Career profile: Holly Scarsella, founder of PAMPELONE CLOTHING

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing

Happy Sunday lovelies. Grab yourself a cup of coffee because you are going to want to get comfy to read this interview.

Holly Scarsella is the incredible founder of Pampelone Clothing, a glamorous and wearable resort wear clothing brand that was inspired by the Riviera. Her clothes can be found in some of the most recognisable shops across the world and her designs have been worn by the likes of Pandora Sykes, Eva Longoria and Blake Lively. Oh, and by me of course ;)!

Holly secured a place on Richard Branson’s Virgin StartUp Scheme where she received funding and mentorship and launched Pampelone in July 2015. Since then the brand has gone from strength to strength and Holly was even named on Forbes 30 under 30 in the retail category this year.

I was lucky enough to hear Holly speak at Big Small Business and developed an instant girl crush. Alongside her friend Elizabeth Scarlett, who is also a super successful and inspiring entrepreneur, they talked about the highs and lows of setting up your own business.  Holly has bags of style and chutzpah and was so inspiring to listen to.

I was delighted when Holly agreed to share some of the insight here on The Green Eyed Girl. I do hope you enjoy!

Career profile with Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone ClothingTell us about Pampelone Clothing? What makes it special? 

The idea for PAMPELONE first stemmed from my time spent growing up in the South of France. Our family had a holiday home in which we spent 4/5 months a year, and the women I would see on the beach always looked so chic in their effortless cottons and linens, bought from St Tropez market. But no matter how hard I looked to buy similar styles back in the UK, I could never find any beachwear that emulated the same feel. The Pampelone collections are special as they capture the feel and ease of fashion in the French Riviera; they are so easy to wear and beautifully (and ethically) made to a very high quality.

Where did the idea come from? 

I had a honeymoon wardrobe dilemma a couple of years ago when I couldn’t find any of the right kind of beachwear! I was looking for good quality pieces, which weren’t out of this world expensive! A lot of people, myself included, can’t justify paying £300 for a beach dress. To me, there was a clear gap in the market for mid-priced, beautiful resort wear, and so Pampelone was born!

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing

What were you doing before-hand? 

Before I set up Pampelone, I worked in Fashion PR for five years. Being in that environment really opened my eyes to how you can create a successful brand, how to get into the right magazines and get your product worn by the right people. I had the pleasure of working with some incredible global brands but also some ‘lesser’ brands, and I was amazed at how successful they were with clever marketing. This really stuck with me. I always thought that if I found a product I truly believed in, well, the sky was the limit.

What made you want to take a career change/ set up your own business?

During the last job I had in PR, I learnt so much about other aspects of business, not just the PR & Marketing that I was used to. I was exposed to wholesale, e-commerce, and customer relations amongst other things. I absorbed as much information as I could there, and for the first time really understood how a business worked. This gave me the confidence and the basic understanding of how to launch my own business. Of-course I still had so much to learn and I’m still learning on a daily basis, but it gave me the foundations.

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing

How did you get started?

I had my idea, business name, business plan and initial funding in place before I decided to leave my job to launch PAMPELONE. It was the biggest risk I have ever taken but one I would take time and time again. Yes, the pressure to make the business a success was huge, but I think that pressure only drives you to work even harder. If I have any piece of advice to give, it would be just to do it. If you’ve put the time and effort into research to figure it’s a viable idea – you just have to go for it!

What support have you received – from friends/family to professional?

Support from family and friends is vital and I’m so lucky to have such great people around me. It can be so lonely starting a business, as well as physically and mentally exhausting working seven days a week, all hours of the day and night, that a boost to your day and uplifting phone call really do make all the difference.

Professionally I am not afraid to ask for as much help as possible. I go out of my way to meet amazing professionals to try and get meetings with. And if I’m lucky enough to get a meeting, I go incredibly prepared, well researched and garner as much information as I possibly can.

What has been the greatest challenge so far? 

Just how self-motivated and proactive you need to be. Success is never going to come to you – you HAVE to chase it. It is difficult sometimes to get back up again after getting told ‘no’ by a million people but you have to believe enough in your product and brand to make it succeed.

And the greatest success? 

Being named as one of Forbes 30 under 30. I was gobsmacked to be nominated alongside such amazing people. Also really happy that all the hard work had been recognised.

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing
What’s a ‘normal’ day for you? 

One thing I love about this job is that there never really is a ‘normal’ day. I’m so involved in every aspect of the business still so I could be designing, on a photoshoot, planning for a trade show, sales appointments etc! It really is so varied.

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Meeting customers. I love hearing feedback first hand.

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing

How have you learned to master the different roles within your business?

Trial and error. I haven’t had a choice until now so you do just have to get on with it. Now I have staff, I’m so glad I’ve done each and every single job because I know the challenges, best practise etc.

What do you think is the biggest driver in your success?

Success itself. The more we succeed, the more I want to keep on going.

How do you face the challenges / overcome the difficulties?

I am constantly facing challenges, but instead of letting them break me, I’ve had to learn to deal with problems differently. Worrying about the challenges is something that still keeps me awake at night and something I still have to learn to control. But at the same time it’s the challenges that push you forward, and make you work so much harder to ensure the business works.  Sometimes I want to pull my hair out and question why so much goes wrong! My husband always reminds me that ‘it’s not meant to be easy: if it was, everyone would do it’.

You recently launched the Mini-Me collection (so cute) – what other exciting plans do you have for Pampelone?  

Ahh thank you! The kids collection is just one of my favourite things ever! Later this summer we’re launching an exclusive pair of sunglasses which I can’t wait to show you! Watch this space!

Do you have any tips for those who have their own business or are thinking of setting up their own business? 

Acknowledge the importance of marketing! Don’t forget that you can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows it exists, then you won’t make any money!

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing


Favourite thing to do on a Sunday?  A long lazy walk in Richmond Park and then lunch at Petersham Nurseries.

Favourite travel destination? 
 Having spent a lot of my childhood at my grandparent’s house in a simple Provençale fishing village in St Tropez, it’s somewhere I’ve always returned to. I don’t think there’s been one year of my life I haven’t been; it will always be a special place to me.

Favourite way to relax? I really relax through reading, and I have a weird obsession for “dad” thrillers! At the moment I’ve got my nose buried in a John Grisham.

Favourite blog or Instagram account? I love @tropicalwayoflife on Instagram – transports you to paradise each time you look at it.

What is your favourite Pampelone piece? It has to be the Romana Dress. It’s an embroidered navy tunic style dress that can be worn straight from the beach to drinks in the evening. I take it everywhere with me!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?  Sophia Amoruso who wrote GIRLBOSS said ‘JUST GO OUT THERE AND DO IT’ which I think about all the time. Stop talking about it, thinking about it, making a million excuses as to why it may not work – just be proactive and make it happen any way you can.

Holly Scarsella, founder of Pampelone Clothing

Want more? I don’t blame you!

Shop Pampelone here, and follow on Instagram for a daily dose of beach wear inspiration.

You can also find Pampelone on Twitter and Pinterest.

So, what do you think? INCREDIBLE right! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

And if you’d like some more career inspiration, don’t miss my interviews with Jennie from Lois Avery, Teigan from Olive et Oriel and Sarah from Floribunda Rose.