In Australia, restrictions are quickly being relaxed in a bid to reopen the country, but abroad, the pandemic continues. Though it is okay to have days when it all seems too hard or too dire, we hope to fill the void, even just for a few fleeting minutes of this article. ICON speaks with industry creatives – be it music, style, dance, writing, or even social media – on how to stay inspired during these uncertain times. And hopefully a handful of tips for you, the reader, on the way.

Ewan Munro Besley Tony and Munro
Ewan Munro Belsey / Credit: Supplied

As one part of the founding Tony & Munro duo, Ewan Munro Belsey is an expert when it comes to running a successful business. Behind the clean, men’s skincare brand, there is a certain level of creativity that comes from creating a product not seen in the Australian market, thus, marks the ninth guest on our ‘How To Stay Inspired’ series.

With an innate focus on exercise, eating well and mental health, Belsey creates the roadmap to working from home.

ICON: Can you explain what your work entails, day-to-day?

Ewan Munro Belsey: Day-to-day it’s a real mixed bag. What’s really important to us are our customers, so our very first hire was a Customer Engagement Manager, who daily checks and responds to customer enquiries, fulfils requests and looks after all our data analytics and reporting (internal and external inc customer data). We also work with the most amazing partners.

One – our PR agency who represent us in all things media, public relations and influencer related. Two – our digital and social agency who among other things also check and respond to customer messages via our social channels and develop and maintain our digital, social and online presence and three – our distribution partner, who manage and fulfil all our customer orders. Together our partners and our staff work really well together, so that’s a big weight off our shoulders. Tony and I maintain business direction and constantly make sure we are on the right track with finance, admin, brand, marketing, content development, partnerships and collaborations, making sure our website is running, secure and evolving, maintaining stock levels of existing products, planning for new products, research and staying ahead of industry trends – and listening to customer feedback, so we can evolve the business. We also make sure we maintain our commitments to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, whom we support, by donating 5 percent of profits from the BB Cream line. We also make sure we continually build and maintain relationships, with our staff, agencies and partners, customers and future valuable connections.


How has your daily routine changed since lockdown?

EMB: For one thing, along with everyone else, I stopped going to the gym, so I had to find exercise in a different form – running and long walks. Exercise is such an important part of my day, both for the physical and mental benefits. I think I’m not alone when I say lockdown saw less exercise, more cooking AND baking (aka more eating) and generally working longer hours – because the laptop is there all the time. There was an adjustment period where I was working out what to do, what were the priorities and how to stay sane. I’d say my routine went out the window during that transition period. There’s no commute, there was no gym and no coffee or lunch breaks to your favourite local café with colleagues. There’s just shower, fridge, laptop, couch, bed. Rinse and repeat daily. However, through that you find a new routine. Breaking up the day with that new form of exercise, cooking something new, spending a different kind of time with your partner and loved ones and developing a discipline around work life balance and being strict about it. Two terms I’ve heard a lot during lockdown are ‘stress’ and ‘burnout’, so finding a new routine is important to help you feel some kind of ‘normalcy’ about your day. After all, we are creatures of habit, right?

What are three items you have with you whilst you work?

EMB: Besides the essentials (laptop, phone and notebook), for me these are tea, headphones and moisturiser.

How are you staying creative during this time? Where do you look for inspiration?

EMB: Three things have really helped me here. As mentioned before, it’s really important to break up your day, so I do that with the below:

Exercise – among the many benefits, including physical, exercise stimulates the release of brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and endorphins. An increase in serotonin and endorphin levels can boost your mood and overall sense of well-being. Cooking – My partner and I are real home cooking foodies. I’m the cook in our home and for me cooking is a totally different thought process all together. It helps me disconnect from the day and from work. During lunch I also watch the SBS food channel to help get inspiration for what to cook that evening. Games – since lockdown we’ve constantly had a 1000 piece puzzle on the coffee table in the living room. So far we’ve built The Louvre, The Trevi Fountain, Fairy-tale montage and we’re now working on The Mona Lisa. Now I’m not saying we spend all day on this, but it’s a welcome distraction, between conference calls, emails, or project work.


Ewan Munro Besley and Tony Tsianakas
Ewan Munro Besley and Tony Tsianakas / Credit: Supplied
Do you have any advice for people struggling working from home?


EMB: Mental health is super important for all of us and I’m so inspired by the fact that we live in a time where it is ok to talk about it. So reach out to your family, friends or neighbours, because they are probably going through the same thing. You’re not alone – set up a video call or now that we are allowed, catch up in person for a coffee or a meal. It’s so amazing to feel that connection after so long. Exercise, as I’ve said is super important, even if it’s to get out for an hour each day – get some fresh air, refresh and reset. And finally, routine. Our brains are wired to love routine and habit. Subconsciously it’s reassuring, comforting and brings about a sense of security about our lives and day ahead. So make an effort to get up, exercise, eat, work, socialise and sleep at the same time. Write it down if you have to, until you get used to it. It helps.

One last piece of advice, breathe… it will all be over soon and even though the world may never go back to the way it was, it will become a new kind of ‘normal’ or at least your new kind or ‘normal’.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay happy.

You can read Part 8 with Bassike designers, Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan, here.