Kars (@koiztra) is a men's fashion creator based in the Netherlands. When COVID hits his hometown, Kars must find time and space to navigate the 'new normal' by building an office in his attic, juggling a full-time job with his creative pursuits, while also taking care of his family and 4-year old daughter. Here's how Kars gets it done:
On his work routine:
In the mornings I wake up 10 minutes to 6 as my daughter runs into the bathroom. I go down to walk the dog and prepare our breakfast. I take a quick shower, dress for the day and take my daughter to school. Then I get to work.
In my day-to-day I work in business development and sales at a global digital agency. Having worked with household brands including Levi's and Chanel, my primary focus is to help our clients build loyalty with their customers and connect with them through digital channels.
At the end of my work day, if it's my turn to cook dinner, I'll go grocery shopping and get to cooking. I make sure to squeeze in some time to play with the little one too.
After I bring my daughter to bed in the evening, and I'll either edit some photos or do some self-studying. Then I'm off to bed.
On his everyday carry:
I'm really enjoying the ISM backpack, especially in combination with the bottle and the charger. I go into the office, roughly two to three times a week now and the bag fits everything I need for my work.
I always have my MacBook, work phone, bottle of water, and chewing gum. I also carry a notebook and a pen for the ideas I have on the go. Can't forget the daily necessities too, including: my wallet, iPhone, keys and AirPods. That's basically it, I try to keep my everyday bag minimal and low in weight—carrying only the essentials I need to get to work.
On designing his workspace:
Prior to COVID, I actually never had my own workspace at home. So when lockdown began, I took some old cupboards from IKEA, picked up wood from a local hardware store and turned our attic into my very own office.
I wanted to cultivate a space where I could feel comfortable at home while also enjoy my work.
When it comes to my aesthetic eye, I'm drawn to a lot of neutral tones, white, black, and gray. I also love surrounding my space with things that inspire me. One photograph in my office is from an artist who creates stunning photos of surfing. To me, the image resembles the feeling of being totally free again. I appreciate having items that relax the mind but also minimal enough to maintain my productivity.
On the biggest challenge in COVID:
It was a normal day when lockdown was announced. I had meetings at the office. Clients visiting. Then suddenly from one day to the next, everything was work from home and fully digital. It was a total 180.
In addition to my own work, my partner was starting up a business. It became a challenge for my us because our 4-year old daughter came home as well (goodbye daycare, hello homeschooling). Suddenly two grown ups needed to work, school, and entertain all in one space.
The days felt like they were getting longer and longer, like I didn't have time to breathe.
We knew we needed to find a balance.
On new opportunities:
In many surprising ways, COVID introduced some interesting angles into my life. Designing my home office opened up a new avenue of interior photography for me. While my feed is usually focused on flat lays and product photography, I found myself experimenting with photos of my workspace and to my surprise, received a positive response from my audience. Fast forward to today, I now collaborate with interior brands too.
To add to that, it's typically a struggle for parents to spend quality time with their kids when you have to be at work for most of the day. But as a young father, how often can you say that you've spent three whole months with your daughter every single day while also having a full-time job. That's what I love about working from home, I can spend the extra minutes I take for commuting, for extra work breaks with my family.
On what he's looking forward to:
Luckily the Netherlands handled COVID pretty well and lockdown only lasted about a month or two. The first thing we did was go to the lake near our house where there are some great restaurants (gotta support the local businesses!).
I'm back on traveling as well, and the backpack has perfect for that. The luggage strap is handy and makes it easy when traveling in the airport. My first destination is the South of France. My family and I went there about two years ago and we'd love to see it again. Great food, great environment, lovely beaches— totally my vibe. So looking forward to going there again.