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.
1Yes, 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
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.
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.”
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
5If 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.”
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
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.”
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."
9Your 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.”
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
"There are no good men out there," yet another woman my age declared. At 50, I was freshly divorced after two decades of marriage and motherhood. My unhappy marriage had shattered my faith in men and romantic relationships. Based on my ex-husband's opinion of my sexual appeal, I was afraid my naked body would cause future lovers to run screaming from the room. Rather gleefully, I announced to my girlfriends that I was done with men, and sex, forever.
For the first year, I got tangled in my sheets alone every night, overjoyed to have the bed and my body to myself. I felt liberated by divorce—free to be me, skip showering, and make dinner for one. But it bothered me when women decried the scarcity of men, because I'd known so many good ones—college boyfriends, my brother, my best friend from business school, etc. The first of many naked truths gradually crept up on me: I was not going to find my juju again through self-help and yoga. The feminist in me didn't want to admit it, but going for too long without men was akin to starvation.
I didn't want another husband. But I needed men, a lot of them.
The universe signaled its approval by sending Mr. Blue Eyes to me at an airport. He was 29 and perhaps the sexiest man I'd ever kissed. Being with him convinced me, pretty decisively, that men were going to heal me, even though men had destroyed me many times before. I became the female incarnation of a divorced, clichéd older man: I bought a sports car, revamped my wardrobe, and took younger lovers. "I want five boyfriends," I told my best friend KC after that first tryst ended. "Sweet, cute, smart, nice. Enough that I won't get too attached to one." My message from the frontlines of divorce at 50 is that to restore your confidence as a woman, especially in the wake of a crushing breakup, try dating outside your comfort zone, expanding your dating pool to include partners you might never have considered before. It may not be the recipe for a lasting union, but in terms of rebuilding your self-esteem, it can work wonders.
The first thing I noticed—and liked—about dating younger men is that they didn't want to marry me or make babies with me. And I didn't want that either. Frankly, I didn't even want them to spend the night. Since I'd been 11, I'd been taught to seek out and value men who wanted commitment. To my surprise, I found it refreshing, even more authentic, to be valued not for my potential as a mate, but instead for my body, intelligence, life-experience and sexuality.
And the sex! I quickly realized that—warning, blanket stereotype coming—men under 40 are more straightforward and adventurous than older men, maybe since they were raised with the Internet. You hear so often about the scourge of crude, sexist online pornography; and I agree that the depersonalization of women as sexual playthings is deeply destructive to all genders. However, from sexting to foreplay, I found younger men uniquely enthusiastic about getting naked and enjoying sex. Every younger man found my most erotic zones faster than any man my age ever had, with a lack of hesitation men over 50 seemed unable to fathom.
Also, about my big fear of getting naked in front of a younger man? Completely unfounded. I started to shake when Airport Boy took off my sundress in our hotel room. Had he ever seen a woman my age nude? How could I stand to be skin-to-skin with a body far more perfect than mine? I had given birth to eight-pound, full-fucking-term babies. I'd nursed them, too, and at times by breasts looked (from my view at least) like wet paper towels. "You have a spectacular body," he told me instead, running his hand over the cellulite on my stomach that I despised. That night I learned that younger men who seek older women accept our physical flaws—they don't expect perfection in someone 20 years their senior. These men taught me to see my body through a positive, decidedly male lens, to focus on the pretty parts (and we all have them) rather than the flaws that we all have too, whether you're 19, 29 or 59.
I even found the pillow talk lighter, easier and more intellectually stimulating, because a younger man's world view differs so vastly from the pressures of my 20-something kids, annual colonoscopies, 401K balance and mortgage payments. They have simple financial problems, like "Can I borrow a few quarters for the parking meter outside?" or "Do you have any advice on consolidating my student loans?"
Everything feels simpler with younger men. Men under 40 seem less threatened by assertive women; they grew up with them. They like cheap beer instead of expensive wine. They don't snore (as much). Leftovers a 55-year-old would scoff at look good to them. Their erections NEVER last more than four hours. Their hard-ons end the old-fashioned way and 45 minutes later they are ready for more.
But what I enjoy most about younger men is not the sex, or the cliché that they make me feel young again—because they don't. Younger men make me feel old, and to my delight, I like that. I feel valuable around younger men, precisely because I am wiser and more experienced in life, love and between the sheets.
I know I'll never end up with one for good. The naked truth is we don't have enough in common to last. One recently put it exactly right when he told me, "I love this, but there's always gonna be a glass ceiling between us." That lack of permanence, the improbability of commitment and "forever," doesn't mean I can't pick up a tip or two about self-esteem, and enjoy the magic of human connection with younger men. And vice versa. The experience can enrich us both, making us better partners for people our own ages down the road.
*My viewpoint is from the perspective of a heterosexual woman, because I am one. But change the gender identification and/or sexual orientation to whatever works for you and let me know if the same advice holds true. Thank you.