Prior to launching Marco & Co, Angela Ceberano had a permanent ‘hustle’ mentality, rarely switching off from the demands of her busy career.
She maintained an exterior of calm, but beneath the surface stress was wreaking havoc on her body. She worked long hours, took no breaks, and woke up hourly each night to check her email.
“After ten years of running a communication agency, I was burnt out. Honestly, I was surprised I lasted as long as I did before crashing,” said Ceberano.
Eventually, Ceberano was admitted to hospital with a serious case of pneumonia.
Being unable to work made her reassess her priorities and realise that she had been neglecting her own needs for too long.
Ceberano decided to take up horse riding, a hobby that she had loved as a child but had been too consumed with work to participate in for years.
“It was time just for me to switch off and be within nature. It helped in my recovery more than I’ll ever know,” she said.
Not only did Ceberano’s commitment to her hobby improve her health, it helped her business thrive.
“It actually makes us much better at our jobs if we are well rested and inspired,” said Ceberano.
“It switches my brain off and allows me to be truly present. I come back refreshed and reinvigorated. It has done wonders for my creativity, mental health and happiness levels.”
Scents of change
With her renewed love for horse riding and the outdoors, Ceberano longed for the freedom she felt out in nature with her horse Marco.
Living and working in the city, a long distance from her stables, she started seeking opportunities to step away from her desk to inhale the aroma of her saddle. The fragrance transported her to those moments of tranquility and reminded her that life exists outside of work.
Inspired by the therapeutic effect of these scents, Ceberano decided to create a product that could evoke memories of her happy place when she couldn’t physically be there.
“Scent and memory are very closely linked,” said Ceberano.
“I thought if I could bottle these scents and be able to take them with me wherever I am, especially as I travel so much, my happy memories could then always be easily ignited.”
Marco & Co was launched in June 2019 and offers a collection of soy-based, equestrian-inspired candles, each with a unique story behind it.
One of Ceberano’s personal favourites in the range is the Mountain Trail Ride, which was crafted to emulate the scents of her first solo trail ride with Marco through the Mornington Peninsula.
“It was the most peaceful moment we have ever had together. I will always remember the scent from that day – the fresh pine trees and eucalyptus trees were so cleansing and invigorating. I felt inspired, invigorated and proud. I’ll always remember that day when I burn our Mountain Trail Ride candle,” said Ceberano.
Finding a balance
Despite running her communication agency Flourish PR in addition to Marco & Co, Ceberano’s life now has a balance that keeps her energised, healthy and happy while achieving success in her businesses.
“Having the right support has been crucial,” said Ceberano.
“I finally realised that I couldn’t do it all myself. I invest in senior staff and hire people who are experts at the things I am not, which gives me so much more time to do the things I’m good at.”
Ceberano urges women in business to find a hobby and commit to it.
“This used to seem really trivial to me, but to have a hobby that gets you outdoors and away from your office, phone and computer is a game changer,” she said.
To cope with her busy lifestyle and avoid burnout, Ceberano stays focused on the big picture and reminds herself that tough days are temporary. She also tries to find ways to enjoy the challenging moments.
“Switching my mindset on this has helped a lot. See the challenge as something fun, almost like an adventure,” she said.
“You have to create a bubble around you and let things bounce off you. Running a business is not for everyone but it’s the life I chose and wanted. I have to remind myself of that on the tough days that this was my choice. I made this. You also have to remind yourself of that on the good days and be really proud of that fact.
“I’ve learned to choose my battles. Every day you will face challenges – you need to decide if you will let it suck your energy or if you will calmly move on and focus on more important things.”