10 Lessons From The Founders Of Who What Wear

10 Lessons From The Founders Of

Who What Wear

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Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power are powerhouses. Period. They went from having a semi-functional website put together with their amateur Photoshop skills to founding Clique Media Group, a digital publishing conglomerate comprised of popular woman’s lifestyle sites like Byrdie and Domaine. Clique also represents hundreds of top fashion and style bloggers like Song of Style and Something Navy. The two began their entrepreneurial journey with the launch of Who What Wear, a shoppable fashion website, inspired by street style and celebrity fashion, born from white space the two saw in the publishing industry. “We found ourselves very frustrated that we couldn’t consume the same type of magazine-quality content, that we were getting in a print magazine, online,” says Kerr. The site, which was once a daily newsletter, has since evolved into a clothing line sold in in 800 Target stores across the country as well as on Target.com. To be sure, this dynamic duo has evolved the business with an ear to the ground and a focus on what’s trending.

Kerr and Power recently published a book, their third, called The Career Code. According to Power, the tome is an “actionable book with all of the hard and fast rules, that if you follow, are actually a blueprint for success.” Kerr attests that “it’s a little bit of lifestyle; it’s a lot of very practical how-to stuff about work.” Here, the 10 things we learned.

1

Yes, you need to intern, and you should start immediately. According to Power, “If you’re just starting out, [an internship] is imperative. I would recommend you go intern at a very small startup but also a very large corporation that has more resources and infrastructure. It’s super important to learn how it works at both.” Kerr also suggests mixing up your experience. “At a big company, you don’t always get to do as much,” she says. You’ll get more hands-on experience, probably at the startup, but it’s good to take your learnings from being at a corporation if you’re going to go work at a startup.

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Photo Credit: www.fashionweekdaily.com

2

Turning your passion into a career is difficult, but not impossible. Power suggests asking yourself questions to realize what it is that you love to do and how you can apply that to a job. It’s all about looking at your skill set, and then pairing it with a career that will allow you to deepen your interests while making a living.

3

You probably already know what job you want. According to Kerr, your perfect fit, career-wise is “whatever you’re so passionate about that your friends get annoyed.” She goes on to say, “when someone is trying to pull you out of something, but you just love it so much that you’re kind of obsessing over it, there’s a way to figure out how to turn that into a job. It might not be exactly how you think it will be, but there are a million different ways of going into it.”

4

Not every one of your passions needs to turn into a career. Remember, you can’t do it all. Kerr loves food, but she will not start pursuing that industry for a career change. “I don’t want to look at it from a work perspective,” she says. “It’s also okay to have something that is just a passion, and keep it a passion as well.”

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Photo Credit: www.fashionista.com

5

If you work hard, regardless of who you are, you will succeed. Kerr says, “Truthfully, at the end of the day, if you [prove yourself in your field], that’s what wins out. Business is this really practical thing. Business wants success, and if you are succeeding, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a tutu on your head; no one cares if you’re doing something innovative and interesting. Just judge us on the work, and if the work is great, that’s the most important thing.” And Power agrees, “You just have to be great, that’s all. You have to be great.”

6

The money will come. Power and Kerr didn’t think about making money for quite some time. “We really just focused on making the absolute best product that we possibly could with a very unique point of view that no one else had and a very unique value proposition, and then we started becoming recognized for that.,” says Power. “Choose the people and partners that are most in line with what your goals and your missions are.”

“It’s still early days for the digital content and commerce world, which means that the possibilities for innovation are endless. Every day we are creating newness.” stated Kerr in an interview with CNN Money

7

Experiences goes beyond the workload. Kerr emphasizes, “do something on spec, whether it’s creating a project or writing an article or doing any sort of prospective project.”

Power concurs that, “It’s absolutely possible, in this day and age with the internet, to go create a body of work that you are doing on the side. When you go and apply for the job, you actually have a body of work to show the prospective boss.”

8

There is no “perfection” in startups. “You just have to do it,” says Kerr. “You can’t wait for it to be this perfect vision; it doesn’t necessarily have to be the ideal version. You just have to do it and test it and refine it and keep making it better – that’s the most important part.”

9

Your personal brand matters, so make sure it’s professional. If someone applies to work for Kerr, and she’s seriously considering them, she does her research. “Before they even come in, I am for sure stalking them on all of their social media. It’s honestly just due diligence that anyone does at this point in time. You can for sure get fired for saying crazy things and also, ultimately, [social media] is a great place to curate who you are, not just as a potential future employee, but also who you are as an individual and what your point of view is. If you want to have something crazy and out there, make a second account and don’t use your name. Think about how you’re curating for yourself.”

“We found ourselves very frustrated that we couldn’t consume the same type of magazine-quality content, that we were getting in a print magazine, online.”

10

Don’t just hustle; hustle strategically. Think ahead. Kerr suggests using all your resources. “It’s always good to think about all of the ways that you can get your resume in front of the right person. Use your network. Use your connections. Do you have a friend who knows someone who works at that company?

That personal touch sometimes gets you in the door,” she says. And once you’ve gotten your resume to the right person, make sure it has the right experience on it. For Kerr, she’s interested in the person who has experience at the competitor’s place.

“Choose the people and partners that are most in line with what your goals and your missions are.” – Katherine Power

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Photo Credit: Emman Montalvan/Tack Artists
Shannon Matloob

Shannon is a contributor at SWAAY. She has a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University with a passion identifying and researching other women on the path to greatness.

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