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How I got here - Sarah Wallace

Making the switch from tourism to fashion was what led Lavenham’s digital marketing executive to her true calling
Written on 3/11/15

What does your typical week involve?

One of the greatest things about my job is the variety. I not only oversee [quilted jackets brand] Lavenham’s digital marketing strategy but I also work with the stock and customer enquiries. Each week involves updating our website with new stock and generating content on Facebook and Instagram based on lookbook pictures and images of our fans wearing our clothing. Part of my role is to take care of special social media projects. We always incorporate our British heritage into our video concepts. Managing director Nicky Santomauro and I are working on a video concept depicting the brand’s history. I also control our stock, analysing which styles, colours and sizes we need to make more of, and then report back to our sales team. Customers contact us via email with their queries and I often help them to find products they’re looking for through the website or via our stockists. 

Which task are you most looking forward to today?

On social media we have a section called ‘Fan of the day’, where customers upload photos of themselves in our jackets using #lavenham. I repost one each day on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts using #lavenhamfanoftheday. It’s a great way to gain customer feedback and it’s rewarding to see such a positive reaction to the brand, so that’s my favourite task of the day. 

How did you get to where you are today? 

I pursued a rather unusual route into digital marketing. I’ve always wanted to study something events-related, so in 2008 I enrolled for a BA in Events Management at University Campus Suffolk. The course covered units on social media and digital marketing, which awakened my interest in this area. Eager to develop my knowledge, I applied for a marketing work experience placement at tourism body Visit Suffolk in Ipswich during my studies. I interned once a week from February 2010 and full-time during the holidays. My tasks at the agency involved coming up with newsletter content, but also organising travel industry workshops. When I graduated in May 2011, Visit Suffolk offered me a full-time role as digital marketing co-ordinator, where I stayed until I was approached by a recruitment firm for the digital marketing role at Lavenham, where I then started in mid-August 2011. Although my title is still the same, my responsibilities grew as the company expanded. I have lots more stock to manage as online sales increase and I need to keep our fans engaged through original digital content.

What has been your career highlight?

To see Lavenham develop throughout the years. When I started, our online presence was rather modest, with only a selection of four jackets available, but since 2011 the Lavenham website has expanded massively. Today, our ecommerce platform offers a full menswear, womenswear and accessories collection. We’ve also developed amen’s and women’s range for autumn 14 with iconic British brand Fred Perry, including a quilted bomber jacket and gilet. Setting up the Facebook page in February 2013 was also very gratifying. We attracted almost 10,000 fans in less than two years.It’s great to know you’ve played a key role in the business’s development. 

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?

I would have liked to have entered the fashion industry earlier. In hindsight I should probably have studied a fashion marketing or management degree in London, but I only discovered my interest in marketing when I was already pursuing a course in events management.

Who is your mentor?

Nicky Santomauro. Her passion for the brand is infectious. 

What’s the best piece of advice she’s given you?

To always be creative yet consistent.

How do you see your career progressing? 

At the moment, I’m the only person in charge of marketing, so I hope to manage a marketing team as the brand grows.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Be creative and passionate about what you do but remain business-oriented. At the end of the day, it’s crucial to stay one step ahead of your competitors in order to succeed.

If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?

I’d love to venture more into the events side of the fashion business, organising catwalk and trade shows. We arrange a press trip to our factory in Sudbury every year where we show our guests how the jackets are produced, present our autumn collection and take them to visit the village of Lavenham. That is something I’d be interested in doing more often.

Salaries for this position range from £23,000 to £27,000 (estimate provided by Freedom Recruitment)