When you picture a powerful person in your head, like an editor-in-chief or a CEO, you most likely think of someone who’s cold. Your mind might wander to Amanda Priestly and her biting comments and never-good-enough attitude. Or perhaps you’ve worked for a boss who terrified you each time you set foot in the office. Hillary Kerr, the co-founder and chief content officer of Clique Brands Inc., is quick to shatter those images.
The way she tells her life experiences and lessons learned are painfully funny and relatable. She’s the polar opposite of the CEO who seems untouchable and intimidating. She even took time out of her busy schedule to moderate the keynote talk with Linda Wells at our C Future conference. Make no mistake though, her kindness doesn’t take away from her ambitious edge and the large number of successes she’s already had in her life. This is something she mentioned specifically in our interview as being a common misconception. People in this industry can be nice, many are nice, and still get things done.
Her drive is just as infectious as her positive attitude, and it started from a young age. In high school, she was engrossed with fashion magazines, and this passion carried over into college. Upon graduating a semester early from the University of Southern California, she scored an internship at Marie Claire in Sydney and dove right into the industry.
She moved onto Elle and served as the associate features editor. It was there where she met Katherine Power—the second half of the power duo that created Clique. In 2005, Hillary left her job at Elle, and in 2006 Who What Wear materialized. What started as a fashion-focused email newsletter that many brands and and celebs once brushed off, has now turned into a globally-recognized company that is the power source behind multiple sites, an influencer network, and several retail lines. The takeaway? Her path proves that dream careers aren’t far-fetched ideas, but rather wholly attainable goals—you just have to work really hard.
We had the chance to sit down for a quick five minutes before our conference and find out everything from Hillary’s favorite shopping sites to her best advice for getting through tough situations.
So coffee-wise, I’m obsessed with flat whites. I used to live in Australia and it became a thing. But only with oat or almond milk.
How do you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a content junkie with a side of caffeine.
What’s one thing in your closet that you never wear but you won’t ever get rid of?
My wedding dress.
What are three shopping websites that never let you down?
- Net a porter
You’re headed to fashion week but your makeup bag was lost in transit. What three products do you grab from the drugstore?
I really love L’oreal voluminous carbon black mascara. It’s definitely a go-to for me. I’ve always been a big fan of Maybelline eyeliner, so the skinny felt tip one. And I love the Nivea lip balm, the cherry one in the little tube.
Dream dinner guest, dead or alive?
Hillary Clinton—two Hillaries one dinner.
One thing college taught you that you weren’t expecting?
I would say, the pleasure of learning for learning’s sake. Not necessarily to have a direct application, and yes it’s important to be practical, but to be able to sit and read literature is a great luxury and one I was lucky to have.
Biggest misconception about this industry in your eyes?
That no one is nice.
How do you deal with and push past rejection?
Rejection doesn’t really faze me. I realize that it’s either I need to work on my pitch or it wouldn’t have been a great fit anyway. So I really try to examine both things and go from there.
What’s one thing a potential candidate can do to impress you during an interview?
Come prepared. So many times people show up for an interview and they don’t know the company, they don’t know the position and they’re not even sure why they’re there. So, do your homework and be excited. This isn’t a first date; you don’t need to play it cool. Enthusiasm for your company or whatever company you’re interviewing with is a good thing in this case.