Amuse Society's Mandy Fry On Launching Her Own Brand
Leaving an established company to start your own is always a scary decision, but if you put in hard work the payoff can be huge. Just ask Mandy Fry, who left her job as a designer at Billabong to start Amuse Society. Mandy will be dishing on her keys to success and how she grew Amuse Society into a staple of the California girl wardrobe at Simply LA this Saturday! But until then, keep scrolling to learn how Mandy got her start:
Images from the latest Amuse Society collection
SIMPLY: Tell us a little bit about your career so far.
MANDY FRY: I attended design school (FIDM) and after graduating, my first job was at Quiksilver which is where I learned how to be a swim designer. I was with the company for 6 years and then joined Billabong, where I started the women’s swim division. After a few years I was promoted to Design Director, overseeing all women’s designs for the next 11 years. During my tenure I grew so much not only as a designer but also a manager, which ultimately lead me to launching my own brand, Amuse Society.
S: What inspired you to launch Amuse Society?
Throughout my career the product I was designing was always about the beach lifestyle, which went hand-in-hand with my personal life. After designing for beach brands for nearly 20 years, I knew my designs could have a broader reach.
I wanted to create a brand that would be the fashion-forward option in a surf shop, or the perfectly beach-chic option in a boutique. I saw an opportunity for this, as not many brands live in both worlds. My desire to create a brand that could live in both beach and fashion boutiques would not subside, nor did my entrepreneurial dream, so I co-founded Amuse Society in January of 2014. Amuse is an archetype of beach chic – a ready-to-wear collection with rock ’n’ roll vibes that blends seamlessly with beach knits and bikinis, created for women, by women, which I am proud to say sits in both surf and boutique markets!
In order to be successful you have to take a risks, and the real prize has been seeing the brand resonate with consumers.
S: What have you learned about building a business from starting Amuse Society?
How much time do I have before you stop reading? ;)
I’ve learned that things take time, so you have to be extremely patient. People have so many options as they do sources of communication, so you might be waiting on what you think is a quick answer back, however I believe there are more delays now than ever due to the number of incoming messages and the amount of options people have.
I’m also constantly reminded that anything is possible, but you’ll have to ask. Launching a brand, we had no idea that certain people would want to buy our product, models for us, partner with us, and collaborate with us. In our minds, we were/are still a new, small brand – it’s just myself and a team of 9 others – but what we’ve learned is that if you’re creating something creative and interesting, people do want to align with you and be part of something new.
Most importantly I have continued to learn that your team is everything. Having a great support system and working together for the same common goal is an absolute must!
S: How has the business evolved & grown since its start?
When building a business and brand DNA, it’s crucial that you stick to the core of who you are, while balancing the idea of evolving. We’re designing for our Amuse consumer, but our consumer is always evolving. If you stick to your roots while designing new product, that I believe is the key difference between a trendy brand, versus a brand with longevity. We continue to grow and build upon our momentum and are constantly striving to be the best version of ourselves.
S: Do you have a favorite piece (or pieces) available to shop right now?
With Summer in full swing, my favorite pieces right now are our swimwear. I’m particularly drawn to our one pieces, since they can easily be worn as a bodysuit when paired with cut-off jean shorts as well. A few favorites are the Amuse x Flynn Skye Carmen One Piece, which is a piece from our recent collab, the Celeste, and the Sandbar One Piece from our collab. with Samudra earlier this year.
S: What styles are trending on Amuse Society right now?
Our collaboration with Flynn Skye is on fire right now, but we’re fortunate that all of our collabs have been really well received. Collaborating has been such an inspiring part of building this brand – designing things with a different perspective, working with other creatives, and seeing two brands visions come to life.
In addition to our collaborations, people are loving our maxi and midi dresses, like the Austin Dress, as well as the Lyla Dress. I wear it as a dress or unbuttoned as a cover-up or kimono, for a more casual, relaxed look.