‘Never Think That A Job Is Too Big For You’ – Atterley’s CEO Sally-Anne Newson On Making It And Staying Calm In The Madness

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Sally-Anne Newson is CEO of the relaunched, re-focused online fashion store Atterley. She talks to us about life, work and what she would tell her younger self...

    Top tip for success?

    Never think that a job is too big for you – you’ll figure it out once you’re there and rise to the challenge. Over the years I have led or mentored a number of women who are at different stages of their careers and the same conversation continually re-occured when they were considering new roles. Is it too big for me? Generally you find men have a much bigger belief in themselves… I love to see women have that same self belief and going for it.

    Atterley‘s first pop-up store at 71 Brushfield Street in Old Spitalfields Market, London. Now closed.

    What career advice would you give your younger self?

    Believe in yourself and try hard to overcome fear, it will only hold you back. It’s easy to talk yourself out of something that you are scared by or think that there is someone out there better than you for the role. Convince yourself you can do it, work hard and challenge the status quo when you believe in something.

    Whilst I was brave and fearless enough to travel overseas to work when I was young, I was never quite brave enough to do my own thing. It does become harder to do later when you have other commitments but you also have the benefit of experience and knowledge. The opportunity to work at Atterley was both a challenge and a chance to work alongside some of the best people in the fashion and retail industries and I couldn’t wait to take it on.

    Atterley SS16

    What life advice would you give your younger self?

    Travel more, have a sense of adventure and take chances… you really only regret the chances you didn’t take. I was so eager to get into the workforce that I didn’t get the chance to have a gap year and travel the world.

    My jobs have given me that opportunity since but I’m not sure that you can ever recreate the freedom of backpacking with your university friends when you have very few responsibilities. I make sure I take time out to travel whenever I can and since moving to London I have loved exploring Europe. I spent time this summer in Ibiza and Santorini.

    My look is…

    I have such a varied day to day work life that I like to ensure my clothes work in different scenarios. I love trainers and will wear them with tailored trousers and a crisp white shirt round the office and then change in to a pair of heels for a meeting with our investors.

    Working in an environment surrounded by clothing samples gives you the luxury of trying out pieces you might never look at in a shop. I recently bought a burgundy leather dress from Atterley and I love it.

    Atterley SS16

    I can’t get enough of…

    I have a soft spot for beautiful shoes and of course Atterley clothes! We are working on the Spring Summer ’16 collection at the moment and every day new samples are appearing in the office.

    If money was no object I’d…

    Spend half my year in Australia and half in the UK and give my family the same luxury.  I love the lifestyle in Australia that allows you to spend so much time outdoors: you can be in a huge city yet walk to the beach at the same time. London is alive with possibility and creativity and there is a sense that anything can happen here.

    Early mornings or late nights?

    I love both and I really strive to achieve balance in my life. I think there is a time to let go and it’s important to relax, whether it be running in Chiswick where I live or enjoying drinks at High Road House, which is five minutes from my home.

    Work-life balance or always on?

    As a CEO it’s important to always be there for your team and for the business but you have to also take a step back to have perspective. Being an online pure play means that the shop is always open and it would be easy to look at sales figures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Living life at a thousand miles an hour is a very easy thing to do in London. I am very lucky to have an Australian sensibility in that I stay calm amid the madness and take time out to relax.

    Twitter or Instagram?

    Definitely Instagram. It’s the perfect way to share snaps of my life with my friends and family back in Australia and vice versa. I also look at it for inspiration whether that is what Gary Pepper Girl is doing at Paris Fashion Week or what I might eat for dinner. As a brand it’s a vital tool for us in so many ways and a great way to talk with our customers directly.

    Reading now