Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Lifeon iTunes, and stay tuned. We'll be releasing new episodes on Mondays.
Armed with experience in finance and fashion buying, respectively, sisters-in-law Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard started their fashion brand with a single jacket style and no business plan. They created their signature Dickey Jacket combo, which is a jacket plus a vest-like piece that looks like a second layer but without the added bulk (see an example here). A decade later, they have a successful label—dubbed Veronica Beard, of course—with seven brick-and-mortar stores.
The Beard sisters-in-law agree that they couldn't have succeeded without each other, as they've leaned on one another through the ups and downs of their company. "The big decisions we've always gotten right because we've really gone with our guts and have put our heads together and tried to separate from the family, from the rest of the people that we work with, from the investors, whatever it is, and come together and make a decision," Miele Beard says.
In November 2013, the Veronica Beard brand was named a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, which put them in the path of none other than Anna Wintour. "I'm telling Anna Wintour that every woman needs to own a Dickey jacket and that it's going to change her life and all this stuff. And then she was like, 'Did you guys go to design school?' That was her question," Miele Beard said with a laugh. "And I was like, no." She says she believed Wintour was asking a question she knew the answer to, but it didn't stop the sisters-in-law from fighting through imposter syndrome and the feeling that they weren't worthy of the recognition.
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