Rachel Zoe, branding virtuoso, reveals her secrets to success

Rachel Zoe, styling virtuoso, reveals her secrets to success.

Celebrity stylist, reality show star, author, online editor, and now the proud owner of a chain of blow dry bars across the US – Rachel Zoe has created an empire from the ground up with her own (perfectly manicured) hands.

The branding virtuoso has her name emblazoned across everything from books to blow dries and is a hands on mother to her two sons Skyler (3) and Kai (10 months).

Speaking at Business Chicks events this week, the 43-year-old shared her secrets to success with Australian entrepreneurs.


Learn what you’re good at and what you’re not:

“I learnt from my father, one of the best pieces of advice is that you have to recognise what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are.
“It’s really ok to say that you’re not good at something and to in fact not be good at something.
“It makes you more confident and stronger and better at what you do to say ‘this is my area, I got this, that is your area, you do that and lets meet back and discuss it’.
“Delegating is difficult, it was something I was really bad at up until I had my first child and I realised I had to delegate.
“Opening yourself up to somebody to release that control is very scary, it’s too easy to say “Oh I’ll just do this myself”.
“But whatever your weaknesses are you have to empower the people that are best in that.
“That really helps you succeed, letting go of what you’re not amazing at and empower someone who is amazing at it to do that job.”

Rise above the drama:

“That’s the hardest thing I ever do, it’s horrible and it’s so brutal to take the high road but you got to do it, because in the end it really does pay off.
“Sometimes it takes a REALLY long time for it to pay off, and it’s hard because it’s your ego battling you and you want to scream the truth from the top of your lungs.
“In the workplace there is always going to be drama, that’s just the nature of human beings, people are competiting with each other to be where they want to be, but always be kind, it goes a long way.
“When things aren’t true you want to scream on Twitter or Instagram that whatever so-and-so said wasn’t true but you just have to take a deep breath, what I do now is just not look at it, not read it.
“In the workplace you don’t want to tell on somebody, but you might want to share that somebody isn’t behaving properly, but you can’t.
“It’s hard because you hope that the truth will come out eventually, in my experience it has always comes out in the end.”

Don’t look back:

“This is something I learnt much later in my career because I’m very hard on myself, I can find something wrong with every single thing I’ve ever done in my career.
“And Roger, my husband would have to say to me ‘you have to stop doing that, it was amazing, what’s done is done, nobody noticed but you’.
“I think as humans, I also think as women,  we’re very critical of ourselves, but I think when we don’t do that we’re much more at peace and much happier with our decisions.
“Earlier on in my career I’d get so tangled in what went wrong that it would be harder for me to move on. So you need to just let it go.”

Employees build a company:

“Getting great staff is an exercise in trust and I think that’s why it’s hard.”
“You build a company with employees, with employees there are wonderful moments, and right now I’m proud to say now I have the most extraordinary team you could ever dream of.
“I can’t even explain what it’s like to go to my office every day and see everybody, they are my family, they are so dedicated and incredible, they inspire me every day.
“We’re very lucky, but that’s not how it started, you get some bad seeds once in a while and managing employees is tricky and there’s ups and downs.
“But there’s no other way to grow you can’t fake the system.
“I find getting referrals from people I know and trust is extremely helpful, and for me it’s a lot of intuition, it’s sensing the right person, typically when I feel someone’s not right, they ultimately end up being not right, you just kind of feel it.”

Be nice:

“I’ve never felt that you have to be mean, you have to be vindictive, you have to be evil, you have to be deceitful to be successful.
“I’m not going to lie, that may bump you up a notch quicker, but it won’t keep you there, I promise you that.
“When you’re nice to people they want to stick with you, they want to work hard with you and grow your brand with you, and they’re loyal, but it doesn’t always happen, sometimes you’re nice to people and they take advantage.
“That’s happened to me more times then I’d like to talk about but for every bad seed there’s 20 good seeds at once.”

Know what to prioritise:

“I’ve been a victim of this and I’m still sometimes a victim, being a working mum and trying to do everything at once and doing it perfectly.
“By doing that you end up with panic attacks and spontaneously combust in the middle of the night.
“What has really helped me is really just focusing and saying “this is what I have coming up, this is what needs to be done, this is the order it needs to be done in, what of this is not urgent, can I do this in this amount of time”. And be realistic in what goals you can achieve.
“By trying to prioritise everything and get everything done at once I find nothing gets done, things fall through the cracks and you just get so overwhelmed that you just sit back and do nothing.”

Position yourself accordingly:

“Do your job and do whatever else anybody needs.
“Have confidence but not arrogance, work really hard but not for thank yous and pats on the back, don’t expect a lot in return.
“You have to work really hard because you love what you do and you want to succeed.
“You have to offer your services, you have to help others and you have to be a team player.
“I’m very turned off people that brush others aside to get themselves noticed to support their work.”

Stand out in an interview:

“Go in there and be yourself, be the best form of yourself.
“I know right away when I’m going to hire someone, right away, its how they carry themselves it’s how confident they are, how genuine they are, how much they know about the position they are actually applying for.
“Bring something to the table, you have to add value, that’s why someone wants to hire you, because you add value not because you look cute.
“You know you should always look cute but that’s secondary.”

With no formal training in styling, Rachel started out as a freelancer and went from dressing friends to styling A-list stars like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Garner for the red carpet.
She proves that the secret to success is passion, loving what you do – and looking cute while you do it doesn’t hurt.

Find out more about Business Chicks at http://www.businesschicks.com.au