My featured guest this week is Aimée Lopez, a retail copywriter originally from New York and currently based in London. Aimée has a great back story on how she got into copywriting, the influences along the way and generously shares words of wisdom and golden advice if you are looking to work in retail copywriting or want to work with a copywriter for your brand. This advice is also transferable across not only the clothing industry but also different industries and careers.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Aimée Lopez. I am a Retail Copywriting Specialist who focuses on uncovering and executing messaging to turn your audience into buyers.
I also combine copywriting with retail branding and operational strategies for my clients.
Why did you decide to set up your business?
I was working primarily in the vintage clothing industry in London whilst writing product descriptions for a top Depop influencer when the pandemic hit. The bottom fell out of the vintage clothing market during this period.
A serendipitous encounter around this time with a fellow American who was travelling the world writing Amazon product descriptions set off a lightbulb. Out of necessity, I put two and two together. I figured if I was already successfully writing product descriptions for one seller, I could do the same for others.
From there everything flowed naturally. I became utterly enthralled by all things copy from that point.
What drew you to this field?
It is interesting that I was writing copy for so long for other people and entities that I did not know I was actually doing copywriting. I was unaware that there is a professional label for what I was doing. This is common amongst copywriters.
In general, copywriting combines my great love for supporting hard-working people, research, customer psychology, strategy, design, storytelling, and the beautiful nuances of language. That is what keeps me at it all day, every day.
What has been the biggest challenge either when setting up your business/since setting up your business/working in your industry?
Setting up my business was easy as I already had experience and proven results under my belt.
The biggest challenges:
- That most people do not know what copywriting is or what it truly entails.
- Most people think because they have been taught to write, they can do the job of a copywriter if they had the time.
- Copywriters are not order takers. We are your creative problem solvers.
- Copywriting is 80% client management, 10% research, 5% writing, and 5% editing.
- Providing great customer service while having limits.
- Working on multiple projects simultaneously while still marketing and managing my business.
- Feedback that is simply “I hate it” or “I like it” will not take your copy to the next level.
- No copy is needed yesterday.
What motivates you?
When I develop and execute a copy that really sings, that readers connect with. It is such a beautiful feeling.
Also, doing my part by telling brands about the shared experiences of underrepresented buyers motivates me.
Who do you admire within your industry or as a business role model?
Mary Portas, Amy Posner, Ann Handley, George Lois, André Leon Talley.
How do you deal with stress and big challenges?
I meditate and do yoga every morning to keep myself centred. I speak/consult with others in the industry if any seriously stressful situations occur.
What is the hardest and easiest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is dealing with people’s misunderstandings of my role in their business.
Easiest is writing copy that will hopefully resonate with a potential buyer.
What skills have you found vital to your job?
The natural skills you must possess are empathy, persistence, a thick skin, the ability to break down complex ideas to the simplest written form, and the ability to confidently say no. Everything else about copy can be learned.
Specific to my specialisation, you must know garment terminologies and know first-hand the benefits and feel of fabrics. I developed these skills during my time as a vintage clothing appraiser and seller.
How do you manage your time?
I recently joined elite copywriter Joanna Wiebe’s Copyhackers 10x Freelance Copywriter group. Jo teaches us to theme our workdays as productivity becomes higher when you focus on themed blocks. This has been a total game-changer for my business.
What are your goals for your brand?
My goal is to develop my brand into a creative agency for the retail and e-commerce industry. The business model would be to work with a steady stream of retainer clients and then have opportunities to take on heavily subsidised or pro bono short-term projects for underrepresented business owners.
What does success look like to you?
Success for me is when you are trusted and respected by your clients and peers for connecting with a larger audience in an authentic way.
How does your culture/background influence/benefit your work?
My cultural and socioeconomic background has immensely influenced, benefitted, and hindered my business. Regarding my writings, it has only been positive.
My clients come up to me all the time and say “Oh! I never thought of that or I did not notice that.” This all comes down to the fact that I am a minority person coming from a nuanced perspective because of my underserved background.
As a person of colour, it was advantageous to speak and write ‘proper’ English as it was not expected by the general public. My mom will shoot laser beams from her eyes if she sees any minor grammatical errors. Nerve-racking growing up but much appreciated now as I can confidently correct creative directors when something is not written accurately by them or their team.
Hispanics make up 7% of freelance copywriters in the US. I am proud to be a part of this small rebellious group.
What would be your advice to those wanting to start their own brand or have a career in your industry?
Do some deep soul searching to see if writing to sell to people will make your heart sing. My industry is one of those where you have to immerse yourself and be fully committed to your clients, work, business, and sanity. You have to do the work!
Developing a copywriting business happens in slow increments. You constantly have to learn and grow to give the best to your clients and their buyers. The rewards will come afterwards and you have to be okay with that.
What’s your proudest achievement in your career so far?
I always get a buzz when I read a customer review and they mention my work.
When my friend busted out over margaritas that the magazine I co-founded, creatively directed, wrote and produced photographs for was being sold at the Tate Modern Museum, that made me proud. The magazine was later added to a rapidly growing distribution list of international outlets.
Recently, I got the opportunity to write an in-store campaign for a big international retailer.
What do you think I’d be most surprised to find out about you?
I was not able to speak in full sentences until I was five. My German is way better than my baby Spanish. At 18, I used to work with world-famous touring bands. I learned a lot about life from that experience.
What would be your personal tagline?
Great work can live beyond you. It can go to places that are unimaginable. That is why it is important to respect your craft.
Unlock an industry secret for me
Ensure you have a sellable, physical product or working service before going all-in on your marketing.
Thank you so much, Aimée, for giving such in-depth answers and really giving us an insight into you and your career. There is so much to take away from this.
If you have any questions for Aimée, please leave them below. You can also find her here:
If you are an industry insider, have great advice to share and would like to be featured on the blog, please contact me here
If you would like to see how we can work together, book in for a 15-minute discovery call here
See you in a couple of weeks with my next guest and Northern brand founder! Deedee xx