Behind one of our favourite style and travel sites is London-based Hermione Underwood. Her daily life is a celebration of style and wanderlust travel, complementary to her boutique brand agency The H Collective and as co-founder of jewellery label Atelier Romy. Starring in X-FILES shoot at Bondi-iconic restaurant Icebergs, the X-FILES learns about Hermione’s move from Sydney to London, and what it’s taught her.
Describe a typical day for you.
No two days are the same for me, which is exactly how I like it. I’m an early riser and most productive in the mornings so I start my days early, catching up on the Australian day whilst starting on my London day. I run three businesses but they are complementary and generally involve a mix of content creation shoots for my brands or clients, meetings, showings and showroom appointments, media and PR lunches and events and checking in with and managing my team. I travel a lot so when in London, my days are jam packed and busy. When I can, I exercise in the evenings which means either a yoga, spin or boxing class with friends.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I started working immediately after finishing school and whilst studying a Bachelor of Business at University. I started out with roles in marketing for LVMH and then in house for a fashion start up. From here, it evolved with roles in various luxury lifestyle PR agencies, to my own agency and to today: running my jewellery brand, Atelier Romy, consulting clients at The H Collective and running my fashion and travel website, Hermione Olivia.
What was the driving force behind the move from Australia to London?
I wanted the challenge… which I most certainly was given.
What has living in London taught you?
London has taught me to be on time and to have tenacity. Being on time matters! I learnt here that if you are late it means you value your time over the person you are meeting. The Brits make appointments for EVERYTHING and really value punctuality. It’s respectful, I like it. Tenacity, because living in a big city is tough. I initially had no relationships and no network here. I had to build my entire personal and professional life in London, from scratch. You don’t really have a choice when you’re a small fish in a huge pond but to get up every day and keep trying. It took years but it’s starting to pay off.
What’s your advice for young women wanting to establish themselves in the digital space?
I believe you have to be authentically and unapologetically yourself. People will like you or not and either way, it’s not really in your control. Not everyone likes papaya and not everyone will like you but being original and being true to who you are and what you are doing is important. Also, keep going. Social media takes time, I believe. If you are going to build a real and engaged audience, there isn’t a trick or secret to overnight success!
What has been the biggest learning of your career?
Relationships come around over and over again over the years so be kind, be honest and be fair. I am a huge advocate for supporting and connecting people. I pride myself on introducing people and helping the people around me wherever I can, particularly professionally.
What’s the essential ingredient to creating stimulating content?
What has been your favourite travel experience so far?
I live to travel. The best travel experiences of my life were equally Africa and the Maldives. I had the fortune of experiencing Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa on safari solo (!) in recent years which was unimaginably life changing.
The most breathtakingly beautiful destination I have been to has to be the Maldives. I realise that might sound cliché but it truly is heaven on earth.
Of all your travels, where is your go-to destination?
I am in a life-long love affair with Italy. If you follow me on insta, you know I literally cannot get enough of Italy, it’s my third adopted country. I visit the Amalfi Coast annually and I have spent a lot of time in Tuscany. This Summer, I have a trip booked to Sicily which will be a first and I’d love to spend more time in Puglia.
Let’s talk about Sydney. What is your favourite thing to do or place to go when you touch-down?
When I’m in Sydney, I try to spend as much time in or near the water as possible. My parents live on the north shore so that usually means early morning walks with my Mum at Balmoral and surfs at Freshwater with my siblings. As all my friends and work is generally east so I spend the days between Paddington and Bondi. I eat at Fratelli Paradiso almost daily when I’m home as I’m addicted to carbs and I think they do the best Italian food in Sydney. I also love Fei Jai for dumplings and drinks at Icebergs, overlooking that famous pool. I love spinning at Shelter and doing the Bondi to Bronte with friends.
Describe your signature style.
Comfortable and classic with a hint of personality.