THE FOLD WOMAN: EMILY WILLIAMS

THE FOLD WOMAN: EMILY WILLIAMS
May 28, 2014 The Fold

Tell us a little bit about your career background and how you got to your present role: 

I joined de Le Cuona last year as Managing Director, bringing the sales and marketing skills from my previous roles and also a good business grounding having sat on the board of a Berkshire Hathaway business for several years.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left university so I looked for a graduate programme that was as diverse as possible. This took me to the world of advertising and Ogilvy & Mather. Following an excellent graduate training experience I just realised I needed a bigger challenge. By chance, and luck, I was introduced to NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway company and the world’s premier private aviation provider. To be honest I said ‘yes’ to the role without even thinking. I stayed with the company almost 10 years in a sales capacity – first focused on the UK and Ireland and latterly as a Board Director running the European Sales team. One little girl, and a move out of London, I was headhunted to my current role at de Le Cuona- a founder led fabrics and interiors business that is looking to grow into a global consumer brand. I’ve never worked harder or had as much fun! It might seem a strange move but I’m still working with the same clients I did in private aviation but in their homes rather than when they are on the move!

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Emily wears The Arlington Dress and Le Marais Tuxedo Jacket in White

 

What is one of the greatest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?

Making the leap from private aviation to fabrics was a huge challenge. Moving from being one of most experienced members of a leadership team to being the most inexperienced person leading the team was daunting but exciting and energising at the same time. Sound business principles can definitely be transferred and reminding yourself you’ve been hired for your knowledge and experience outside the industry helps!

 

Do you have a mentor? How important has that been in your career?

I have a couple of ‘go to’ mentors that have supported me throughout my career. One was my boss for many years and now runs a fund focused on nurturing digital start ups so is good to talk about business growth with. I also talk regularly with a former colleague who started life as a management consultant and is now a big cheese in the corporate world- she’s a wealth of knowledge and always a calming influence.  I’ve also been lucky enough to meet and work with Warren Buffet several times and absorb his fantastic words of wisdom!

 

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in the luxury industry?

If you can truly understand the customer and what they want and need then you’re half way there. A consultative sales approach rather than a cold hard sell is key as well as energy and enthusiasm to pursue a lead creatively and consistently.

 

Working in the luxury industry, do you think the way you dress can have an influence in your success or career development?

Definitely. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the CEOs of global companies and successful entrepreneurs so being smartly dressed has always been part of my working life. I’ve found the way I dress can help me hold my own in a boardroom of more ‘mature’ men too! My appearance and style is now even more important as I’m representing my brand and my company and at de Le Cuona that means being design conscious!

 

How would you describe your work style?

I’m always running around – up and down the stairs of our office as well as to and from our HQ in Windsor to our showroom on Walton St so I need to be comfortable. I’m not a suit girl so can often be found in an A line dress and wedges – but it has to have a waist!

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Emily wears The Camelot Dress in Navy & White Tweed

 

What do you do outside work to unwind?

Crawl around on the floor chasing bubbles with my 2 year old daughter and my husband or fling myself over fences on my other indulgence, my horse Indy.

 

What is your favourite piece from The Fold collection?

I’ve always coveted the Wilton Coat from your last AW Collection and can’t wait to get my hands on the Brook skirt!

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Photos from Amelia Allen Photography.

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