July 26, 2015
At a Glance
Bio The path that led her to this point
Ámes Collective (Ámes being French for soul) is still a part-time venture for me, but one that I absolutely pour my heart and soul into.
I started the brand initially as a shoe business back in 2009 as I couldn't find any shoes that really suited the style of me or my friends.
We all wanted something different, something a bit more bohemian and gypsy that had a twist of toughness to it.
After studying Journalism and PR at uni, and landing myself in a full-time career marketing international resorts, I needed a side project that allowed me to bare my soul and reconnect with the raw aesthetics of drawing, and creating.
After I went on a solo trip to Morocco in 2011, the concept of my brand really changed, I felt as though Ámes lacked a bit of direction up to that point.
It was something I liked but it was fairly skin deep for me, and I was morally struggling with the ethical use of leather while trying to maintain my eco crusader ways.
Taking my brand in a different direction and using my experiences from Morocco was a turning point (personally and professionally), in that there was a lot more soul driving the ranges from then on.
I have had a personal experience from the exact places all the Ámes treasures are now produced in.
Now I know the feeling, the climate, the history and the people behind the places where my products are handmade, and that largely influences each range.
Ámes Collective is really an avenue for me to pour the heart and soul of different areas of the globe, into my designs and treasures.
The 'Soul Decks' portion of Ámes Collective is again a brand new venture for the company, and for me.
I grew up skating the streets of Margaret River, WA, with my best friend. It's always been very therapeutic and freeing for me.
'Soul Decks' is something I hold very close to my heart as each custom cruiser skateboard I make is a direct reflection of me and my art.
I wanted to create something for women (whether they skate or not) that looked awesome on the wall as art, or resonated with their soul when they looked down at their deck whilst skating.
It's about embracing BEAUTY and what makes each of us happy in life.
Q&A Insider advice & tips
What's been your greatest achievement to date?
The global reach of my brand is something that continually impresses me. This month I have sold bags and skateboards to Ireland, Switzerland, USA and Fiji.
The inspiring bloggers, publications, people and brands I have had the opportunity to network with is also huge for me, and has given me some fantastic exposure.
Ames has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Coconut & Lime blog, Mylookbook, EightTenTen Blog, and right now I am custom making Soul Decks for some rad ladies!
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
There are a few challenges I face each day. Ones that I am acutely aware of, but I tend to not focus on.
I believe that you create your reality, so for me it is all about focusing on what will bring more abundance and soul to business, rather than what is limiting.
My main challenges are working full time whilst running a business, and just being really focused on how I prioritize my time.
I have to combine my life in the strangest ways. From posting orders during my lunch break, to illustrating on my soul decks whilst having wines with the girls!
Another huge challenge for me is the language barriers and time zones between the different markets I work with.
I have suppliers and production lines in Morocco, Bali and China which makes my communication lines very interesting.
All in a days work though, sometimes the results give me the best giggles!
Best lesson you've learned along the way?
I have learned a few lessons along the way. Some the hard way, some the easy. But these are the ones that have stuck with me the most;
- You have to LOVE what you do. Be the driving force of love behind your business
- Don't trust that suppliers understand what you want. Double check
- Be Unique. What is it about your business that sets it apart from others?
- Be Personable and Grateful. Don't underestimate the power of being personable with customers, and being thankful for each and every bit of positivity they send you. Word of mouth is your most powerful tool.
A website, book or resource that has helped you in your business or inspired you and why?
For me, my biggest sales tool has been Instagram.
In my line of full-time work, clients often downplay the importance of social media, which is extremely frustrating. It is an old-school train of thought!
Instagram is the main driving force behind the company's growth and fan base, and I love that it is all based around aesthetics and networking.
How insanely beautiful is it that you can grow your brand simply by sharing the love, and the beauty of imagery!
Which person or brand do you most admire and why?
I admire a lot of brands and individuals for different reasons. Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia) has been a huge influence for me.
Yvon is a legendary climber, businessman and environmentalist. I love that he uses his moral compass as a driving force for his business; encouraging total environmental sustainability in production, and a feel good morale for his staff. 'Let them go surfing'!!
What advice would you give someone starting an independent business in your industry?
Don't fall into the trap of comparison. You are uniquely you, and good at it!
Trust in what you are doing and do not be afraid to ask for help! Outsourcing can be your best friend.
Finish this sentence
Everything changed for me when…
I learned to be confident in everything that Ámes produces and stands for.