What really happens when wanderlust meets work? Welcome to Digital Nomad Diaries, where we ask women to get real about the joys and challenges of remote work. Because even though this lifestyle is definitely a privilege, that doesn't mean it's not without its challenges and trade-offs.
Name: Shilpa Iyengar
Industry: CEO and co-founder of Alterre, a sustainable shoe brand
Countries/Cities You've Worked From: New York, NY; Quogue, NY; Madison, WI; Idaho Falls, ID; Salt Lake City, UT; Billings, MT; Missoula, MT; Tempe, AZ; Denver, CO; Santa Fe, NM; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; West Palm Beach, FL; Miami, FL; Potomac, MD; New Orleans; LA; Johannesburg, South Africa.
Places You're Working From Next: Boston, MA; Calgary; Costa Rica
Since we couldn’t travel internationally for a large part of the pandemic, we have worked all over the United States.
We only live in one place for about a month or so, so we are always on the move! However, we do generally spend the winter in South Florida, and I’m always in and out of New York City for trade shows and fashion weeks. We also spend a lot of time in Potomac, MD, as my in-laws live there.
When did you first start working remotely? Did the pandemic make this possible for you or were you way ahead of the game?
My husband and I first started working remotely a few days before NYC effectively shut down because of the pandemic. We had gone to my in-laws’ house in Maryland for what was supposed to be a weekend, and that turned out to be four months! I only had enough with me from the office to finish up the designs for the next season, so it felt weird not having all of my reference materials. It was also hard to get into the groove of working without family distractions, since I had set up a makeshift desk in the dining room. I think it took a few weeks to get a good schedule together and implement standing weekly meetings over Zoom, but after those initial hiccups, I’ve loved working remotely. I find it a lot more productive than going into the office, although I do miss the social time I had with my co-founder, Harmony Pilobello. Those first months of the pandemic gave us the time to reorganize our business so we could shut down the office and go completely remote. We haven’t looked back!