Meet My Team, Part Two
Looking back on 2018 – the headline, for me, was that it was a new chapter in my business. Opening my shop in Notting Hill in June seemed to usher in a new, positive energy.
My days in Bermondsey Street will always be dear to my heart – predominantly because of my customers, most of whom became good friends. But All Saints Road feels like I was always meant to be here (I know that might sound silly). It is a very creative community and one I feel extremely at home in.
In my last post I shared two members of my team with you, Mr D and Charissa and now I want to share “the other side of the coin”. What do I mean? Well, along with my new shop there were some changes – not creatively but how I present my work and journey to the world at large.
I have always been reticent of social media and marketing – I like to spread the word about my brand organically, but I am acutely aware that nowadays it is important to have a “presence”.
I have tried working with PR agents before but sadly haven’t found the right match. The bottom line is that I have to place a lot of trust in anyone who works on my brand and be comfortable with their understanding of what I do and more importantly why I do it. So, enter Sammy Lidz and Parry Ray.
S A M M Y L I D Z
Sammy is my marketing intern. I met Sammy through my friend and jewellery designer Tarra Rosenbaum. I had been very wary about taking on an intern as I felt I had little to give in a business sense. But I had just opened the shop and was launching a new collection so if I was ever going to do it I felt this was the time. And as Sammy had a fashion marketing background, I realised I could learn a lot from her too.
Sammy is a great blend of quiet and reserved, tempered with enthusiasm and effortlessness. She was keen to learn and explore through helping me, which was a perfect way of us working together.
Tell us about your journey to date:
That’s a big question! Well, I am 22 and grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. I came to London in 2015 as my parents were here for my father’s job. I had started my degree in the States, but I wasn’t enjoying it as I was so far from my family. So I changed tack and came to London to study and I graduated this May in Fashion Marketing.
When I went to Uni, I knew I wanted to study something with a strong business slant, but my mum always felt I had a creative side and wanted me to explore that - so when I found Fashion Marketing, it seemed to be a perfect blend of the two.
How did you meet Amanda & how did your working relationship begin?
My mum had a friend who knew Tarra (Rosenbaum) and Tarra introduced me to Amanda. I was her first intern and we didn’t know how the relationship would work but Amanda was very open from the get go. She showed me what she had in place for her brand and we took it from there. What was good was that whilst there wasn’t a lot of structure as such, I had the freedom to try things and experiment.
I didn’t know what the workload would be like - it was very fluid in the early days. We started working together in June 2018 and I was working 10-5pm everyday to start with. I began putting together a media kit for the AW18 collection, developing contacts and working on branding. Now as I am studying for my Masters I come in once a week.
My role has also changed a lot due to addition of Parry…. It is weird but adding one more person makes us much more of a team - we all have our distinct responsibilities and have more structure and focus. Though I am younger than Amanda and Parry – I feel very comfortable saying what I want to say about any area of the brand.
What do you enjoy about working at Amanda Thompson Couture?
I like Amanda so that makes it easy. She is funny and kooky. I like what she does and what she makes, and importantly what she stands for.
How do you see things progressing?
I’m a very here and now person. I don’t know what the future holds and don’t want to place any restrictions on it. One of the reasons for doing my Masters is to expand my skill set. Working at Amanda Thompson Couture has made me realise that I want to work with small brands and have a broad range of duties and help from the ground up.
P A R R Y R A Y
Parry is a singer-songwriter who also has her own blog and podcast series whom I invited to an event I had in the summer.
We got on instantly, and after chatting for a while, Parry asked me to be a guest on her podcast series. Though, I don’t ever feel totally comfortable talking about myself, I thought, “Come on Amanda get out of yourself”. Ultimately talking about my journey helps spread the word about my business so I thought I’d give it a go. We got on really well and I felt very much at ease and I knew my story and my creativity were in safe hands.
After this, Parry said she would like to help me and I was very receptive to this. I don’t think it was a premeditated decision for either of us - it was about instinct, faith and trust. Parry inherently understands the aesthetics of the brand, who I am and why I do what I do
So…fast-forwarding a very organic few months, Parry now runs my Instagram (and gets cross when I go off road!). She manages my blog and between her and Sammy, they tackle my PR and marketing. As I mentioned I had worked with other people on PR and Marketing, but I believe it is all about finding your tribe. I probably had no PR or marketing for 6 years. Lots of people gave me advice on strategies but if I had spare time I’d rather make time to make something new for my collection. I do feel that both Sammy and Parry came to me when I was ready and it turns out I enjoy having team to use as a sounding board.
I am sure Parry will edit this out if she doesn’t agree (!) - we are both control freaks, but because we have a similar strong creative essence we are aligned in what we do, and have a huge amount of respect for each other’s process.
Tell us about your creative journey.
I have been a professional singer-songwriter for nearly 20 years. My earliest memories creatively are writing poems around the age of 6, that turned into lyrics and then playing around with tunes on my parents’ piano. I suppose I wrote my first proper song when I was about 12 and that’s when I was in my first band. I also used to make my own clothes as a teenager, but haven’t brushed off those skills (!) at ATC yet...
I realised about 5 years ago that I had to embrace social media, but like Amanda I was initially reticent. But on the advice of my manager I started a blog and an Instagram account at the beginning of 2015. I understand the importance of sharing a creative journey with your community but I am really mindful about things being done in the “right way” which to me means being authentic and honest about what you do, and stand for.
I have a voracious appetite for creativity and really enjoy exploring as many different threads as possible so - I have my own blog, and this year I launched my Podcast Series About Last Night, I am also working on a new album and writing new music. I suppose I can simplify everything by saying I love words whether written, spoken or sung and words tie all the things I do together.
After leaving Uni (where I read Physics to postgraduate level) I was an Editor in a Science Publishing house for a number of years, so that reinforces the word thing again.
How did you meet Amanda/how did your working relationship begin?
I met Amanda at a blogging event she had in the summer and we got on really well. I felt compelled to write something about Amanda, especially after I interviewed her for my podcast. She was so engaging and interesting. I found it fascinating that she had been a professional dancer and actress before becoming a designer.
For me, as an artist it is wonderful to pour my creativity and ideas into someone else’s brand and for the focus not to be about me. I can’t offer a better reason other than I felt compelled to do so. To me, Amanda Thompson Couture is a special brand and Amanda is an unequivocal talent. And I am massively appreciative that Amanda has invited me into her brand – both creatively and in a business sense. In general, I work with Amanda for two days a week, and on my own projects for the rest of the time, but if we have events or meetings that can change.
What do you enjoy about working with Amanda?
I have loved glamour and fabrics particularly silk since I was a little girl and have always wanted to work in fashion in some capacity. Amanda’s brand is all about fabric, colour and print which is right up my street. ATC is imprinted with her heart and soul and that why it is joy to work with her, and if I can add value to her beautiful work then that feels like a gift.
As a singer, I know how vulnerable it can make you letting someone into your creative process and how much trust is involved, and whilst Amanda and I are unfiltered with each other we are always respectful of each other’s ideas.