The agent and owner of the Mercy Delta brand reaveals how she balances designing.
What does your typical week involve?
The ecommerce and marketing teams meet on Monday mornings. Recently we’ve been discussing marketing the autumn 14 collection. The ecommerce team is the brains behind the launch. I promote products via social networks. I spend the week finding ways to connect with customers and bloggers using Instagram and Facebook. Paul’s Boutique also uses Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and its official blog. I work hard to maintain a consistent online presence by scheduling posts at key times, such as during the morning commute, lunch hour and between 5pm to 8pm. Mostly bloggers find us via Instagram. The ‘comments’ function allows instant feedback so they feel valued. I try to reply to everyone.
What event are you most looking forward to this week?
Throughout September we gifted a lot of top influencers (editors, bloggers and celebrities) with our new autumn 14 handbags styles. I’m expecting some great press shots. For me, it’s really exciting to see the perception of the brand changing from fast-fashion high street retailer to premium designer accessories brand. We’ve always gifted celebrities, but it’s a real focus now. We go for effortlessly cool ‘It’ girls who have huge social followings. With celebrities like model Amber Le Bon and presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford having recently worn our bags, we’re on a roll.
Which tasks do you wish you could postpone?
The most time-consuming thing is the amount of daily blogger requests. Some have seen the product on another blog or followed us on Instagram. Some have specific bags they know would appeal to their readers, so they ask about that style’s availability. Mostly they are happy for me to suggest a product.
How did you get to where you are today?
I studied an art foundation diploma, specialising in fashion, at college but I wasn’t really sure what to do. I then studied for a BA Hons in writing fashion and culture at Southampton Solent University, which combined journalism, photography, fashion history and magazine design. In summer 2009 I did work experience with Paul’s Boutique on the customising team, sewing on badges and heat-pressing diamantés onto hoodies. After university, I became manager of the Pixie Knitwear concession at Topshop’s Oxford Street flagship. The store was always busy, so I quickly learnt time management and organisational skills. My earlier work experience with Paul’s Boutique paid off. Leaving Pixie Knitwear, I joined Paul’s as an ecommerce assistant, compiling stock reports and number crunching. It’s a valuable role, but I wanted to be more consumer-facing. When I started, the brand didn’t have much of a social presence. In early 2012 when we began repositioning it we needed to utilise social media. I voiced an interest and gradually began to carve out my own role as a social media manager.
What has been your career highlight?
Being nominated for Best Use of Social Media at the Drapers Etail Awards in 2014 was a highlight. Even though we didn’t win, it was such a buzz.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
My mum Sally Newell always told me not to narrow myself down or overthink things. I tend to go with gut instinct because of her advice.
How do you see your career progressing?
I want to keep pushing an online presence and working with bloggers to get the Paul’s Boutique name out there. As the ‘voice’ of the brand, I’ve been closely involved with repositioning Paul’s as a premium brand and we’ve come a really long way.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Immerse yourself in what you love and try a bit of everything. You need a vast knowledge of products and to know the brand inside out. Getting work experience in the industry will always work in your favour.
If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
I really like the idea of going into styling, although my stylist friend Ria Johnson has told me it isn’t as glamorous as it seems. As a social media manager I’m lucky enough to go to photo shoots and blog from behind the scenes.
- Salaries for this role at established fashion firms are about £35,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)