The Assistant Files, Vol. 53: Sarah Haigh, A.L.C.’s Andrea Lieberman
For this week’s dispatch on the wide world of assistants, your Daily went totally bi-coastal! Via telephone, Sarah Haigh filled us in on her daily duties as the executive assistant to A.L.C.’s Andrea Lieberman. While the West Coast vibe is definitely a key factor at the label’s HQ, they’ve definitely still got a bit of a New York hustle in the mix. We’ll let this Ohio native tell it how it is…
BY DENA SILVER
What’s your backstory?
I grew up in a small town by Toledo, Ohio and I studied fine arts and French at George Washington University in Washington D.C. I loved it. I always thought I’d be an artist, but here I am in fashion, and it’s great. This is my first job since graduation.
How did you end up in L.A.?
I always knew I wanted to live in L.A.! While I was in college, I did some research and found some internship opportunities in L.A. Everything kind of took off from there.
Did you have any internships in fashion before this one?
I worked in the L.A. office of a showroom, 10 Eleven, and A.L.C. was one of the lines carried there. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something more creative, so I got in touch with some people at A.L.C. and I got an internship with them.
How did you transition from intern to assistant?
One day, I was running an errand for Andrea, and I met her in the middle of L.A. to hand something off to her. We were pulled over on the side of the road and she started chatting with me. She was like, “Thanks for dropping this off. So what’s your deal? Are you in school and when are you graduating?” I told her I had about six more months left at school and she said, “Oh that’s great! I’m looking for an executive assistant, would you be interested?” It was totally on the spot and very quintessentially Andrea. Of course, I said yes.
What are your days typically like?
I get to the office and either text or call Andrea to go over her schedule. I prepare her coffee once she’s on her way in. She’s a total woman of habit, so every day she has hot coffee with whole milk. But my other duties definitely vary from day to day: organizing her calendar, scheduling events and appearances, and dealing with the whole product development process, which is definitely one of my favorite parts. However, my main responsibility is to make sure that her day runs smoothly, that she’s meeting with everyone she needs to on the design team, and that all business responsibilities are taken care of.
How else is Andrea a creature of habit?
Andrea likes to eat really healthy and since her days are so packed, I arrange meal delivery service for her that prepares fresh breakfast and lunch. While the healthy factor is always taken care of, she’s never been known to turn down a large Diet Coke!
Andrea got her start as a stylist. Does she still dabble in that?
She doesn’t really style clients anymore, but she’ll do so for very, very special people that are close to her. Last year, she styled Gwen Stefani for the Met Ball, but otherwise she’s all about A.L.C.
What’s the vibe like at the A.L.C offices?
It’s a unique environment; it’s definitely very special. We like to call ourselves a tribe. There’s just a commonality, a heartbeat, and a soul! One of my favorite things about working here is having Andrea as this amazingly inspirational, aspirational leader, especially as a female in a male-dominated workforce.
Do you ever get to help out avec the design process?
Being Andrea’s assistant, I definitely get to shadow her throughout the day which is a great way to learn the industry and the business. I usually assist with product development, whether it’s organizing fabrics or helping her find specific leather for a handbag design.
How lengthy is the process of shooting a lookbook?
Shooting a lookbook is an all-day process. We start probably at 7:30 or 8 a.m. and we shoot until 8 o’clock p.m. Then we pack up the collection, and ship it out to New York. Usually we shoot the collection just a few days before our market appointments. It’s exciting, thrilling, and so cool to see all your hard work in one space, and to see all the pieces come to life!
What’s your least favorite task?
Anytime Andrea travels outside of this time zone. Even just booking international travel with the time changes makes things tricky. I always want to be cognizant and aware that she’s making it to her appointments on time and that her schedule’s running smoothly, even when I’m not there.
And the best perk of your gig?
Havin a female boss is so inspiring for me. But the best perk is having access to all the amazing designs and being able to wear them. I don’t think I need to explain that!
How many A.L.C. pieces do you think you have in your closet right now?
Oh my gosh, an embarrassing amount. It’s become a full-blown addiction, but it’s definitely a good addiction.
What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned from working with Andrea?
Andrea is truly an authentic person. She doesn’t try to design for anyone else. What I take away from that is to stick to your roots and not try to please anyone else for the sake of pleasing them.