In “7 Hours With,” Hive explores the routines of leading professionals in their space to learn when, why, where and how they work. In each “7 Hours With” diary, we will look at what they’re doing at seven different check-ins throughout their day.
Sharon Chuter is the CEO and founder of Uoma Beauty, one of the hottest new makeup brands in the world. She’s a true entrepreneur and powerhouse, and took her brand from concept to production in 14 months — an unheard of timeline in the beauty industry. Uoma recently launched at Ulta, and you can purchase their products online at uomabeauty.com (or at Selfridges and BeautyBay for you UK folk). We sat down with Sharon to talk through a typical day-in-the-life and learn more about her favorite productivity hacks.
Yes, you read that right. 2 AM. I start working at 2 because Uoma Beauty is a UK-based business. It’s just something I have to do at this stage. I’m super hands on and we’re a really small team, so I have to wake up around 1:30 or 2 AM to start working UK hours, respond to UK emails, and talk to our manufacturing team.
I also live out of a hotel in LA because I split my time between LA and London, and I keep my laptop next to me in bed because it helps me to roll over, wake up and just get to work. I just have to sit up and start working. It sounds a lot worse than it is because I’m awake, but I’m not jumping around or moving. I just prop up myself and do my work.
I usually stop doing UK business around 7:30 AM and start getting ready. I take getting ready very seriously. The rest of the day I’m working and doing things for other people, but this is really my “me time.”
I also prep my face with the same products everyday, so I have a set skincare routine. In my chaotic world, it’s the thing that is stable. My skin is sensitive and acne-prone, so everything that I use on my face is super mild. It’s interesting, because people with my type of skin usually use very harsh products, but I go the opposite way. I keep my skin products mild, use a retinoid and a vitamin C, and hydrate! Hydration is the key to healthy skin, so I always use lots of moisturizer on myself, and put lots of hydrating ingredients in my products. Our skin is constantly being zapped of moisture by the elements and every day life, so I really want my products to add some hydration back into the skin.
Next up: makeup. This is another sacred time for me. I take my time with my makeup because I’m often testing new products, even using one set of products on the right half of my face, and another set of products on the left to see how they stack up. The funniest part is that people don’t even notice.
I also take the time in the morning to reflect, think about the day, and think about what I want to achieve. When I look in the mirror, I like to use affirmations to get myself ready for the day. I look in the mirror and say “You’re beautiful,” “You’re worth it.” It sounds crazy, but those affirmations help me head out into the world feeling like a million bucks.
I get into the office around 8:30 or 9 unless I have a meeting before. Our Uoma Beauty team in LA is small, around 5 people, but we’ve got all the bases covered, including marketing, PR, and social media. The rest of my 25-person team is based in London.
Then I’ll usually make a list for the day’s activities. I’m a list person. I can spend an hour making a list! It helps me prioritize. I want to get that information out of my head and that really helps me formulate my day. I break the list out into things I’ve done and the things I haven’t, which helps me visualize the day’s to-dos and set a schedule for myself. Another big productivity tip I utilize is making sure to communicate to my team what I’m NOT doing. You need to be clear with priorities and what you don’t have the bandwidth for. I think that’s something people forget.
I don’t really have a typical time I take lunch every day. It’s just whenever I can manage to grab something. Maybe I’ll grab something around 1 PM.
Uoma Beauty really is like a newborn baby, so I have to tend to it constantly, and it really is is so fun for me. I have worked in the beauty industry for years (I was at LVMH before), but have never lost my passion for beauty products. I’m still a VIB Rouge at Sephora — I’m always buying new things to try and am super into testing all the new launches from brands.
My love for beauty really inspired my brand, in conjunction with general frustration at the state of beauty. The industry really has a lack of regard for different cultures, stories, and experiences. Beauty has very monolithic ideas, it can get a bit boring and repetitive. Plus, people start using beauty products much younger in life now, so as a brand, we have an obligation to really make sure our brands stand for something and send the right message to the younger generation. That’s where I wanted to stand out and set up a brand for myself. The brand I wish was there when I started my career.
Around 6 or 7, I go to the gym and do an hour-long session, which is really my break from working 14-16 hours. It’s another version of “me time,” and I do a wide range of things at the gym. HIIT and high-impact training are favorites because I get bored easily. I also like to use weights, box, do yoga, pilates or barre — it burns, but I do barre for a change of pace and to give my knees a break.
Then I head back to the hotel (where I live), have a shower, and get back to work. This is also the time where I’ll check in on a product I’ve worn all day. People always ask me what my favorite Uoma product is that I’ve made or am testing, but it’s funny because I’ve actually made over 300 products! The ones on our shelves now are the best of the best, so they’re all products I love.
But at my core, I’m a skin and base layer girl. My base always has to be on point, which is why my brand is so complexion focused. It’s not about concealing and concealing — you just need to be working on that base. So I’m checking in at the end of the day on how everything has worn and setting aside the best products, paying special attention to complexion and skin.
After my product check-in and shower, I usually order in dinner while I work on more emails. I love UberEats and I’m Nigerian, so I often order from a local Nigerian restaurant. It makes me feel at home wherever I am. When I’m in London, I eat at this Nigerian restaurant called 805. I love it!
As you can tell by this diary, I don’t really have a work/life balance right now. I’m in month three of the business, so there’s so much uncertainty and instability. I don’t really have the option to not be doing work. At the end of the day, it’s my business. To other people it’s a job. When they get stressed out they go home, but it’s my life. It comes back to me in the end to keep this ship running. There will be a time for vacation and more balance in the future, when I have a larger team and the business is more stable. But at this early stage, it’s so up and down that right now I don’t have the time to balance it out.
Not saying that work life balance isn’t important, because it is! In my other roles, I was really focused on that, but right now, I work 80+ hours a week and don’t see another path. I have to do what needs to be done to keep the business going.
I head to bed around this time, usually. I know my schedule sounds crazy, but I actually am a huge proponent of listening to my body and staying in tune with it. When my body tells me to rest, I do. Sometimes I sleep for a full day on the weekends. You have to make sure to stay in touch with what your body needs. To be productive, you need to listen to your body and have a clear head. And make sure you’re not just “working” to work. If your body is tired, it can take you 20 hours to do work that you otherwise could’ve done in 8 hours. So you need to listen to your body to be most efficient.
As I get ready for bed, I make sure to keep my laptop next to me, and set my alarm for 2 AM to do it all over again.