Melanie Auld Jewelry (MAJ) is a Vancouver jewelry brand that has been on the rise since 2013. Synonymous with classic and timeless design, their brand aims to create pieces that allow their customers to tell their individual stories through the jewelry they wear. But who helps tell MAJ’s story? That would be…Andy Wan. Andy spends his day fleshing out and perfecting the story telling for MAJ as their Visual and Multimedia Designer. From designing their graphics to their social content, digital ads, email marketing, and even producing content – he helps tell it all. He’s even created their own Instagram Filter. If you ask Andy what his days are like, he’s got one word: multi-faceted.
How did you end up at MAJ after Fashion School?
After I graduated from the Fashion Marketing program at Blanche, I went to Toronto. I worked as a Creative Specialist at a PR & Marketing firm, and that’s where I was able to explore and further my knowledge and experience in visual design. Eventually, I started to miss the mountains, the water, and even the rain! So when I returned to Vancouver I worked for one of the big four professional service firms but I started to miss the world of fashion. My dream was always to do something on Fashion’s creative side, so I applied right away when I saw the posting for the opportunity with MAJ. After meeting and discussing with Melanie and the team, they ended up creating a brand new role for me based on my experience and skills. I was able to add up all of my expertise and really present what I could bring to the table. That’s why now, I do so much more than only content.
The instructors at Blanche give you the principles and terms that you can take everywhere with you, whether you're talking about the fashion cycle or media. Even though the focus is in fashion, if you look at the big picture, some of the principles learnt at Blanche can be applied to different roles.
Does what you learned in your time at Blanche Macdonald help you in your role?
Oh, absolutely. From learning about fashion elements and awareness with [Executive Fashion Program Co-Director] Peggy [Morrison], to styling and media classes with [Fashion Instructor] Lyndi [Barrett] and so much more.
The instructors at Blanche give you the principles and terms that you can take everywhere with you, whether you’re talking about the fashion cycle or media. I was once invited to guest speak in a class at Blanche, and the biggest thing I hoped the students would take away from my talk was to not have their minds zeroed in only on careers in fashion and to look at the bigger picture with regards to their studies. Even though the focus is in fashion, if you look at the big picture, some of the principles learnt at Blanche can be applied to different roles.
Everything you put into a creative design needs to either add value, purpose, or enhance the storytelling. If it doesn't do at least one of those things all you're doing is diluting your message and the impact of the creative.
I know you wear a lot of hats in your role, but can you share some of the main responsibilities in your role as a Visual and Multimedia Designer?
I do wear a lot of hats! And it changes day-to-day as a Visual and Multimedia Designer. Unless we have something special going on, my daily tasks most often involve: social media metrics reporting and analysis, planning and building out creative deliverables (social content, digital ads, internal and external marketing material, etc.), research (creatives, industry practices, trends, etc.), brainstorming ideas for creative content, and occasionally producing assets needed to build out creatives.
Who is the customer you’re speaking to at MAJ?
Our customers come to MAJ for our thoughtful and beautifully created pieces focused around design and craftsmanship. We believe that every person has a unique story to tell and we are here to help them tell this story through our collection of pieces that are designed to be combined and personalized to create a look that is uniquely theirs.
When it comes to my personal style, I don't believe in gender norms...I love to juxtapose traditional masculine and feminine elements.
If we could describe 2020 with one word it would be… Pivot! 2020 was the year of flexibility and adaptability in all aspects of business and especially when it comes to marketing. With everything going on, it was important to focus on the fundamentals. Always keep in mind who your customer is, what they stand for, who are we as a business, why are they coming to us, when do they choose to come to us and how do we engage and add value to our customers. It’s not easy but the goal is to have it so your brand and customer grow together.
Still life styling and photography courtesy of Andy Wan and Melanie Auld Jewelers
What are some things to think about when you’re making anything to release to your audience?
It’s always the question: what is the end goal and how do we achieve that? A majority of the time when it comes to marketing creatives, the goal is either sales or awareness building related. With those being the usual lenses which I need to look through, it might mean you can’t necessarily create creatives purely for design and aesthetics. When building out any creative deliverable no matter what the end goal is, I think of the story I’m trying to tell and who the end audience is. Everything you put into a creative design needs to either add value, purpose, or enhance the storytelling. If it doesn’t do at least one of those things all you’re doing is diluting your message and the impact of the creative.
What you go to school for isn’t necessarily your destiny. You can mix and match the things you like and learn to find a niche position that fits you perfectly—I did! Give everything your all, your efforts will be rewarded.
What initially led you to Blanche Macdonald’s Global Fashion Marketing program?
I was originally pursuing a degree in business when I unfortunately had to take some time off due to some medical concerns. Attending Blanche Macdonald had always been my plan post degree, to further my education, specializing in the fashion industry. Upon being able to return to my studies from my medical leave, I made the decision to not return to my degree program instead I made the jump earlier than planned and applied at Blanche.
How would you describe your personal brand?
Minimal, clean and borderline neurotic! When it comes comes to fashion, I don’t believe in gender norms but black is a must and makes up about 99% of my wardrobe. I believe in pieces that speak to you and make you feel you. Trends come and go, but style is uniquely yours. Of course, I love jewelry. I like juxtaposing traditionally masculine and feminine elements when comes to my accessories, like layering a heavyweight silver chain with a more delicate pearl necklace then throwing on silver huggies with a silver spike style earring charm to complete the look. Currently, I’m obsessed with pearls whether it’s in a traditional full pearl necklace, a pearl and stone necklace or a large pearl pendant…it’s all about that lustre for me at the moment!
If someone asked your advice on finding a job in Fashion that utilized their various experiences, what would you say?
What you go to school for isn’t necessarily where you’ll end up. You can mix and match the things you like and learn to find a niche position that fits you perfectly—I did! Don’t create for the sake of creation. Create with purpose. Give everything your all, your efforts will be rewarded. Make it count! We all have the power, no matter our roles or abilities, to influence our own paths. so you may as well stand up and go forward with conviction and create your own purpose.