For this week’s Aspiring Women Who Inspire feature, we’re thrilled to have a local female creative and self-proclaimed fearless leader based right here in the South Bay of Los Angeles. Amanda Browning has an impressive amount of experience and know-how in the fashion and styling industries, with a keen sense of retail and brand building, is an inspiration for anyone looking to define their role in the seemingly cut-throat fashion industry.
Please welcome Amanda to the blog!
Howdy! My name is Amanda Browning. I am the Retail Coordinator and Buyer for Beach & Beverly and Wicked+, a men’s general store. Both of these awesome shops are located in Hermosa Beach. Rooted from Texas, I have now bloomed 10 years in the beautiful South Bay in California.
How did you get into your industry? Was this always where you saw yourself?
I knew I wanted to be a leader, manage people, and help businesses grow. In college, I wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to be in. I went for a Marketing degree because I knew it would get me into a lot of doors. After graduating, EXPRESS recruited me as a brand/visual communication manager. I grew quickly with the company running stores and joining the Regional Merchandising Team in Houston. After a few years there, I had a strong internal pull for something new and exciting in my life. I decided that I wanted to move to LA! The stars aligned perfectly and I was able to transfer.
Once in LA, I knew I wanted to grow my career in fashion. From EXPRESS, I was recruited by Juicy Couture where I landed a top store management position in Santa Monica. Next, I was recruited to run the Nicole Miller flagship in West Hollywood. This is where I really expanded on buying, event planning, gaining quality clientele, and building relationships with the LA/NY fashion industry. After years of commuting and holding such a demanding and at often times high-stress position, I was ready to slow things down a little. I loved Beach & Beverly as a client, so I sent an email to see if they were looking for a manager while I figured out my next step.
They quickly responded back yes, we need everything! Once I was introduced to owners Brian and Colin Cooley, I knew that I had found a new home right in my own backyard … and it was better than I had imagined! They handed me the retail side of their business and gave me their trust, which inspired me in a way that I had never been before. Four years later, I am still so happy to be a part of this community doing what I love!
From your experience, what are the three key factors or strategies for starting and establishing a brand?
Connect with your community through events, partnerships, and local leadership. Learn and truly understand your target market. Establish the relationship between you and the brand, be the face.
What’s an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career so far?
I think that being a fearless leader has gotten me to the happy place I am now. I have never been afraid of a big task and always take risks to better the business that I am running. There is no limit to creativity and I am constantly working on how to unlock new potential.
What’s a failure that turned into a blessing?
I haven’t had one major failure in my career, but I’ve had plenty of small ones. From not making monthly goals or buying something for the shops that doesn’t sell. Things like that are going to happen. I learn from them and make sure I did everything in my power to prevent to fail. I believe that failure is making the same mistake twice. If you let it be, any chance to learn from a mistake is a blessing.
I get up every morning between 6-7am everyday. I like to start the day with a run or sometimes just a walk where I listen to inspiring podcasts. Then back home to make coffee and listen to music. I check emails and go over what I need to accomplish for the day. Then it’s getting ready to be at work by 10am. I love to open Beach & Beverly every morning when I can. We have an awesome morning crowd of locals!
Who’s an aspiring woman who inspires you?
So many women inspire me! The majority of them being real people that I am connected to here in the South Bay. I love women who are so fashionable while maintaining their families and careers. Women who take charge of their lives and want to look good doing it. The women who leave their corporate careers to pursue their true passions. Women who truly want to inspire other women to be better. I can’t get on Instagram and not be inspired by at least one woman making good things happen, and I want to be one of them!
What’s one piece of career advice you’d give a young person looking to follow in your footsteps?
To make it in this industry, you have HUSTLE! Retail has changed a lot and you can’t just wait for people to walk into your pretty store … you have to be and create the energy. Be a good listener, relate to your clientele. Treat them like you would your friends & family. Go above and beyond for them. Create an environment that keeps them coming back. Curate a collection of quality brands that appeal to a range of your target demographic, and don’t be too specific. On the same hand, you cannot cater to everyone, and that’s ok … don’t stress yourself out.
When you’re not killin’ it in your career, what can we find you doing?
Enjoying this AMAZING place where I call home. It sometimes still feels like a dream! Currently, I love biking the strand, getting in the ocean, local concerts, and always a good happy hour. Creating local adventures in LA is also so fun … trying a new restaurant, exploring a new neighborhood, or going to a concert. I have a stellar tribe of friends and an amazing boyfriend that always keep me busy. I also dog sit on the side because well, dogs are the best!
Three words that describe you? Loyal, strong, creative
Three products you can’t live without? Skincare from The Ordinary, eye cream, and a good red lipstick
Dream collaboration? I’d love to design a clothing collection for Beach & Beverly with one of the brands we carry.
Trendy or classic? Mostly classic with a little trendy sprinkled in
#1 place on your travel bucket list? GREECE – finally going this Summer!!
Go to drink order? Titos and soda or Sauvignon Blanc
Favorite restaurant? There are so many, but El Gringo is my classic go-to.