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10 Lessons From The Founders Of Who What Wear

People

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.

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.”

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

Photo Credit: Emman Montalvan/Tack Artists

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.