What Brooklinen cofounder Vicki Fulop does all day

Meetings take up her days, with occasional breaks to pet the office dog—but the sheet testing? She does that at home

What Do People Do All Day? takes a look at the work life, lunch habits, and downtime of people across different industries. 

Name: Vicki Fulop
Title: Cofounder and chief communications officer
Location: WeWork Dumbo Heights, Brooklyn, NY
Years on the job: 5

When married couple Vicki and Rich Fulop returned from a trip to Las Vegas in 2012, they set out to find sheets as sumptuous as the ones they slept in at their hotel. But they were stunned by the nearly four-figure price tags they kept seeing. What they got instead was a business idea: premium linens at a reasonable cost. By 2014, after a year of market research and with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, they launched Brooklinen

Today, the direct-to-consumer company, which is beloved for its minimalist-chic offerings, also sells towels, bathrobes, loungewear, and more. Rich generally handles the business side of things while Vicki focuses on the company’s creative identity. “A lot of our work now is making plans and giving feedback,” Fulop says. “Whereas before, when Rich and I were starting out, it was producing the photo shoots ourselves, doing the Photoshop ourselves, coding the emails ourselves. We’re a little bit more upstream than we used to be.” Just ahead of Brooklinen’s latest big launch—more on that below—Fulop gives a closer look at her typical workday. 

My morning routine is… pandemonium. Just kidding (sort of). I used to be a creature of routine, but I just had a baby in May, so now we’re juggling to tend to the little guy, get dressed, and have our caffeinated beverage of choice before jetting out of the house. New babies are unpredictable, so every morning is a bit of a surprise.

I first look at email… as I wake up. If I see something I can answer quickly, I’ll reply right away. If it’s something regarding a longer-lead project, I’ll reply that I saw the email and say when I’ll be able to get back to it/meet about it.  

I spend my commute… listening to podcasts and reading. My friend just recommended an interesting NPR podcast called Hidden Brain. Every episode is kind of different. There’s one they just did on decoding baby talk and another about how people are bad at predicting their future happiness and why. And I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air, which was written by a neurosurgeon who found out he had terminal cancer in his final year of medical residency. He talks about the experience of how you live your life knowing that you have only a short amount of time left.

The first Slack message I got today was… a request to review copy for a launch email. It’s for a big initiative called Spaces by Brooklinen, which is a new division on our site. We’re partnering with a lot of our favorite brands, like Floyd, Simply Framed, and The Sill, to essentially bring to life all of the beautiful items and styling that people see in our photo shoots, and to make them available for our customers to purchase. We’ve designed three distinctive looks—earthy minimalist, modern glam, and relaxed industrial—and customers can purchase the entire room as a complete look, or they can purchase individual objects.

We came up with the idea… about a year ago, when Rich and I were on a trip to Nashville. We’ve gotten so many requests over the years for some of the additional décor within our creative campaigns: Where do I get this bed frame? Where do I get this nightstand? Where do I get this lamp

I find inspiration… through travel. In the past, trips to Italy and Costa Rica inspired the vibe of our linen collection, which is refined but easy. And the color stories we see out in the wild can kick off an idea. Maybe there’s a pink-washed building and a pink canyon, for example, and that inspires a peachy, pinky, burgundy concept. We go into a trip pretty open. Just getting away and having a little bit of empty headspace helps.

I’d love to one day collaborate with… Kith, which is a really cool streetwear brand with a great heritage. I think that would be a really fun, interesting surprise, and unexpected in the bedding space. I also really like the designer Staud.

We test new bedding samples… constantly. Rich and I are the guinea pigs. We’re always asking our manufacturers for new weaves and testing them in our apartment.

The thing most likely to break my concentration at the office is… one of the office pups coming over for some love. They’re irresistible, and I have to pet each and every one.

When I’m in a meeting… I’m in a meeting. I’m not on my phone. I’m not Gchatting or Slacking. We ask everyone to come with an agenda, and if we notice we’re getting stuck on one agenda point, we’ll table it for a separate time. Meetings are how I get a lot of my work done. I spend at least half my day in them.

I eat lunch… at my desk, most days. Or I kind of graze. If the weather is nice, I try to at least take a walk to pick up my lunch. I don’t care that much about where I eat, but I love a good walk.

My leadership style is… hands-off. I let people run with things as much as I can.

When I interview a candidate, I always ask… how they problem-solve. What was a challenge they faced and how did they overcome it? I like to think through how people approach things and whether they see a curveball as an exciting mountain to scale or a roadblock.

I usually stop reading emails at… 8 p.m., unless there is something urgent or I’m working on something with a tight turnaround (e.g., a launch the following day). I like to give myself a little time to recharge for the next day.  

As a married couple that founded and run a business togetherRich and I set times to talk about work things during the workday. We made a decision early on that after a certain time at night, we don’t talk about work—and we’re usually so tired and drained from the day that we both stick to it.

Patti Greco is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in Glamour, Elle, and Vanity Fair. She was previously the digital entertainment director at Cosmopolitan and a staff editor at New York magazine.

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