We’re kicking off the New Year with a new post in our ‘A Week in the life’ series, this time focusing on our Content Editor, Sarah Brand. If you’ve ever read one of our blog posts, ‘liked’ one of our images on Instagram or appreciated the descriptions of our products online to help you make the all important decision of which bag to choose, you’ve experienced Sarah’s work. Read on to hear all about Sarah’s varied creative role and pick up some top tips on how to find your creative spark; from listening to top podcasts and working with the UK’s best media talent to visiting London’s best cafes.
“I often read this kind of interview and wonder if people are telling the truth about how sprightly and productive they are in the morning.
Honestly? I’ve never really been much of a morning person so my working days start off quite slowly – lots of chirpy music and coffee from the moment I coax myself out of bed to the second I get into work. I just bought a new alarm clock that simulates sunlight to help you wake up more naturally and gently – hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be dancing down Long Acre like Joseph Gordon Levitt in 500 Days of Summer on my way to work.
My commute is just over an hour so I always carry a book or a podcast to keep my brain occupied/distracted from the chaos of the central line. I’m obsessed with the PanDolly Podcast, Garance Dore’s Pardon My French and more recently Fashion No Filter with Monica Ainley and Camille Charriere. I make sure to always carry a notebook in my bag too as sometimes listening to this kind of thing sparks an idea for a shoot, a blog post or someone we should work with. It’s good to soak up what other people are doing, I think it keeps you on your toes. Although, I was having this conversation recently and there are other times when you need to put your blinkers on and solely concentrate on what you’re doing, you don’t want comparison to kill your ideas. It’s a very delicate balance I think, I’m still figuring out how to get it right.
I’m based in our London Headquarters, above our flagship store in Covent Garden. We forget it sometimes but Covent Garden is one of the loveliest, prettiest places in London – we’re lucky, I’ve worked in some horrible, dreary parts of London in the past and it can really affect your mood. I sit within the marketing and creative team and I’m responsible for overseeing the content strategy, planning and producing all of our studio and street style shoots, working with bloggers and influencers, writing and editing our blog, writing all our copy and managing our social media content.
Sometimes when I have a big project to focus on or a lot of writing to do, I prefer to tuck myself away in a nice café so I can properly concentrate and switch off from everything else. The best places to work near our office are Covent Garden Grind, Timberyard and Notes – to be honest decent wifi and good coffee are all you need, I just like somewhere that looks pretty on the inside too! I’ve learned that when you’re in a creative job role it’s really important to understand where and when you produce your best work – it’s not always in the office and that’s completely fine. Getting out and about, getting to exhibitions, meeting photographers and bloggers, seeing what other brands are doing, changing your environment; all those things keep your brain working hard and make your ideas better. My boss Nicola really encourages that and it makes such a difference to how I feel about my job here – there’s honestly never a dull moment.
Most days are spent writing and planning at my desk or in meetings with our Head of E-commerce and Head of Brand Communications. Other days I’m in Cambridge at Julie’s house discussing upcoming content or I’m in the studio or on location for one of our campaign shoots. The photo shoot days are always the most exhausting as you have to be really switched on. It’s my responsibility to manage everyone on the day, I need to direct each shot, make sure we’re paying attention to the little details, keep everyone’s energy up and just always strive for the best possible output. My brain is always scrambled at the end of a shoot day but they’re the best days, without a doubt. My role here has been a bit of a ‘pinch me’ moment in my career so far as it’s a real amalgamation of everything I love to do. Sometimes when I’m heading home after a shoot I feel really excited that I get to do things like that as part of my job.
We’re a very small, close knit team – that’s what I love about working for a smaller company. Everything we do is very collaborative and inclusive; no matter what level you are, you get to work closely with the senior management team and our Founder & CEO Julie, who comes to our London office two or three times a week. Meeting Julie for the first time was daunting. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity because I’d followed her career and the company since I saw the Google Chrome ad on TV back in 2012. My mum and I are big fans, I remember texting her before saying, “Mum, I’m having coffee with Julie today – THE Julie! Julie Deane.”
We went to Ladurée and had tea and macarons and we nattered away for an hour; I left feeling really motivated and like I knew exactly what the brand was all about. I still get that feeling whenever I spend time with Julie – I think everyone does. She started the company with only £600 and every decision she made was based on her gut. She’s bold and she gets things done; she makes me want to be more like that, in work and in life!
There are a few projects I’ve worked on at CSC that I feel particularly proud of. Our blog didn’t really exist before I started working here so that’s been a really lovely thing to take the reigns on. We’ve had some amazing people write for us, like Dolly Alderton from The Sunday Times Style who I think is an incredible writer – her weekly newsletter feeds my appetite for new articles to read and new podcasts to listen too. Sometimes even when I speak to her in real life she says things and I think, ‘Dolly you are so wise/I need to write that down.’ (Read Dolly's Latest post here). This year I also interviewed and directed a shoot with Charlotte Jacklin and Charlotte Melling from Betty Magazine. I only spent half a day with them but you know that feeling when you meet new people and something just sparks with them straight away? Well that’s how I feel about the Charlottes. They’re both really hard working and creative and I really love the way they see the world – I’d love to work with them again, they’re doing some really exciting stuff at the moment. We have big plans for the blog to grow and get better in 2017, I can’t wait.
My evenings and weekends are all about seeing my friends, taking photographs, exploring and seeing my favourite bands. I’m obsessed with finding new places – I’m always scouting out the best new cafes, shops, parks, cinemas to go in London, I often use Liv Purvis and the Betty Magazine girls for inspiration of where to go. I think Sunday is maybe my favourite day of the week. I really love getting out and about on Sundays (even if I’ve had one or two rums the night before). My recipe for a great Sunday is a big walk somewhere pretty, reading the Sunday supplements, a proper hearty dinner with gravy and Yorkshire puddings, a bath while listening to Desert Island Discs and an early night. I may sound like an old man but it makes me happy (so it can’t be that bad) and it sets me up for the, no doubt, busy but always pretty brilliant week ahead.”