Meet The Entrepreneur: marie claire Chats To Ally Fashion CEO Anne-Marie Wade

Wade worked her way from the ground up

Two months ago, Anne-Marie Wade was named CEO of Ally fashion and its sister brand You + All. She’s spent the past 15 years working her way up through the company and lifting other women up with her.

As you’ll see, she’s a woman who walks her talk. For this year’s International Women’s Day, Anne-Marie hosted a celebration for Ally fashion senior staff members along with Thread Together, a charity that provides basic clothing for people in need, and Dress for Success Sydney, which provides clothing for female-identifying people to wear to job interviews.

Here, she talks to marie claire about how it all started with a gap year in London.

Q. In the beginning… how did you get started?

A. “I did what I would recommend everyone do in their twenties, which is get a two-year working holiday visa in London. I worked at the Debenhams flagship store on Oxford Street in the visual merchandising team for two years while I travelled.”

Early takeovers… Tell us about your career progression?

“When I came back to Australia, I started working with Ally fashion, which had only been around for about five years. I was their first visual merchandiser and they brought me in to set up policies and procedures, and really build the team as the brand progressed.

About four years ago I moved into the operations side of things as national operations manager. During that time, I made a lot of changes and we basically re-looked at the way we were doing every task, assessing where there were gaps and implementing ways to improve the brand. Two months ago, I became CEO, which was the natural progression.”

Ally Fashion team

Fashion expansion… How did you start You + All?

“We were getting a lot of requests from our customers to broaden our size range, so we launched You + All online, and then opened stores six months later. It’s been so well-received and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback. It’s been our strongest growth point, both online and in stores.”

Bright future… What’s planned next?

“The past four years were all about really focusing on the brand and the product. We now have really strong foundations, so going forward, we’re looking at how we can elevate and expand the brands. We’re looking closely at fabrications, increasing the quality, expanding the categories, adding a kids’ section, and partnering with local designers, who we really want to support after COVID-19.”

Words of wisdom… What’s your advice for other women?

“You need to back yourself, be true to yourself, and see things from other people’s perspectives.

Be organised! The more organised you are, the better your day runs, and the more you achieve.

Learn from every experience and every mistake. Everything you do is an opportunity to grow, and every experience builds character.

Our motto at Ally is ‘Never stop’, and I think that applies to everyone: never stop learning, never stop trying to improve yourself.”

Brought to you by Ally Fashion.

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