working together?
Grace: We both left our agency jobs toward the end of last year to spend some time travelling and figuring out what was next. We didn’t love any of the jobs we were applying for and one afternoon after a couple of wines we decided there was actually nothing stopping us from hustling for ourselves, instead of hustling for someone else.
In the background, we had kept talking about how community was the key to marketing success, and the brands who put their community first, and prioritised growing and nurturing their community, were the ones who were winning.
So in one of those “if not now, when” moments, Free Folk Agency was born.
What’s one thing you know about each other that no-one else knows?
Grace: Teagan is super stylish, but not many people know she’s a serial end of season shopper. She’s picking out her covetable winter wardrobe in summer for the biggest discount she can get. And that’s why I love her, she’s got it all planned out, and who doesn’t love a good bargain?
Teagan: When Grace is stressed or feeling on edge, I’ll just say “go do a meditation” and it’s all good. She’s especially loving Business Chicks Premium member Chelsea Pottenger’s EQ Minds meditations at the moment.
How important is it to champion the women you work with?
Grace: It is SO important. Celebrating the women who help, support, empower and encourage you is critical. It’s not hard to be kind and appreciate the people who have helped you along the way – collaboration over competition any day. And in the wise words of Emma Isaacs, send that Thank You card!
We also think it’s important to recognise how the men in our lives have supported us, and continue to do so – our partners, family, former colleagues and professional network. We’re very lucky that we have a great network of women around us and that’s so important, but we can’t forget the men too.
How do you manage tough conversations at work?
Grace: We’re problem solvers, so we always approach tricky situations with honest and constructive conversations and focus on finding a positive outcome.
What’s the first thing you do at your desk in the morning?
Grace: Write a to-do list
Teagan: Make a tea and write a to-do list
How many tabs do you have open on your computer right now?
Grace – Four!
Teagan – Two – but I did just close four tabs because I was getting distracted while I was writing this!
How do you role model for younger women (in work and life)?
Grace: By being open, honest and willing to share my personal stories or struggles with all of the women in my life. I think having an open dialogue with other women is so important. I’ve seen the impact this has had recently with the conversations being started around endometriosis and the subsequent funding that’s been received to support women with this condition.
Teagan: I think it’s really important to support younger women whenever I can and share my knowledge and experiences. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of interns over the last few years, and I’m grateful that I can support and empower them, just like some women supported me when I was finding my feet after university.
Do you have mentors? How did you find them and what’s your relationship like?
Grace: I have a few mentors, and these relationships have always developed organically for me. I think it is so important to stay connected with those who have helped you along the way in your professional journey and who you can continue to learn from. With the launch of Free Folk Agency, I have found so many of my past colleagues so willing and eager to connect and help where they can, which has been so humbling. My best advice is to always take the time to have that coffee or wine you had been meaning to because you never know where it might lead.
Teagan: To be honest, I don’t have a lot of business mentors, but I’ve got a lot of people around me who are so supportive, both personally and professionally. Grace will cringe at this, but she is probably my biggest mentor – she was my colleague, work wife and now business partner and I can honestly say my life and career would be verrrrrrry different if we didn’t cross paths.
How do you de-stress after work?
Grace: Cooking for my partner or for our family and friends (we’re serial hosters). Sometimes I share my #fridgeraid dinner creations over at @graceeloiseeats.
Teagan: I take my dog for a walk, or have a total binge session on Netflix or Stan. I’m also a reality TV tragic – the Bachelor franchise, MAFS, Love Island… you name it, I’m watching it.
Want to be part of our next work wives series? Submit your story via our members Tell Your Story platform. In need of a work wife? Head to one of our upcoming Networking Nights.