Amy Sturgis is no stranger to all things fashion — she’s been working in public relations in the field since the age of 21 and counts Manolo Blahnik, Aspinal of London and All Things Mochi as previous clients and career experience. For someone who’s orchestrated hundreds, if not more, events and brand pop-ups, this one for Cinta the Label hits differently: the London-based contemporary, sustainable womenswear brand known for its innocently carefree and semi-relaxed silhouette was founded by Sturgis herself.
Located in the heart of London’s buzzing West End, Cinta’s new pop up on South Molton Street (same street where British fashion institution Browns Fashion’s flagship store used to be) opened its doors on June 23 with a whimsical vibe throughout.
“I launched Cinta in spring 2019 as a sustainable silk alternative.” Sturgis recalls the early days of her young brand, “When the pandemic hit in early 2020 we pivoted into knitwear, which became so popular.” Cinta’s pieces are girly, playful, with a distinctive modern-day Dorothy of “Wizard of Oz” vibe that makes one feel like they are cruising along the lavender field in Provence. “The ideas, mood board and themes for Cinta start from me but we have an amazing design and production manager, Laura, who manages the technical side of design and communicates with our manufacturers. Also a shout out to Clarisse and Iona on the Cinta team who manage everything from our online community to customer service.” The founder beams while referring to her team.
Speaking of the style aesthetics of Cinta, Sturgis says: “The Cinta girl is feminine but self assured, she is confident! Cinta is definitely in line with my own style — I love a bit of vintage and whimsical but also know when to dress it down and who my audience are.” You will most likely find Sturgis in a Cinta dress with a Chanel shoe for a corporate meeting before updating her outfit with a cowboy boot and statement coat for hanging out with friends. The founder wants to make sure that her designs are inclusive: “I love that the pieces are versatile and can be worn in multiple ways to suit women of all ages and sizes. I use my Mum for advice when designing to make sure she likes some of the pieces, and that they cater to her generation — she has the knits in more colors than me!”
There is no denying that Sturgis was born with an artistic flare, and loves to submerge herself in creativity. What makes the founder different, however, is her business-minded way of thinking and passion for entrepreneurship — she also owns a second business, a fashion PR consulting company called ASC Global, which she started around the same time as Cinta in 2019. “I started working in PR in Dubai for TOH PR at 21 and quickly realized it was my jam. I loved the strategic side of the business but also the creativity you get granted in order to help gain exposure for the brand.”
Sturgis’ client sheet at ASC Global reads like the dream wardrobe and who’s who in fashion and beauty: House of Sunny, Paper London, Oceanus, Finlay & Co, Cro-Che, Room24, CurrentBody, Known Nutrition, Aurum & Grey, Paradis Perdus — the list goes on.
As the young founder and CEO of both Cinta and ASC Global, Sturgis comments on the importance of having the right team in place — “We have a growing team and I owe a lot to them!” — before continuing on the subject of female entrepreneurship: “I have learnt that women are pretty incredible. I am really lucky to be surrounded by a lot of female entrepreneurs within my direct business and surrounding who really inspire me. This is important!”
I asked Sturgis what is the one personal trait that was the most instrumental in leading her to where she is today, and Sturgis doesn’t hesitate: “I never give up. If one route doesn’t work I will try another one!” But it’s also not all about pushing forward and achieving KPIs for the busy girl boss: “Being kind is also super important, and it is something I have always tried to instill in myself and my team, however things are going.” Sturgis is also grateful for her mentors, likeminded entrepreneurs and supportive friends who have been there for her when the journey gets bumpy.
And the biggest challenge? Sturgis says frankly: “I have learnt to believe in the universe and its timing, that a no will only open another door, that you get out what you put in and to have trust in the process and to learn from your mistakes. I would say my biggest challenge is impatience. I know the process and have done what I do for along time now — but I always like things to happen quickly.”
Running two businesses is by no means an easy task, and Sturgis is all about getting ahead bright and early: “A big savior has been my early mornings. I set my alarm for 4.30am, at least Monday – Thursday and am typically sat at the table by 5am. 5am-8am is my time before anyone comes online to get ahead of everything I need to do.” Sturgis is also a fan of transcendental meditation and meditates everyday. “When I get to the office around 9am I sit down with both teams separately and off we go.”
Aside from keeping her weekends free to spend with friend, Sturgis now also tries to make sure Sundays are for herself — something the pandemic has taught her. When the pandemic broke out in March 2020, Sturgis only had one full time employee. Now she has 8. Speaking of her journey through arguably one of the scariest times for a solo business owner, Sturgis says: “It was a very turbulent time for fashion with many retail stores closing, so I decided to do what I believed in — being kind. As a business we launched self-care boxes and sent them out week after week to the clients, journalists and influencers who continued to support us, in hope of brightening up their day. This way we also gave smaller businesses who we would not usually work with the chance to access our audience. We also helped our clients to further develop their content online, and worked with meditation teachers, fitness coaches, sound healers to bring them to the forefront of our brands audiences. I was given the opportunity to be truly present. It was me, my mind and resources, no events, no travel, no meetings. Coming out of the pandemic, I want to remember to always make time for me and my mind because this is where the greatest creativity comes from. We need to be kind to those around us but also ourselves. Burnout is not cool!”