Infectious, effervescent and so entirely himself - George’s wicked sense of humour, effortless warmth and unique taste rich beyond his years, brings so much joy and spirit to our team. Captured as one of the people who continue to influence and inspire us, we talked to George about not only what he does, but who he is - the change he hopes to see in the world and what makes him truly happy.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you do?
I’m the Sales Operations Manager at Maggie Marilyn.
Can you give us a bit of background about your time at MM?
In April, it will be 4 years since I started at MM. I had just come back from overseas and I was trying to get into the fashion industry but the best I could get was retail and a couple of internships. I was thinking ‘okay I’m going to go overseas again but how can I get enough experience to actually be employable’. And then I found out about Maggie Marilyn! I did an internship initially and quite quickly made myself at home! One thing just led to another and here we are! There's something incredibly enticing about going into a brand that's new with a whole bunch of young people working for a cause. It makes you want to be a part of it.
What has your progression been in the business from when you were an intern to now?
When I started as an intern, I was heavily involved in the production and dispatch side of things but the team and I soon realised that production wasn’t where my tool kit was properly utilised. So then I sort of wobbled about and picked up the slack where it was needed. When it's a young team with not many people you just find things that need to be done! I’ve always worked in retail and I’m an extrovert - so without giving it too much thought I felt sales was the direction I needed to head. I talked to Maggie about it, who of course is the most supportive boss ever, and she said okay let’s get you into sales and then she took me to Paris (when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing!) I mean, I barely even understood what wholesale meant. It was one of those things where I was so young and fresh that I didn’t even know the difference between press and wholesale, it was that blurry! But you get thrown in the deep end and just figure it out as it comes. So I came back from that market week and I couldn’t wait until the next one. My progression was that I then became our in house Wholesale Manager which has been my position for the last 3 years. It was the most incredible learning experience but not without its heartache for me and for the business. Over the past 2 years, the direct to consumer side of the business began humming and growing which has been so exciting to see and so exciting to learn about. With the transition of Maggie Marilyn to an entirely DTC business at the end of last year, I transitioned from Wholesale Manager to Sales Operations Manager. It is a role that I am still carving out in the business but centres around ensuring the brand essence is infused through all our sales channels.
Do you have any favourite memories that come to mind?
The first that comes to mind is a sales trip to New York with Ella. We were so sleep deprived yet still wide awake at 4am watching Sex and the City and just laughing the whole way through. I think the thing that I love the most about my memories from trips to New York is that although sales trips are such incredibly intense periods, I remember all of them infused with so much laughter. The 2019 NZ fashion week show is also a fond memory - it was a moment where we saw in a really physical sense our hard work being celebrated. When I look at my team I’m so proud of them. All my favourite moments are the ones where I’ve looked at one of my colleagues and we’ve given each other the knowing eye ‘look what we’ve done - love you’ ‘love you’. Those are the memories. We’re a young team and we love each other and that’s hard to find.
What makes you, you?
I think I’m pretty low maintenance. I like to be happy. I’ll accept nothing less than my happiness. I work hard at that, it’s really important to me. I’ve surrounded myself with friends that I want to spend the rest of my life with. I surrounded myself with my family who are the most important thing to me. I know what I need to enjoy life which to me is movies, friends, tv, summer, getaways - and I make sure I have these things in abundance. Doing the things I know I like and doing them as often as possible. That’s me.
What are the 3 things you value most in other people?
Empathy. The saying ‘you’ve made your bed, now lie in it’, is one I’ve always had a problem with. People make mistakes and we should all be given a second chance. Even when friends aren’t giving the best version of themselves, I believe that then my job is then to be a better friend. I think you have to accept that everyone is doing their best to get through in life and it's filled with challenges for everyone. So I think empathy is crucial. Then laughter - a pretty simple one but I just want to be able to laugh all the time. I want to spend the rest of my life with the people that make me laugh, it’s kind of as simple as that. That’s all you need. So empathy, laughter and... a zestful life, I suppose. I really like when people want to be happy and they’ll make it happen for themselves. I really respect when my friends say they don’t want to hang out with me this weekend because they need ‘me’ time. I like those boundaries that people establish for themselves. I love when you can have friends that are important to you but you don't own them. You know, when you have friends that go out for dinner with another friend and they don't have to invite you - when it’s a healthy enough friendship that it can sustain that. I like the lack of insecurity that comes with getting older and becoming better acquainted with your friends. Am I babbling? I’m babbling. Empathy, laughter and zest for life. That’s it in short.
I like that you talk about your friends being for life.
Yes, they’re important to me, my family and friends. Life changes and you never know what will happen but that’s my hope and my intention. It puts a smile on my face to think about waking up in 50 years and seeing as much of them as I do now.
What are things you love most in the world? What makes you truly happy?
Just being with my friends and family, just hanging out all the time.
What change do you hope to see in the world?
Going back to empathy, I think a great place to start would be more people sharing more empathy. I heard the great word ‘Sonder’ the other day, which is the realisation that the person passing you on the street has a life that’s complicated, weird and filled with trials and tribulations just as you do. I think it’s so easy to complain and so easy to get cross with someone, but really it’s fine, move on. I think if everyone had more empathy, that’s gotta be the first step to making the change that we all want to see which is a healthier planet.
Finally, where is your Somewhere?
I would say it’s just the people I’m around. I feel like I’m anchored when I’m with my family. I’m anchored when I’m with my friends. But in terms of a physical space - I’ve grown up in a house in Grey Lynn that my parents bought before I was born in the 80’s. Through a lot of ups and downs in life we have managed to keep that house. Of all the places in the world, that place makes me feel the most rooted and closest to my life. I’ve walked those streets my whole life and I’ve seen it from different vantage points. I remember when I was on the street when I was 5 and all the little things. I’m quite a nostalgic person so I like being in the place I’ve been my whole life and knowing it so well. Being able to close your eyes and walk around the block, it's a cool feeling.