“To change the world, you must first believe in your own power.”
This is one of Sam Abrahart’s mottos, and for the CEO and founder of the Mayfair Group, changing the world and making a positive impact serve as two of the brand’s ultimate missions.
What Sam Abrahart identified was the power of the pivot, which the Mayfair Group managed to do seamlessly and strategically in 2019, by evolving from a multifaceted service agency to an e-commerce platform, and ultimately a sought-after fashion brand. This business pivot has translated into exponential revenue growth, an increase in social media reach and online community, and a meteoric rise in street cred on the fashion front.
Its Instagram was first built upon empowering content. And now, the premise behind its fashion products is to create a bigger impact with messaging like “Empathy” and a reminder to “Enjoy moments before they become memories.” These are all ways to create a ripple effect on a global scale.
If you haven’t spotted the Mayfair Group’s viral and ultra-shareable Instagram posts, then you’ve likely seen its fashion sweats and sets making the rounds, as seen on celebrities like Jennifer Lopez (twice!), L.A. Laker Dwight Howard, Bella Hadid, and Sophie Turner.
But first, meet the Mayfair Group and its CEO and founder, Sam Abrahart.
Abrahart founded the Mayfair Group in January 2017, when she self-funded the agency. The name is a nod to the London location where her parents met, at a Mayfair nightclub (the year 1987 shows up often in the brand’s messaging and on merch, a tribute to the year her parents got married).
Abrahart had set out to create a full-service branding agency that thinks differently. Its primary purpose and mission? To spread positivity and further narratives that need to be heard through designing innovative content, and building a community on social media.
When Abrahart launched the agency, it originally provided services like branding, creative content, public relations, social media strategy, graphic design, and merch development. Abrahart figured that doubling down on its social media and creating its own branded merch were the perfect ways to serve as the agency’s “resume” — and show current and prospective brands what they could do.
And show brands, they did.
Today, Mayfair creates a new collection of merch on a weekly cadence (this frequency works for now as there is so much content to develop!), and with inspiring messages like “It costs zero dollars to be a nice person” and “Say less, mean more,” the styles and sayings are striking a chord with fashion circles and celebrities. (It has also led to coverage in Vogue and Who What Wear.)
“It’s so important for businesses to be able to evolve,” Abrahart shared.
Amazingly and in a twist of fate, its first collection back in March 2020 said, “Manifest that shit.”
Here’s the catch though: the Mayfair Group started its fashion journey of weekly drops before the pandemic — aka before the new fashion normal became all about sweatsuits and stay-at-home gear. Call it a perfect storm of happenstance or having your finger very much on the pulse of the fashion curve and listening your customers — whatever the case, Mayfair’s business evolution has resulted in a revenue increase of 7,000% versus 2019. (To put this into perspective, in three months the Mayfair Group had reached over $1 million in sales on the newly developed e-commerce site, on merch alone). The Mayfair Group is projecting to drive $5 million in revenue this year alone (this is on the low end) — and planning to double that figure next year. It also launched extended sizing, as inclusivity is an important brand pillar.
Mayfair Group’s pivot from service-based agency to predominantly fashion company (before March 2020, the Mayfair Group was 70% service and 30% merch, and today it’s the exact opposite: 70% merch based and 30% service), led to a massive influx of revenue during COVID-19. This meant that Abrahart was able to keep her entire staff on payroll (Mayfair currently has approximately 25 people on its team).
Mayfair has added merch design and development for several big brands and influencers, to its list of services.
For an agency and company built on the premise of manifestation, whose ethos includes empathy and making the world a better place, it’s easy to believe that the Mayfair Group is creating fashion items that resonate.
“We’ve always been here to make a difference,” Abrahart states.
With Richard Branson among her favorite business icons, Abrahart is open to taking calculated risks — which helped serve the agency when it pivoted to fashion design and development.
“We’re not afraid to take risks with Mayfair. So, there are a lot of wins, but there’s also a lot of lessons learned and we can then roll out our successes to the brands that we work with. It’s become an incubator and a place where we can really play around and try things, and then apply them to potential clients and partners. We wanted to show brands what they can achieve by essentially doing it ourselves.”
The Mayfair Group first started to gain recognition on social media, for its highly identifiable Instagram posts. The agency created posts based on astrology (something they still do), moodboards, decades, and digital collages, which were highly in tune with the agency’s aesthetic. Today the social media team aligns its posts with thought-provoking messaging, featuring stylistic and retro fonts.
At the start of 2020, Mayfair was at 8K followers and has grown to over 400K in less than a year.
Mayfair and its team refer to themselves as “the social disrupters, the misfits, the people who defy the norm and want to look good doing it.” They are the people who change the game and redefine it.
Some of its most successful collections have been designed with powerful messaging and give-back partnerships, like its “Power To The Youth” collection and accompanying campaign video (to encourage Gen Z to vote, and with a portion of proceeds going to I Am A Voter) and the Mayfair X Creative Label BLM campaign, which was designed with eight black creatives and in which 100% of the proceeds went to the contributing artists, as well as Color Of Change Education Fund and National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (a QR code was also activated with these campaigns, for additional resources and ways to take action).
Another goal of Mayfair’s is to amplify the causes that are near and dear to Abrahart: among them, mental health.
Abrahart studied at the University of South Carolina, where she was an avid soccer player and attended on a soccer scholarship — a testament to her British roots. While in college, she experienced mental health challenges, a struggle she is much more open and vulnerable about today. She returned to college in 2010 (this time the University of North Georgia) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, which led to a fashion internship in Los Angeles.
After a few years of working in L.A. in the fashion industry, Abrahart felt the pull to launch her own venture — an agency or brand rooted in the premise of being “your digital big sister.” So she quit her job, moved back to Arizona, and launched the Mayfair Group in 2017 in her guest bedroom, with about $2,000 of savings in her bank account. One of its first clients was Wildflower phone cases, who remains one of the agency’s partnerships on the service side.
“I felt this weird void in myself where I was like, I know I’m supposed to be doing something different. I know I’m supposed to build something of my own. Mayfair was really built out of the desire to build a company where people feel inspired to come to work, and having an open and collaborative environment where all voices are heard, and everyone from intern to CEO can sit at the table, bring creative concepts, and bring narratives that we feel passionate about.”
Its “Empathy” collection has become iconic for Mayfair and is among its most successful to date — as a result, the “Empathy 2.0” collection drops today (after all, 11/11 is the perfect date for manifesting and to showcase Mayfair’s most important narrative).
Speaking of manifesting — Abrahart explains that the mood in Mayfair’s Arizona-based office is “electric,” as team members share their goals and dreams.
“I think a lot of people think things are out of reach. That’s the first mistake. You have to believe in your own power. Nothing in life is too good for you. Adjust your mindset, and start writing and speaking your goals into existence every single day. Whether it’s the circle that you surround yourself with or the team that you’re working with, be surrounded by people that are going to empower and really believe in those visions as much as you do.”