Meet Helena Ammitzboell, the beauty & brains behind Australia Fashion Label Asta Resort. Helena shares the behind the scenes of building a business including her biggest-pinch me moments and the muse who started it all.
Sydney, but I would also say Copenhagen, Denmark as well because that’s where my family is from originally.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU STARTED ASTA RESORT?
I started Asta while I was at uni studying design & media, so before that I was working in retail selling clothes and working a million random odd jobs to save so I could start the brand.
WHAT IS YOUR JOB ROLE NOW?
Founder and creative director of Asta Resort, but our team is still small so I wear a lot of hats.
TYPICAL DAY AT THE OFFICE?
Every day is different and there’s always something to be excited about. I usually go into the office around 8.30 or 9 and check what’s happened overnight in terms of emails and who’s been wearing Asta. Then I might be working on a new drop, selecting fabrics, fitting samples or planning a campaign shoot. If I’m travelling I am also constantly on the phone talking to our manufacturers.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME ‘ASTA RESORT’?
‘Asta’ is my cousins name and I have always loved it. She is also such a muse. And ‘Resort’ not only explains the offerings of the brand (swim & resort wear), but it also references a resort lifestyle, and I think of the brand as a sort of ‘destination’ for this. I liked the idea of Asta Resort being a metaphorical venue for girls to go on vacation mentally.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
Definitely travel, Pre-covid I went to Bali a lot and always wished there was a place where I could get really nice vacation-wear and swim from. So I started making my own in uni classes, masking them as assessments but really only making them so I could pack them on up-coming holidays. Other inspiration comes from photo books (we have so many Assouline and Slim Aarons books in the office), and of course Pinterest.
BIGGEST PINCH ME MOMENT?
A pinch me moment happens every week when I realise people want to buy what I’ve made, but there have been so many others. Seeing Tammy Hembrow in our stuff, getting offered a slot at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, when a restock sells out in minutes and we have to order triple what we thought was enough - That’s all crazy to me and I’ll never take anything for granted.
YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCT FROM THE RANGE?
That’s so hard. I live in the Gabriella and Iris bikinis. The Fifi mini dress for me is also always a classic. It’s just so easy I literally wear it to the shops or to a party.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNT FROM BUILDING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Businesses aren’t simple. There’s a thousand moving parts at any one time. They are complex beasts and you need to take care of all aspects. There’s a lot of learning things the hard way.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Throw yourself into it! Don’t be scared. Plan things out well and use the best quality materials in whatever you're doing.
WORDS TO LIVE BY?
Everything always works itself out.