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Trendsetters at Work: Citizens of Humanity

Citizens of Humanity, Trendsetters at Work Christina Mack

Who doesn't love a good pair of jeans?

Especially when they're as covetable as the denim offerings of celeb cult-favorite Citizens of Humanity. Company president Amy Williams got her start in retail but worked her way up the fashion echelons to her current position heading the must-have jeans brand.   

We caught up with Williams to get the scoop on her day-to-day schedules and current must-haves! 

Here's what she shared:

How did you get started in your career?
I started working as a senior in high school as a sales person at Bloomingdale's and fell in love with the world of retail. The creativity, energy and the business was for me—the perfect mix of creativity and business. For the next few years, I jumped on the opportunity to work in retail and ultimately got a position in the Macy's Internship Program.

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What is a typical day like for you?
First, the day begins a bit earlier then I might like—with one of our 4-year-old twins crawling into bed at 1 or 2 in the morning! When the work day begins, I usually start with calls to our European team reviewing accounts, brand initiatives, marketing/branding activities and any sales/product feedback. We have been working on setting up our own teams in each of these markets as well as fully branding ourselves there, [which] can include showroom redesigns, event planning or PR activities. Next up, a conference call with my boss, some strategic discussions and then on to a variety of team discussions or project work. Typically I spend my day with Jerome [Dahan, Citizens of Humanity's founder], the design team, Our VPs of women's and men's and working on executing some of our initiatives: The launch of our e-commerce site, our first store in Japan, a new product range we are working on and some potential partnerships. A part of the day is often spent talking to key accounts and thinking about what we can do better as a group. [I end the day] with calls to Japan and emails I did not answer during the day.

Describe your work environment.
A large white Parson's table, a mercury glass lamp with black shade, a pile of magazines, lots and lots of black and white photos of my family and a few sketches I purchased from Carrie Donovan's estate sketched for her by Karl Lagerfeld. Some crystals on my desk, iced green tea and a long to-do list I never seem to get through. 

Tell us about your office décor or creative inspiration.
I love and need a very clean work environment, a great notebook/organizer and lots of pens and pencils. [I] have a giant bulletin board with my tear sheets, some inspiring words and more photos of my family. A few of our girls' "drawings" and photo booth pics and a picture of a renovated airstream which is something I aspire to do and have.

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Describe your office style. What do you typically wear to work?
Jeans, of course, are the base of every day's outfit—from there, it totally depends on my mood and what I am doing. Sometimes I just pair them with a great white shirt, a favorite vintage belt and lots of necklaces and bracelets. Other times, I elevate it a bit and add a great heel or my recent splurge—Céline pony sneaks—and put on a silk top from Nili Lotan and [a] Stella black blazer. I love classics with a simple modern shape and, of course, great handbags. Those are my weakness. 

Where do you shop for work clothes?
Mostly online or on my trips to New York. Much easier to do and do well without our adorable kids around. Net-a-Porter, Shopbop, Andrew Wang and J. Crew are favorites and the shoe and bag departments at Barneys and Bergdorf's are so reliable and easy to shop.

What are your favorite brands of accessories?
Céline. 

My favorite thing in my office/on my desk is…
A photo of my brother and I when we were 6 and 4. My British magazines.

The best part of my job is…
The people I get to work with and loving the product and brand.

I never leave home without…
My phone.

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What is your guilty pleasure?
Reading magazines. A spa day and a great hike. 

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Be yourself, be kind and work hard.

What are your travel must-haves?
A cashmere blanket, a giant stack of magazines, a stocked iPad, Weleda hand cream, Tata Harper Products all piled into my Céline Luggage Tote—which was a most generous gift.

What are your beauty must-haves? 
Tata Harper Products, Chanel Vitalumière Foundation, red nail polish and anything that Cowshed makes.

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What is your go-to lunch? Favorite snack? Morning beverage?
I am not so good about always eating lunch, but I am in love with the new salads from Starbucks—the brown rice and hearty veggie is to die for. I always wake up with cold brewed ice coffee and I am newly addicted to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Kind protein bars.

My favorite gadgets for work and play:
[My] iPad, a great notebook and an organizer I am dying to design. I have specific ideas of how I like to keep things organized and love paper products—not a digital calendar.

I read these web sites/blogs/newspapers/books daily:
The New York Times
, WWD, The Coveteur, Vogue Daily, Into the Gloss.

If I wasn't doing this job, I would be
An architect (like my dad) or producer. I love people, creating things and the balance between right and left brain.

Can you share some advice for aspiring career girls? 
Find something you love and don't treat it like work. It's your life and you will work hard if you love it, which, of course, will lead to great things.  Listen well.

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