Welcome back to our Founder Stories series, where we sit with inspiring and influential women to dive into their entrepreneurial journey and discuss all things business (and wellness). Today, we speak with multi-hyphenate Amy Sturgis, the founder of ASC Global and CINTA.
Amy Sturgis is a renowned fashion consultant and has worked across many brands from All Things Mochi to Pop & Suki and most recently heads up the global PR for Paper London and House of Sunny from her agency ASC Global. Amy began her career working in Dubai for leading agency TOH PR and went on to head up global Business Development and PR for All Things Mochi before launching ASC in 2019. She launched her own contemporary ready to wear brand, CINTA in 2019.
FLAURA: What inspired you to start ASC?
Amy: I have always worked very closely to inspiring female founders which I guess inspired me to start a business of my own. I liked the idea of having complete creative freedom to pitch ideas that had significant impact to brands and being part of the whole process; idea, execution and results. It is the most rewarding feeling when that thought/idea which was just a conversation then helps a brand grow. I also believed that women can wear many hats and wanted to help many instead of just one brand. This is what I find most fulfilling!
F: What makes ASC different to other agencies?
A: Having worked in house for an upcoming brand and having my own brand our approach is naturally quite different, I understand that growing a brand is a journey and that not all brands are going to have the budget you want from the start. I try to put myself in the brands shoes and understand how we can grow together so we are both rewarded in the end. The holistic approach works for us and we invest in what we believe in rather than just for a fee. The work we do for every brand differs, each brand has a different story and therefore each need their own strategy. Nothing we work on is a copy paste of a strategy for another brand.
F: What has the journey been like since you started?
A: I’ve just realised its been almost 10 years in this industry – feeling very old haha. The journey has been great, of course there have been highs and lows, a lot of lack of sleep but I am so grateful for the journey and the wonderful talented people I have met along the way. Excited for the next 10!
F: How do you stay motivated?
A: Mindfulness and being kind to myself is my trick to staying motivated. I wake up at 5am at least 4 days a week ( so I’m on top of my own work before everyone comes online), meditate twice a day and work out regularly. If my mind and body are happy and I’ve also been getting enough sleep I’m on top of everything and then I generally stay happy and motivated. I also make sure I have at least Monday – Wednesday at home in the evenings. After a full day of employees and client meetings its super important for me to have time to myself to go over the day and keep on top of everything.
F: What’s the most rewarding part of your day now?
A: Happy clients that understand our process and employees loving the work they are doing! Nothing is more rewarding than having happiness around you.
F: What are the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur?
A: I am not going to lie, running two start ups is hard. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst part because I believe that everything happens for a reason and the universe has its way of working for you, but for me the hardest part is showing up for people/ employees needing direction when you’re having a bad day and having to pretend everything is fine. I try to be as human as possible but I do sometimes find it hard.
Another part is understanding that not everyone is going to understand your journey or be on the same path and that’s ok.
The best part is the work, the amazing people we work with and the places that this business has taken me. Super appreciative and grateful for the learnings of the good and the bad!
F: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A: My god mother told me when I started my first job that I should be ‘the first one in last one out of the office’. This has stuck with me.
F: What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own business?
A: Authenticity is key. I’ve made the mistake in the past of doing things for people the way that they wanted me to but not looking at the long term, people pleasing. This was never going to work long term and affected a period of my career. Take the time to look within, ask yourself ‘why’ you are starting what you are starting and make sure you are being authentic to yourself .
F: What inspires your designs and collections for CINTA?
A: Places and people as well as the particular place I am in, in my life. As a brand our message is mindful and we try and pay attention to this in our designs too. I want everyone to be able to own a CINTA piece so I try and think about multiple generations when designing too.
F: Do you have a favourite CINTA piece?
A: The first ever piece the Taurus dress! This was definitely the beginning of my wellness journey, is my star sign and where the brand began.