Holly Scarsella is 27, founder of celeb-adored resortwear line Pampelone and is on Forbes 30 Under 30 list of stand-out entrepreneurs.
With Olivia Palermo, Eva Longoria and Blake Lively as avid fans, her St Tropez inspired dresses and shirts are everywhere right now.
As one of London’s best-connected fashionistas, Holly spoke to Mind Beauty Style about entrepreneurial life, to share her take on beauty and how she brings that beach side feeling to the every day.
When you say the name St Tropez it literally connotes so much in one go I don’t know where to start! My grandparents bought a house there over 50 years ago when it was a simple fishing village and ever since we have spent every vacation there as a family. I see it as my second home.
Obviously spending so much time there we were really close friends with our neighbours and 10 years ago this summer, one of the boys brought down a friend – who is now my husband. It just makes the place so much more special as it’s were we met, where we went on our first date, where we shared our first kiss and we’ve been back every year since.
From a business perspective, St Tropez could not be more of an influence and inspiration. I had the lightbulb moment for PAMPELONE when I was packing for my honeymoon. I found it mad that I wanted to buy cute beach dresses that were slightly better quality than Topshop but the only alternative was super expensive Heidi Klein / Mara Hoffman etc. I mean, who wants to spend £500 on a beach dress and be worrying about getting sun cream on it?
I then thought back to my upbringing in St Tropez and watching the most incredibly glamorous women at the beach wearing the same linen pieces from the market. So effortless but so put together at the same time. That was the look I wanted to make and PAMPELONE was born.
I’ve always known that I wanted to set up my own brand. I worked in PR for years and worked with some huge brands like TIFFANY & CO and UGG Australia, but my favourite thing was working for smaller brands and watching them knowing a big chunk of that was down to PR. That taught me the importance of marketing to a business – there’s no point having the best product in the world if people just don’t know about it.
I started the wheels in motion for Pampelone and after lots of blood sweat and tears (literally) we launched in July 2015. The first ‘wow’ moment was a few days after launch when Pandora Sykes – to date one of the most stylish women I follow on Instagram – blogged about us. We saw our website nearly crash from the traffic and it could not have happened at a more perfect time.
In the 6 months that followed it totally paid off – by Christmas we were being stocked by some of the world’s largest e-tailers SHOPBOP, THE ICONIC and VERYEXCLUSIVE and had celeb fans including Blake Lively and Eva Longoria. I was literally pinching myself on a daily basis. We recently launched into BLOOMINGDALES – I mean THE Bloomingdales! That was really special!
I sometimes joke it’s the best and worst thing you can ever imagine. Best because it’s so satisfying to see your business grow but also bad because PAMPELONE is my life.
What people don’t think about when looking at the fun stuff on Instagram is the sheer amount of sacrifices you make. Never seeing friends or family, missing important functions etc and all to put absolutely every ounce of energy into the business.
But I have to say that PAMPELONE has given me some of the best experiences; from travelling to the most incredible cities to meeting the most inspirational entrepreneurs. There definitely are a lot of perks too. The biggest luxury is only having to answer to myself.
I’m 7 months pregnant right now so my health routine is different from my usual, but when I was not pregnant I would always try and work out 3 times a week – my favourite was a cardio boxing gym in London called KOBOX – literally the best workout ever. I would do a 6am class to start the day motivated and with a clear mind. It’s also amazing for people watching as a few Victoria’s Secret angels go there.
I know it’s annoying to hear but I do benefit from insane genes – thank you Grandparents! My grandfather is Indian and has the softest, clearest skin known to man and I am beyond lucky to have taken after him. I used to be such a boy when it came to skincare – I really don’t deserve good skin. I would literally wash my face with soap and that was it. So bad! But as I’m getting older I’m taking better care of it. I always use SPF – sun damage is not attractive at any age. And I have a few products I literally SWEAR by and will not travel without. The first is a Kiehls Tumeric and Poppy Seed Face Mask – not expensive at all, but can literally transform my skin in 10 minutes. It goes from tired and dry to fresh and dewy. I use it the night before any big event or photoshoot without fail!
The second are my creams from Charlotte Tilbury for my face. Charlotte’s Magic Cream really is called that for a reason. Buy it. Trust me. And now I’m pregnant and my skin is dry, Jo Malone’s Vitamin E Cream is saving my life. It’s unscented but even the natural ingredients are perfume-like. And no stretch marks yet…fingers crossed!
I have five trusted staples. A good tinted moisturiser – I use one by CLARINS – I HATE the cakey look so never wear foundation. Secondly a good bronzer – especially for the summer, mascara (obviously), a good liquid eyeliner, and lastly a lip liner which I use to fill my lips – and to make it slightly fresher I just put Vaseline on top. I have to say I love Taylor Hill’s make up. I just love how she always looks so fresh and effortless.
I’ve never coloured my hair. Not once. It makes such a difference. I wash it 3 times a week – making sure I’m not stripping the oils and love doing a Moroccan Oil treatment once a month to just make it extra shiny! I actually also got the most amazing piece of advice from hairstylist to the stars, Ken Paves who works with Victoria Beckham and Eva Longoria. It seems obvious, but he explained that most women ruin their hair because they straighten or blow dry the same top section of hair over again and again, thinking it will eventually dry the bottom when it fact it damages the hair. He told me to always section my hair. I have done ever since!
Being so time poor, I shop online. And my faves are SHOPBOP and REVOLVE. You can find so much on there and so many cute new designers! My current faves are RIXO for blouses and dresses, and SORU for jewellery – so darn cute! I would say my style is quite classic, being curvy I don’t tend to suit the newest trends etc, I always just feel a bit silly. I always feel most comfortable in something that is well tailored. I sometimes can buy the cheapest outfit but a tweak at my local tailor can turn it into a knockout look!
—As told to Ursula Brunetti for Mind Beauty Style
Read more of As Told to MBS column over here.