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
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.