In honour of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($17), we’re continuing on with an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honour of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the fashion industry. We’ve tapped Pip Edwards, Rebecca Minkoff, Sally Singer, Rachel Zoe, and more. Up next? Co-founders of CryBaby Productions, Clare Alstin and Catherine Stone.
Celebrating outstanding women is one of the reasons why we love what we do. And we know that sharing their inspiring stories and practical career advice can help each and every one of you, our dear readers, to achieve great levels of success in your own way.
So prepare to meet Clare Alstin and Catherine Stone. You may not know them by name, but the co-founders of CryBaby Productions, are behind some of the most recognisable social videos, digital billboards, and advertising campaigns out there at the moment. CryBaby specialises in innovative digital content and storytelling, giving brands an opportunity to reach new audiences.
Alstin and Stone each have more than 12 years' experience in the fashion, music, lifestyle, and digital industries, so they really are experts at what they do. Which is why they're perfect for our latest edition of Career Code.
Keep scrolling to meet the women behind CryBaby.
"It changes every week depending on what projects we have on, but because we work predominantly on short-form content, it's fast-paced, creative and fun. We have a great office space with a really good team that work in-house, but because we’re on set a lot we also get to bring on the right freelancers for each job."
"I think people would find it pretty incredible how quickly we turn big scale ideas around from initial brainstorm to finished edit with all the trimmings. We don't have the luxury of time but still need to create TVC quality on a budget. It keeps things so interesting, and it means we're in a helicopter shooting one day, and in studio with incredible talent the next."
Clare Alstin: "I truly do not remember. But my first important role was with Condé Nast in London when I was about 24, and big into boho (Sienna Miller/Jude Law days!). My uniform then consisted of cute smock dresses, black tights, and ballet pumps, but since I got the job I’m hoping I diverted that day and chose something slightly more adult.
Catherine Stone: "Wow—this would have been very different to how I dress these days. It was for a small production company that did all the content for the big record labels in Sydney (Sony, Warner, BMG, EMI). It was during the glory days of music when there was mega-money, so we were hanging with, and interviewing, major local and international talent. I was really into grunge—it's a safe assumption that I was wearing my Dr. Martens."
"Michelle Obama. She is so inspiring, assertive and strong, but nurturing and giving all at the same time."
CA: "We work a lot in the fashion and beauty sphere, so Business Of Fashion is an incredible resource to keep abreast of what's going on. While I admit trade mags are not my thing, I frequent Nowness.com and SHOWstudio.com (old favourites which I still covet), and of course we are constantly on YouTube, Vice, I-D, and Vogue—all are great to disappear into."
CS: "We're constantly on I-D, Nowness.com… I love watching the Vimeo shorts that are nominated by the staff. I also subscribe to a lot of the influencers' YouTube channels and Instagram feeds. I don't pretend that I'm across what millennials are talking about, but I make an effort to keep up with the influencers they love."
CA: "I started in magazines and was incredibly fortunate to hit London at a time when digital was just starting. Condé Nast was launching a big new fashion site and I got the editor role. It was an incredible experience and my first foray into video with VogueTV, and with that I had such incredible access into the industry. I was there for some time, but homesickness got the better of me and I came back to Australia. I don't regret leaving but I do wonder how far I'd have gone in that journey. I had such incredible insights into the dot-com realm so early, which would have been so valuable."
CS: "I also was incredibly fortunate with my career—my background is advertising and TV. I've worked at NITV, SBS, MTV, 7, SCIFI—and across all different genres. I love this. I guess my highlight was working at MTV and with great budgets—at the time I didn't realise how lucky we were and the creative freedom we had. I may have appreciated it more if I had the perspective I have now. But no regrets really. I interviewed Jon Favreau one time. I love him and adore his work. I've never been nervous interviewing any of the celebrities but I walked into that junket shaking. He was really nice about it but it was definitely the worst interview I've ever done in my life. I wish I had been way more cool walking into that hotel room."
CS: "We look for passion and work ethic. There are a lot of talented people out there, but if they don't have the drive to look for new and interesting ways to create content, then they won't be the right fit for us."
CA: "It's also so important to be consistent. We find we meet great people all the time but we need producers and editors who are consistent, and not hot and cold."
CA: "I've given up on heels, which were my answer every time to this question, but now they just make me feel awkward. I'm at my best when I'm comfortable, so for me it's just about looking smart and put together, but still with my fairly untidy hair! I swear by a great brogue or flat pump, high-waisted jeans, a shirt tucked in, and a blazer."
CS: "Clare's on me about this as this is definitely her realm. I generally have quite a relaxed look… but I must admit it's been nice to dress differently as the business has grown."
CA: "Hmm. Behind my back could be a different story but I'd like to think: Confident, hard-working, and funny."
CS: "Haha… Clare and I are like sisters at work. We've been working together for a long time but we laugh and bicker like sisters. I'd say this, but also that we are hard-working, kind, and inclusive bosses. We always make sure we listen to our team and that everyone has equal input. Our work has passion in it and that comes not only from us but from our crew."
CA: "I listen to music and I run. This is when an edit can come together in my head, or a new idea comes to me. I also go back to my old copies of magazines or search YouTube for old movies, watch something I'd not normally choose on Netflix, or meet my very inspiring friends for lunch."
CS: "I have books and books of ideas that I've written down—inspiring ideas when I've been feeling super inspired. I go back to those, but I also live in Byron Bay and I find that when I'm feeling uninspired I just head out into nature, I relax, then the inspiration comes back."
"If you're on great terms with your boss, take them for a drink, tell them what you've learned and loved from them, then explain your decision. Never leave them short. Be considerate in your end date and it will always serve you well."
"Being flakey. It's the worst, and poisons any opportunity you might have had. Be honest and always over-deliver. If you're going to struggle with a commitment, tell your employer so they can manage it. If you're hard-working and on it, you will kill it!"
CS: "I get up early, make a coffee, then take my two dogs for a walk along Seven Mile Beach in Lennox Head. It's stunning down there and there's barely anyone there. My evening ritual is all about making an incredible meal. Hopefully cooking for someone, with a glass of red wine, and sitting on my balcony."
"We've both not really retained slogans as such but have had incredible mentors in our careers. I think the most important thing is to align yourself with someone you are inspired by, and learn as much as you can from them, then pay it forward down the track."
"We are working with Mecca, Russh magazine, Canon, and also creating our own video 'How To' type guide for women creatives. It's literally going to be a one-stop shop for making your own brand videos for women. Watch this space."