In Conversation With Maggie Hansdorfer On Sales And Storytelling
For Maggie Hansdorfer, the root of success comes from a place of sincerity and passion. She shared these sentiments in our interview with her below, “I value success in a much simpler formula than I had once expected, and I have realized that you can actually do absolutely anything in this world if you just do try.”
A seasoned sales professional and lover of contemporary fashion, she has built her agency with a premise of fostering and telling the stories of talented designers from around the globe. A well-traveled (and obviously well dressed!) maven herself, Maggie has been able to call upon her unique experiences to inform her approach to business. In addition to her creative acumen, we love the ambitious yet fun-loving energy Maggie brings to The Brand Assembly Square as one of our resident nook tenants. With that said, we wanted to share more of her story and thoughts on community, contemporary fashion and what she’s assembling daily. Fortunately Maggie made some room in her schedule before heading to LA Market with us to chat more, and show us a few pieces she’s currently loving. Check out our afternoon with her and the full interview below.
Please introduce yourself!
I'm 32, Polish born, have lived all over the world, married an Aussie, and am currently based in NYC. I travel and write incessantly, always with headphones permanently fixed in both ears, I work hard but play harder, and hustle in the fashion world. Relationships, family, good music, laughter and sunshine are about as good as it can get for me. I’ve begun to discover what makes me truly happy, how I value success in a much simpler formula than I had once expected, and I have realized that you can actually do absolutely anything in this world if you just do try...really try.
Walk us through your day-to-day. What role does Brand Assembly play in your line of work and what do you love most about being apart of this community?
When I started my agency 6 months ago, I knew little about the sales process in the contemporary market but had faith in my insane sense of adaptability, coupled with a knack for quick learning to guide me through it. Fake it till you make it, sure, but the more you surround yourself, the easier it is of course. Brand Assembly is a unicorn in the fashion industry: where normally competition lurks, camaraderie thrives. Insider intel and access to a network of infinite contacts commonly swapped over free flowing (literally free) wine on tap in the kitchen. It's beyond incredible what Hillary and Alex have managed to create.
It's so unique, and even an admittedly difficult concept to grasp for some. Somehow, between them, they have built a collaborative work space where every business, regardless of size or nature, started to work together to help each other grow. Hands are given out as often as bowls of bacon popcorn and essentially, all the Brand Assembly staff becomes an extension of your own team. What normally takes years of experience, networking, trial and error, and countless hours of research, gets fast tracked to months. It's the most amazing and inspiring group of individuals who share a common goal which is to work together to do what they love, to be good at it, to grow, to learn, to do something new and different. If I’m honest, I am so honored to even be a part of it, it's like some secret elite members club and I got a key. It has taught me so much about so many things in such a short amount of time, even about myself.
Representing so many talented designers must be inspiring! With that in mind, have your relationships with these designers inspired any new creative outlets or endeavors?
In many ways, I am still figuring out what I will do professionally with my life. I guess I've learned that it will never be one thing. But looking at my clients I learn what it is to be the author of creativity and imagination. While I’ve always been creative, I've also had a knack for business, the combination often leaving me scattered with my dreams. I've had so many, I never knew which would ever be my one destiny. While I have been pacing towards one or another, I realized I could maybe have a mix of them all. For now, I use both creativity and intellect to help others steer their dreams. Maybe one day I will be on the other side, or maybe this side is where I am meant to be, maybe it's better, maybe it's the best of both worlds.
As a seasoned sales professional in this market, what are your top three tips for both designers and aspiring sales-people?
- You can only fail if you don’t try.
- Don’t take on any clients (or make collections) you don’t believe in. Selling is about telling a story, about sharing an idea or an experience with another, getting them interested. It is not pushing something onto someone for the sake of profit. That approach will get you nowhere fast. It's better to have one client or one dress that is amazing then 50 you don’t love.
- If you’re in it for money, get out. Patience, passion and endless hard work is the only way to make something in this industry. Be prepared that you may not profit much fiscally. Some will, the great ones, but some may not no matter how hard they try. But the journey will be worth it.
From an aesthetics point of view, are there are any general trends you’re noticing that are prominent among contemporary fashion designers? Who are you the most excited about right now?
This is a very exciting time to be working in fashion, especially the last couple of years. Aesthetically, being an avid believer that I should have been in my 20s during the 1970s, the recent seasons have been gravitating towards the retro aesthetic of decades past. Between the bright colors, fringe, blocking, tassels, sneakers, and a huge resurgence of denim, its been an exciting time to be in the industry. More so, the laissez-faire vibe of it all has turned casual into chic which I'm sure everyone can appreciate. While the now severely saturated market of countless designers has made the competition thick, it has also created an elevated platform of driven talent cranking out some incredible collections for us all to indulge in.
Between NYC and LA, what have you learned about yourself and your style as a result of these two distinct markets?
It's obvious that LA and NY are home to vastly different styles. Weather and geography play a significant role in this. While LA beaches and balmy days call for ripped jeans and right boho blouses, NY’s city streets are filled with internationals from all corners boasting leather and fur and black as far as you can see. It's actually a pretty good metaphor for my own personality. Torn between two worlds at all times, splitting my time between a small surf town in Portugal and various metropolises globally now for 13 years, I too oscillate between the laid back look of overalls with bright crops and the contrasting navy leather leggings with giant fur stoles.
What do you assemble daily?
Hmm. It seems that I have always and will always love a good stripe. My style changes every year but I always manage to incorporate stripes somehow despite the vastly different style changes over the years. I'm also a sucker for a big collar, scarves, color blocking, shorts, sneakers, suspenders, crops, but if I could live in anything it would be a bikini and a pair of sunglasses.
"I am so honored to even be a part of it, it's like some secret elite members club and I got a key. It has taught me so much about so many things in such a short amount of time, even about myself."