Julie Maher discusses Digital Asset Management
Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- Why does a jewelry company use a DAM?
- What advice would you like to give to DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Julie Maher. Julie,
how are you?
Julie Maher: [0:09] Doing great, how are you doing?
Henrik: [0:13] Good. Julie, how are you involved with Digital Asset
Julie: [0:15] I’ve been involved with Digital Asset Management for over 10 years.
I first started at Ralph Lauren. A little bit of background, I’ve always been very
interested in photography and the preservation of those types of assets. Digital
Asset Management happened to be something that I naturally fell into. It was
the natural next step for me. [0:39] At Ralph Lauren, they have an extremely
extensive collection of photographic assets, video assets and they were at the
point where everyone in the art department was keeping the same types of
images on different servers. It was really clogging up their space. It got to a
point where we really just needed to clean everything out and put it into one
system that the entire company could access.
Henrik: [1:10] Makes sense.
Julie: [1:14] Yeah, we started building this DAM system. It was highly customizable.
A company like Ralph Lauren is not going to have anything straightforward.
They’re very lifestyle driven, so you can’t just search for photographs by a
photographer. It has to be by thoroughbred, Nantucket, things like that as well
as searching as by location, photographer, model, season, year, that type of
thing. [1:42] It was extra special, because that’s really their whole thing. And also,
at Ralph Lauren, as in fashion in general, is very cyclical. A collection from the
80s will return and be very popular, and you need to pull those assets again as
inspiration for a new collection.
[2:00] It’s a huge, huge database. They had about 750,000 assets when I left in
2006. They were adding approximately 60,000 assets a year. It’s massive. I was
in the corporate archives department. My boss and I, Pat Christman, who had
been with the company since the very beginning, she was more like the company
historian, we worked with this team for this.
[2:30] We had a very rigorous schedule. We’d meet weekly. We really built up a
beautiful, beautiful system. I love it. To this day people always comment about
it. Anybody who has interacted with that system knows that it’s very fine tuned
and it works really well.
[2:49] Yeah, that was my entre into the Digital Asset Management world. From
there, I’ve worked with the NFL. I worked with them last year for their youth division.
They needed to organize their assets. It seems to be a problem in these
art departments where people download these high res assets and keep them
on their individual servers or desktops. It starts clogging up the system again.
[3:23] Companies are starting to realize that they need one place for these
assets to stay so they’re easily accessible but, again, not everywhere all over the
company. You know things start to happen. Was this the final approved one? Is
it cropped correctly? You don’t have that information in a simple file sitting on
your desktop. Do you know what I mean? It hasn’t gone through all the stages
Henrik: [3:48] So, there’s centralization basically?
Julie: [3:51] Yeah, definitely. I basically work with luxury brands. My other job
that I do is I produce fashion videos. Now I’m starting to work with those clients
who have all these video assets and photographic assets, and they have no idea
what to do with them. [4:11] It just amazes me, maybe because I’ve been doing
this for 10 years it’s not shocking, but it just really surprises me that people don’t
have things more in order. They’re starting to catch on and realize that this is a
very vital part of their business, which is good. This area with the fashion sector,
luxury brands, it’s really totally booming right now.
Henrik: [4:42] Julie, why would a jewelry company, for example, use a DAM?
Julie: [4:47] Currently I am consulting at the second largest jewelry company
in the country, not the world actually. A jewelry company is like any other company
that has assets. In this particular case there is a jewelry designer for this
company that is pushing this project. [5:12] She herself realizes how valuable it
is to have her assets organized and located in one place. They’re preserved.
They’re getting digitized at very high resolution. They’re going to be preserved.
Everything is going to go to cold storage. Her actual physical assets are going
to be protected.
[5:32] I really saw the jewelry company as any company like a Ralph Lauren or
a NFL. It’s not even about the industry. It’s about preserving your assets and
making sure everything is taken care of. I could do this in any industry.
[5:50] I tell people all the time, “Yes, I work in a luxury brand sector, but I could
be doing this for anyone who has that need.” It’s a major, major need. This is
a great project that I’m working on now, because the company is 100 percent
[6:09] We have a very nice budget, which you also often don’t get with these
projects because it’s so new on the scene, it seems. Again, as with Ralph Lauren,
the team I’m managing, we have a very rigorous schedule.
[6:29] We meet every Wednesday, and on Thursdays we action everything that
we talked about on Wednesday so it gives the team that is actually building out
the system five days to get it going. It’s a very, very strict schedule. Everybody is
totally committed to it.
[6:46] I think that’s what makes it work and makes a DAM system really effective,
if you’ve got a team that’s just as passionate as you are, knows the end goal,
knows what it’s going to look like and can see what it’s going to look like.
[7:00] Again, it’s highly customizable. We can just bring this right into the PR
department and use it for exactly what we need. What’s very exciting about this
project is that there are other modules that have already been developed within
the company, but they did it backwards.
[7:19] They uploaded photos first, and then they attached some data and everything
else. We’re doing it like the old school way. We are building it up nice and
slowly, very clean. Then we’re going to add assets. This is now going to serve as
the model for the rest of the company going forward.
[7:35] They have a very, very nice, clean system. It’s going to work perfectly. It’s
going to totally be across the company. It’s going to be one large system with
all these different modules, and it’s very, very nice.
Henrik: [7:52] Julie, what advice would you like to give to DAM professionals or
people aspiring to become a DAM professional?
Julie: [8:00] I thought about this a little bit. I said I worked in fashion for a long
time, luxury brands. I feel that the DAM community is very inviting. I don’t feel
like it’s a very competitive group. People are always sharing ideas and going to
each other. [8:18] I think that’s really key in this industry, not to be afraid to contact
your colleagues and talk about things. Chances are they’ve already been
through it, and they can give you some pointers. I go to these Meetups, and I
meet these fantastic people.
[8:36] You keep in touch, and you come across some situation, like I met someone
last week and I’m going to contact them about these video assets I’m working
on for this current collection. I just think you should be really open and not
be very competitive about that type of thing.
[8:53] I know a lot of industries are competitive, but I feel like this is a knowledge
sharing group, and it’s just natural to want to talk about, discuss, and
share information. Do you know what I mean? It’s one of those industries that
work that way.
[9:06] For the aspiring professional, I just feel like you should go to these meetups.
Go to these networking events. I hear so many people say they don’t want
to go. They’re shy or whatever. But it’s like this is one group of people who are
so passionate about what they do that somebody is going to talk to you.
[9:30] That fear of social anxiety that people experience when going to these
events, people shouldn’t even worry about that. I find that younger people I run
into don’t want to do these things. I’m like, “It’s the best thing going. Are you
kidding me? I meet people every time I go. I meet wonderful people.” You just
expand your network.
Henrik: [9:51] Thanks, Julie.
Julie: [9:53] You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.
Henrik: [9:54] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto
AnotherDAMblog.com. Thanks again.
- Another DAM podcast interview with Suzanne Smagala (anotherdampodcast.com)
- Another DAM podcast interview with Heather Hedden (anotherdampodcast.com)
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