Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interview with Lisa Smith; Founder of Ausmode


Interview with Lisa Smith; founder of Ausmode; an online fashion destination which houses leading and cult Australian brands; like: Zimmermann, sass & bide, Ellery, Jordan Askill, Camilla and Marc and Lover.

 SA: A typical day for you would be?
Lisa: I get up and tend to get onto my emails straight away, so hopefully I can catch any Australian enquiries before everyone goes offline. I then grab coffee from my local cafe (yes, it's definitely possible to find great coffee in New York - a must for me) and take a walk or do some exercise generally along the West Side Highway or The High Line- it gets me ready for the day. I'll then head into the office which is a short walk from my apartment and the rest of my day will involve myriad things to do with the business - anything from buying appointments to liaising with suppliers to working on marketing initiatives - it's pretty diverse. I have Part II of my day from about 6.30/7pm when Australia comes online again and I tend to make phone calls then. I find I'm out most nights as New York's a really social place - this will be anything from an event to drinks or dinner with friends - but I am definitely guilty of always checking my emails during my 'leisure time' - not much of my day I don't do this! Luckily, I love what I do.
SA: What inspires you most?
Lisa: This business is inspiring - I love the online space and am literally learning new things every day! I'm inspired by people doing clever things in business, charities or the arts, or even just people who bring a dignity and positive attitude to whatever they do in their daily lives.
Ibiza, Spain
SA: Your favourite holiday destination?
Lisa: It's a close tie between Tulum and Ibiza - both for the beaches, the dining, the sunsets and the relaxed feel, while still being able to find fun things to do.
SA: What has helped keep you grounded?
Lisa: I think the sheer hard work of establishing and running a business keeps me focused and grounded. Starting my life again - career, country, friends and everything else I did in the last 3 years - is very humbling and I'm grateful for the experience. Anyone who's established their life from scratch in a new place and/or new industry will identify. I also surround myself with people who are very successful yet super down-to-earth, kind and approachable, which definitely helps.
SA: The pitfals of running a business?
Lisa: There are a ton of potential pitfalls in business - having had a business prior to Ausmode (which I sold to be able to focus on this full-time and move to the US) I am sure I've been exposed to most of them over the years and hopefully now have the experience to know how to avoid them! A few that I've seen badly affect businesses include expanding too quickly, not having an eye on cash-flow and lack of tenacity.
SA: Three of your favourite designers and why?

Lisa: It's hard to pick just three to highlight as I would as I genuinely love all the brands we stock and would pick certain brands for specific items - for example, Current Elliott for denim or Illesteva for eyewear. I do have to commend Lover on what they do - I feel they have such amazing brand integrity and their vision has remained consistent over more than 10 years of business. Their lace pieces are incredible, quality consistently strong and they make timeless investment pieces.
I own quite a few Willow pieces and feel they're really special while being wearable.  Ellery I love for more directional shapes and styles. The label's got such a distinct feel and strong following. I have a lot of respect for any brand which is successful in this industry - it takes a huge amount of dedication, faith and work!