ITC Interview :: Megan Williams of Henry & Belle

I walked into the Chicago high-rise not knowing what to expect. Megan Williams, the marketing aficionado behind Henry & Belle, invited me to the company’s offices to chat fashion and explore what goes on in the world of jean production. A hundred questions ran through my mind on the elevator ride up. What were the offices going to be like? Would I feel out of place? Would Megan be nice? I’d never before been “behind the scenes” for a clothing brand and I was admittedly excited and a bit nervous.

My nerves immediately subsided when I stepped onto the floor where the brand lives. The atmosphere was relaxed, open and anything but presumptuous. Racks of jeans lined the walls, clips of material donned sketches of silhouettes, and faded photos of the original Henry & Belle hung on the walls. “Humble” and “inspiring” are the words that come to mind in hindsight.

And Megan herself? She welcomed me with a big hug and glass of wine, so clearly we were fast friends. We toured the offices as she explained the brand’s roots {Henry was a designer and Belle was his muse}, their charitable giving {A portion of every purchase goes toward charity}, and how new styles come to be {They have an in-house designer who sketches on the daily}. We explored the warehouse where all the shipping and handling is facilitated, which was filled with floor-to-ceiling boxes of jeans in every size and color imaginable. I even got to try on never-before-seen samples, and let me tell you, there are some amazing styles being released soon!

Putting my marketing hat on, I kept thinking about how talented Megan and her {small!} team are to create such buzz and hype around the brand. Clearly I needed to get the inside scoop and advice for how to thrive in the fashion world, which I’m excited to share with you below.

Ladies and gents, I’m proud to introduce you to…

ITC: The fashion industry is a tough one to break into. How did you get to where you are at today? What’s your background?
Megan: You couldn’t be any more accurate…I have always said you really need to know someone to get into the industry.  I fortunately had the opportunity to work for a clothing boutique all throughout high school and college which ultimately got my foot in the door in fashion.  I made several buying trips to the Merchandise Mart and started networking with people in the industry.  Fast forward almost 15 years and I am now running sales and marketing for Henry & Belle denim.  I have done it all, which has really helped me grow professionally.  I have been in all aspects of this industry from being a road rep to customer service.  

ITC: Any words of wisdom for people trying to get a job in fashion?
Megan: Being in fashion is probably every girl’s dream, but don’t get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the word “fashion.”  It isn’t as glamorous as it seems.  You need to work your way to the top!  The best advice I can give anyone is to be nice.  You will get so much further with people by being yourself and not trying to be someone you aren’t.


ITC: As a marketing professional, you’ve done such a wonderful job at getting Henry & Belle’s name out there. What are your tips for people trying to get the word out for their business or marketing role? 
Megan: As I mentioned before, networking is key.  The more people you know, the better.  Being social and attending events in the city, reading magazines and getting connected are the best things to do.  I started locally first and now have broadened to bigger fashion areas such as LA and NY.  Utilize social media as much as you can, especially LinkedIn.  You would be surprised who you can find on there.

ITC: Let’s talk jeans. How does Henry & Belle differ from other jean brands?
Megan: They are by far the most comfortable jeans you will ever wear.  I have women emailing me daily saying their H&B jeans feel like a yoga pant.  On top of being so stretchy, they don’t stretch out, so you can wear them over and over again all while looking like you just put them on.  The best part is that in our super stretch fabric you can go down a size. Ladies, that means you can drink as much wine as you want and you can still fit in your skinny jeans!

ITC: What’s the best way to care for your jeans?
Megan:  DO NOT put your jeans in the dryer!  If you have to put them in the washer or dryer to get them to go back to their normal size, then you aren’t buying the right brand.  Don’t wash your jeans unless you absolutely have to.  If you are worried about bacteria or smell, just put them in the freezer overnight.  


ITC: Jeans are so versatile and go with pretty much anything, but I’m curious, what’s your favorite way to wear them?
Megan: I am a jeans and t-shirt girl.  I guess it’s probably good I don’t work for anything other than a denim brand.  You will rarely see me in a skirt or dress.  I love being comfortable, so right now the baggier the better.  I love my boyfriend jeans, a white t-shirt, my oxfords and as much K. Amato jewelry I can get on my body. I keep it simple.

ITC: What are your favorite trends of spring that we should keep an eye out for? 
Megan: I love the Micro Flare because it forces you to change your outfit.  Not only does the Micro Flare make you look like you have legs for days, it forces you to put on your wedge.  (Side note: Henry & Belle’s Micro Flare has won “the most slimming jean” 2 years in a row in “People Style Watch!”)

ITC: Who is your style icon?
Megan: I have always tried to be a trend setter and not a trend follower, so I just try and create my own style based on how I feel that day. 


A huge thanks to Megan for showing me the Henry & Belle ropes and answering the above questions! 

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7 thoughts on “ITC Interview :: Megan Williams of Henry & Belle

  1. Dana Kay

    Loved reading this interview! The q&a had great information and tips on jeans and how to pursue your career goals. Thanks for sharing.
    xo,
    Dana Kay
    danakay16.blogspot.com

    Reply
  2. Lindsay Humes

    This interview is so cool. I love supporting Chicago brands, and I’ve been meaning to purchase a pair of Henry + Belle jeans. I’m just waiting until I lose a little bit of my winter weight.

    Reply

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