Amanda Ross Discusses the Evolution of ARossGirl in FORBES
Amanda Ross has a long history in fashion. She began her career at Conde Nast, and then moved to Hearst where she eventually became Fashion Market Director at Harpers Bazaar. Ross segued into becoming an independent stylist for film and TV, and styling actresses for the red carpet; she also acted as a consultant on brands and hotels, and with young designers.
In 2014, Ross met her husband, and she felt ready for a change.
“In the beginning of 2015, I went to India to work on a collection with Sanjay Kasliwal of Gem Palace,” says Ross. I launched the jewelry, along with ARossGirl.com, at the end of 2015,” says Ross. “ARossGirl was a platform to merge product along with content.”
Since then, Mariska Hargitay, Lindsay Price, Salma Hayek, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex have all worn her creations.
How has the brand evolved since its inception?
At the time of launch, the affiliates metrics changed, and I found creating and keeping up with content a time challenge. I received great advice from my good friend JJ Martin who had launched La Double J around the same time. She said, “Be nimble and don’t be afraid to pivot”. That advice led me to scale back on the content and focus on the special products I was creating. I felt driven by feedback and instinct to focus on my business with Alex of Soler. Alex and I share a love of femininity; she brings a sexy and bohemian sensibility, while I bring sophistication with strong relationships and a fashion background. The ARossGirl x Soler collaboration has evolved from one dress to two into a full collection with cashmere, denim and velvet.
What niche are you hoping to fulfill?
I was trying to fill a need in my own closet by designing something with Alex of Soler that we both wanted to wear ourselves. It echoed my work as a stylist and the desire to make going to your closet fun and not stressful. I wanted to solve the issue women find in getting dressed, and create the ‘go to’ item that works on most body types, in many situations, and for any age, from millennials through baby boomers.
We sell the dress collaboration on our site (ARossGirl.com), Soler Fashion in the UK (Soler.co.uk) and on Net-A-Porter.com
Do you also sell in brick and mortar stores?
We are in a few shops across America but are always interested in being in more, if it is the right fit. While I understand large scale retail is struggling, I believe people’s desire for community and connection will drive society back into the stores, large and small. Small shops influence their local community. These stores are catering to a woman looking for a specific sensibility. Some of my favorites are Canary in Dallas, Capital in Charlotte, NC, and Moda Operandi in NYC. I am an editor at heart – I love to explore and be surprised.
How much does your clients’ input influence your designs?
My clients often engage with me on Instagram. I am in constant communication with them. They come to me because of my background and years working in the field as an editor and stylist. Holding pop-ups allows me to work in person with clients to better understand fit. I am open to ideas, and I believe my clients have great taste.
If you expand, how will you scale the semi-couture aspect of your business?
In order to expand and scale the business we need to focus on wholesale. We will keep the semi-couture aspect of our business at pop-ups around the world. We have been to San Francisco, Dallas, Locust Valley, NYC, the Hamptons. London is next, with my twin sister.
What advice would you give to a budding fashion entrepreneur?
Work for someone first. Learn what you like and don’t like, this is important. If you can find what you like to do and get paid for it, and at the same time withstand the stress of the fashion industry, you probably belong in it. When you become an entrepreneur, start with a hero product and create items you are passionate about.