How many of us grew up watching shows like The Hills and daydreamed about the day we’d be pursuing an exciting career in the fashion industry like Lauren Conrad? Well, our marketing director Sophie was able to make this dream a reality.
This week we sat down with Soph to talk about marketing, lifestyle and the future direction of 437. We had so much fun getting to know her on a deeper level and we know you’ll love her just as much as we do!
I feel like moving to Toronto was essential for my development. I’m originally from Vancouver and although I love it, I needed an experience that only Toronto could give me. There are so many different types of people here and they’re all interesting, creative and hustling. It was so important to me that I immersed myself in a culture that was creative and passionate; I felt like Toronto and 437 could give me that.
437: How did you first hear about us?
S: I heard about the brand the same way we all did: through social media and word of mouth. I have friends here in Toronto and they've always known about the coolest brands and places. They were following 437, getting gifted and coordinating with the brand, so I learned more because of that.
437: What would you say was the main reason you decided to hit the follow button?
S: What caught my eye was the fact that 437 was consistently showcasing different bodies and celebrating women in a way that felt intentional and authentic. A few years ago, many brands weren’t showcasing women who weren't between a size 0-6. 437 was actively trying to celebrate other body types. I kept the company on my radar and when I saw they were hiring, I knew I wanted to be a part of the team. It’s been a year with 437 now and I’ve learned and been able to do so much.
437: We are so grateful to have you as a marketing director. Can you describe your role for anyone who might not know?
S: The easiest way I can think of to describe a marketing director is to think of me as someone who helps bring forward the brand’s message to the world. Externally, I coordinate with my team to make sure that 437 is represented in the best way to the world. Internally, I ensure that we all feel connected to the brand and its message.
437: In your own words how would you describe 437’s message?
S: I’d say that 437 is a brand for women. The goal has always been to make sure that anyone who wears our bikinis feels sexy, supported and celebrated. And with that, comes our ability and willingness to continue to grow & learn just as the women who wear our suits are doing.
437: We wholeheartedly agree with that. What would you say you love the most about working in the marketing department? What’s the most challenging for you?
S: The number one thing I love about 437 marketing is that it really is customer focused. It’s really fun to see how our customers respond to our efforts in real time. When we spend weeks putting together a campaign or stories, it’s really encouraging to see how well our customers interact with us when it goes live. This job has also given me the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most amazing influencers!
As for the most difficult part, I’d say that it can be a bit difficult to separate work from self-worth. The marketing field can be difficult because you’re truly putting so much of yourself into what you create. When it’s not as well received as you’d like, it can feel personal. I'm still learning to create barriers between work and worth. Success a business space is amazing, but I’m learning to create balance and forgive myself for little things.
437: We love this way of thinking Soph. We all work so hard at this company and it can be difficult to create that balance. We’re all learning and doing the best we can.
How would you say that your skills have improved since working with us?
S: I’d say my ability to take ownership in all of my work has improved. Working here is fast-paced and high energy. There’s no time to think “this is not my job” because the culture of this company is that we all help and support each other. I feel more engaged in ways that I wouldn’t if I was working for a larger company because I can clearly see how all of our roles function to create something amazing.
437: We agree. We’ve all gotten really good at celebrating each other’s wins and even feeling them as our own wins.
We can tell how much of your heart you put into your job. How do you stay organized?
S: Ahh this is tough because I still want to make improvements. The best way I can think of to describe this is that I compartmentalize things in the boulder and pebble approach.
437: Okay.. we’re definitely going to need you to explain that to us.
S: [laughs] So basically, I think of boulders as the major things or tasks I need to get done and pebbles are the extra things I need to get done but that aren’t as major. I try to organize my day by knocking those major boulders and then filling in the gaps with additional tasks (the pebbles). Eliminating those big daunting tasks first makes sure you are using your time wisely.
437: Okay.. we definitely need to try this technique out. Have you always wanted to be in marketing?
S: Like anyone, I was a fan of The Hills and wanted to be in a fast paced fashion career like Lauren was trying to. I studied communications at McGill which was great but a bit too academic if that makes sense. To be honest, I struggled a bit; during summers and after graduating I made sure to make up for it by getting practical experience in the field. I knew I’d learn more by doing.
437: Wow, thank you for sharing that. A lot of our readers would love to know that you were still able to achieve your goals even with a few obstacles in your way.
Since you’ve been spearheading the marketing for all of our collections within the past year, what would you say is your favourite?
S: For the summer collections, I’d have to say Paradiso was a favourite. I loved that this was our first major collaboration with another brand; it was great to coordinate so closely with a different team. I think we created something really beautiful.
As for my all time favourite (so far), I’d have to say it’s our new collection Persia. Not only is it absolutely stunning, but it also feels fun, interesting and intentional. This is a collection that is close to Hyla’s heart. To be able to help tell the beautiful story of someone’s identity feels incredibly important. This collection reminds me of what I love most about my job; being able to share and create community through a single story.
437: There are no words to describe how we all feel about this collection. I don’t think our readers are ready for what we’re about to show them.
What is your favourite staple swim?
S: Obviously I have to go with the classic Sanders Set in Espresso. Since being with 437, I’ve noticed how celebratory we all are of someone wearing a skimpy bikini if they choose to. I love that we just support and love seeing curves and bodies of all sizes in an itty bitty bikini. I also think we do a 3-piece set so well - swim + a sarong or tunic is my jam.
437: We love that you so clearly understand our message. Now before we get into the nitty gritty of your personal life, we have to ask: what’s your goal for the future of 437?
S: Honestly I just want to keep extending our reach. I want to see us global and I want our message of body positivity and love to follow wherever we go.
437: Love that. Ready for some personal questions?
437: We know you moved from Vancouver to Toronto in 2019. What made you decide to move?
S: I feel like moving to Toronto was essential for my development. I love Vancouver, but I needed an experience that only Toronto could give me. There are so many different types of people here and they’re all interesting, creative and hustling. It was so important to me that I immersed myself in an environment that was creative and passionate; I felt like Toronto and 437 could give me that.
437: Do you ever wish you were still in Vancouver?
S: Not so much... but Vancouver is home. What’s cool about working here is that there’s so much flexibility and trust. I can go back as long as I’m able to get online and do my job.
I think the thing I just obsess about with Toronto is the energy. I was so used to one type of experience at home and being here I’m constantly impressed by the diversity and the culture.
437: We’re definitely biased but Toronto is one of the best places in the world. Are there any other places you feel connected to?
S: I do some travelling from time to time for work and LA has the greatest vibe.. The ocean just feels so special to me and I love any chance I can to get near the water when I’m there.
437: We totally agree babe. Do you enjoy travelling? What’s on your bucket list?
S: I do. I love seeing what each city/country has to share with me. I definitely want to do more in Asia. I’ve been to Tokyo and it’s so special to me. It was the first place in Asia I’d ever travelled to and being an Asian woman, it was a really special time. Next time I travel, I want to go to China. I have some family that live there and I think it would be such a beautiful experience to go there with my mom.
437: We hope you’re able to have that experience with her babe. Since you’ve been doing some travelling recently, what’s in your travel essentials bag?
S: I have two things that are non-negotiables: a good pair of trousers and eye masks. Trousers are comfortable to travel in and you can dress them up or down. I love the eye masks from this Toronto-based small company called Mood. I like to put them on when I’m leaving the airport because they make me feel important and rich [laughs].
437: We feel that heavily. We’re all about feeling elevated at all times. On the topic of feeling confident, what’s your go-to-outfit for success?
S: I’m going to sound like I have an obsession but I LOVE a good pair of trousers!!! Honestly a good pair of stylish wide leg pants paired with a cute shirt and a nice pair of boots is life changing. After a 1+ year of being in sweats, throwing this outfit feels like I’m going to prom.
437: Any other staples you’re loving right now?
S: Two words: shea. moisture. Tik Tok put me on to the brand and I can’t believe I didn’t know about them before. Their shampoo and conditioner has transformed my hair.
437: Tik Tok has become the #1 place for all of our discoveries. We’ve found some of the best clubs/bars because of it. Have you tried any places recently?
S: I’m not much of a club or bar person these days (we can thank COVID for that), but Toronto has some amazing wine spots I love. My boyfriend is really into wines and I’m trying to get into it too) so I've been loving the spot Paris Paris!
437: We’ll have to try it out! I feel like COVID has turned us all into homebodies. How do you like to relax after a stressful day of working from home?
S: Not to bring up Tik Tok again, but I watched one where the girl said something along the lines of “ I don’t meditate but I do try to watch T.V.” I’d say that’s what I’m doing right now. Relaxing with a good T.V. show or movie - or even getting out to go for food and the movies is all I need.
437: It’s good that you said that. Not all of us can/want to meditate and doing something chill can really take your mind off of stressful things. Do you have any personal goals for this upcoming season?
S: I feel like this fall season is all about balance. After the past year a lot of us have been overwhelming ourselves. I want to get more rest and prioritize my wellness.
437: Is there anything about summer you’ll really miss?
S: Technically I can still go but I loved going to cottages this summer. In BC we call them “cabins” but “cottage” just feels so luxurious. I loved going with friends and having a good time.
437: Agreed. What was on your summer playlist?
S: This cool indie artist, Pink Panthress, was my go to all summer. She’s this really cool mysterious British girl who has curated this really cool vibe.
437: We’ll have to give her a try! Now you know we love you but we have to leave you. Before we do, can you share the best piece of advice you’ve received?=
S: I think the best piece of advice I've ever gotten is that nothing is permanent. If something isn’t working, you don’t need to be committed to it. As long as you remain rooted in yourself and your values, you can change anything in your life. It’s hard to remember that when you feel stuck, but it’s an important reminder.