Take 5 With.. Holly Anna Scarsella, Founder Pampelone
In two years Holly Scarsella has built a celeb-adored fashion empire and landed a listing on Forbes 30 Under 30. How'd she do it? Read on...
Spend just five minutes with the beautiful and charismatic Holly Anna Scarscella, founder and designer of stylish resort brand, Pampelone, and you will understand immediately how she has managed to grow her fashion business from a one-man-band show into a multi-line fashion brand now available in 40 countries and worn by the likes of style icons like Olivia Palermo - and all in just two years.
Driven, passionate and self-motivated it's little surprise that shortly before her 30th birthday Holly was listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 - an achievement she says was only possible through sheer hard work and dedication. She puts it best; "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."
It's this unwavering work ethic that has just seen her branch out into eyewear and kidswear with the launch of the de Pasquale X Pampelone sunglasses line and the Mini-Me collection in collaboration with mothers2mothers charity. I recently chatted to the soon-to-be-mumma about design inspiration, business lessons, impending motherhood, beauty and fashion must-haves plus got the low-down on all her London hotspots. Grab your notepad, you're definitely going to feel motivated to reach for the stars after this read!
How was Pampelone born?
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!
You just celebrated your 2 year brand birthday, and you are kicking some serious goals for someone who is just 30-years-old – I mean you already made the Forbes 30 under 30 list! What are you most proud of?
Thank you! I am really proud that I was able to create our products and the brand as a one-man team; right from the idea stage through to it now being available in 40 countries. It has really instilled in me the importance and huge rewards that hard work and being driven give. Watching it grow and continue to improve is still so exciting!
What were some business lessons you have learned along the way?
I’ve really learned the importance of being constantly self-motivated. 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.
Congratulations on the launch of Mini-Me collection in collaboration with mothers2mothers charity – how did that come about? Why did you want to be involved?
Thank you, we are so happy to be working with m2m and to be able to get involved in the incredible work they do. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from our Mini Me collection to the charity, which aims to end the passing of paediatric AIDS in subsaharan Africa. M2m do a collaboration every year with exciting designers each year with Victoria Beckham, Bionda Castana doing them in the last couple of years so we are really honoured to be working with them. It's such an amazing cause, and especially having met some of the mother mentors to talk about the work they do it felt really right to support them. Plus how darn cute are the matching dresses!!
You've also just launched a sunglasses line - tell us a bit about it, what is the vibe of the collection and who / what is it inspired by?
We have initially started by launching an exclusive pair of classic tortoiseshell sunglasses, with a chic round frame. We have collaborated with dePasquale, who beautifully handcraft all their eyewear in Naples so they are the highest quality possible. The idea is that you can come to us and now get your complete summer look including eyewear! I was very much inspired by Brigitte Bardot for these – our muse! They’re a variation of a shape she used to wear.
What are some if your fave pieces across all Pampelone collections?
My favourite has to be our Romana Dress. It’s a Navy embroidered tunic style dress that can be worn straight from the beach to drinks in the evening. I take it everywhere with me! When I was on a business trip to Sydney I wore it all day to meetings and then straight to the beach. I also love our Eivissa Maxi and Formentera dresses from the current season – they’ve been worn by everyone from Olivia Palermo etc which is a HUGE compliment!
Building a business takes hard work – especially the fashion business – what are your top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Sophia Amoruso who wrote GIRLBOSS said ‘JUST GO OUT THERE AND DO IT’ which I think about all the time and would have to be my top tip. Stop talking about it, thinking about it, making a million excuses as to why it may not work – just be proactive and make it happen any way you can.
My other tip would be to acknowledge the importance of marketing! Don’t forget that you can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows it exists, then you won’t make any money!
You’ve had immense success in just two years – what would you say is the secret to your success?
I am constantly facing challenges, but instead of letting them break me, I’ve had to learn to deal with problems differently. Worrying about the challenges is something that still keeps me awake at night and something I still have to learn to control. But at the same time, it’s the challenges that push you forward, and make you work so much harder to ensure the business works. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out and question why so much goes wrong! My husband always reminds me that ‘it’s not meant to be easy: if it was, everyone would do it’.
You’re expecting your first child any day now, what are you most excited about?
Is it a cliché to say everything? I can feel baby’s every movement, the feet, the hands etc and just can’t wait to cuddle him/her! I’m also really looking forward to finally be able to see what a little bundle of joy my husband and I have been so lucky to create!
How are you planning to manage work and motherhood? (even though everything doesn’t always go to plan!)
I’m under no illusions that it will be tough…very tough. Not just the practicalities of managing business with being a mother, but also the emotional and mental aspect – I already feel guilty at the prospect of booking shoots etc for next season knowing I’ll have to leave my child. As you say, nothing ever goes to plan so I’m going to really just see how it goes – not set anything in stone. The only thing I’m being strict with is taking at least 2 months off when the baby is born to make sure I get as much bonding time as possible.
What are some of the qualities that you want to instill in your child?
Kindness, approaching situations with love and empathy. I feel that these are so important to a character.
How would you describe your style?
Classic. I don’t feel the need to follow trends and stick to what I know works best for my body shape. I’m quite curvy so classic tailoring works best. I am also renowned for being over-dressed more often than not – my motto is that I would rather be over dressed than under.
Who is your style icon?
Jane Birkin, always. I just wish I could have seen her swanning around St Tropez in the 70’s in her open top vintage car. So chic.
Tell us your top three beauty must-haves?
- La Mer Illuminating serum. Life changing…
- Charlotte Tilbury Dry Sheet Mask – you can use over make up to refresh your skin and it has almost immediate results. Not cheap but 100% worth it.
- Kiehls Tumeric and Poppy Seed Face Mask. Not expensive but highly effective – I do once a week.
Are you a bag or shoe girl?
I’m a true believer that both shoes and handbags finish an outfit, however day to day I tend to stick to one classic Handbag. At the moment I have the Fendi 2jours with my initials on it and I am in love. Shoes I tend to switch up a bit more – a classic court shoe is my staple for work, my favourite brands are Paul Andrew and Bionda Castana.
What’s your favourite travel destination?
It has to be St Tropez where I spent so much time growing up! I don’t think there’s been one year of my life I haven’t been; it will always be a special place to me.
Top three places to eat, shop and play in London?
- Ivy Chelsea Garden – especially on a sunny afternoon in their garden with LOTS of Rose
- Casa Cruz – fantastic food and atmosphere. You will always see someone fabulous on the table next to you – last time I was there I sat next to Stella McCartney.
- Petersham Nurseries – a stunning restaurant in the middle of a Nursery – covered in flowers it’s stunning.
- Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill – lots of boutiques for all the brands you would want to find – from Maje and Sandro to Joseph.
- Portobello Road – A Cliché but you will always find a treasure in the vintage jewellery stands etc.
- Selfridges – it’s the number one department store in the world for a reason – you can find EVERYTHING.
- Richmond Park – I’m so boring, play for me is a nice long walk around Richmond Park and then lunch at Petersham Nurseries.
- SOHO House – they have 6 houses in London and they’re so fun. Try Little House for brunch, Shoreditch House for drinks on their roof on a Friday and the spa at Soho house for recovery.