PA Diaries: Victoria Braithwaite, FARFETCH

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Good morning, happy Friday and bring on the Bank Holiday weekend! Can you tell I’m slightly excited? I suppose when you factor in the PA who has joined us this week on the PA Diaries, you could almost forgive me if I was suddenly to start skipping merrily around Mayfair like the cat who got the cream…. This week, we are joined by Victoria, Personal Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer & Senior Vice President of Online Technology at one of the largest and most successful online luxury fashion retailers in todays market, Farfetch.

A little histoire on Farfetch itself – Farfetch is a British international fashion website that stocks products from 400 independent boutiques around the world. The website was founded in 2008 by the Portuguese entrepreneur José Neves with Farfetch HQ based in London and other offices located in New York, Los Angeles, Guimarães, Porto, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.

So, without further ado, let’s get cracking with this weeks diary and trust me, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, Victoria will certainly not disappoint!

J: Hi Victoria, I am so happy to have you here at The Assistant Room! How are you?

V: Hello Jess! Besides being super busy, I’m great. Thank you for having me.

J: You’re welcome! I think it would be an amazing start to our chat to start off by finding out what life is like working for one of the largest online luxury retailers…

V: Extremely fast-paced and demanding! Every day is varied for me and there is always something going on. There is never a dull moment at Farfetch HQ. We are a young and friendly bunch, full of energy and innovative ideas. The employees are truly happy, and we are very much like one big family. It’s a wonderful feeling waking up every day looking forward to going to work – except the daily commute, absolutely manic!

J: Great! From the looks of your CV you have had a very varied career so far however seem to have always gravitated back towards the fashion industry. What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role at Farfetch and why?

V: My experience has been quite varied as my skills are so transferable. Coming from a background of luxury retail management, which had already prepared me for a high-end supporting role. Deep down inside, I always feel at home in the luxury fashion world. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to deliver. I make things happen and very rapidly, my bosses always recognise hard work and dedication. Any way I can make their working life smoother and more controllable – I’ll do it.

J: We all have very different relationships with those who we support. If you could use three words to describe the relationship you have with your boss what would they be?

‘I make things happen and very rapidly, my bosses always recognise hard work and dedication’

V: I have two bosses (COO & SVP Online Technology) and they’re both extremely hard working and inspirational characters.

Understanding, Respectful and Genuine – applies to both!

J: They both sound fantastic! I recently caught up with Alex, PA to the CEO & COO at The British Fashion Council; we chatted about the Devil Wears Prada myth and what it’s really like working as a PA in the fashion industry. What would you say to those who feel inspired by the film to pursue a career as a PA?

V: It’s definitely not like what you see on TV. I’m sure there are some Miranda Priestly’s out there, but my guys (bosses) are super cool. However, just like the film, you do have to get stuck in and prepare for drastic changes, it’s all very exciting and I love it!

J: Looking back, what would your best piece of advice be to yourself when you walked through the door on your first day at your first PA job?

V: Be confident, assertive, present, and ask questions. Really get to know your bosses’ likes, dislikes, communication preferences, everything! Also, use your resources, they prove to be valuable.

J: When thinking of everything you have come across in your career so far, what would you say is your biggest achievement?

V: Being able to manage five c-level diaries all at once. Not to mention, organising a UK celebrity event and playing DJ whilst waiting for the official DJ to arrive – phew hard work!

‘Be confident, assertive, present, and ask questions. Really get to know your bosses’ likes, dislikes, communication preferences, everything!’

J: And likewise, your biggest challenge?

V: Being able to switch off and have ‘Victoria’ time. I find it very difficult to restrain myself from checking my emails when I’m out of the office.

J: And so far, what has been your greatest moment of 2016?

V: Definitely visiting Venice, it was an amazing must-do experience.  I’m looking forward to paragliding in Oludeniz next month.


J: You have an important meeting sprung on you last minute and have to rush out for an emergency wardrobe change, where do you go?

V: One New Change is just an Uber away, and I have a pile of heels under my desk. However my daily attire choice should be sufficient.

J: What are your top 5 handbag essentials excluding your phone and purse to always be carrying?

V: Portable iPhone charger, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir (handbag size), Mac Lipstick – Kinda Sexy, Bath & Bodyworks nectarine sanitising hand gel, and Kleenex tissues

J: You have a last minute private dining event to organise, what is your number one venue?

V: The Apartment at The Hoxton Grill, very on brand!

J: If there was one app you couldn’t live without what would it be?

V: It’s got to be Instagram. It’s not only good for posting photos; I use the search function to check out places I’m considering on visiting or plan to book for my bosses.

J: You’ve had a long and difficult day at work, where is the first place that you go?

V: Straight home to relax, unwind and have a hot bath with a drop of Thisworks – Deep sleep bath soak (available on Farfetch).

J: What would you say is your biggest guilty pleasure?

V: Melted cheese, I’ll eat it any day. Have you seen that there’s a restaurant in New York (Raclette, NYC) dedicated to grilled cheese? HEAVEN!

J: What is your favourite famous quote?

V: “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved” – George MacDonald