Born and raised in Auckland, Victoria Cooper-Smith grew up in Westmere and has lived around Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Westmere her whole life. “We have a lot of family friends who are artists and designers, and I was always around them and their work growing up, so I think that really steered me towards a creative career. That coupled with my mum’s super-organisation and my dad’s business brain is definitely why I have ended up doing what I do,” Cooper-Smith explained. Studying fashion at AUT gave her the creative drive and problem-solving skills she uses every day.

Cooper-Smith looks after the marketing and events for both Taylor and The Shelter; she added that the job is extensive and varied. “It’s hard to briefly summarise everything it entails, but basically I work closely with Vicki to look after both brands, ensuring everything we do is keeping them on-track.” It was meeting Vicki Taylor that inspired her to seriously consider a career in fashion. Cooper-Smith has always loved fashion and clothes but working with Vicki for such a long time has taught her so much and only fuelled her love this industry.

She has been working with Taylor for six years now and originally started part-time in retail. Cooper-Smith has worked in every part of the business and has finally found her place in a full-time role in communications. She joined the team at the young age of 17 and hadn't really worked anywhere else apart from some small odd jobs.

The most valuable lesson she has learned thus far is to roll with the punches. “In such a fast-paced and reactive industry you have to be able to change the plan at a moment’s notice and turn up with a smile on like nothing happened,” Cooper-Smith said.

Working one day a week in retail, Cooper-Smith explained that she loves spending time with their clients and collaborators. The range of collaborations between the brands has never ceased to amaze her, especially when it comes to the level of creative talent New Zealand produces. Every day is different and when events roll around Cooper-Smith said things get a little crazy in the office. A normal day would involve liaising with media and stylists, planning upcoming events and working on their brand strategy. She also plans and posts social media and web content with their online team as well as catching up with the retail teams and analysing figures. “I always make time for a brief catch up with Vicki, or we share ideas across our open plan office when inspiration strikes,” she added.

Working in a small and tight team, she explained that it’s hard not to affect change in most things she does among the brands. “I really do think the Taylor brand has grown significantly in the last few years and I’ve definitely grown with it.” She is very proud of everything The Shelter has done by bringing together a creative community of collaborators and making new work.

Cooper-Smith is excited about the work they are creating at Taylor and The Shelter, and when the time is right, she’ll head overseas on her own adventure. “I’d love to run my own PR agency, maybe overseas, but who knows where this crazy ride will take me.”