Three years ago I sat down for coffee with today’s guest when her business was still running out of her apartment. Now years of business experience and incredible growth later we get to hear from Sam Abrahart, CEO of The Mayfair Group! In this episode, Sam shares some invaluable insight into the importance of having a mission-driven business, creating a culture where everyone feels valued, and providing REAL mentorship for women through their internship program (where interns NEVER have to run for coffee!)
THE BEGINNING OF THE MAYFAIR GROUP
I began our conversation by asking Sam about the humble beginnings of The Mayfair Group. Sam shared that everything began with “wanting to change the way service-based companies are run and operated and have a full service or creative agency in the fashion industry that offers all services in-house. Including graphic design, social media, PR sales, whatever the service, we have it as something under our umbrella and really just give brands kind of a one-stop-shop.”
If you thought that the bar was set for the company, Sam aimed even higher by creating a clear identity of who The Mayfair Group was going to be. She shared that they wanted “to be this powerful, safe space on Instagram filled with inspiration, creative content, innovation, a place where females could come and feel inspired.” As a loyal follower of The Mayfair Group, I can say that this is their DNA today.
But wait, it gets better. Sam shared with us that The Mayfair Group has far surpassed its goals and “now have a full-service e-commerce platform and with additional rollouts that we’ve done, but we still have all the services. We’re still very much doing that same kind of thing today, just on a bigger scale.”
To say the least, I am obsessed with The Mayfair Group’s Instagram. It’s fun. It’s motivational. It’s inspiring. Not to mention that it has carried through in your self-love club and empathy collections that you’ve been dropping for merchandise. I have a sweatshirt from their new merchandise drop, and Will was the first person to wear it. I pulled it out of the packaging, he threw it on and he wouldn’t take it off all day because he thought it was so comfortable and had such a powerful message.
WHERE THE MAYFAIR GROUP’S TEAM BEGAN
With a team as reputable, inspiring, and strong as the one that Sam has built, I had to ask where it all started. Sam answered with sharing “all I ever wanted to do when I started this company was to inspire and empower people, specifically females and just kind of give a lot of inspiration and just make an impact.” Continuing on, Sam shared that her team started with just her and one other girl who she had been working with prior to the start of this amazing idea, in the guest bedroom of her apartment. She shared that “within six months, it just got to the point where we had boxes being delivered, stuff everywhere, and my husband turned to me and he was like, this has to change. So we moved out.”
That was the launching point to the incredible team that The Mayfair Group has today. They now have a team of fifteen to twenty employees, along with an amazing group of interns who we will talk more about in a few paragraphs!
THE SIGNALS THAT TELL YOU WHEN TO HIRE
As she has shared, Sam has built an invaluable team that spurred growth and possibility for The Mayfair Group. From an expert in the area of expanding a team, I asked her what signals to look for, and when the right time to hire is. She shared five things that are pivotal to when you are expanding a team…
- Believe in your intuition and your gut.
- Work with your accountant to identify what is feasible from a cash flow standpoint.
- When the business is outgrowing the capacity that you’re in, stay ahead of the growth to avoid hindering your business.
- As a CEO and an entrepreneur, you want to do everything yourself, but that ends up not only harming you, but harms the business.
- Learn when it’s the right time, and how you can attract the right people.
Sam reminded us that the “amazing part of having a business is having an incredible team that you get to come to work with every single day and feel inspired by.” Continuing she shared that the many talented individuals working on their team is the reason that Mayfair has seen the growth it has.
THE MAYFAIR GROUP’S INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The Mayfair Group has integrated interns into their team from the start, which developed into a large internship program that touches on every part of their business. The vision behind this internship program was to “be a company that can help females get their foot in the door, helps females know that they’re valued within a business and that they can attain everything and anything they set their mind to.”
Sam continued by sharing with us “one of the biggest takeaways that I’ve learned in building an internship program is it has to be a two-way street. Interns are not there just to add value to your business. But what value are you bringing to them? What can these interns walk away from the experience and say that they’ve learned that they’ve been a mentor?”
Just to pause for a moment, this is pivotal for hiring interns. We have the opportunity to help our interns walk away with lessons, experiences, takeaways and genuinely feel passionate about going after their careers at the end of our time together.
Continuing on, Sam shared more into the framework of The Mayfair’s internship program. They have spring, summer, and fall programs, and depending on this season, they typically have anywhere from, 15 to 20 interns at any given time. Sam shared that they “have a lot of schemes at Mayfair, and that’s the reason why we have so many people and offer college credit for every intern, so they can work to receive credit.”
From an attorney standpoint, this is incredible to hear about internship programs. We have all done that. We have all worked for free, and there are certain conditions around working in this way. One of the biggest conditions is that they can work for college credit, but it’s really that they’re not just there to do the mindless tasks, but there to learn.
It takes time to mentor a student or someone new into the industry, so we must be mindful that taking on an internship program is no easy task. As a resource to jump-start the process, I have created an Internship Agreement in the shop to help the onboarding process smoother and cover all of the conditions that follow hiring an intern.
As a note to the framework of The Mayfair’s internship program, Sam shared with us what she always says to new interns to set the stage for an incredible internship experience…
“I always tell people you’re never going to be going and getting coffee. You’re never going to be doing any of those things. You’re gonna be sitting in creative meetings. You’re gonna be giving input. You’re gonna be directly impacting company decisions. And I always say what you put into this internship is what you get out if you immerse yourself as much as we’re giving you the opportunity to, you could walk away with a job at the end of the summer.
At the end of the day, Sam has “always believed in creating a culture where everyone feels valued and that their opinion is heard. That could be from a CEO all the way down to an intern. I always want people to feel like they can have a creative input and their opinion is just as valued as somebody that’s upper management.”
What I have learned from this conversation with Sam, is the cornerstone of the Mayfair’s internship program is definitely treating it as a two-way street, and leaning into mentoring others.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE MAYFAIR
The Mayfair Group has already left an imprint on the world but still has so much yet to come. Sam clued us in on what the future may hold for The Mayfair by first sharing the heart of, “continuing to build an amazing culture that people want to be a part of. I feel like the bigger we get, the more important it is to really iron in on what those details are and making sure people feel valued.” Continuing on from a company standpoint, she shared that their intention is to make an impact on a larger scale. They have “had the ability now to see a lot of growth, and want to continue making an impact and really do that on a bigger scale, with potentially an entrepreneur fund down the line where we can sponsor and help fund female entrepreneurs and business ideas.”
With so many more ideas in the works, and inspiration pouring out on a daily basis you will want to follow The Mayfair Group on Instagram @themayfairgroup and Sam herself, @samabrahart. You can also visit their website to learn more about their services and purchase the sweatshirt that Will and I both love!
RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE