DEBORAH SYMOND O'NEIL
Over four short years, Deborah Symond has grown a fashion empire, challenging the pre-norms of traditional womenswear, carving an athleisure focused retail experience both online and in-store. We spoke with the savy and super-chic businesswoman about the journey of building a thriving business and the future of Mode Sportif.
- Describe a regular day in the life of Deborah Symond?
No day is ever the same for me which I really enjoy. Whilst I crave routine in certain areas of my life, like exercise, I enjoy variation in my work week. I start my day early with a 6am spin class at Cycology Club. It is an endorphin filled workout that leaves me feeling positive and motivated for the day. For the first part of my work day, I park myself at Room 10 in Potts Point. I order the same thing every morning, smashed avocado on toast, like a true millennial! I catch up on my emails at the café and then head into my office at the Intersection in Paddington.
As the director of my business I oversee all departments, whether it be working with the marketing team, buying team, retail teams or finance teams which means every day is different. I love visiting my two boutiques in Sydney and interacting with our lovely clients. For me, spending time styling outfits in store is so rewarding! After work, I make the most of Sydney’s amazing food scene, catching up with friends for dinner and drinks is the perfect way to finish my day.
- Tell us about Mode Sportif and how it came about?
Combining my passions for wellness and fashion drove me to launch ModeSportif.com four years ago in 2014. I drew upon my experience in the fashion industry working across retail, e-commerce and buying where I decided to launch a destination delivering a 24/7 wardrobe with a curated mix of relaxed fashion and elevated sportswear. I started with the online store and have since launched a concept boutique in Paddington and our Flagship Boutique in Double Bay. It has been an incredibly exciting journey.
- You recently opened Mode Sportif's second store in Double Bay, what are your future plans for the brand?
I opened Mode Sportif’s flagship boutique in August of this year in Sydney’s Double Bay. It has been an exciting opportunity for us to showcase a larger range of brands and styles as well as provide further styling services to our clients. The beautiful fit-out designed by Poco Designs is the perfect environment for us to display our edit of fashion and activewear. The boutique wraps around a retro-inspired living room setting which allows clients to settle in and relax in store. Mode Sportif’s brand offering is continuing to grow, with many new exciting labels due to arrive in-store soon.
- Who are you currently inspired by?
Scandinavian Street style provides the most fashion inspiration for me. It’s the perfect platform where people take risks and make statements and often it is the brave layering and bold colours we see outside the shows, that influences designers and consumers the most.
- How would you describe your personal fashion style?
My personal style is playful, energetic and easy to wear. I like a high-low balance and am not afraid to wear lots of colour. I build my base wardrobe with well-cut classics and I pair these back with seasonal style injections to create a fun and fresh look. Comfort definitely plays a part in my daily style so relaxed fits, sneakers and kitten heels are often my go to!
- You often travel internationally, where has been your all-time favourite destination?
My all-time favourite destination is Portofino in Italy. It has to be the most romantic city in the world, the colours of the gorgeous buildings, the charming and buzzy port and sensationally delicious food, make it my ultimate holiday destination. I recently shared 24 hours there with my husband on our honeymoon, it is our special place.
- Where to next?
Next stop is New Zealand! I am visiting the beautiful Huka Lodge, I can’t wait.
For more information go to: www.modesportif.com/