I’m so excited for this month’s edition of my interview series, Sitting Pretty With, because I get to introduce y’all to my beautiful friend Abby. We’ve become friends in recent months and I’m so grateful. There are few people as genuine, warm, and inspiring as Abby! One of my favorite sections of this interview is the career section because she has the most amazing job… Abby is the Art Director at Tory Burch. She is such a talent with the most amazing eye as evident through her work, her style, and her general energy and positive outlook on life. Abby sets a wonderful example for what it means to take pride in your work, which is clearly evident even just in this interview! She is a true East Coast meets West Coast gal. I love the way her life path is reflected in her style! Read her whole interview to get a glimpse into the scene at Tory Burch, the California life she’s built with her husband and puppy (Pepper is the cutest!), and all her fashion, beauty, decor, and LA recommendations. I hope you enjoy my Sitting Pretty with Abby Ward of Tory Burch interview!
Sitting Pretty with Abby Ward of Tory Burch
Name: Abby L. Ward
Neighborhood: Beverly Hills, CA
Job: Art Director at Tory Burch
Instagram Handle: @abbyl_ward
Let’s talk business…
You serve as the Art Director at Tory Burch. That sounds like a dream job! Can you tell us a little more about your role and what it requires?
It still feels like a dream! I love what I do. I am responsible for creating a unique online user experience and translating the brand’s visual identity in the digital space — from art directing photoshoots and designing daily editorial content for Tory Daily, Tory Burch’s online magazine, to curating inspiration behind each collection across social media. The digital space is so exciting and always evolving, and every Tory Burch collection has a unique story to tell — a trip to India, a French film from the 60’s, East Coast meets West Coast (my favorite).
The environment is extremely collaborative — I work closely with our editors and developers to drive innovation, content and commerce. We have such an amazing team and it has been an incredible experience to be a part of the growth from the very beginning. When I started working at Tory Burch, I was employee #104. Now there are over 3,000 employees. Tory is just as excited and involved as she was when we first launched Tory Daily — bringing her vision to life is everything. It’s all about storytelling.
What has been your career path? Have you always worked at Tory Burch?
I had been working as the Assistant Photo Editor at InStyle.com for two and a half years when Creative Director Honor Brodie, a former editor at InStyle, came on board at Tory Burch in November 2008 and hired me as the company’s first web designer in February 2009.
What is a typical day in the life of Abby?
My team is in NYC and I don’t want to miss a beat so I’m up at 5:30am. I walk my dog Pepper, have breakfast with my husband Erik which is my favorite meal of the day and put myself together so I’m ready to go at my computer by 6:30am — I’m often responding to emails while racing to apply one last coat of mascara. I work from home for a few hours and then head to our LA office. It so fun working out of the Public Relations / Press office and seeing the latest Tory Burch & Tory Sport product to arrive. I have to refrain from trying everything on! Every now and then I can’t resist and I’ll literally put on a little fashion show (thank you to the PR girls for humoring me).
Each work day looks slightly different. Once a week I’m at a photoshoot, but a typical day involves designing layouts and formatting posts for Tory Daily, creating animations, researching beautiful iconic imagery and inspiration, curating pinterest boards, and brainstorming for upcoming stories. I work with our editorial team to develop content around each campaign and to secure great subjects to feature — from interior designers and entrepreneurs to artists and musicians.
In the evening, I decompress by going for a long walk with Pepper or grabbing a drink with friends. Most nights I cook dinner (usually some sort of quinoa bowl) and will catch up on instagram while half-watching Sex and the City until Erik gets home.
What keeps you inspired at work day-in and day-out?
I’m excited to come to work every day because Tory embodies the idea of living in color with character and beauty, and the company is a reflection of her values — kindness, integrity, compassion, humility, and humor. I have an amazing group of coworkers who make every day fun and inspiring. We keep things light and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Is there something you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your career?
The power of positivity and patience.
Do you have any advice for women looking to work in the world of fashion (both young professional women graduating from college and/or women looking for a career change)?
Build your personal brand and have a point of view. Commit to excellence in everything you do and the rest will follow. Don’t be afraid to relocate or look for a job that will stretch your skills.
Let’s talk Fashion…
Describe your style in three adjectives.
Easy, simple, understated.
What are your wardrobe staples?
Frame and L’Agence denim, La Ligne and MDS Stripes striped tees, Ancient Greek sandals, Tory Burch tunics and bikinis, Donni Charm scarves, white cotton dresses of any kind, and delicate gold necklaces and rings.
If I peeked into your closet, what color would be the most prominent?
Navy, white and a combination of the two.
What fashion piece would you splurge on tomorrow if you could?
Are there any trends you’re excited about right now?
Rattan/straw bags accented with a printed or striped scarf. I’m so ready for spring!
If you could switch closets with anyone, who would it be and why would you want their wardrobe?
Jessica De Ruiter is so effortlessly cool and understated. I love her neutral pallet. She has all the classic pieces and knows exactly how to style them for that perfect, simple, laid-back look.
Let’s talk Beauty…
What are your beauty must-haves?
What perfume do you spritz on as you walk out the door?
I just started wearing Bobbi Brown Beach. It’s so light and happy.
What color nail polish are you currently wearing?
Let’s talk Décor…
Describe your decorating style in three adjectives.
Beachy, minimal, serene.
If your mother taught you one trick about interior decorating, what would it be?
You can’t go wrong with a white bed/sofa and it’s so easy to change the look just by switching up the pillows and throws.
What is your favorite piece of art or furniture you own?
The tribal shell necklace my husband and I bought on our honeymoon in Bali. I’m still not sure how I fit the necklace and stand in my suitcase.
What’s on your bar cart?
Casamigos tequila (I love the packaging), and a few bottles of red wine and rosé.
Do you have any must-have coffee table books?
Let’s talk Travel…
Beach or Mountains?
East Coast or West Coast?
Ahh do I have to choose?! Okay, West!
What is your favorite destination?
Are you planning any upcoming trips?
Sea Island and Charleston this Spring! You’ll have to tell me all of your recommendations!
Who is your favorite travel buddy?
I love traveling with Erik and also my mom.
Go-to cocktail when you’re traveling?
Margarita or rosé.
What is your top bucket list destination?
Kauai, New South Wales and Harbour Island.
Let’s talk Los Angeles…
What is your favorite part of living in Los Angeles?
I love being a quick drive to the beach and all of the beautiful areas along the coast —Malibu, Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Big Sur. The road trips I’ve taken with Erik have been some of the best times of my life.
You used to live in New York City but you packed up and moved to Los Angeles. What was the most challenging and more rewarding part of that experience?
The most challenging part is being so far away from family and friends. My parents used to be a 2-hour train ride away and many of my closest friends I would see every day at the Tory Burch NY office.
I never thought I would leave New York so the most rewarding thing has been building a life in LA and realizing I can be happy here too. I’ve loved LA from the moment I got here and, for now, it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Fill in the blank: “On the weekend, you’ll find me at _____________.”
The farmers market (stocking up on berries, Aris greek yogurt and Nora’s granola), Westridge-Canyonback or Los Liones (hiking with Erik and trying to tire out Pepper), and getting coffee at Verve or matcha at Alfred Tea.
Best date night restaurant?
Osteria La Buca. It’s our go-to and we always get the campanelle.
Best brunch restaurant?
Sqirl. I live for their Sorrel Pesto Bowl and always add that avocado!
Best healthy food restaurant?
Backyard Bowls. They have the best acai!
Best boutique(s) or shop/shopping?
Hiking in Topanga Canyon and overlooking the ocean.
Photography: all photographs via Abby & Instagram