If you get your style inspiration from the cool Italian scene but still love the charming, laidback feel of L.A. in your daily look then it’s no doubt you own a piece or two from the worldwide phenomenon Brandy Melville. A cult favourite of fashionistas all over, Brandy Melville exudes a fashionable yet relaxed aura with pieces that reflect a distinct European aesthetic with a beach vacation vibe a la L.A.
We’ve worked closely with our Brandy Melville girls and always wonder how they manage to make basic pieces look oh-so-stylish? We asked their Product Manager and Social Media Manager, Aprille Balsom, to give us some details on how to be a #BrandyCanada girl, the ins-and-outs of working at the brand’s head office and her fashion favourites from styling to must-have pieces. Read on to get an insider’s look into the brand that has all the Instagram fashionistas going wild, how vintage plays into the Brandy Melville culture and the easiest way to figure out if you should buy that investment piece or not.
1. What do you do at Brandy Melville and how long have you been doing it?
I started at Brandy in 2012 as a Visual Merchandiser at the Queen Street location. Since then, I have worked in just about every area of the company including sales, cash, social media and stock. For the last year and a half, my job title has been Product Manager and Social Media Manager of Canada however working in Head Office has allowed me to have involvement in all aspects of the company.
2. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
It’s never boring. One day I am renovating a store, the next I am picking through massive bins of vintage in a warehouse searching for perfect pieces to sell. It’s been a constant learning experience and I have gotten to be a part of so many different opportunities like traveling, store openings, photo shoots, and the overall success of the company. I also run the @brandymelvillecanada Instagram account which is definitely one of my favourite parts of the job.
3. What’s your style inspiration?
I’m always really inspired by the brand Saint Laurent. I love how they combine basic silhouettes with edgy fabrics to give off a grungy feminine feel. Their Spring/Summer 16’ Ready-To-Wear collection was my favourite! Tiaras, silky slip dresses and leather jackets paired with rubber boots. I definitely incorporated some of those styles into my wardrobe this summer.
4. What’s your personal philosophy or principles about fashion?
Definitely cost per wear. Essentially taking the cost of an item and dividing it by how many times you are likely to wear that item to determine the cost of it per wear. Breaking down the cost like this helps me justify certain purchases like investment pieces or basics since they never go out of style and I wear them more often. I spend less on trendy items because they are only relevant for a certain period of time and end up wearing them a handful of times before I’m over it.
5. Do you prefer trendy pieces or classic pieces?
I tend to wear a lot of basics which are classic however I also add in trendier pieces from time to time. I like a combination of both.
6. Do you love the vintage trend?
Yes, I love vintage! The collection of vintage tee’s in my closet would suggest that it is more than just a trend to me. Vintage has always been a part of my wardrobe, every time I visit my parents I raid their closets and steal their old clothes.
7. What sets Brandy Melville apart from other retailers?
One of the most obvious and talked about differences that sets Brandy Melville apart from other retailers is that the majority of our clothing is one-size. Not only does this lower our manufacturing costs but it also makes it super easy to shop. Items come in one size per style, so we have some items that only come in a medium while others only come in a small. However overall, most items are either oversized or super stretchy and therefore fit a variety of body types and sizes.
8. Do you travel a lot for work?
Yes, especially as of lately. I travel between the GTA stores a few times a month and make trips to the West Coast or Montreal a few times a year to check-in and train. Last year I also spent three weeks in LA for training with Brandy Melville USA which was an amazing experience.
9. What is the most memorable moment you’ve had working at Brandy Melville?
There’s been so many that it is hard to think of just one. Opening a new store is always one of my favorite moments. The amount of time and effort that is put into everything from the construction to the merchandising of the store in such a short period of time is insane. I love being a part of the transformation and feeling accomplished once it is all finished.
10. What is a typical day-in-the-life for you as a Product Manager/Social Media Manager?
I usually get to the office in the morning and start my day with a coffee and catching up on emails. Like I said, each day is different so there isn’t really such thing as a “typical” day for me. My days usually involve meetings, store visits, product research, training, and of course posting to Instagram throughout the day.
Is Brandy Melville one of your favourite stores to shop at? Enter our Instagram contest to win (2) $50 gift cards for you and your bestie! Check it out on our Instagram account @UpperCanadaMall. Make sure you stop by our store, located on the Upper Level by Sephora, to pick up comfy basic tees, festival fashion and It girl accessories and décor pieces.
Scored a vintage tee already or have a cute Brandy Melville look you want to share? Tag us using #GorgeousUCM on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@uppercanadamall) for a chance to be featured!