Boss FilesDec 6, 2018

Take A Seat with Hillary Kerr

Written by All Sorts Of

Hillary Kerr is the definition of a boss. She, alongside business partner Katherine Power, built the Clique Brands empire, which you know all about. It’s home to some of our favorite sites like MyDomaine, Who What WearByrdie and of course, Second Life podcast (our obsession). When Amber was on Second Life with Hillary a few weeks ago, Amber got to dish on all things business, how she got started, growth, and so much more. We were lucky enough to turn the tables and ask Hillary how in the world she manages it all. She’s a true inspiration, one of the kindest people on earth and we ALL have something we can learn from this boss.

Take a Seat with Hillary Kerr…
1

Clique Brands is a powerhouse and we are obsessed with everything you and your business partner, Katherine Power, have created. We know the journey wasn’t easy. Tell us about how you got to where you are now.

We launched our company in October 2006, so the past twelve plus years have definitely been an interesting journey. The first few years of the company, it was just the two of us doing everything, which was a really priceless learning experience to show us how much we could accomplish with very few resources. At that point in time, people and brands were still very wary about the digital world, so we spent a lot of time educating partners about what a digital-native brand could do for them. We always felt confident that the company would thrive because we knew from the beginning that we were lucky enough to connect with this really incredible audience, and were also fortunate enough to attract really talented people who wanted to build something amazing with us. It’s kind of incredible that this whole company—with nearly 200 people, six websites, the Who What Wear collection of clothing and accessories at Target, three books, and now, our first beauty line, which is coming out next summer—just started out as a conversation in Katherine’s car. 

2

How do you divide your time between all the different CMG brands?

As the Chief Content Officer, I oversee the US and UK editorial, social, and creative teams for Clique Brands, and then I also host and produce my podcast, Second Life, as well. The podcast is definitely the smallest project, time-wise, but it’s very near and dear to my heart. 

3

Everyone is talking about your podcast, Second Life. What inspired you to move into audio storytelling?

I’ve always been a huge champion of women, and I simply wanted to shine a light on women who have really interesting careers. We workshopped the idea of Second Life internally for a while, and the reason we were so excited about the premise—which is: I sit down with women who have made anything from a small pivot to a big leap in their careers, and we talk about what they’ve learned along the way—is because it’s inherently hopeful and optimistic. I have loved every second of doing it. 

Hillary Kerr

The first few years of the company, it was just the two of us doing everything, which was a really priceless learning experience to show us how much we could accomplish with very few resources.

4

Was there someone that served as a mentor-like person through your entrepreneurial journey?

I often reference the great podcast Call Your Girlfriend, and the wisdom of Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, who use the great phrase “horizontal loyalty.” While they put it much more eloquently, my interpretation of it is that you don’t need a mentor to anoint you; all you really need are your peers. And I’m lucky enough that I’ve been surrounded by an incredible group of colleagues and friends since I started my career, first at ELLE, and then with Clique Brands. These women have been my sounding boards and champions, and I feel so lucky to have such supportive ladies in my life.

5

What’s the best career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?

It’s actually the title of the first chapter of my third book: Find something you love to do, and then figure out a way to get paid for it. 

6

What’s next for you on the career-horizon? Any huge goals you want to check off the list in the upcoming months?  

As I mentioned, Clique Brands is launching a new beauty line next year, so that’s every exciting. Personally I’m really excited about all of the opportunities around Second Life and am starting to work on a new book around that idea. I’d also love to take Second Life on the road, and start doing live tapings. I think there’s a really amazing community of women who listen to the podcast, and I want to start getting everyone together in real life. 

7

Moving onto life at home. You’re the mama to the cutest babe, Clark. How do you manage your time between home and work?

Some days I do it well, and some days I don’t. I’m lucky because I have some flexibility with work. I also have an incredible husband who is truly a hands-on co-parent, so I feel very lucky for that, as well. And I’m also fortunate enough to work with an incredible woman who takes care of Clark during the day; she is the glue that holds everything together. 

I’ve always been a huge champion of women, and I simply wanted to shine a light on women who have really interesting careers.

Hillary Kerr
8

What advice can you give to a parent who is trying to balance work or starting a business, while also prioritizing family time?

I think the most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself, because you’re not always going to get it right. Most days I feel like I’m failing one side or the other, but I’m trying not to be so hard on myself. We’re all just doing the best we can, and if you can remember that and give yourself some grace, things will be okay.

9

What’s your favorite room at home and why?

I love our kitchen and probably spend most of my time in there, but my favorite room is probably my bedroom, just because it’s so peaceful. Also, you learn to prize sleep a lot more when you’re a new parent, so that probably has some impact on it, too! 

10

What’s a daily ritual you swear by?  

I’m really all about that shower life. I’m a twice-a-day type of lady, morning and night. I legitimately cannot start my day without one, nor can I get into bed if I’m not clean. 

11

What are a few things in your bag you can’t live without these days?

Dior Pump’N’Volume Mascara because I like a lash. Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 because I don’t wear foundation or concealer, but this stuff is amazing and it has sun protection, which I’m too lazy to put on separately. Flesh Beauty Lipstick in Prize because it makes me look like I tried, even if I didn’t.

Hillary Kerr (Photo by Jenna Ohnemus Peffley)

I think the most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself, because you’re not always going to get it right. Most days I feel like I’m failing one side or the other, but I’m trying not to be so hard on myself. We’re all just doing the best we can, and if you can remember that and give yourself some grace, things will be okay.

Shop Hillary’s Picks
ALL-SORTS-OF-DIOR-MASCARA

Dior Mascara

$30

ALL-SORTS-OF-SUPER-GOOP-CC-CREAM

Supergoop! CC Cream

$34

ALL-SORTS-OF-FLESH-LIP-STICK

Flesh Lipstick

$18

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