Working From Home With… Oramai’s Isabella Broden

Next in our ‘Working From Home With…’ series, Isabella Broden, creative director of Oramai, talks to Francine Heath about what’s keeping her spirits up during lockdown, and how some words from Karl Largerfeld have helped her to pass the time. 

How does your typical WFH day start?

I wake up at 7am and always open the doors to my bedroom to take in the day. Is it sunny? Rainy? Cold or warm? Luckily, I live close to Hyde Park so I go for a quick run, followed by a vegan breakfast that’s typically organic nut yoghurt with paleo muesli. I always have my Yogi Tea because the inspirational quotes really set up a good start to the day. Today, I got “The principle ingredient of life is love.”

What do you choose to wear?

I have my morning routines and I always start my outfit by putting on my everyday jewellery: earrings by Sophie Lis and a compass necklace — they’re designed with cosmic symbols and together with my Tiffany Zodiac Leo Sign pendant they make me feel guided. I always put on a base layer from Chanel’s ‘Les Beiges’ collection and a hint of brown powder, so I’m not afraid of the person staring back in the mirror, but I leave my eyes and lips neutral as I love a natural makeup look. My normal day-to-day style is comfortable and oversized anyhow, so I don’t feel any different. I do stick to my natural materials, depending on the weather. I wore linen this weekend and today I’m in my favourite wool jumper.

How do you structure your day?

I have my office set up in the corner of my living room, next to a collection of coffee table books that help me when I need a quick break —especially when I hit what I like to call a ‘no inspiration moment’. My to-do list is a sticker on my desktop and it just never seems to get smaller, even though I have been VERY efficient lately. As soon as I have a new idea, I put it on the sticker and it creates a good workflow throughout the day.

I always get so hungry around noon but the goal is not to eat before 1pm, when I make sure I take a full hour for a lunch break and enjoy some home-cooked organic food. I read my book (as I have so many to catch up on!) and sometimes I even have a glass of wine. Around 2pm, I sit back at the laptop and feel refreshed with new ideas as I climb back into the tasks on my to-do list again. At 6, I have a break where my flatmate and I create an aperitivo moment, including hummus and carrots or cucumbers (read: crisps), and lately we have reimagined Aperol spritz hour with the help of ‘Capri Dolce Vita’.

What helps you to stay positive and motivated?

Running your own business is always hard work and there always seems to be so much to do, especially in difficult times when you have to be very creative and really think outside the box to make a retail business survive. For me, it’s about persistence and always setting a new goal. For example, this week I realised that I have some Ibiza Sets in stock that I could push online, so I thought ‘What can I do?’ The result: we just launched our ‘My Ibiza Set’ campaign, with the amazing Arizona Muse wearing them and inspiring us all to live a more sustainable life —you can read more about it on our blog. So, my go-to tip would be: always see the solutions, not the problems.

Music is my other motivation. I always start the day with Magic Radio because they play happy songs, and you can hear the news in the background every now and then. After lunch, we explore new tracks and follow many different DJs that are releasing all these amazing playlists on SoundCloud, now more than ever. At the moment, I’m obsessed with Deer Jade (the happiest person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet) and this week I’ve been playing this.

Another thing I like to discover is new food —rule: try that weird fruit you’ve never seen before! Until a week ago I didn’t know a pomelo even existed. So delicious.

How are you remaining connected with your team?

Zoom has been a game changer and I’m very grateful that the tool is available to such a broad audience, especially this week when we’ve been putting our brains together with like-minded souls, including ZAZI Vintageto help our charity collaboration with Saheli Women, which is suffering from the lockdown in India. We’re managing to secure the income for the ladies by paying production ahead and this would have been much harder if we didn’t spend many hours on Zoom. Normally I run my entire business on Whatsapp, so again not too much has changed, except some funny memes have made their way into numerous conversations. Keep them coming!

What’s been challenging so far?

I mean, I had to lock the door to my own shop and I also run The Sustainable Pop Up as well as Oramai, so that was a big hit financially and mentally. But again, we realised that if we can’t sell physically, let’s do it virtually and within a week we launched an online pop up. I spent many hours in solitude photographing the entire shop, designing a website and optimizing it —something that normally would take months. It’s now live, if you’d like to check it out.

Any recommendations of things to do when work stops and downtime begins?

I love reading — it’s something Karl Lagerfeld inspired me to do, “to always immerse yourself in a book”. It could be anything from a poem to a coffee table tome, just something to get lost in. Saying that, I’ll admit that I have literally 10 books on my nightstand and I hadn’t started any of them until this week. After launching the pop up online I have finally picked up the first one from the pile and I’m almost finished! 

Four from my nightstand are ‘Fashionopolis’ by Dana Thomas, The Source by Dr Tara Swart, Einstein: His Life and Universe’by Walter Isaacson and Marie Antoinette by Stefan Zweig.


Learn more about how Oramai hopes to change the fashion industry.

Read how Maggie Hewitt, of Maggie Marilyn, is staying motivated at home.

Find out more about how you can carry on supporting small businesses.