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21 Career Tips From Fashion Power Ladies

The entrepreneurs featured in Ladies Who Launch may come from all different backgrounds and career paths, but they're also able to deliver tangible advice to hopefuls and vets alike.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

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Over the last year, I've interviewed women who've started some of the most successful ventures in the industry as part of Racked's Ladies Who Launch series. These are women like photographer Jamie Beck, who landed early support from Tumblr, and Kim France, this week's subject who won the admiration of the industry while working as Lucky's editor-in-chief for ten years before starting her own site. There's model-turned-beauty entrepreneur Josie Maran, who self-funded her cosmetics company after venture capitalists laughed at her idea; fashion law blogger Julie Zerbo, who relies on her legal education to call out some of the industry's biggest names; and so many others who are making their mark by starting something of their own.

The entrepreneurs featured in Ladies Who Launch may come from all different backgrounds and career paths, but they're also able to deliver tangible advice to hopefuls and vets alike. Below, see all the best tips from women who are seriously making it.



Photo courtesy of Kelly Cutrone

On Starting Your Own Business

"Your employees are not your family. That's a mistake. When you start out and think you're all in this together, well, you're not." —Kelly Cutrone, People's Revolution

"If you're not good at math and business, find somebody that is because you will not succeed without that skill set." —Yael Alfalo, Reformation

"A physical business should be a place that people come to and love. Make it about the people who come instead of just treating it like a business." —Tara Stiles, Strala Yoga

"Know the general knowledge of every single department in the business. You don't want to be stuck and not know what to do in tough situation." —Kimberly Gordon, Wildfox

"It's about learning from each mistake and saying, 'Okay, we messed that up,' or 'We shipped that late,' or 'We did this, but what are we learning from that and how are we using that to go forward? What are we building on?'" —Stacey Bendet, Alice + Olivia

"The whole smoke and mirrors culture of social media is a real disservice to us because we think that branding is more important than the actual product. But in order to run a business, you need to have cash and in order to have cash, you need a product. So always put product before branding." —Molly Guy, Stone Fox Bride

"Always ask what's possible. If you play the same game that everyone else is playing, you won't do anything that's inspiring and you'll live in fear. If you don't allow yourself to dream, you'll never get yourself anywhere unique and important." —Josie Maran, Josie Maran Cosmetics

"Not every opportunity is the right opportunity for you. It's good to know when and how to say no. Focus on your goals and know that there are going to be many opportunities." —Jodie Snyder, Dannijo

"Test as quickly as possible. See if the concept resonates with people. People have a lot of good ideas, but the execution is what is challenging." —Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox

"I think one of the most important things when you're starting a business is to not let the naysayers stand in your way. It would be a mistake to let other people's limitations keep you from accomplishing and doing the things you really want to do." —Mary Helen Bowers, Ballet Beautiful



Photo courtesy of Bag Snob

On Taking on the Internet

"I would highly discourage people from starting a blog as a way to make money. It's so obvious when your voice is not real." —Kelly Cook, Bag Snob

"The hardest lesson for me was learning that I didn't have to do everything by myself. For years, I was a team of one, trying to learn the back-end coding. I spent time on stuff I had zero comprehension over, instead of just asking for help or hiring someone to do it. It's important to ask for help." —Emily Schuman, Cupcakes and Cashmere

"Don't just use Twitter to send links with your content, do it in a way that's personal. We tweet personal things, we talk to people. That's the fun part." —Heather Cocks, Go Fug Yourself

"Define your voice, but be open to evolving as you grow." —Abby Larson, Style Me Pretty

"Have a plan of profitability. Focusing on profit doesn't make you overly capitalist, it means you're investing in the future of your business." —Grace Bonney, Design Sponge

"Take a coding class, even if you're not planning on doing the developing. It's such a key thing I wish we had done that enables you to communicate more intelligently with the tech side of your product." —Carly Zakin, The Skimm



Photo courtesy of Cherry Bombe

On Generally Killing It Professionally

"If you have a job and a paycheck, just sock away money, even if you don't think you want to launch a magazine some day. It's a lesson I learned later in life, and I wish someone had sat me down and physically took money away from me and put it in the bank. It would have made life easier today." —Kerry Diamond, Cherry Bombe

"Fostering relationships is so important. When you meet people, you shouldn't always think about what they can do for you. You should think about what you can get just from having a friendship with them and what you can learn from them." —Danielle Kosann, The New Potato

"Make sure you do your research. You don't want to be defending anything. My blog posts often aren't very long, but a lot of research goes into them because I don't want to be writing things that aren't true." —Julie Zerbo, blogger at the Fashion Law

"Know that every day you're not working, there is someone out there in there who is because they want that opportunity. When I think that I can't do it anymore, I know that there is someone out there my age that wants this as badly as I do." —Jamie Beck, Ann Street Studios

"Don't turn into an asshole. When you go to a publication where you suddenly have all the perks in the world, it's really easy to turn into a really unpleasant person. If you're going to go be a really big deal somewhere, just try to remain decent." —Kim France, Girls of a Certain Age

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