Major news today: At #CreateCultivateDallas, our featured keynote speakers will be Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, the fashion and business powerhouses behind Clique Media Group. Katherine and Hillary founded their first media outlet, Who What Wear (yeah, we think you've probably heard of that one ;) almost 10 years ago and have since grown their company into a full-on empire that includes the websites MyDomaine and Byrdie, as well as talent management. We caught up with them to get a mere sliver of all the wisdom they're sure to drop on January 30th.
With almost a decade of running Clique under your belt, what do you think is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Never underestimate the importance of hiring correctly, delegating appropriately, and communicating effectively and clearly. It’s a big lesson—okay, lessons—that we continue to work on every single day.
What do you wish you had known in the beginning?
I wouldn’t trade our experience for the world. Sure, it might be nice to have some foresight into industry trends, but truthfully, hands-on experience is the best way to learn anything.
Los Angeles isn’t known as a powerhouse of fashion media. How do you think that has benefited Clique?
There’s a benefit to being an outsider, in the sense that when you’re operating outside the industry, you get to make more independent decisions and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I think that certainly benefited Clique, especially in the early days.
How have you seen the L.A. fashion landscape change since you started?
The L.A. fashion landscape has changed tremendously since we started. In 2006, the industry didn’t pay much attention to Los Angeles; now the world recognizes our incredible homegrown talent, and designers are embracing the city in a whole new way. It’s no longer seen as simply the land of denim and red carpets, but rather a place of inspiration and artistry, and an essential piece of the fashion world. We’re thrilled about it!
What has been your proudest moment with the business?
We’ve had so many milestone moments over the past nine years, but getting to announce our debut Who What Wear collection, which will be available at Target stores and Target.com starting in February 2016, certainly is at the top of the list.
Knowing grammar is like having good manners; it makes you feel more confident and at ease in any situation.
As writers, what books (business or other) are in your forever library?
KP: Venture Deals by Jason Mendelson and Brad Feld. I listened to this audiobook before doing our Series A fundraise. I recommend it to any entrepreneur; it’s a quick way to learn the language and basic principles of the venture capital world. Also, Scaling Up Excellence is a must-read for anyone building a team or expanding a business.
HK: The Elements of Style by E.B. White and William Strunk Jr. Everyone needs to be able to write well, even if it’s just emails, which is why this classic guide is a must-read book! After all, knowing grammar is like having good manners; it makes you feel more confident and at ease in any situation.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned about being a boss and leader?
The importance of being organized, both in the short and long term. On a day-to-day basis, organization is important because it helps you manage your time and delegate effectively, both of which are key when leading a team. It’s equally important in the grand scheme of things, because if you’re organized, you’ll have enough breathing room to be able to think about the future of your industry and company, which is a big part of leading a company effectively.
What qualities do you look for in the people you hire?
People with an entrepreneurial spirit are really important to us, because we value resourceful problem-solvers who aren’t afraid to tackle projects outside the scope of their day-to-day work.
Three essential characteristics of successful brands:
• They always have a strong identity and point of view.
• They’re always evolving in an organic way.
• They’re not afraid to embrace technology.
What is next for Clique?
We are expanding internationally, launching products lines based on our core brands, and tackling mobile commerce.