It’s stupendously sunny but even I will admit that October is an odd time to write about resort wear. HOWEVER, many people go on holiday at this time of year (are you going on holiday? Can I come?) and actually from a meeeeja point of view, now is exactly the time to start talking about next Spring/Summer….as we all know from all the endless Fashion Week coverage. (You can read about what I got up to at LFW here).
I love holiday clothes, but nothing got me as sartorially excited during my recent holiday as my Voiles maxi dress by the new and shiny resortwear brand Pampelone…
It ticked every box I have for a beach dress, managing to cover all lumps and bumps whilst also being elegant, that little bit different, flattering and – crucially – not ten-a-penny. I hate wearing the same clothes as everyone else at the best of times, but that feeling is particularly heightened at the beach, probably because I am already feeling self-concious so I don’t need to see someone wearing the same skimpy outfit as me BUT BETTER. I like to do my own thing, thank you. I also liked that it was smart and I looked fancy in it, like I might have a yacht parked around the bay. AND I could sit in bars and restaurants in it without feeling like a slob who had just come out of the water. I liked it a lot, essentially…just as I seem to adore everything in this first Pampelone collection.
Pampelone was founded by my beautiful friend Holly Anna Scarsella and I think that it is so immensely cool that she left her job in PR to do her own thing. It’s inspirational and fantastic. IMAGINE STARTING YOUR OWN CLOTHING LINE. And sexy resortwear at that. It’s the absolute dream.
I badgered Holly into answering a few questions about her journey so far because, ya know, entrepreneurial women are the best. So sit back, pretend you’re on the beach with a mojito (wearing Pampelone, natch) and step into Holly’s world for a moment….
How did you come up with the idea for the brand and find the confidence to take the leap and just ruddy do it?
By trade I used to be a publicist and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing brands with hugely inspiring female founders. These include Sara Blakely of SPANX who started with $500 and is now one of the worlds first female billionaires under 30; Bec Astley Clarke MBE who has grown Astley Clarke from her dining room table to the UK’s best luxury retailer; and Olcay Gulsen of SUPERTRASH, the coolest lady I’ve met and taking the women’s retail sector by storm one country at a time. Working with these women you learn that whilst it’s the hardest task you’ll ever face, building a business is achievable if you’re willing to work. None of these women were handed anything on a plate, no different to you or I – they worked and achieved their goals.
Then in 2014 I got married, and when looking for my honeymoon wardrobe I saw a clear gap in the market for reasonably priced beach clothing. The market is saturated at the top with brands including Melissa Odabash and Mara Hoffman which are sure gorgeous brands, but who wants to spend £200-£300 on a beach dress to shove in a beach bag? You also have the high street, which only retails beach clothing for a few months of the year and there is nothing worse than walking onto a beach and realising that 10 people have the same dress as you from Topshop or Zara. Hence the idea for PAMPELONE was born.
Taking the leap to quit my job and start a business was the bravest decision I have ever made, but I just kept looking back at all the amazing entrepreneurs I’d worked with and thought that if they could do it, there’s nothing holding me back to try myself.
What’s been your bestseller?
Do you have a personal fave piece?
My favourite is the ROMANA Dress – a navy tunic style dress which can be worn from the beach into the town. Super versatile and it’s a really striking rich blue colour.
Can you give us any clues as to what we might expect from you next season?
Our Sold Out pieces will be back at the end of October – perfect for any winter breaks, and SS16 will launch in April! The SS16 collection will still embody the effortless PAMPELONE style we established with the SS15 collection but with some fresh new shapes and fabrics including Broaderie Anglaise. Watch this space!
You’ve used Instagram and blogger collaborations to help show off ‘Pampelone in the city’, is it important for you for customers to realise you don’t need to be limited to just the beach and poolside in your fab pieces?
Absolutely. I wear most of our pieces around London and I really wanted to show our customers that PAMPELONE is not just for the beach, but can be work in the city too, you just need to accessorize differently…perhaps leave the flip flops and beach bag at home.
SO MANY cool styling options from personal shopper Jessica Martin on the Pameplone blog!
Where is your fave place to holiday in Europe? What about further afield?
PAMPELONE was named after Pampelonne beach in St Tropez where I spent a lot of time growing up, so I would have to say that is my favourite place in Europe, closely followed by the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Be prepared to put on twice your body weight with the incredible pasta and lemon sorbet.
Further afield I would have to say Sydney, Australia. An incredible city with amazing culture and beaches. Head off the beaten track rather than the tourist hot spots to see its true beauty.
Do you have any advice for anyone else who dreams of starting their own business?
I would say my top tips for starting a business are the following:
– Believe in your business 100%. If you don’t, no one else will
– Never take no for an answer. It’s a cliché and I’m not telling you to stalk retailers or buyers but never take the first no as an answer.
– Work, Work and keep working. Success is not overnight and will never come to you. If you want something you have to keep working as hard as you can to get it. And if you do get it, work even harder to keep it. Launching a business is so hugely rewarding but do not do it if you think it will be an easy life. It’s not.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are some amazing mentorship schemes out there which you can go to help you with starting a business. I am actually part of the VIRGIN START-UP scheme and they helped with all kinds of support and mentoring which has been invaluable
Do you have a favourite ‘pinch me’ moment of the Pampelone journey so far?
Everytime a blogger/ celebrity I admire wears my pieces I pinch myself including Pandora Sykes – my uber style crush. But the major pinch mysef moment was being asked to go into VIRGIN and actually give a talk on my business journey to date. It really made me realise how far I’d come after only being launched for 12 weeks.
Any major challenges? How did you overcome them?
When you start a business there are always challenges, even now I face them on a daily basis. I think the general best piece of advice I could give is to not give up. Entrepreneurs that succeed are the few that dig deep and persevere when times get tough and you want to throw in the towel.
Some very wise words there Holly!
Thanks for sharing your wisdom and creating beachwear that makes me want to be on the beach all the time. You’re a mega babe.