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. We tapped Rebecca Minkoff first. Up next? Lauren Conrad.
It’s basically impossible to sum up Conrad’s legacy in just one paragraph. Since bidding farewell to the reality TV life, LC hasn’t let anyone or anything stand in her way, as evidenced by her thriving fashion and lifestyle empire. We’re talking two clothing lines, nine best-selling books, including her just-released book Celebrate and her first novel LA Candy, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list, a wildly popular website, and philanthropic endeavors like The Little Market, which empowers female artisans across the globe. Oh, and she’s done all of this by the age of 30. Yes, 30. Naturally, there’s a thing or two to learn from this powerhouse.
Keep scrolling to see her answers to our burning career questions and get inspired to take the reins of your own work life—just like LC.
In civilian terms how would you describe your job?
“I am a clothing designer, author, and editor in chief of LaurenConrad.com. My job is difficult to sum up because each day is different from the one before. A lot of my job consists of photo shoots, both behind and in front of the camera. I also spend a lot of time writing. This includes posts for the website, interviews, and if I am working on a book (my current one is a party-planning book titled Celebrate), the majority of my time goes toward that. The rest of my time is dedicated to design. I have two clothing lines that I work on. My contemporary line, Paper Crown, is based out of L.A. We launched a bridesmaid dress collection under the label a little over a year ago and are continuing to expand into other categories. My other line, LC Lauren Conrad, is sold in Kohl’s stores. So I’m a multitasker.”
What part of your job would people find most surprising?
“I think the most surprising thing to people is how hands-on I am. I have worked very hard to build my brand, so I am very protective over everything that goes into it. Also, it’s important not to become entitled as your business grows. It’s great to delegate tasks so your time is wisely spent, but I am not above picking up a steamer at my own shoot.”
What did you wear to your first job interview?
“I wore a floral blouse and nude wide-leg trousers. I remember I wanted to look mature and professional.”
Who would you like to have a 30-minute meeting with?
“My favorite person to talk about work with is my husband, William. He is one of the smartest people I know, and he isn’t afraid to disagree with me or play the devil’s advocate. He challenges me to think things through and be smart with every business decision. I feel like if I can sell him on something, it’s truly a great idea.”
What are your go-to resources for keeping up to date on your industry?
“My customers. Customer feedback is not only vital to a business, but nowadays is easily accessible to review. Whether you are providing a product or a service, listen to the people you are selling it to. What do they like? What do they want to see more of? What would they like to see done differently? After all, at the end of the day, their opinion is a pretty important one.”
What is one thing in your career that you've regretted?
“I really don’t have any big regrets. I believe that mistakes are important. They teach you lessons and help you grow. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my career, but I have always tried to learn from them and not repeat them.”
What are the top five qualities you look for when hiring?
“When I am hiring a new employee, I look for someone who is hardworking, proactive, interested in the industry, qualified, and has a good attitude. I think they are all equally important.”
What do you wear to work to feel powerful?
“Heels. I live most of my days in flats, but there is something about stepping into a great pair of heels that says I mean business.”
How would your assistant describe you?
“Well, this one doesn’t really seem fair, because I had to ask her, and she isn’t going to say anything unkind! She said she never thought she would have the opportunity to work in such a fun, creative environment with someone who is hardworking, genuine, and also kind. She also said she is inspired by me and my team on a daily basis. (She is too nice to me.)”
What do you do when you're feeling uninspired?
“Take a day off. You can’t force creativity or motivation. Sometimes you can be more productive if you just take some time to clear your mind and recharge your batteries.”
What's the best way to quit a job?
“If you have decided to leave a job, do so in a considerate way. Be sure to thank them for the opportunity and give them enough notice to find your replacement. It’s best to maintain a good relationship with those you work with even after you leave your job. If you work in the same industry, it’s possible you will have to work together again at some point. It’s also helpful when you are looking for job references.”
What is your go-to lunch?
“I am a little obsessed with pho, and fortunately, most of the people I work with share my love for the Vietnamese chicken soup. It’s a pretty regular order for us.”
What are the most common mistakes entry-level employees make?
“The most common mistake I see in new employees is a lack of awareness of the amount of hard work it takes to succeed.”
Who do you love to follow on instagram?
“@Kristin_Ess: Kristin has done my hair for 10 years now, and I am always amazed at her creativity. She has such a great eye.
“@KitchyKitchen: Claire is the exception to the ‘don’t post too many photos of your lunch’ rule. She is a genius when it comes to making delicious treats and beautifully photographing them.
“@ElizabethMessina: Elizabeth photographed my wedding. Her photos are breathtaking. I love that she finds beauty everywhere.
“@PaperFashion: Every one of her posts makes me want to pick up a paintbrush immediately. I love when she paints her favorite dresses from red carpets.”
What are your morning and evening rituals?
“I start every morning with a cup of coffee while I return emails, and I end every day with a glass of wine while I return emails. I spend most of my days running around doing a million different things as opposed to sitting at a desk all day, so I have to catch up when I am sitting still.”
What's the best advice you've ever received/
“The best advice I have ever received (and often share with others) is this: It is impossible to please everyone, so quit trying.”
What are you working on right now that you're excited about?
“I am about to release my party-planning book, Celebrate. I have been working on it all year. I have put so much of myself into this book. I am really excited to share it with everyone!”
Next up, shop the latest from Lauren Conrad here.
Opening Image: Lauren Conrad