Career Code: The Most Surprising Thing About Running Your Own Brand
In honor of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s upcoming book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($17), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honor of the book's 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the fashion industry. So far, we tapped Rebecca Minkoff, Lauren Conrad, and Andrea Lieberman. Up next? Emily Current and Meritt Elliott.
If those names sound familiar, it’s probably because you own at least one item from Current/Elliott, the brand they founded in 2008, or their latest denim endeavor, The Great. Or maybe you’re a fan of Jessica Alba’s style? They’re also the creative styling team behind that. Or could it be that you’re redecorating your home and have shopped one of their designs at Pottery Barn? Whatever the reason, if you follow Emily and Meritt’s work, there’s truly no going wrong, which is why we were thrilled when we got the chance to pick their brains for the latest installment of our Career Code interview series.
Scroll down to read everything they had to say, from the part of their job that’s the most surprising, to what they wear when they want to feel powerful (hint: an item they’re pretty good at designing!), to the best way to quit a job.
“We are designers, stylists, creative consultants, business owners, wives, and moms. While the crux of our job is to create compelling and special product, looks, and imagery, as well as developing stories, we must also manage an inspired staff, communicate with clients, and constantly look ahead with both innovation, efficiency, and fearlessness. We are the ultimate multitaskers, bouncing from line reviews to fittings to conference calls to vintage shopping. No two days are alike!”
“It is not as glamorous as it might appear in magazines or on Instagram! We get our hands dirty every day, often digging through vintage warehouses, fixing hems on set, tirelessly creating mood boards, lookbooks, and working hands-on with both garments and home décor. We are involved in every aspect of our jobs, and don’t put anything out there—whether it’s a red carpet look or a new pair of jeans—that we haven’t created and developed ourselves with love, from start to finish.”
ME: “A crewneck sweater, a vintage denim skirt, and little menswear loafers.”
EC: “A white lace dress, black blazer, men’s oxfords.”
“Each other! We are constantly surrounded by people, and our most precious time is creatively riffing—ALONE! When it is just us, we get into a headspace where we can REALLY evaluate what we are wishing existed in the world and what is currently making us happy.”
“Who What Wear, of course! We also read WWD every day and are huge fans of Business of Fashion. And we get so much information from Instagram and Snapchat—it’s crazy how quickly these platforms are changing the fashion landscape. Although at the end of the day, we simply trust our gut.”
“We have certainly made mistakes through the years, but have gotten into the mindset to not have regrets. We have used every experience as a moment of learning and growing, and feel proud we have approached our careers, and the people in it, with honesty, loyalty, and respect. If there was a piece of advice we could give our younger selves, it would be be to stay confident, believe in your talent, and say less—a well-crafted two-sentence email is much more impactful than two paragraphs. Also, ‘No’ is a full sentence.”
“Smart, resourceful, detail oriented, creative, forward thinking.”
“Denim… and lipstick.”
“Hands-on, convicted, loyal, and often sort of crazy.”
“We take a step back and spend some time with our kids. We flip through the pages of our book, A Denim Story, for a visual reminder of why we chose creative jobs. We go to the flea market, take a long lunch together, and try to laugh at irreverent things.”
“Never close a door, as relationships are key in this industry—so rather than quitting a job, think of it as moving on to your next adventure, while recognizing that your past experiences and colleagues will likely continue to play a crucial role on your journey. Send flowers with a thank-you note.”
“We usually order in for a working lunch. We are always deciding last minute, as we forget to plan ahead. We switch from a salad from Sweet Green to maybe something more decadent, like a burger from Burger Lounge.”
“Lack of communication. Follow-ups, reminders, lists, and recaps may feel antiquated, but they are essential to staying on task and reminding your employers what you and they have going on.”
“We love to watch our friends be multifaceted and make things happen for themselves. We admire business badasses like Jen Atkin, Katherine and Hillary, Mat Sanders, Amber Lewis, Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Emily Weiss, Becki Owens, Monica Rose, Orange Pancakes, Hannah Bronfman, and Eva Chen. We like to keep our feed a mix of inspirational images and people documenting juggling it all with style!”
“Our days begin with a latte, emails, and kids on our laps. Our days end with tea (or wine!), emails, and kids on our lap.”
“Trust your instinct, lead with kindness, and create without fear.”
“The next The Great collection, expanding our interiors collaborations with the Pottery Barn family, and a few other exciting projects in the works (which we can’t wait to reveal!).”
Ready to be the CEO of your career? Pre-order The Career Code ($13) today.