Amanda is the epitome of the name of her company - The Flourish Collective. After all, flourishing is what she does best.
For more than a decade, Amanda Vaisigano has been growing businesses, brands and reputations through strategic PR, communications and marketing. Her degree in Communications and MBA from Victoria University (that she is currently completing), means Amanda is primed to build brands and give their reputations a serious edge in a competitive industry. She's also a mum, a twenty-something and local inhabitant of Wellington, with the passion to boot!!
I met Amanda at my former school where she was in the year above me. While she had her 'naughty' moments (self-admitted), she was always really well-liked and stays friends with her peers from the school to this day. I wanted to catch up with Amanda and find out how she started her own business and why she chose to go into PR.
Where did Amanda Vaisigano come from?
"I was born in Wellington before my family moved to Auckland" Amanda explains over tea at a small cafe in Lyall Bay on a blustery Wellington day. "I lived there and had a happy childhood until I was 14 and our family moved to Wellington. I was devastated."
Amanda found it hard moving. "I was a shit" she laughs. "I started to show signs I was a problem around Year 9. I went to Queen Margaret College and I made a huge effort to be the biggest pain I could be to my teachers. I attracted my tribe. I literally went to school to do PE, annoy my teachers and smoke in the nearby park. I was given so many chances by the dean, Ms Pivac."
Amanda left school at the end of year twelve and went to the New Zealand Institute of Sport. While she had a great year, she knew that sport wasn't where her career was going to be. "I decided to study at Victoria University and I met my husband," Amanda says. "So more time was spent together, having a nice time, rather than studying law."
Life took an unexpected twist when her boyfriend and now-husband moved home to the Hawkes Bay because of a traumatic family event. Amanda decided to get serious about her own life and to hunker down and study Communications extramurally. Amanda wrote for a publication in the Hawkes Bay and then for the Wellingtonian back in Wellington, before deciding she wanted to move into PR.
Amanda worked for a fantastic range of well known Kiwi businesses in-house before she had her son when she was 25. "All of the roles were great, and I needed the experience" she explains.
However, something changed for Amanda as she moved into a new chapter in her life.
"After having my son I suddenly looked up at these ‘successful’ corporate women who were at the top of the ladder and realised, I don’t want that" Amanda explains. "Everyone should know what success means to them, and for me, my version of success had been redefined. It still about having a fulfilling career doing what I love – but it was also being able to have autonomy over how I did that so that I can be the best mum and wife I can be. Not missing out on precious fleeting moments with my family and being able to find that delicate balance that allows feeling a little less guilt then I did before.
What is The Flourish Collective?
A boutique PR firm was created by Amanda, which she named The Flourish Collective, because she wants to help small businesses do just that - to flourish. "The Flourish Collective pulls together many things into one for me" Amanda explains to me, "It gives me the ability to continuing doing my craft and what I love doing while building something for myself. It allows me to work with brands that I’m obsessed with and align with my values and ethos. It gives me autonomy over my working life, which in turn makes me a better mum and wife and gives me something that I am excited and determined to do well at every single day."
Her business specialises in content creation, copywriting, brand development and strategy, social media and more. And she's loving it: "What I’ve found so far with consulting is that people are hiring me and trusting me as an expert and a specialist," says Amanda. "You don’t need to worry about company politics or signing things off with 500 people before getting anywhere with people telling me how that particular company does things. I can just get on with it. In an office environment, there is so much more that comes into play."
How does she see a balanced life in a modern world?
"Today it is so much harder to find balance especially, that we no longer need to conform to the 9-5 if we decide that it’s not quite for us. Technology allows us to work from anywhere!" Amanda explains. "Life is evolving so quickly, you can go and design your OWN life. Working for yourself changes the game, and the future is that women should be able to create the career they want." Amanda often comes to The Botanist in Lyall Bay, where she's frequently surrounded by others with laptops, working remotely.
After a sceptical start back when she was a teenager, Amanda truly appreciates Wellington today. "We’re so lucky here today. Wellington Life is changing and evolving quickly, businesses are changing and evolving quickly and it means we can go out and create the business that solves a problem and fills a gap, while also allowing us a lifestyle that fills us with satisfaction and greater freedom."