We speak with Alex Carello, luxury brand consultant and founder of Carello Consulting on how she works from home and keeps herself motivated
Our "The Deskie" series features female business women, entrepreneurs and CEOs. This week we speak to Alexandra Carello, luxury brand consultant and founder of Carello Consulting. Her business offers brands a dynamic and modern communications alternative by employing a blend of print and digital media - supported by a clever use of influencer marketing, brand partnerships and events. With over 10 years experience in the fashion industry, Alex has worked for the world’s leading brands including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and NET-A-PORTER.
How do you stay motivated while working from home?
Before the pandemic and lockdown hit I never actually worked from home for the very reason that I don’t feel motivated when working from home. I feel more productive and energetic being outside the house and struggled working from home, especially with a toddler running around, when lockdown started. It was a huge change despite the fact I’m freelance. I was always running between meetings or I love working at The Kensington Hotel in London. Quiet and chic and a good place to hold meetings. My time when I do work from home productively is at night when my daughter is sleeping peacefully upstairs. That is my thinking time.
What are three things you always have on your desk?
My Marina Raphael note pad. I love a to do list.
A cup of coffee, ALWAYS.
My phone, I tend to flit between my laptop and phone, using my phone to look things up on Instagram.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Not sure there has been one piece but I have definitely taken a lot on board from the people I have worked with. Lots that I would like to emulate but also what I would like not to be. I find that equally important. Be nice, be kind but always professional. And I strongly believe you get out what you put in.
How do you manage working from home with children?
I don’t! It’s too tricky and Olympia is very distracting. She wants to work on my computer but equally I want to play with her. I prefer to go out and keep the two worlds separate. I have my favourite spots all around London that I know the wifi works well and I can always get a table.
Do you use any apps that help you manage your workload?
No but I'm heavy on to do lists, excel spread sheets for each client and I send myself a lot of reminder emails. I am most efficient on email. If you want an answer from me email me - don’t whats app me! my system of working is to not unread an email until the task is completed. It helps me never forget! Although I still do have moments where I think of something just before I fall asleep - and then I wake up quickly to send myself an email...
How do you manage your work from home set-up?
My laptop is my trusty sidekick. As long as I have that I’m good to go. If I’m at home I prefer to work in the kitchen - easy access to lots of coffee or wine if I’m working at night!
MacBook Air, £879
How would you describe your work-from-home office outfits?
Normally athleisure-wear because I rarely work from home. But over lockdown when we working from home all the time I did make an effort to dress up every day and feel presentable and polished. I find it really helps withy productivity. Normally jeans, a shirt or structured top. Big earrings and a headband. That was my zoom look. When I'm out at meetings I like dressing up. I don’t wear heels only pumps or boots to run around in but I always try to make an effort.
What are your go-to office wear brands?
I love Carolina Herrera, so chic yet still comfortable. I love A-Golde or Goldsign for jeans that are more than just jeans and you can dress up with a great shirt. I love Maria de la Orden for great pieces that are quite different. A good pair of low heeled boots, I’m lucky to have a few from my time at Jimmy Choo. Given I work in fashion, I don’t need much of a delineation between my work and personal life outfits.
Describe a typical meeting outfit?
I have about a million vintage jackets from my mother with quite structured shoulders. These are my go to work staples as they help pull an outfit, even jeans, together. Everyone knows I love a big padded headband too. Especially now I never have time to do anything with my hair. Hairbands by Alexandre de Paris or Marzoline and big earrings from someoe like Lele Sadoughi
How do you think PR has changed over the last 5 years?
It is definitely changing and getting more complex. as people consume media in different and more fragmented ways. It is not that traditional media is no longer important, I believe it is and anyone who ignores is missing a huge part of the media landscape. It is more that doing every part of the puzzle is essential and the puzzle keeps on adding more pieces you never thought of before. You cannot do one thing in silo you have to all the things in unison and make sure they are working coherently together. Traditional PR, online, influencer marketing, traditional marketing, events the list goes on. Equally I like to work like an in house PR so I like to make sure that i am involved in every aspect of a company, I don’t like the idea of PRing something that you don’t know inside and out. Plus what you PR should be an accurate representation of the internal company, otherwise the consumers will suss you out for frauds.
What is your opinion on influencer marketing?
I think it is really important. The influencers who have a really curated aesthetic are treating instagram as a magazine. It is highly edited and considered.a just like the multitude of magazines back in the day there are a multitude of influencers all appealing to different target markets. However, a successful influencer programme runs of volume and consistency so it is a difficult space for small brands to compete in. I think it will live on as a valuable source of awareness for a certain generation but sooner or a later a new platform will be added to the mix which brands also have to adapt to in order to reach another generation. As I say the market will just keep getting more fragmented as the importance of the individual voice and personal style increases.
How has the pandemic changed your daily work routine? Has it lead you to become more creative online?
Not necessarily. I definitely spend more time online and less time in meetings but nothing dramatically. I think with all the competition online and if your brands don’t have huge budgets to create something super slick then just making sure you just have consistent contact with press and influencers is enough at the moment. You don’t want people to forget about you.
Do you listen to any podcasts?
Business of Fashion. I also read Business of Fashion and Vogue Business every morning. I love their articles but I also love their round ups of other articles you should read.
What are your career plans?
I’m considering my next steps very closely. I will definitely need to expand soon but I want to do it very strategically and it also feels like a huge, scary step. I’m about to meet with a business manager to consider next steps.
How do you deal with work stress?
I like working and I find a bit of stress motivating. When it gets too much I either get outside or I just get on and do the work and say to myself I am putting aside as long as it takes until this is done. I find it helps to just sit down and do it rather than thinking about it.
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to start their own consultancy business?
Make sure you do the ground work first. I don’t believe you can go freelance without having the structure or experience of big companies first. My previous roles at Burberry, Louis Vuitton, NET-A-PORTER, and Jimmy Choo plus many years interning at agencies and magazines gave me so much knowledge, experience and learning plus enabled me to encounter many people who I learnt from.
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