Inventor. Artist. Ex-Girlfriend. Australian. These are all titles Nicole Richie took on in season 2 of her VH1 series "Candidly Nicole." But while it's universally accepted that Richie is a quick-witted comedic Queen, capable of the above and more, she also takes her businesses (multiple), her friendships (more than multiple), and her role as mother (just 2) very seriously.
Almost nine years ago Richie launched House of Harlow 1960, shortly after the birth of her first child, becoming mom and mom to her career simultaneously.
“At that time I had so many fears,” she says. “I had a newborn baby. I was twenty-six. I was starting a new business. I was one of three people that I knew with a baby that was my age. I had no idea what the future would bring. I didn’t even know if I wanted to turn it into a full-blown brand yet.”
Which, is exactly what is has become. The initial 50-piece costume jewelry line has developed into ready-to-wear, eyewear, footwear, and handbags. The most recent collection was released in partnership with Revolve.
Though entrepreneur wasn't exactly a role she imagined for herself, Richie got a taste of that business life, liked it, and last November held the inaugural Pearl xChange in Los Angeles. It is her live-event series for women who want to make connections, share knowledge, and listen to speakers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Marianne Williamson drop some.
At first glance, it’s very similar to Create & Cultivate. That’s not a problem for Richie, who was a keynote at Create & Cultivate Atlanta in conversation with HelloGiggles co-founder Sophia Rossi.
“This is a perfect example,” Richie says, “of how two people in the same business with the same interests understand that we each have strengths. Joining together only helps us spread our wings, reach even more people, build the energy and make the vibration stronger.”
“Joining together only helps us spread our wings, build the energy and make the vibration stronger.”
It’s the matter of competition being able to life us higher, together, not further apart and it’s a direction she’s focussing a lot of her energy. “I am able to see other people’s strengths where I have weaknesses. That’s not putting myself down, that’s understanding who I am and wanting to build myself up and make myself stronger. I’m so excited to be a part of the Create & Cultivate conference and spend time with other like-minded people who have been in this business longer than me.”
This approach is a through-line with Richie and many of her successful friends.
“Rachel Zoe is an example of a woman where there are a lot of parallels in our careers,” says Richie. “That being said, do we look at each other as competition? Absolutely not. Rachel is Rachel and I’m me. We’re two individuals. We have different lives. I’m so happy for her and I love going out and supporting her."
“Rachel has been very open with me,” she adds, “and this is very important to say, she’s been so open about the ins and outs of her business. She's never once said, ‘You’re on your own.’”
This approach has only helped them both. You can do it by yourself, Richie explains, “but you’re really limiting yourself. I can only get so far on my own."
She brings up longtime friend Sophia Rossi, who likewise understands the sisterhood of business. “Her business is HelloGiggles," says Richie. "It’s online, it’s so different than what I do, but we have found ways to collaborate and I’m really passionate about my friendship with her. She’s somebody who is a true connector. She has no skin in the fashion game, but she loves me and she wants to see her friends succeed.” Friends like Clique Media co-founder Katherine Power. “Sophia started a few years after Katherine, but she is the first person to say, ‘I just copied everything Katherine did. I listened to everything she said and she was my mentor.’”
“Those girls are the perfect example of two friends going after kind of the same thing but who have done nothing but support each other and maintain the closeness. You’re never going to produce the same thing, it’s just not possible. We don’t have the same souls.”
With Pearl xChange Richie wants to take this notion a step further. “When I hear other girls say, ‘Oh, I don’t have a lot of girlfriends,’ or ‘I don’t trust other girls,” I, personally, don’t understand what that means,” she says. “We have to get over that. It has to be a thing of the past and it’s really important to me. To say, or ask, ‘How can I help?’ ‘What can I give?’ and ‘What is the one thing that I have that I can offer?’”
She brings up advice Marianne Williams gave the audience at the first Pearl xChange. “She spoke a lot about us understanding our own strengths and how that takes more confidence than we know. Feeling good within ourselves about what we have to offer— that’s harder than a lot of people think.”
Adding, “There is no how-to book, but the idea of ‘this is how you do it’ can be thrown out. You can create your own way.”
In her thirties Nicole feels more confident and secure in her decisions, her "own way," than ever before. That means exploring and pushing herself and finding new sides of who she is. “You really have to put yourself out there, give everything that you have, and do it authentically.”
“It’s been a slow and steady process of me finding the confidence in myself to take the reigns of my own business and my own life.”
“I think the key is to find the thing that you love and figure out how to turn that into a business. And just be that. Don’t worry about being anything else. Then you’ll feel like your life has alignment and true flow.”