From an open-door office policy to taking the high road, Rachel is dishing seven of her best business tips.
ALWAYS WORK LIKE YOU HAVE FIVE DOLLARS IN THE BANK.
My first job was as a sales associate at the Nine West store in Short Hills Mall in New Jersey. My biggest piece of advice for anyone starting his or her first job would be to make sure to never act entitled. It’s important that no matter what your situation is, you work like you have only $5 in the bank.
TRUST THAT SOMEONE WILL TAKE A CHANCE ON YOU.
If you show up every day and give your job 110% at all times, eventually you will get noticed. It may not happen as quickly as you like, but at some point the stars will align and you will get your first big break. For me, that occurred when Tommy Hilfiger hired me to style his huge White House ad campaign. I was only about a month into my freelance career at the time, and I was terrified. The job came with a big budget and took two weeks to execute. We shot a cast of young Hollywood actors, models and singers both in Austin and Los Angeles. To this day, it is still one of the most incredible productions I have worked on. I am eternally grateful to Tommy for taking a chance on me, because it not only led me to book many more jobs, but it also gave me a huge boost of confidence and proved my competence!
REALIZE THAT YOUR PATH MIGHT BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET.
You need to consider whether you're on the right career path. Who says you can't have an "I'm going to be a...just kidding!" moment like I did? Before I started my career in fashion, I was a student at George Washington University majoring in sociology and psychology. At the time, I thought I was going to be a psychiatrist! Looking back, making the jump to fashion was a natural choice for me. Bottom line: It's never too late to start over. We hear stories all the time of people later in life going back to school for something completely new and different. Those stories are inspiring. If you're lucky and you're honest with yourself, you might realize that you need to make a change.
FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS, NOT THE PROBLEM.
Everyone makes mistakes, but how you handle them can set you apart in the workplace. When something goes wrong, find a solution (or twenty) before you present the mistake to your boss or colleagues. Then, use the misstep as a chance to come out on top. As a designer, often times I will conceptualize and sketch a design for my collection only to have the prototype turn out differently than I expected. Rather than starting from scratch, I work with my team to find a middle ground that will work for the customer while not compromising my vision.
TAKE THE HIGH ROAD
When drama arises, it is tempting to want to set the record straight to everyone within the workplace. In my experience with the media reporting false stories about me or my company, I have learned that silence is almost always golden. If you try to deny or defend yourself, you are ultimately just fueling the fire. On the other hand, when you are quiet, the drama tends to fizzle much more quickly. Bottom line: take the high road and save the venting for when you are at home behind closed doors. Believe me, this is not easy.
KEEP YOUR OFFICE DOORS OPEN.
As a leader and CEO of a company that is constantly growing, it is important for me to have an open-door policy with my employees and always be honest with them. I do believe having transparency with my team shows that I trust them—I always want the lines of communicate to be open. In today’s corporate culture a lot of leaders choose to sit with their team, and not have separate offices, and I like that. The offices of my company headquarters have glass doors for a reason, to advocate transparency and openness.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
My number-one piece of advice? Do what you love. It is the only thing that will keep you going through long days, stressful situations and a low bank account balance. When I was a fashion assistant at YM magazine, I worked literally on my hands and knees all day long, doing everything from packing and unpacking boxes to running around New York City in blizzards on foot (in heels!) moving full wardrobe trunks solo. It was physically taxing on a person of my height and build, but I did it all with a smile on my face. I never once complained because I felt it was such a privilege to do what I love.