Day in the life of… Sassi Holford’s PA
“I’ve worked as PA to both wedding dress designer Sassi Holford and the Marketing Director of the Company, Martin Jenkins (also Sassi’s husband), for over 3 years,” says Becky. “There is no ‘typical’ day here, in my opinion, and I’ve never been particularly clever at writing short (800 words or less) accounts of things… but here goes (that’s already 52!)…”
7.55am: Coat off, dump bag, PC on, answer phone off. Inevitable download of emails and faxes: make tea. Check diary, print faxes, read emails: large mix of questions from lovely brides to be who were up late at night looking at gowns and wondering how much they cost, where you can find them and if we can make them in less than 4 months; press enquiries, image requests, new stockist requests and random stationary incentive (buy 10 boxes of paper to receive a FREE bar of chocolate…hmm ).
8.50am: Sassi’s dropped off en-route with the school run (going straight into Production to cut patterns, work on new designs and peruse client orders -either way there is never ‘nothing’ for this woman to do). Martin arrives 20 minutes later. Make Martin tea. Find window to ask Sassi PR questions…Where does she find her inspiration? Who are her fashion icons? What’s the most fun she’s ever had designing? “Cup of tea?” is often a good opener.
9.55am: Remind Sassi of 10am appointment in the Taunton boutique (just up the road) and browse various photographer blogs featuring Sassi brides. Share links on Facebook and Twitter as these women look stunning and so happy – not something to keep secret (‘thank yous’ and images are printed off for the amazing team that cut, sew and bead the gowns – we all love seeing elated brides wearing Sassi).
11am: Tea break. 1 party invite and 3 stockists email for Sassi Holford Designer Days; check diary – the year is already booked out with Designer Days (might be able to squeeze a couple in). Sassi goes to London every other week and dates are booked in 4 months in advance, with Designer Days being booked in up to 12 months in advance. I won’t lie, it can be tricky when events come in for Sassi with 2-3 weeks’ notice – she has design and production, her clients, her stockists and 3 children aged 11-15: she is, without doubt, the busiest woman I know.
12pm: Quavers: low in fat and an excusable moment of indulgence.
12.03pm: Type up questions that have been answered (marking those that need answering) for blogs and magazines; create online image files for those needing images alongside their articles.
12.30pm: Magazine calls – they’re having a shoot in 1 week and need 3 or more styles that fit in with “romance and vintage Hollywood glamour”…call both boutiques to find out who has what that we can send for inclusion… Beatrice and Bella from Taunton; Sasha and Thea from London.
1pm: Lunch! Local supermarket run for mixed salad (mainly cous cous) and fruit tray (whilst plugged into playlist of Adele, Spanky Wilson, Gomez, Toots and the Maytals, Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Sinatra and Zeppelin…I’m eclectic, ok?!); also purchase lottery scratch card (later: I do not win £50,000).
1.30pm: Pick past lettuce whilst checking Twitter and Facebook for feedback on posts; lots of retweets, a number of shares and likes: all good. Martin is humming/singing along to a song on the radio and telling me I’m too young to remember it (note: I do have parents and they did listen to music including to the odd song by The Kinks).
2pm: Sassi returns, goes straight into a production meeting; I tell her I’ll need to see her when she’s done, “course” she says. Martin is locked into online minefield of model portfolios trying to pick the best for the launch of Sassi’s 2013 Collection in May and clearly struggling…tea? Coffee. Check faxes, print off and distribute exciting mix of orders, invoices and statements.
2.15pm: Taunton boutique- they’ve got a client in 15 minutes and they need a dress, from Production, for the fitting… Find dress; walk up to boutique (try to act normal when polythene cover blows up in front of face en route).
2.30pm: Back in office; Martin’s fending off call from company insisting they can offer us cheaper printer cartridges; Martin ends call. London boutique – they’ve run out of brochure cards. Run up to Production to see if they’re sending anything to London and if they can fit in a box of brochure cards…
2.45pm: Magazine requests high-res image for an advert being placed by one of our stockists; email image to magazine. Call from stockist – they need an image emailed to a magazine for their advert… and can they book in for a Collection Preview.
3pm: Sassi’s hairdresser calls – she can see Sassi now; explain that Sassi is in meeting and am told that if she can be there in 15 minutes – all will be well. Martin sees window of opportunity, is out the door for a haircut!
3.10pm: Sassi emerges from meeting; convey hairdresser’s message and she’s out the door. Martin returns 5 minutes later. Last cup of tea for the day.
3.20pm: Check current bridal magazines for mentions; photocopy and file for reference. London wedding planner calls -they have a bride who wants to try Thea on next week… explain about photo shoot and persuade planner, to persuade bride, to go into boutique the following week. Call magazine to explain that under no circumstances can Thea be back later than Monday week.
3.25pm: Martin and I discuss May’s trade show and check appointment schedule. 20 stockists left to book – make list and send out reminder email.
3.30pm: London boutique calls- they’ve found box of brochure cards in storage cupboard. Run up to production and explain no additional cards need sending.
3.40pm: Check diary for tomorrow’s weekly print-out; Taunton boutique – can Sassi do appointment on her day off next week?
3.45pm: Tweet from blog wanting to send list of questions for Sassi. Call from stationers to suggest paper purchase in exchange for chocolate.
3.46pm: Check current stock levels in stationary cupboard.
3.55pm: Sassi returns from hairdressers and tells Martin they need to leave in 60 seconds if they’re to pick up kids from school. Ask Sassi if she can squeeze in morning appointment on Saturday next week… yes! Confirm with boutique and bid adieu to the bosses.
4pm: Write to-do list for tomorrow, set pages of questions out for Sassi, shut PC down, turn answering machine on, lock office and leave for another day.