In Conversation With: Vanessa Bottomley

    At Head over Heels, meeting our customers is always a highlight. We've had the pleasure of getting to know the lovely Vanessa Bottomley. Continue reading to get to know a bit about her and see what she's loving from HOH at the moment.

    Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

    I am the second best friend to our dog Nonu (my partner is definitely the best friend!), a very keen solo hiker and a generally curious human. I work in brand and marketing strategy at Publica, a multi-disciplinary creative and development agency, based here in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Alongside work, I’ve been working with Emily Heazlewood, the founder of Amor, New Zealand’s newest (and best!) matchmaking app.

    Tell us about your career journey and what inspired you to get into marketing.

    I’ve been in brand and marketing for a long time now, mainly in-house/client side, and now in an agency. There aren’t many sectors that I haven’t worked in, from hotels, event management, education and retail, to aviation, aged care and professional services. The sectors are all different, but at the end of the day it’s all about people and the way they behave. Marketing is such a blend of science, creativity, psychology and intuition. I love a deep dive, so the research and diagnosis component of strategy is intensely satisfying. That balances with the creativity you need to solve problems and tell stories that people can get on board with.

    What is a typical day in your life like?

    I am a ‘gym in the morning’ person, so either off for a class at Les Mills (shoutout to Nora, the best Trip trainer) or to Strong in The Crossing. Once that’s done (and a couple of coffees later), I’ll head into the office. Days in agencies aren’t necessarily typical, the projects and clients are varied, but my work is usually focussed on research, workshop facilitation or strategy development. Over the weekend, there’s time with my partner and walks with Nonu, catch ups with friends, work on Amor and (hopefully) a nap!

    What is the best career advice you have received?

    Eat the frog. Mark Twain said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." I don’t know why Mark Twain had an obsession with eating frogs - but the gist is that the "frog" is the thing you don't want to do. By eating it first thing in the morning, you build momentum by doing the toughest thing first. That, and take notes (or use, always write it down.

    What is your favourite part about what you do?

    Getting to the ‘aha’ moment is pretty exciting, and seeing a solution put in place that has had input from lots of different clever minds.

    How would you describe your personal style and what influences it?

    I tried doing the three word challenge and came up with eclectic, chic and elevated. Style is an extension of creativity, it’s an opportunity to colour your day and set the scene. I’m more conscious of dressing for what pleases my eye than anyone else's - I’m less about appearing small, and more about taking up space. Influences of style are everywhere all the time, but I definitely pick up alot through Insta and TikTok.

    What do you love to do when you’re not working?

    I am madly passionate about solo hiking. Last summer I got away to Earnslaw Burn, the Routeburn and Valley of the Trolls. We have a beautiful backyard, and it’s so safe to explore. Humpridge and Heaphy are next on the list.

    What has been one of the highlights of your career to date?

    There have been a few, but one that comes to mind most recently was the brand refresh we worked on for The Piano. We are so lucky to have such an incredible venue here in Ōtautahi!

    Where is your favourite destination and why?

    Rome is my favourite city, Lake Garda is my favourite holiday spot and in New Zealand, my favourite is anywhere in the mountains where I can pitch a tent with some views and find some water!

    What are you reading / watching / listening to at the moment?

    My favourite poddy is ‘The Girls Uninterrupted’, it's like having a wine with mates, ‘On Strategy’ by Fergus O’Carroll is a great one for brand and marketing, and ‘WorkLife’ by Adam Grant is always fascinating. I’ll tune into anything that Dr Mary Claire Haver, an outstanding advocate for perimenopausal and menopausal woman, is talking on. I’m doing an MBA paper on Brand at the moment with Mark Ritson, so that takes up any spare time!

    What’s your most treasured item in your wardrobe?

    Impossible - I love so many pieces for so many reasons and most of those are deeply sentimental!

    Heels or flats?

    Both! At just on 5 foot, I adore heels - but love that we have the option of flats (remember when heels were practically uniform?!).

    What is your favourite HOH purchase?

    Such a tough question! I picked up a couple of Laura Bellariva boots this season, but last season’s combat boots are still going strong and for the flat days - I love my Abigayle loafers.

    What are you currently coveting from HOH at the moment?

    Three things: 1. Miista Airi Loafers - I drool! 2. Halmanera Morris heels - is that what it’s like to be tall? 3. Nelson Made Phoebe Flats - just yes.


    Laura Bellariva Siena, Miista Airi and Halmanera Morris

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