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The Balance: Annaliese Prigg

The Balance: Annaliese Prigg
Each fortnight, we’re sitting down with a member of our team to learn more about their personal pursuits, wellness rituals and Assembly Label essentials.
Meet Annaliese Prigg, our National Retail Manager. 

Hi Annaliese! Tell us about yourself and your role at Assembly Label.

My name is Annaliese and I’m National Retail Manager at Assembly Label. I’m originally from Melbourne and made the move up to Sydney almost a year and a half ago when I started at Assembly Label. I took a big leap of faith moving up here for my job leaving my family, friends and partner back in Melbourne. As soon as I moved to Sydney, it instantly felt like home and since then I’ve been enjoying Sydney’s sunshine, beaches and managing our amazing retail team. In my role, I look after all of our Australian and New Zealand retail stores and am so fortunate to be supported by an incredible group of people including Area and Cluster Managers, Store and Assistant Store Managers, our part time and casual team, as well as a brilliant Operations Executive – it really takes a village!

My role is to support the team and set them up for success so that they are able to deliver the highest level of customer experience. In addition to this, I work to develop the team in fundamental business acumen so that each member of the team understands the value that they have within the business, and how every single person has something to contribute to the broader team. Our team works on the principle that, through having our customer and community at the core of everything we do, commercial success will follow. One of the biggest parts of my role is leading to ensure that our retail team is confident in creating a genuine, comfortable and memorable experience for every person that walks through the doors of our stores – never wanting to put pressure on making sales. We would rather a person walk away not purchasing something and having a great experience, than to ever feel pressured into a sale of something they don’t like or really want.

In addition to directly managing the retail team, I also work closely with other key stakeholders within the business, particularly our CEO, CFO, and our other sales channel managers to ensure that we are aligned in the execution of strategy, managing commercial opportunities and constantly working to reflect on how we can improve and evolve across all areas of the business.

What does an average day at work look like for you?

I’m lucky that each day really varies for me across the week. In between meetings in the office with various stakeholders, working closely with our CEO and CFO to ensure the business side of the department is on track, my favourite days of the week are spent in two ways. 

Firstly, spending time with my direct team, our Area and Cluster Managers, and Operations Executive, through meetings and one-on-ones. Despite being spread across three states in Australia, we all work really closely together to ensure that we are being the best support to our store teams possible, as well as working to improve internal processes and customer experience. During these parts of the week, I also get the pleasure of spending one on one time with each of my team members in sessions that focus purely on their own success and development through succession planning, coaching and mentoring, in order to gain a greater understanding of how I can best support them and help them achieve their goals. A big focus of these meetings is ensuring that each member of my team is maintaining a good work/life balance and are in a space where they can come to work, work hard, have fun, and then go home and enjoy their lives.

The other favourite days of my week are spent on the shop floor with our store teams. I try and make as much time as possible across the week to get out to stores and spend time with our retail team and our customers. I started as a casual in retail seven years ago and have been through every step of the retail chain, so I thoroughly enjoy being back on the shop floor because that’s where my love of retail really started. It’s also really important to meet, listen to, and interact first hand with our customers. Everything we work towards at Assembly Label is for our customers and community, so the feedback I can gain being out in stores is always invaluable.

How do you create balance in your work and life, are there any rituals or practices you will be employing in 2021?

In my role, you’re always on the clock and the nature of retail is that there are always curve balls that come from left field that you need to work through – 2020 was a true testament to that. When you give so much emotional energy to your team, it can be really easy to burn out if you don’t actively put time and energy back into yourself and doing the things you love. For me, being near the ocean - particularly swimming - really early in the morning, before I start my day, really helps me go into the day with a clear mind. 

I recently read Hugh van Cuylenburg’s The Resilience Project and what really struck me was how simple his framework of having gratitude, empathy, and using mindfulness is, as not necessarily new concepts, but as a great reminder to actually take the time each day to identify what’s gone well for you, how your interactions and how you show up to the world impacts others, and then also just taking the time to stop and be present in the moment.

In 2021 I’m working to actively be more aware of these things, so as we continue through uncertain times, I’m cognisant of how fortunate I am to live the life I do, and how much of an impact I can have on others through simple human kindness. I’ve started this process through journaling each day so that I also have something to reflect on over the year when times are challenging. Working on my mindset in this way then allows me to be the best I can be at work, have the space to really invest in my personal life, but also look more outside of myself at how I can use my own privilege to support other people or groups through continued and evolving education and action.

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Weekends are generally spent at the beach and I am lucky enough to be able to walk to the beach from my house, so any spare minute is spent there. On a sunny weekend you’ll find me in Coogee with a book in hand, or having a drink at the Coogee Bay Hotel or Coogee Pavilion. I also love having friends over for dinner as I love to cook. We always cook up a big Italian feast – usually homemade gnocchi or a prawn linguine, always with a few bottles of red wine.

Throughout 2020 staying active was key to maintaining my mental health and I love that I’m now in a really good routine. I go to the gym with one of my best friends each morning before work and we love doing reformer pilates, HIIT training, barre classes, and hot yoga. Sydney’s generally glorious climate means that I go for a big walk each night after work along the coastline, usually with a good podcast to unwind (podcasts I’m currently loving are Bobo and Flex, Life UncutShameless, and Dyl and Friends). I generally try and coincide the end of my walks with watching sunset and am constantly in awe of how beautiful the sunsets are up here; they honestly never get old.

When there isn’t a pandemic happening, I also love going to music festivals. I have a great group of friends in Melbourne and we’ve all been going to music festivals together since we were teenagers. We still love picking a few across the year to attend and there’s nothing quite like having a boogie with your best mates, watching some of your favourite artists live. I’m very much looking forward to live music slowly returning, and festivals hopefully in the not too distant future!

What is your most-worn Assembly Label piece?

My whole wardrobe is essentially Assembly Label. Our E-commerce Manager, Holly has joked that my bedroom looks like a store with all of my linen hung up in colour coordinated order, but my most worn item would have to be our Linen Slip Dress. It’s an absolute summer essential. I throw on this dress to go to the beach and then also to go out for cocktails. It’s comfy, light and is so easy to wear. In addition to that, lately I’ve also been loving our men’s Rueben Tee – it’s a great oversized fit that pairs so well with some denim shorts or even with some bike shorts when I’m running around on the weekends.