A conversation with Spell & The Gypsy Collective’s marketing manager Mel Carrero is all kinds of inspiring, not to mention real. “I feel like I am never efficient,” she says, laughing. “I am very easily distracted so I am doing many things at once. I do seem to get a lot done, but I probably doing four things at once, not finishing each task before doing the next.”
Of course, others might disagree. If there’s one thing Mel knows how to do, it’s how to get it done. She’s a guru at marketing a brand and at any one time, she’ll be juggling campaign launches, media events, international photo shoots, all in the same week. “It could be a lot all happening at once with equal priority,” she says. Luckily, she has determination in spades. “I am determined in many ways when it comes to my career, and work ethic – sometimes that is a great thing and sometimes it means I never stop!” she says.
Through her own Instagram account (@melcarrero_), she’s built her own tribe of followers who love her style, realness and attitude to things such as body image. Here, we catch up with the Byron Bay-based Mel to talk marketing (if you have your own brand, you’ll love her must-read tips), fashion and what COVID-19 has meant for her.
On Instagram, you asked your followers the question: why do we women find it so hard to love our bodies? What’s your answer to this question?
Oh, such a hard one! We compare ourselves to others as we’re constantly watching social media, and a lot of what we’ve all been brought up seeing is perfect size 6-8 female bodies on the pages of magazines and in retail stores. I think we aren’t taught to love ourselves or be open about what we love about ourselves. It took me a long time to accept myself and stop wishing myself into someone else… and when I did it was quite liberating (not that it doesn’t happen from time to time!).
You get a lot of DMs asking you about body confidence, but have said that you’re not that confident. You wrote about how the photos you post are controlled by you, and a selection of one of sometimes hundreds of photos. Tell me about your body love journey?
Seriously so many DMs! I am not always confident, but of course, it takes some sort of confidence to get in front of a camera, but part of that is me pushing through some doubt because so many people tell me that my putting photos up helps them… it’s strange! Yes, sometimes it takes 100 photos… I think anyone content creating would have the same – you take many photos to get the right one, so when people compare their one quick snap to a curated shoot, it is not realistic!
A few years ago I wouldn’t put up a photo unedited or in certain angles, but these days I am definitely relaxing and accepting if I think my arm looks a bit chunky or there’s a bit of cellulite showing… because maybe that makes someone else accept their so-called ‘flaws’ a little more.
When you have a career in fashion, how important is social media?
I don’t think it’s important for a person to have their own social media profile in order to work in fashion at all, but I think a knowledge and understanding of the platform is super important, especially if you’re on the marketing side as it’s a huge way to reach your customers.
What’s the key to nailing social media?
Creating authentic content, putting out something unique and beautiful and engaging with your community.
Community is a buzzword for good reason – if a brand wants to be successful, it needs a community to market to. How have you approached engaging and growing a community over the years?
At Spell, it was building on the community that grew with the brand – I think the aesthetic that the brand puts out has created a community of like-minded people. For myself, it’s not only what you see on my posts, but the engaging conversations I have in my inbox. People tell me some pretty personal things about how they feel about themselves and I try to instil some positivity every way I can!
What does a typical day at Spell look like for you?
There is no typical day, usually! It has become more typical during COVID as I am not travelling anymore. At the moment it is still the basics – content creation, marketing strategy, planning our collection launches, producing and styling campaigns with our team.
What is the most rewarding part of working in marketing?
Producing the finished result, getting to work with some amazing talent and creatives that I have looked up to for a long time.
What advice do you have for women looking to launch a brand, on how to market it effectively?
Don’t be anyone but yourself or put something out there that isn’t truly you or your style – people can feel when a brand has a ‘soul’, I believe, and that is what draws people to keep coming back to a brand because it is more than just someone putting out a product for the sake of it, but a creative expression!
Where do some brands go wrong in marketing?
Inauthenticity in communicating or just creating something to make a business… the brand should be oozing out of you regardless of creating a business, it just comes out because you can’t help but be creating.
Day to day, what values are important to you?
Kindness, loyalty and honesty.
What daily self-care rituals do you have in place?
Only over the last couple years, I feel like I have been taking care of my body and skin. Every morning and night I now do a skin routine with toner, serum and moisturiser and oils, and I am also drinking a pro-biotic. When we began lockdown, I started doing Pilates at home and I love it!
Have you had any mentors who have helped or guided you throughout your career?
I haven’t had an official mentor, but through the years I have had so many different leaders that have taught me so much, of course Elizabeth the Chief Brand Officer at Spell being a huge part!
How has COVID-19 impacted your work?
It has impacted it hugely! When we were in lockdown our whole team worked from home for around three months. Before this, I was travelling every eight weeks or so over the past few years for photo shoots, business meetings and conferences – of course now that isn’t possible! We are working a little differently but still wanting to be as inspiring, creative and innovative as possible.
Growing up, were you always creative? And would you describe yourself as determined?
I would say I was always creative. Definitely not a sporty child, more a crafty or imaginative one, dressing up my barbies with scrap fabric, drawing or writing, and then in my teen years also styling up my friend’s outfits for events and op-shopping for different outfits. I am determined in many ways when it comes to my career, and work ethic – sometimes that is a great thing and sometimes it means I never stop! But I can also lack motivation in many other ways… I think all depends on what drives you.