Holly and I met at The Ivy Chelsea Garden, a tranquil but energising place to begin the day. Holly is the incredibly talented Founder and CEO behind Pampelone Clothing, the irresistible brand for resort wear to evoke the French Riviera. With a background in PR and natural chutzpah when it comes to marketing, it is of no surprise that Pampelone has become a go-to for influencers and editors. As well as getting into some of the biggest wholesalers across the world, Pampelone has followed in the footsteps of Victoria Beckham and Candice Swanepoel and collaborated with charity mothers2mothers (m2m), launching a ‘mini-me’ capsule collection with 100% of the profits being donated to m2m, which is working to eliminate paediatric aids in sub-Saharan Africa. Recently included in ‘Forbes 30 under 30’, Holly’s tenacity, drive and creativity will continue to make waves for Pampelone as she navigates fast growth in 2018.
Current Job Founder & MD Pampelone Clothing
First Job Fashion Publicist Executive
Education BA Hons English
Go to meeting spot Little House, Mayfair
Necessary extravagence Holidays and Mini Breaks. Good for the soul.
Favourite productivity tool My Calendar. Not only for meetings etc. but I schedule my to-do list into this also which I know if quite unusual. It gives me focus for my day and helps me block out time dedicated to big tasks.
Favourite book / blog / podcast CTL ALT DELETE by Emma Gannon
Recent inspiration Looking through archive family photos of life on the French Riviera
What do you believe that most around you disbelieve That marketing is sometimes bigger than the product...
What do you wish you could change in the world of startups The fear of judgement. Also the difficulty in securing funding.
Holly, start us off by sharing a little bit about yourself and your background before founding Pampelone?
Since leaving university I worked in Fashion & lifestyle PR for years which massively shaped my business strategy to date. I especially loved working for some incredible female founders including Bec Astley Clarke MBE and Sara Blakely st SPANX who inspired me to start something of my own.
You worked in PR, tell us the highlights from these years and your biggest takeaways?
I absolutely loved my job in PR working for some of the biggest brands in the world including UGG Australia, Tiffany & Co, Puma and SPANX, but also for smaller brands new to market. The thing I learnt from it all was that you don't have to have the biggest or best product in the world, you just need to know how to market it. And similarly there's no point having the best product in the world if no one knows about it.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today?
Just do it by Sophia Amoruso. Sometimes you need to stop planning, questioning, writing documents on documents etc. and just go out there and do it! You have to be determined and driven enough to make things happen for yourself in business.
For those who don’t know, can you tell us what Pampelone is and what was the motivation behind launching the company?
PAMPELONE is a well priced, great quality resortwear brand, ethically made using the highest quality of cottons. The idea for Pampelone came from the time I spent growing up in the South of France in the beautiful French Riviera. Our family had a holiday home where we spent 5 months of the year, and it was the style of the women there that was the source of inspiration for me. Dressed in simple market bought cotton and linens, St Tropezienne women have always looked effortless and I could never find any beachwear back in the UK that emulated the same feel.
Years later while I was planning my honeymoon wardrobe, I was desperately looking for resort wear pieces to take with me. I really did not want to wear high street pieces – you just know they will fall apart after a few washes and that you’ll be sure to find someone else wearing it, but the only alternative were dresses and kaftans costing £300-500 which isn’t viable for everyone. I did some research and was shocked that there was nothing really in between these price points, and that is when Pampelone really came into fruition!
What has been the evolution and milestones you are proudest of to date?
I started the brand single handedly in June 2015 in my spare room, and by December 2015 I had secured orders from some of the biggest retailers in the world across 20 countries with zero wholesale experience. Nearly 3 years later, we're available in over 38 countries and we've just launched our 6th collection including a mini-me line and an exclusive pair of sunglasses. I was also recently named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list which was an extremely proud moment.
What are some of the KPIs that you measure success by?
Naturally in a retail business, sales are our biggest KPI, but from a brand-building perspective, we also look at press and social media interaction to see what impact we're making on the wider audience.
You have had enormous success with influencers and bloggers. Can you share your approach and strategy with this type of marketing?
I think the most important thing is to understand the value of this area of marketing and then in turn you will start to understand the importance of allocating the correct resources to support whether financial or operationally. With the rise of social media, influencers and bloggers are essentially your most successful source of marketing - word of mouth on a huge scale. The most important thing is to figure out who your audience is and ensure you're targeting the correct bloggers/ influencers that speak to them. And sometimes the largest ones aren't necessarily the best.
What values do you hold and what kind of company do you want to build?
Being able to manufacture ethically is hugely important to us. I spend a lot of time in India ensuring a transparent manufacturing channels. Another is producing long term fashion and not encouraging throw away fashion. I think we all need to take more responsibility for the grossly negative impact of mass manufacturing.
What is your long term vision for Pampelone?
Our long term plan is to be your go-to brand when going on holiday, providing not only your holiday wardrobe but also your accessories also!
Women in Business
What advice would you share with women in the early stages or thinking about launching their own venture?
Be confident and be smart. if you've researched your product / service enough to believe it to have potential for success, then throw everything at it with the up most confidence. It's a stereotype but true in that women tend to be more apprehensive and less likely to think big before proven success, but there really should be nothing holding you back.
What is life as a Founder CEO and mother like?
On one hand it's the biggest privilege, being able to show my daughter an example of what a strong woman is able to achieve, but on the other it's a constant struggle trying to manage being a good mother whilst running a company with such great demands.
What personal qualities to you attribute most to your success?
Tenacity and self motivation. Success seldom falls into your lap; you’re very lucky if it does! You HAVE to chase it, and push through setbacks and difficulties. You have to believe enough in your product and brand enough to make it succeed, and be willing to put in the time and effort on top! Business acumen can be learnt but this drive to make it happen needs to come from within.