Morgan Wardrope is the Creative Director for Lululemon Australia and New Zealand. I met her over Yoga and then later, after having hiked Rangitoto Island, we chatted briefly over coffee; if anyone has something to teach us it is Morgan. Her bravery, fearless creativity and commitment to her team is inspiring to every person, but especially those in business.
What has been the biggest lesson you learned (so far) in your role as Lululemon’s Creative Director?
Laugh at yourself, stay authentic, make mistakes and give gratitude often. You will feel lighter, learn every day and create strong relationships that go beyond 9-5. I have also learned that everyone knows about 20% of their role, the rest is all made up. It’s exhilarating, inspiring and scary all at the same time. If you disagree, I beg to differ. Also, leadership is important. I have the privilege of leading an incredible team of creatives who drive success for our team, our brand, and my role – show gratitude often. Look after your team, and they will look after you. I’ve also learned to hire people based on character, teaching someone a skill is easy – but motivation is in the blood. People will work hard if they believe in you. At the end of the day: people are human. Although they are all smart, drive and creative what sets them apart is that they are genuine.
We have a real relationship and create real experiences for everyone we meet. We care about each other, it’s not who does what – it’s the success that we created something together no matter how we got there.
You asked for one, in typical Morgan fashion I give you more!
What does your normal working day look like? Is it how you imagined it would be before you started out?
My day has changed from job to job, to be honest. If it is one thing that is consistent – I start early. I love to have an hour or so to myself to clear my inbox. My day can vary from a full day of shooting, to back to back meetings and late night calls with international partners – I LOVE IT. If it’s one thing I priorities is connecting with my team and cross-functional partners. Having real-life conversations away from the work can spark an idea. I also love to get my hands dirty, it reminds me of why I started in the industry.
No matter the job title, I will forever be in the work. It is fulfilling.
Did I imagine it would be like this?
Not exactly, starting out as a Designer/Art Director – my role escalated very quickly. My degree focused purely on design, thus I truly had to learn on the job. It’s like reading the blurb on the back of a book. Its generic, until you read the pages on the inside and you are inspired about the detail!
Lastly, people took risks, they believed in me and gave me opportunities and the autonomy to create.
In your time as Lululemon’s Creative Director who is a person (or people) you’ve met who’ve influenced you in some way?
For me, it hasn’t been one person. I have surrounded myself with positive people who have shaped my journey, stance on who I want to be and what I want to create for my life.
If I was to name a few people:
Trevor Holland || Training and Development Manager: Day to day reminds me the importance of mindfulness, leadership + resilience. @forwardthinkingcompany
Ben Jackson || Community + Brand Director: My boss, he has always believed in me and given me the autonomy to create anything.
Jordan Vizbulis: My right hand – she would constantly remind me that what you create is more than just a project. Who you are being is more important than the work.
In High school did you imagine yourself as having the career you do now?
If there is one thing you should know about me is that I have big flaws – I always struggled with numbers and writing. In saying that I always enjoyed putting my hands to work. Creating something from nothing, whether it was woodwork, graphic art or food technology I was always top if the class. I was destined to be within the creative industry. It has always been challenging, demanding, inspiring, witty and fulfilling.
What top two values do you life your life by and why?
Although I have touched on it above: Remind yourself that everyone is human. People are not immune to heartache, disease + turmoil. Treat people like family – show random acts of kindness you would be surprised how it will make you and others feel. It’s a scientific fact.
Live the life you want, not the life you feel you have to: If you don’t love it, it will be stressful, If you love it, you will consider it passion. Whether it is in the office of after hours, I am always on the move. I spend my time and energy doing things that make my mind, body, and soul feel good. You will be a better person because of it.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Tough question. I had a pretty ‘dialled’ plan to be a Creative Director, however, I think through life I have discovered the title is worthless, but the experience is priceless. Whether it is at Lululemon, or another brand I aspire to continue creating with purpose. I have goals to expand my role into Asia within Lululemon, although day to day reflecting on what I have in life is more fulfilling.
Do you have any advice for any young people who want to get to advanced positions in their careers?
Be yourself, and remember that who you are is enough. Everyone comes on this earth with nothing, and leaves with nothing. People will always remember how you made them feel, vs what you did. This consistent reminder has truly elevated my leadership and accelerated my position within the industry. Lastly, it doesn’t matter where you work, or how much you earn, You will love your life if you work amongst a good culture and on a subject matter that inspires you.
What’s been your proudest moment at Lululemon?
For me it is an ongoing experience. I am proud to tell stories about people within our collective. I will continue to stay passionate about humanising the Lululemon brand in a way that makes it relatable, refreshing, authentic and disruptive. In a world where body image, mental health issues and artificial marketing is so prevalent, it is non-negotiable for me to always create with purpose.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” – Simon Sinek
I am consistently learning and being inspired by my team.
Find Morgan @morgsrichelle