Give a warm Aerie fam welcome to Amanda Dandrea, our amazing brand manager. We reached out to Amanda to learn all about the ins and outs of her job as well as get advice for anyone who wants to step into the shoes of brand manager. Read on to see the full Q & A.
Tell us about your role and how you got into being a fashion brand manager?
Thanks for asking, and first I must say I truly LOVE my job! Aerie is such an amazing brand with an incredible mission and authentic connection to our customers which makes me feel so passionate about what I do.
My role within Aerie marketing is focused on brand strategy, and that covers things like seasonal brand campaigns, events, community engagement, partnerships, philanthropy and more! I’ve been with the Aerie brand for about 10 years now, and previously I was on the AE marketing team for a couple years after I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
Having an interest in fashion and style, I really narrowed my focus on fashion brands and networked, applied for jobs and took every interview opportunity to learn more and make connections. It was through the relationships I built with recruiters and management from American Eagle through a case study competition I participated in that I was offered a job to work in marketing. Dream. Come. True!
What were some of your favorite brand campaigns to develop and work on?
I’ve had the privilege of experiencing and being part of a lot of campaigns for Aerie over the years, so it’s hard to choose! But there are a few that stick out to me.
First was when we launched the #AerieREAL campaign in 2014. I remember vividly the excitement and thrill of seeing the campaign launch knowing that it would not only put Aerie on the map in a big way, but also change the industry and make so many people feel good when they saw real, un-retouched images for an intimate apparel brand.
Another campaign that was very challenging yet super rewarding to work on was our partnership with the movie Captain Marvel in spring 2019. I was the lead on the campaign and learned so much from that experience. It was all-consuming and pushed me to expand my skills and ability to manage so much at one time, yet gratifying to see all of the work pay off when the marketing launched across billboards, digital ads, licensed product and even the red carpet premiere of the film.
Lastly, the #AerieREAL Change campaign in spring 2020 was a favorite campaign of mine to develop and work on. We had a group of 13 #AerieREAL Role Models who were changemakers in their own communities and helped us inspire our community to make change too.
How do you decide what organizations and charities to work with?
This is one of my favorite parts of my job! Our charity partnerships are so important to us – it’s how we give back and invest in causes that are most important to us and our customers. We have built charity partnerships over the years that are doing meaningful work for causes like breast and ovarian health, mental health, sustainability, inclusivity, eating disorders, food insecurity and more. We really lean into what our customers tell us they care about and find the right organizations that have strong programs and wide reach to address these issues. We develop close relationships with the people working in the charities and work as a team to show up in the best, most meaningful way possible.
What or who do you look to for inspiration when coming up with big ideas?
There are tons ways that we find inspiration for campaign ideas that come from so many sources across our design team’s seasonal inspiration, our research and insights about what’s going on in our customer’s life, what’s happening on social media… It’s a fine balance of staying relevant to what’s going on in the world right now, standing out with a creative idea that sets us apart and most importantly always staying true to our brand and what we stand for.
What has been your proudest moment working with Aerie?
I can’t say it’s one particular moment as much as the cumulative appreciation and love for the brand that makes me most proud. When I see comments, customer submissions or notes of thanks from our community about how they feel more confident, seen and represented because of Aerie, that’s what makes me the proudest because I know that the work we’re doing is making a difference.
Wheels up! What’s the most fun place you’ve ever been to for work?
Over the years, I’ve gotten to do some fun traveling for events, pop-ups, store openings and more. I think the coolest and most fun was Coachella! For 3 years in a row, we did a brand activation at Coachella in Palm Springs where we wanted to create brand awareness and reach new customers.
The first year, we had just launched the Concert Bra which was a festival-inspired wear-out bra that was perfect for Coachella outfitting. We hosted an event the night before the Coachella weekend kicked off and created an incredible branded space where we could interact with people and share our brand in a place where fashion & style stands out! It was a really fun work experience and the festival itself wasn’t too bad either ;).
Time to dish… what’s the biggest secret about what you do?
It’s probably what I DON’T do… which is, I don’t work crazy long hours! I am adamant about a good work/life balance. My work days are super busy and productive but I try to keep it to an 8 hour day so I can protect my personal time for myself and my family. I make sure I’m working smart during the work day so I can balance both parts of my life as equally as possible.
Your Aerie fam loves you, tbh. So much! What do you love about working for Aerie?
Brb, sobbing!!! Nothing makes me happier than hearing that because hands down, number one thing I love most is the people. I could go on & on & on about everything I love, but it really is the team I am a part of. I feel so honored and grateful every day that I get to be part of this team. Everyone is passionate, dedicated and fun to work with. We genuinely believe in the brand mission of empowering everyone to love their REAL selves which is why our brand is what it is today.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a brand manager?
Being a brand manager means being very in tune with your customer, who you’re trying to reach and your brand DNA. You have to be an expert in these areas to know, not only how to effectively market to your target customer, but also stay true to your brand ethos.
Beyond that, networking and making connections is my biggest piece of advice in general. I focused on that so much in college and in my professional life. Establishing and forming relationships with people in companies or teams you want to be on helps you to be known and thought of for opportunities, but also helps you understand what you do and don’t want out of a job or career.
We can’t say thanks enough to Amanda for sharing her story and giving us a deeper look into her role. What careers do you want to see next in our #AerieREAL Shop Talk series? Sound off in the comments!