How I Thrive: Ilene & Co Founder Ilene Ong

How I Thrive: Ilene & Co Founder Ilene Ong

How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders, entrepreneurs and leaders and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Today's edition is with ILENE & CO Founder Ilene Ong, who believes in treating her body like a temple in the name of self-care and loves a morning Clubhouse session. 

Name: Ilene Ong

City: Seattle, Washington

Age: 28

Company: ILENE & CO, a company devoted to delivering good jewelry that elevates unique lifestyles

Role: Founder and CEO

Beyond the role:  An analyst at an investment bank, part-time product manager at a SaaS startup,  workout-holic


As I am waking up, I clear my mind for a good 5-10 minutes and do a little self-talk with myself before checking my phone. I then step into the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. After that, I check into Clubhouse to find a room that either talks about entrepreneurship or personal development as it helps stimulate and prepare my mind for whatever's coming my way. I have just started listening to The Skinny Confidential Him and Her podcast and have been enjoying the interviews they have hosted particularly with entrepreneurs and thought leaders. While listening, I put on light makeup and pick out some ILENE & CO. pieces for my look of the day.

I begin prioritizing the important tasks for the day, check my emails and bucket those that are of high importance and require decision-making within the same day. I then manually process all ILENE & CO. orders for packaging later in the morning. I love a nice cup of tea or hot water with a couple ginseng slices in the morning. Next I start tackling the list of tasks and work my way down, at the same time getting ready for a work meeting that usually occurs between 10 and 11 a.m.


I have a mini gym in the garage, so whenever I'm finished with all tasks for the day, I'll hit the garage and get an hour-ish workout in. It's been getting warmer, so I have been trying to go on runs as well. To be honest, I don't actually have a time that I clock out—my day is rather short since I have to put some time in throughout the night having to work with teams and clients in Asia. Any available time during the day and night allows me to focus on being a part-time manager for a SaaS startup and on ILENE & CO.


Usually an hour or so after my workout, I scour ingredients in the fridge or pantry looking for something to whip something up. I love to incorporate soup in my dinner if I have basic ingredients like broth, tofu, and mushrooms. I also live with my cousin, so sometimes we will make dinner for one another!


I make sure that all ILENE & CO. content for the next day is in place and get ready to go out. My cousin has a 10-week-old puppy, and I find playing with him to be therapeutic and a stress reliever. I also chat with my mom—she's in Singapore—since it's morning for here there. It is the only way for us to connect and for me to check-in on her, being so far apart. On evenings when I want a little boost to my skincare regime, I will exfoliate and use a mask. Sometimes, I'll be in bed responding to emails coming from my team and/or clients in Asia or thinking through creative concepts. 


Working out. It's always been a way for me to put myself in a mindset where I'm actively pushing myself.


Practicing gratitude for my mind and body.


Self-care is about understanding and respecting your body. It's about making creating habits that will allow your body to perform at its best. In other words: "Treat your body like a temple."


I remember treating stuffed animals as my students while I played their teacher. I also grew up following my mother and crossing a border very frequently to visit her side of the family, so I would replicate the same set up with my stuffed animals, while I played the officer stamping passports. In hindsight, I would say that I was a curious, hands on kid. 


Ever since setting up a business account for ILENE & CO., I have created specific labels for emails going to and from brands and people I work with. I keep my inboxes free from unread emails and do my best to keep it that way! 

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