Get to Know Fashion and Digital Duo Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr
Hillary Kerr and Katharine Power are the co-founders of Clique Media, a content and technology company hosting the premium fashion brand "Who What Wear" as well as beauty site Byrdie.com and home-décor site DomaineHome.com.
Prior to founding Clique Media, Kerr served, as a writer for ELLE, Teen Vogue, and Nylon and Power was the West Coast Editor for ELLE and ELLEgirl. Now in addition to their fashion and digital entrepreneurship, the dynamic duo has also managed to publish three books including their most recent: "The Career Code," to be released Tuesday, May 17. The book shares must-know rules for a stylish, strategic, and self-made career.
Learn more about these female fashion and digital trailblazers in their exclusive Q&A with MAKERS below.
Q: When you started the Who What Wear newsletter 10 years ago, where did you honestly think it would go?
Hillary Kerr: One of the biggest things I’m always working on, personally, is managing expectations — other people's, of course, but really mostly mine. I have a very vivid imagination and can basically imagine any scenario for any given situation, so when I’m working on something new, I try not to put the cart before the horse and just live in the moment. As much as you can plan for things and set goals for yourself, the universe works in mysterious ways and often leads me down roads I couldn’t have imagined. That said, I simply hoped that the newsletter content would help girls understand fashion and style, and in turn feel more confident, and anything else would be gravy.
Katherine Power: When you start a business, there is obviously a lot of uncertainty around the viability, longevity, and overall future of the operation. All that said, we had big ideas for what WWW would become: part of a multiband media and commerce company that makes fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products available to women everywhere. In the last 10 years, we have steadily been working through that list of goals, and we have much more to accomplish in the future.
Q: What advice do you have for young women who are reading this as they map out their lives over the next five to 10 years?
HK: While the process of setting goals for yourself and your life can sound incredibly scary — the act of planting your flag in the ground and saying to yourself "This is what I want!" can make even the strongest people feel vulnerable — it's absolutely crucial to have them. I would say that you need to be truly honest with yourself about what you want and make a plan for getting to that place, but also remember to keep checking in with yourself along the way, because sometimes your goals will change, and that’s okay!
KP: There is a chapter in "The Career Code" called "Find Something You Love to Do, and Figure Out a Way to Get Paid for It." This is probably the single most important part of building your career. You have to love what you do; otherwise, becoming successful, which is difficult to do to begin with, is even harder because you're missing the passion that will make you work harder. That comes with loving what you do. In that chapter, we walk readers through figuring out what they want to do and/or be, and then reverse-engineering it into a job.
Q: Many young people don't understand the difference between confidence and arrogance. Can you explain the difference and how to achieve the former without the latter?
HK: Confidence is knowing what you bring to the table, while arrogance is acting like you're better than everyone else because of what you bring to the table. I think the key difference is that confidence isn’t comparative the way arrogance is; ultimately confidence also allows you to admit that there are things you don’t know or might not be the best at doing. It allows room for learning from other people, which is so incredibly important.
KP: Confidence can and should be supported by facts (skills, accomplishments, experience), while arrogance is fabricated. Confidence comes from being prepared, developing your skills, and knowing your worth. If it feels forced, it’s probably going to come off as arrogance, so the best thing to do is to humble yourself while you work on building your confidence.
Q: There's such a stigma in the fashion industry that people are catty and cutthroat. How do you keep things clean and professional within the company?
HK: I try and lead by example and behave the way I would like to be treated. Cattiness has no place in the workplace, and certainly not at our company; it's simply not tolerated.
KP: Our brands are known for their positive tone, voice, and point of view. I have to say, we get back what we put off.
Q: How has print media responded to your success?
HK: There are people and publications that have been incredibly generous and supportive, and then there are some that have been less so. The latter doesn't bother me, per se, because while I'd like people to feel like there’s enough success to go around, I realize that in some instances it’s simply due to competitiveness, and I understand that.
KP: Honestly, I haven't really noticed anything but support — but I guess you'd have to ask them!
Q: Describe the company culture in five words or less.
HK: Positive. Innovative. Solution-oriented. Entrepreneurial. Data obsessed.
KP: Entrepreneurial. Resourceful. Lean. Nimble. Inspiring.
Q: What’s your spirit animal?
HK: I always joke that I most resemble a Tyrannosaurus rex (giant head, short arms), but in terms of my work, perhaps more of a wolf: I’m a social creature who works well with others but also likes to go it alone sometimes, and I'm super loyal.
KP: Definitely a cat.
Q: What's your latest tech obsession?
HK: Besides Snapchat, The List App, and Dysh? And spying on our dog, Duke, via Nest when my fiancé and I aren't at home? Custom color-match beauty products from apps like MatchCo.
KP: Is Snapchat considered to be "tech?" Because that's my current obsession.
Q: Who inspires you?
HK: Our team and our audience are incredibly inspiring in every way. I also am just so impressed by Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham. They're creating so much amazing stuff; between Girls and their newsletter, Lenny, and their production company, it's really just amazing.
KP: Quite honestly, it's my colleagues and friends. They inspire me to work hard and constantly be creative. I’m so lucky to have such accomplished and interesting friends, being around them keeps me going.
Q: What motivates you?
HK: Newness and the desire to help empower and entertain women everywhere.
KP: How hard our employees work. The fact that we are actually making our ideas come to life by building new concepts and products every day.
Q: Was there a personal obstacle that you had to overcome that changed you — and how so?
HK: Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way and let go a little bit, which is hard but absolutely necessary when growing a company.
KP: I am innately pretty shy and a bit socially awkward. I’m not even sure it’s something that I have overcome yet, but it's definitely a work in progress.