What I learned from the founders of Who What Wear – A Little Leopard What I learned from the founders of Who What Wear – A Little Leopard
What I learned from the founders of Who What Wear – A Little Leopard What I learned from the founders of Who What Wear – A Little Leopard

What I learned from the founders of Who What Wear – A Little Leopard What I learned from the founders of Who What Wear – A Little Leopard

June 3, 2016 // career· etc.· life

I remember when I landed my first full-time, post-graduate internship, I nervously asked if it would be okay for me to start in July due to some already-planned travel. The answer? “No problem! Because then you have to start working, and that’s basically it for the rest of your life!”

It was a kind of funny, kind of scary thought…but ultimately made me feel good about choosing that company, because they seemed to value travel and work/life balance by letting me take those trips. However, it also drives home the point that we spend about a gazillion hours of our lives working. Yes, that is an exact figure. So, wouldn’t you want to have “a strategic, stylish and self-made career” over a boring old J.O.B.?

That’s exactly where Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s new book The Career Code comes in. You may know them as the founders of Who What Wear, Byrdie and My Domaine, among other ventures (ahem, Target clothing line). So when these two speak, my ears most definitely perk up. Here are five key takeaways from the book to help you craft a career and life you love:


Image: InStyle

In order to do what you love, you have to know what you want.

In some ways, this is easier said than done. Do your research by identifying people whose careers you admire and companies you love, and figure out what exactly about them excites you! Your research shouldn’t stop once you land a job, either. It will keep you excited and ahead of the curve in your field, which will only help your career down the road.

Dressing for the job you want means knowing when to invest in your wardrobe — and when to save.

Whether you like it or not, people (including, and perhaps especially, your coworkers and bosses) will make assumptions about you based solely on what you’re wearing. Luckily, it is possible to build a chic, work-appropriate wardrobe on an entry level salary! When you’re starting out, Hillary and Katherine suggest investing in items like a versatile bag in a neutral color, the perfect jeans, a little black dress you can accessorize and go-anywhere blazers. Where to save? Trendy items, of course, and things like minimalist accessories and (faux) leather skirts and dresses.

Proactivity will get you far.

As Hillary and Katherine wisely point out, “No matter where you are along your career path, you’ll notice that the people who seek out ways to improve various aspects of their work — and the overall business — will always stand out to their employer.” Work is basically a team sport, so whatever you can do to improve the team, or make your boss’s job easier, will go a very long way. It’s a total win-win situation.

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…or your coworkers, for that matter.

Excuse the dad humor, but at some point in your career, there is a 99.99999% chance you will have to work with a “difficult personality.” Everyone has different styles of communication, and learning to communicate and work with all types of people will make you an invaluable employee. Plus, everyone’s life is easier that way. These types of situations are almost always resolvable with some clear, honest, face-to-face communication. It’s difficult, yes, but doable!

Goal getter.

Knowing what you want is half the battle. The other half requires action, and that’s where goal setting comes in. I love Katherine’s goal-visualization tip: pretend your life is a movie. Hopefully it’s a Nancy Meyers rom-com type movie, as Katherine suggests, and not, you know, The Hunger Games or something. Once you know how you want the script to go, you can determine what steps are necessary to get you there.

Want more? Check out The Career Code for even more fabulous advice from Hillary and Katherine.