Emily_Volaski career

Emily Volaski is a Queens, NY native with an unorthodox 3:45AM morning routine. As both the Vice President of Design for a specialty fashion retailer and the founder of her own jewelry line SKN, Emily has carefully honed a daily schedule that works for her unique lifestyle.

Yes, her early bird hours get her a few sideways glances from friends and colleagues, but if we’ve learned anything over the years of interviewing top professionals, there’s really no one right way to do things. Find what works for you and embrace it.

We asked the busy, style-driven professional to join our series, What I’ve Learned So Far to tell us all about the juggle, good working relationships and the down-low on conflict-free diamonds and recycled gold..

On managing two careers: I truly believe in the quote: “Creators never separate from their work because they are their work.” When I’m consistently in a creative state the more creative (and happy) I become. While balancing two careers does require careful time management and a clear sense of priorities, it’s about finding harmony in a dual pursuit and being passionate about both endeavors. For me both careers complement and enrich the other even on the days that feel a little exhausting.

Wake time: 3:45AM weekdays, 5:30AM weekends

Morning routine: Snuggle with my husband and cats before getting out of bed. My cat knows my routine and takes part in it every day. While I drink my coffee, Ty (my cat) cuddles in my lap as I work on my laptop, watching the sunrise over the ocean from my home office window. I enjoy the morning peace and quiet; I like to ease myself into the day. Then, I work out and head into Manhattan around 7:45AM.

Why I started my own jewelry brand: Jewelry is my love language, whether I’m treating myself or surprising someone else with a gift!

I’ve been buying myself fine jewelry since I was in my early 20s. I have a soft spot for fine pieces, but as my collection grew, I began to see a clear need for semi-fine pieces that still screamed luxury without breaking the bank. SKN’s first collection was semi-fine and launched in 2020. To my surprise it was very successful. I could see the demand was there for this type of aesthetic and that led me to expand into more affordable fine jewelry using recycled solid gold and ethically-sourced diamonds. My customers mix and match from both collections. Shopping high and low is really the key to personal style and curating a unique look.

The brand in a nutshell: Effortless, ageless and pretty. Elegantly sexy, affordable luxury for anyone from all walks of life.

Uniform lately: Right now I’ve been loving anything cherry red, vintage denim and a Chanel bag—the new Mini Kelly has not left my arm lately—and of course, layered gold jewelry.

Favorite piece lately: Fine Pavé Diamond Tennis Bangle and Rope Chain with Diamond Pendant. Once I put these on, I never took them off!

Energy hack: 15-20 minute brisk walk in direct sunlight is my go-to.

Time-saving hack: Put your cell on do not disturb mode and complete your top three critical tasks first. This was a game changer for me.

Wellness habits that make it all work: The Tracy Anderson Method has been my go-to practice for the past 10 years. I’m convinced I’m reverse aging due to her method (or at least aging with grace)! Going to bed early and getting a good night’s rest. Intermittent fasting on days where I feel I need a digestive rest, eating natural foods and avoiding seed oils. I do indulge—Friday night pizza is a tradition in our home and I love a piece of dark chocolate post lunch or dinner (maybe a brownie if I’ve been extra good).

Productivity tips I live by: I focus on managing energy, not just time. We all have our unique daily rhythm, so I try to keep my energy levels high by steering clear of unnecessary drama and issues—those tend to sidetrack me from what really matters. Remember, not every issue or person needs your attention; choose where to shine your energy wisely. Surround yourself with positive and high achieving people. It is amazing how productive you can become by simply surrounding yourself with happy people who have integrity within themselves and in their work. Energy is contagious, and it goes both ways.

Thoughts on quiet quitting and similar trends: I can empathize with this trend. I started in corporate America when I was 22 and before that was an intern in high school. We all know it’s not easy, it’s not sunshine and rainbows and some jobs feel thankless and can crush your spirit. However, quiet quitting can be a subtle but powerful indicator of inner discontent or the need for change. The desire to quietly quit (to me) is really just not feeling fulfilled or perhaps a lack of receiving appreciation in one’s circumstance. It could be used as an opportunity for self reflection and making more aligned decisions for one’s future. We hold more power than we think in creating a life we dream of.

Fave tech tools that make it all work: Canva, Google drive, sheets and docs, etc.

How I find balance in my life: Balance looks different for everyone. I find balance in my life by carving out dedicated time for downtime and social activities that are important to me. I also embrace a little spontaneity and adventure when it pops up. I do my best to create a concord where both work and play coexist, allowing me to recharge and appreciate the lighter side of life.

How I wind down at the end of day: My husband and I always have dinner together. Sometimes we’ll play “Thankful, Grateful, Work On” where we share a few points of our day that we’re appreciative of and something we need to focus on. Nighttime is when I watch TV, while my husband prefers to watch any sport game. He’s kind enough to share with me in watching my fave shows (before I eventually doze off on the couch) which could range from Suits, Seinfeld, Ozark (for the 7th time), The Big Bang Theory, Ancient Aliens, or anything from The Marvel Universe (just finished Loki on Disney+ and I am obsessed!).

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